Morning Press: Poverty in schools, new I-5 bridge plan, eggs



After a beautiful weekend, what will the work week look like? Check the forecast.

Top news of the week or stories you may have missed:

Schools take on poverty

When a Clark County family with elementary school-aged children was living with no heat and broken windows, the school community pitched in to help.

This family was not living in a low-income apartment complex in Vancouver, but in Hockinson, the second-most affluent school district in Clark County, where homes in the Hockinson hills cost from $500,000 to more than $1 million.

Since the Great Recession hit, more Clark County students than ever before are living in poverty. With only a handful of exceptions, every school in Clark County has a higher rate of poverty than it did pre-recession. Some schools have shown signs of recovery, but the lingering effects of the recession remain a challenge for educators.

In the seven school years from pre-recession 2007-08 until post-recession 2013-14, Evergreen Public Schools, the county’s largest district, experienced a 29.3 percent increase in the number of students who qualified for free or reduced-price lunch. Now 46.3 percent of the district’s more than 26,000 students qualify. That’s about 12,000 Evergreen district students living in poverty.

Learn more about how schools are battling poverty.

Farmers coping with a scrambled egg market

How do you like your eggs? Forget scrambled or over-easy — do you want them organic, Omega-3 enriched, cage-free, free-range, vegetarian-fed or pasture-raised?

The grocery store egg cooler holds an unprecedented array of options — not to mention a vast price range. A dozen eggs costs less than $2 or almost $9. The choices can be tricky for grocery shoppers to navigate. And they have real implications for Washington farms and grocers.

Eggs are a growing business. The average American eats 256 eggs per year, according to the American Egg Board, which represents a four egg increase in the last couple of years.

There are 1,053 licensed egg dealers in Washington, according to Kim Schmanke, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Revenue. That’s nearly a 25 percent increase since 2013, when the state had just 884 licensed egg dealers in the state. The current figure includes large operations such as Wilcox Farm, in Roy, which has more than 800,000 hens. It also includes small ones such as the Kelsey Family Farm, in Brush Prairie, which has about 325 hens.

Read more about the egg market.

Filing seeks limits on oil terminal foes

The companies behind a proposed oil transfer terminal at the Port of Vancouver on Friday asked for “reasonable conditions and limitations” on more than a dozen entities who have declared their intent to intervene in the project’s upcoming judicial trial.

The filing by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies comes one week after a wide array of groups filed petitions to take part in the adjudicative process that will help determine the fate of the project known as Vancouver Energy. Most of those groups — among them environmental groups, cities and Native American tribes — have already stated their opposition to the project.

A response filed Friday by attorneys representing Tesoro and Savage said the companies don’t necessarily object to those parties intervening in the process, “provided their involvement will not delay the proceedings and an efficient and effective adjudication can be achieved.” The companies requested that each petitioner be required to submit in advance a list of legal issues they’d like to address, and demonstrate their standing to raise such issues. Petitioners should be limited to issues in which they have a particular interest or expertise, the companies argued.

Learn more the filing.

Three local lawmakers float new I-5 bridge plan

A trio of Southwest Washington lawmakers are floating a new plan for an Interstate 5 span between Vancouver and Portland they say could alleviate congestion at a much lower cost than the failed Columbia River Crossing project.

State Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, detailed the proposal in a memorandum emailed to dozens of other lawmakers and local officials this week. She dubbed the idea the “I-5 Practical Design Fly-over” and said it could be built for $1 billion to $1.5 billion. In an interview, Pike cautioned that the idea is just that — an idea, not a concrete plan.

“This is one option,” she said. “I’m certainly open to listening to other ideas.”

The concept goes something like this: Build an extended “fly-over” bridge roughly from Mill Plain Boulevard to the vicinity of the Portland Meadows racetrack in North Portland, bypassing the most problematic interchanges near the Washington-Oregon state line. The existing Interstate 5 Bridge would be left in place for local traffic between downtown Vancouver and North Portland, including Hayden Island. The concept does not include light rail.

In her email, Pike said she, Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, and Rep. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, have worked to advance the idea. It was developed by Dave Nelson, a retired engineer in Vancouver who says he worked on his own time.

Learn more about the new bridge plan.

Good things brewing at downtown restaurant

Why: Brewed Café & Pub, at the south end of Main Street in Vancouver, is a gathering place where people can enjoy coffee, beer and wine along with breakfast, homemade soup and hot sandwiches. Brewed occasionally hosts music events as well.

What I tried: I had the mango ham melt, and my dining companion had the Sriracha melt. We also sampled the yuca fries and the bacon-wrapped dates. I had hoped to try the homemade soup of the day, but they were sold out by evening — something to keep in mind if you plan a visit.

The yuca fries looked like a cross between French fries and breaded mozzarella sticks. They were breaded and fried to a light golden brown, with a soft inner core. The flavor was slightly reminiscent of a potato. A chipotle dip was served alongside. The bacon-wrapped dates were served atop fresh greens, which aided in soaking up extra grease. Each sweet date was wrapped with a single layer of bacon. Although the bacon was somewhat fatty, it was cooked beyond the chewy stage, bringing that distinctive, salty bacon essence to the dates.

Read the rest of the Brewed review.

Timbers draw is keeper for Real Salt Lake

PORTLAND — If it were hockey, the saying would be that Nick Rimando stood on his head on Saturday at Providence Park.

The Real Salt Lake goalkeeper, with some help from his defense during a frenetic finish, denied the Portland Timbers a goal as the teams played to a scoreless draw while opening their 2015 Major League Soccer season in front of 21,144 fans.

The Timbers were the more dangerous team throughout the night. They earned 11 corner kicks and did not concede a single one. But the several times they appeared to break through, Rimando or an RSL defender found a way to get in the way.

In a frenzied final minute, the Timbers took multiple shots from in and around the 18-yard box. But the one shot that eluded Rimando was cleared from the goal mouth by a red-clad defender.

Read about the opening match.

Keep up the Timbers’ season with blogger Chris Gluck