Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Oct. 20, 2020

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: New name, new fortunes

The Columbian
Published:

Cheers: To rebranding. A portion of downtown Vancouver now known as Waterfront Gateway might get a new name — Lucky Star District. “Developers will be more interested in this if we can create that kind of branded opportunity,” Richard Keller of the City Center Redevelopment Authority told city council members.

More important than the name is the thought that city officials are paying attention to an area that is ripe for development. Situated between City Hall and a railroad berm that separates it from The Waterfront Vancouver development, the 6.4-acre property is owned by the city and is inhabited mostly by a grassy field and a parking lot. That makes it appear out of place as the city has grown around it. Adopting a name that harkens back to the area’s history as the site of Star Brewing and Lucky Lager would be a good way to tap into the spot’s potential.

Jeers: To protecting bad officers. An analysis by The Seattle Times has detailed how rarely police officers in Washington lose their certification. The newspaper reports that out of 11,000 officers in the state, an average of about 100 have been fired annually over the past four years. But just 13 a year have lost their credential, and no officers have been decertified for excessive force.

“The legal grounds that allow the state to decertify a cop — taking away their badge and gun for good — are so narrow that Washington hardly ever bars police from returning to work,” reads the report. One goal of police reform must be to remove bad cops and protect the majority who are dedicated public servants. Preventing officers who are fired from taking a job elsewhere should be easier.

Cheers: To protecting the election. Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman has issued an emergency rule to help ensure voters receive ballots in a timely fashion for the November election. Wyman has required county officials to use first-class mail for sending out ballots during the final 15 days prior to the election.

Washington conducts all elections entirely by mail, and changes at the U.S. Postal Service have led to concerns that ballots could be delayed. Initial mailings are sent at the nonprofit bulk rate; the new rule will apply to replacement ballots or ballots for newly registered voters. Anything that helps promote a fair and accurate election is worthy of cheers.

Jeers: To smaller salmon. We know that salmon runs have been shrinking for decades, but how about the salmon themselves? According to a new study from researchers in the United States and Canada, returning Alaska salmon have declined in size in recent decades. For example, Chinook returning to western and northern Alaska are 10 percent smaller on average than they were before 1990.

Researchers attribute the decline to climate change, which they believe causes the salmon to return to spawning grounds at a younger age, and competition with large numbers of hatchery fish. The smaller size results in the fish producing fewer eggs and reduces their value to anglers.

Cheers: To sharing history. The Clark County Historical Museum has been approved to reopen in the coming weeks with appropriate protective measures in place. In the meantime, museum officials have come up with a creative idea for connecting with the public.

The museum has constructed an outdoor gallery of retired exhibit panels in front of its location at 1511 Main St. “These retired exhibits wind up in a back room anyway,” executive director Brad Richardson said, “so this is a way people can revisit them, for free.”

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