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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.
News / Opinion / Editorials

In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

City council looks to bridge great divide; bicycle thieves rob from worthy cause

The Columbian
Published: December 8, 2018, 6:03am

Cheers: To priorities. The Vancouver City Council was briefed on its 2019 federal legislative agenda, and a new Interstate 5 Bridge is rightly at the top of the list. “We need to lay the groundwork to build the relationships once again in Oregon,” said Joel Rubin, the city’s federal government liaison. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., will be the new chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and we hope Northwest leadership keeps attention on the need for a replacement bridge.

But to convince Oregon leaders and federal representatives that Washington is serious about pursuing a new bridge, Clark County residents must start to form a consensus about the details. Local legislators should lead by taking the pulse of the community and pursuing action in Olympia that moves the process forward.

Jeers: To bicycle thieves. An estimated 16 bicycles earmarked for a Christmas giveaway were stolen from a trailer. An undetermined number of helmets also were stolen from the cache for Waste Connections’ annual Scott Campbell Promise event.

Initial reports from Waste Connections were that some 200 bikes had been stolen, but that proved to be a bit of an overstatement. People who donated to the program in the wake of that report can ask for their money back, organizers said. While the theft was not as large as originally thought, the idea of stealing bikes meant for children is appalling. Thanks to Walmart, where the items were stored, and additional donations, Waste Connections will have even more gifts to hand out than it expected. In the end, generosity overcomes depravity, and we hope the perpetrators are caught and prosecuted.

Cheers: To accessibility. Plans for Felida Community Park call for an all-abilities garden and play area to be constructed in 2019 or 2020, providing access for children who use wheelchairs or have other mobility issues. “It was excluding a population that really wanted to participate but could not because of physical constrictions,” said Milada Allen, president of the Felida Neighborhood Association.

As noted by Bill Bjerke, county parks and land division manager, there’s a difference between a facility that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and one that’s truly accessible. Making a park more welcoming to children of all abilities enhances the sense of community that a neighborhood park provides.

Jeers: To a falling panel. We can’t exactly say the sky is falling, but a 35-square-foot metal panel came loose from Portland’s Aerial Tram, dropped about 130 feet, and struck a woman in the head. Fortunately, she suffered only minor injuries.

The Aerial Tram, which opened in 2006, travels between the South Waterfront and the Oregon Health and Science University campus atop Marquam Hill. It carries about 10,000 passengers a day during the workweek. The woman was walking down the stairway of a pedestrian bridge when she was struck by the panel, and officials determined that a broken carabiner caused the panel to fall and land in could-have-been-worse territory.

Cheers: To doing the right thing. A homeless man in Sumner found a brown bag outside a food bank and turned it in. The bag contained $17,000 in cash.

The man, Kevin Booth, received a citizens citation from the local police chief and told officers that handing over the money would benefit more people than just himself. Police kept the money for 90 days in case somebody claimed ownership, then turned it over to the food bank. Booth was given part of the bounty in the form of gift cards. More important, he demonstrated that a person’s circumstances should not prevent them from doing the right thing.