In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Legacy Lands project is worth pursuing; port’s secrecy disservice to constituents

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Cheers: To Legacy Lands. The Clark County council is considering 12 conservation projects that would expand public trails and parks, protect fish habitat and preserve natural resource land. The plan, which was recommended by the county’s Parks Advisory Board, would cost an estimated $19.7 million for land acquisition and the purchase of easements, with an estimated $9 million coming from county-issued bonds. Other funding would come from the county’s Conservation Futures tax levy, local jurisdictions, and possibly grants.

Councilors are planning to seek public input, but an early review suggests that the project is a worthy one. Preserving lands and making them available for public use will benefit Clark County residents for generations to come. The last time the county considered projects under its Legacy Lands program was 2010, and the last project was completed in 2016.

Jeers: To the Port of Vancouver. Clark County Superior Court has decided that port officials must reveal more details about seven executive-session meetings related to a proposed oil terminal at the port. This is part of an ongoing lawsuit brought by environmental groups challenging the process that led to approval of the terminal. That proposal is undergoing regulatory review at the state level.

From the time the Port of Vancouver commission began considering the terminal in 2013, officials have acted with untoward secrecy. The port is a public entity, and port commissioners are elected officials, but their actions in approving the terminal did not demonstrate appropriate transparency. The latest directive from the county court reinforces the need for openness on the part of port officials.

Cheers: To the Southwest Washington Model Railroaders. The club of hobbyists with one-track minds is on the fast track to a larger space. A new station at Memorial Lutheran Church will allow for expansion of the extensive lay of tracks and landscapes while providing room for additional public events.

Model trains are a fun way to express a fondness for the history of the United States. Until the middle of the 20th century, rail lines carried a majority of the country’s freight and were the primary connection between cities and towns of various sizes. Recreating that past on a miniature scale is just the ticket for making the past come alive.

Jeers: To phone scams. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has sent out a warning about a scam in which perpetrators contact targets by phone, claim that an arrest warrant has been issued, and demand cash in lieu of jail. Deputies will not ask for money over the phone, and if somebody has questions about arrest warrants or money owed for fines or judgments, they can call 360-397-2225.

Undoubtedly, there is nothing new about grifters or the scams they run, but the latest ploy is a reminder for caution. A good rule of thumb is to never give money or personal information to unsolicited callers and to contact authorities if a request sounds suspicious.

Cheers: To Clark College. The fall session is underway at Vancouver’s 84-year-old institution of higher learning, with about 12,000 students beginning school this week.

For generations, Clark College has provided opportunities for students from near and far. Two-year colleges play an important role in Washington for students who view them as an affordable stepping stone to a four-year school, those seeking professional training, and many desiring a career change. In recent years, Clark has developed the largest Running Start program in the state, offering access to college courses for high school students. We wish the best of luck to all students and instructors as they embark on a new school year.