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Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Dec. 5, 2023

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Morning Press: Oil opposition, young candidates, Pepe, pantry, picnics


A hot flash is expected for Wednesday. Check our local weather coverage.

In case you missed them, here are some of the top stories of the weekend:

Opposition to oil terminal unites diverse groups

When plans for the nation’s largest oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver surfaced in 2013, project backers likely expected opposition from environmentalists. But what they surely didn’t anticipate was that a broad swath of the region, from city councils to local businesses to Indian tribes, would so forcefully turn against a project promising tax dollars and jobs to a cash- and job-hungry community.

In the past three years, a broad-based coalition of terminal opponents has waged an unrelenting campaign to win the hearts and minds of the general public. Most of the connections within the coalition are loose and each member focuses on their particular interests, be they global warming or the risks of crude-by-rail. Collectively they’ve managed to overwhelm supporters at public hearings and in the state’s environmental review process, which generated more than 250,000 comments on the terminal, nearly all opposed to the project.

“I think (Tesoro and Savage) expected this to be easy and straightforward, they were going to roll into town and sail through the permitting process,” said Eric de Place, policy director of Seattle-based Sightline Institute, an environmentally focused think tank and one of the leading opponents of the oil terminal. “I don’t think they counted on running into this buzz saw opposition.”

A new generation of leaders

A white-haired politician who came of age during the civil rights movement and was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War has inspired a handful of Southwest Washington millennials to try to change today’s political landscape.

Bernie Sanders has “catalyzed a movement,” said Kaitlyn Beck, 20, who is running to be a state representative in the 49th Legislative District.

“He’s given a voice to people who were traditionally thought not to be running for office,” Beck said. “We’ve got people of color, LGBT individuals, people who have been living in poverty their entire lives who are like, ‘I want to do this. I want to make my community better.’ ”

The five candidates, all Democrats, currently live in Vancouver.


Gathering faces pain over Pepe’s death

Roughly 250 people packed a Battle Ground neighborhood street Friday evening to pay their respects to Jose Castillo-Cisneros, an act the boy’s grandfather called a profound act of kindness.

Jose Castillo-Cisneros, nicknamed Pepe, was killed Monday night at his Battle Ground home.

Friends, family, neighbors and other well-wishers bearing candles gathered around the home — where friends and strangers had been adding flowers, stuffed animals and candles to an impromptu memorial — to remember Pepe and support the family.

The family has been moved by the outpouring of support, said Fernando Cisneros-Garcia, the boy’s maternal grandfather.  “The whole community is hurting. … The whole community is feeling the pain,” he said, apologizing for his English.

Martha’s Pantry loses home, stock in church fire

The shelves had been freshly stocked with nonperishable food on Tuesday, the day before First Congregational Church of Christ in Hazel Dell was damaged by a fire that officials ruled an arson. For three years, Martha’s Pantry has operated out of an 800-square-foot space in the church’s basement. It’s the only pantry in Clark County dedicated to those who have HIV or AIDS.

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About 60 percent of the food must be tossed due to smoke damage. The damage is hard to see, but inside the pantry a slight stench of smoke lingers. A glass of water set out in the pantry on Thursday morning had turned the color of honey by Friday morning.

“All this has to be thrown out. Nothing here can be salvaged,”  said Vicki Smith, the pantry’s executive director. “The smoke gets in everything,” and contains carcinogens. “With our vulnerable community, we cannot afford to expose anybody to a potential threat.”

Smith hopes to reopen the pantry at Vancouver Heights United Methodist Church, so long as the church board approves the move Sunday.

“Our goal is to be open and operational by next Thursday,” Smith said. “We need to have a place for our people to go.”


Picnickers have options you might not have tried

Memories are planted in the ground where they’re made. That’s why it’s hard to leave a place where you’ve done lots of living, and why the natural question about big historical events always is, “Where were you when it happened?”

Monday is the federal Memorial Day holiday, set aside to remember and honor those who died in our service. Many people take that day, or this one, to remember other lost loved ones, too — and to gather those they still have in a place that’s beautiful, peaceful, comforting.

Fort Vancouver? Battle Ground Lake? The Salmon Creek Greenway? Frenchman’s Bar? Been there, done them. We thought we’d direct you down memory lane in a new spot for a change. Here are five awesome-but-undersung Clark County sites where you can gather the brood to review favorite family memories — and make some fun new ones.

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