Sunday, February 23, 2020
Feb. 23, 2020

Linkedin Pinterest

In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: School upgrades good, power cuts not so much

The Columbian

Cheers: To upgraded school facilities. Vancouver Public Schools is celebrating the opening of its new iTech Preparatory School. Located on the campus of Washington State University Vancouver, the specialty school serves students in grades 6-12 interested in science, technology, engineering and math. Although the curriculum has been in place for several years, students were split between buildings, and lacked the specialized and elaborate facilities that will make learning easier and more fun. For example, it’s set up to encourage project-based learning, where students are assigned a series of challenges, then tasked with finding the solutions.

In Camas, what is old will be made new again. The venerable Joyce Garver Theater, built in 1936, was closed to students and the public in 2009 when it was deemed unsafe for occupancy. But patrons remember its superior acoustics, and longtime locals harbor many fond memories of the structure, which is at Northeast 15th and Garfield streets. According to our sister paper, the Camas-Washougal Post-Record, the Camas School District will remodel and reopen the theater after demolishing an old classroom wing. The completed facility will seat more than 700 for school and community events, and could be completed by summer 2021.

Jeers: To history repeating itself. Commuters in Clark County are well familiar with the Interstate 5 Rose Quarter chokepoint, which is considered the 28th-worst truck bottleneck in the nation. Some of our leaders say there’s no sense replacing the Interstate 5 Bridge without some improvements there. The Oregon Department of Transportation has a remedy, but the plan is mired in controversy over side issues such as carbon emissions from vehicles and bicycle commuting. Meanwhile, ODOT now estimated the cost of the project has ballooned by nearly 60 percent, to $715 million. In Clark County, we’re well familiar with this pattern of unrelenting criticism followed by inflated costs: Nothing gets done. Look no further than the defunct Columbia River Crossing for a lesson on how to spend a lot of money and get no result. It’s time to break this pattern and get moving.

Cheers: To Washington, Oregon and 13 other states who are standing up to the Trump administration’s ridiculous proposal to ship liquefied natural gas by rail. Says the environmental group Earthjustice: “The liquefied natural gas from just one rail tank car — without even considering a whole train — could be enough to destroy a city. … A train of 110 tank cars filled with liquefied natural gas would have five times the energy of the Hiroshima bomb.” Nonetheless, the administration has issued a special permit allowing LNG to be shipped by rail, on lines used by passenger trains, and through metropolitan areas. The states say that the federal proposal should be subject to a full analysis of its risks and rewards, including public safety and environmental consequences. Yes, please!

Jeers: To turning off the electricity at the Lewis River RV Park in Woodland. The park is home to many people who have little choice but to live in an older recreational vehicle. While hardly ideal, the old trailers and motorhomes offer a warm, dry place at an affordable monthly cost — as long as the power remains on. Now there’s a crisis and a threat the power could be shut off. It’s hard to get to the root of the problem, which seems to stem from a dispute among current and former owners, but if the electricity is shut off at the single meter serving the park, it is easy to see who will be the victims: the residents, a group that includes 22 schoolchildren.