In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Portland wise to tweak winter plan; Greene hypocritical on outside money

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Cheers: To an ounce of prevention. Portland leaders are taking steps that hopefully will prevent the carmageddon of last winter, when ice and snow paralyzed traffic throughout the metro area. Officials have purchased salt spreaders and plan on the widespread use of road salt to help melt icy streets, a strategy they have rejected in recent years because of environmental concerns. Also, Portland has set aside extra funds for snow-removal costs.

Last year’s storms were costly throughout the region, causing lengthy school closures and hampering productivity by bringing traffic to a standstill. Governments throughout the area should prepare ahead of time for the possibility of severe storms, understanding that prevention is more cost effective than dealing with the problems after the fact.

Jeers: To hypocrisy. Kris Greene, a candidate for a spot on the Port of Vancouver Board of Commissioners, has attacked opponent Don Orange by decrying the “insidious problem” of “narrowly focused national interest groups funded by out-of-state billionaires” getting involved in the race.

We agree that this is a problem, but Greene is on the wrong side of it. The candidate has accepted $370,000 in contributions from companies working to bring an oil terminal to the port. Those companies are based in San Antonio and in Midvale, Utah, and they certainly are narrowly focused. Their interest is in building an oil terminal and turning a profit, rather than the health and welfare of local citizens.

Cheers: To good questions. The latest edition of “Clark Asks,” (http://www.columbian.com/clark-asks/) in which readers provide story ideas, resulted in a fascinating tale in The Columbian about the former Columbia Memorial Mausoleum in Vancouver (http://tinyurl.com/y76cwprq).

The mausoleum was an ambitious undertaking near Harney Elementary School that never quite came to fruition. But its construction — along with the tunnels that were created within a hillside — remains an interesting piece of Vancouver lore. When a 1959 Columbian article carries the headline “Teen Age Ghouls Raid Mausoleum,” there is a fascinating tale to be told.

Jeers: To falling back. It’s not that we will mind having an extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning; it’s just that perhaps the nation should do away with daylight saving time. Twice a year, Americans change their clocks one hour to adjust for the seasons — an idea that might have made sense when it was first instituted during World War I or when it was rekindled during World War II, but has outgrown its usefulness.

In recent years, there have been legislative attempts to eliminate daylight saving time in Washington, but they haven’t garnered much support. For those of us in Southwest Washington, it would be counterproductive to be in a different time zone from Oregon for half the year. Instead, a national effort should be undertaken to eliminate the biannual changing of the clocks. Meanwhile, enjoy that extra hour of sleep tonight.

Cheers: To public input. Camas officials have backed away from a plan to sell land near Round Lake, a popular hiking spot off state Highway 500 near Lacamas Lake. The proposal would have sold a 2.7-acre parcel for the construction of a senior living center, with the city using profits to create parks near new developments in other areas.

Whether or not this was the appropriate decision, the important thing is that city leaders paid attention to feedback from residents. “The city is sensitive to the will of its citizens,” Camas City Administrator Pete Capell told the Camas-Washougal Post-Record. “City staff have received enough feedback and understand how the community feels about the project and will immediately stop the consideration process of the proposal.”