Tuesday, May 11, 2021
May 11, 2021

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Manufacturing jobs; COVID-19

The Columbian

Cheers: To manufacturing. United Precision Corporation, a California-based aerospace manufacturer that counts Boeing, SpaceX and the U.S. military among its clients, is expanding to Clark County. The company has purchased land from the Port of Camas-Washougal, where it will build two manufacturing buildings over the next five to 10 years, according to the Camas-Washougal Post-Record.

Construction of restaurants and retail outlets typically comprise the bulk of local economic news, in part because such amenities are highly visible and are accessible to the public. But a broad base that includes manufacturing and a variety of sectors is essential for a healthy regional economy. United Precision Corporation will be a worthy addition.

Jeers: To coronavirus infections. There are several reminders that COVID-19 remains a threat. In Clark County, the infection rate has increased more than 50 percent over the past month; in the rest of the state, three counties have been rolled back to Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s reopening plan because of high infection rates.

In order for Clark County to avoid additional restrictions on businesses, residents must act responsibly. Continue to wear masks and social distance in public, and receive a vaccination if you are medically able; vaccines are now available to all Washington residents 16 and older. “Every time the virus replicates, it makes a replica of its genetic information — and every time it does that, it’s an opportunity for mutations,” Clark County Public Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick said. While vaccines have provided hope in the battle against coronavirus, we must remain diligent.

Cheers: To the Legislature. There still are a few things, thankfully, that nearly everybody can agree on. For example, children should not be subjected to lead in their drinking water at school.

The Legislature has approved House Bill 1139 — which mandates that schools fix or replace fixtures that leach toxins into water sources — and sent it to Gov. Inslee. Until now, the state has not required schools to test or keep records on lead levels. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate and 94-4 in the House of Representatives. Rep. Larry Hoff, R-Vancouver, was the only local legislator to vote against the measure.

Jeers: To space junk. No, the sky is not falling, even if it appears that way. Last month, remnants from a SpaceX rocket created a spectacular light show as they re-entered Earth’s atmosphere. The resulting streaks in the sky were witnessed throughout the Northwest.

Now, pieces believed to be from the rocket are turning up in unexpected places. An intact composite-overwrapped pressure vessel was found on a farm in Eastern Washington, where it left a 4-inch dent in the ground; and another piece washed up on an Oregon beach near Waldport. Although plenty of space junk remains in orbit, sometimes what goes up must come down.

Cheers: To national parks. Although some seasonal or COVID restrictions will be in place, sites administered by the National Park Service are free to visit today. That includes the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver. The free admission is a nod to the unofficial arrival of the traditional park-visiting season.

The National Park System has been called “America’s best idea,” and for more than 100 years it has preserved the nation’s wonders while making them accessible to the public. The system oversees monuments, battlefields, historic sites and various other outdoor amenities. Free admission is a great excuse to get outside and enjoy some of the region’s beauty.