Cheers: To lawmakers. The 2022 Legislature has convened, with a 60-day session that opened Monday. Although it is a short session, there is plenty to be done, with the lingering coronavirus pandemic adding to the usual list of issues. Gov. Jay Inslee told lawmakers: “We must act according to what this moment demands. We must be big. We must be bold. We must act at a scale commensurate to our challenges because of the multiple, urgent crises facing our state.”
Preeminent among them are a persistent homelessness problem, climate change, and a continuing COVID-19 response. Washington has weathered the pandemic better than many states, and the economy remains robust. We trust that legislators will act wisely throughout the session to help keep our state among the most livable in the nation.
Jeers: To a lost playground. The playground structure at Esther Short Park was destroyed this week in an early morning fire that officials say was intentionally set. The city of Vancouver already was planning on replacing the structure, which is valued at $200,000, later this year; now officials are hoping to move up that timeline.
The popularity of the playground is evident on any sunny morning or, especially, when the Vancouver Farmers Market is open. The slides and climbing structures are inevitably swarmed by smiling children. Torching a place that brings children joy is a particularly callous act.
Cheers: To investments to reduce homelessness. The Vancouver City Council has approved the purchase of $402,105 worth of shelters for future dedicated campsites for homeless people. The city opened its first site in December, and the new purchase will provide facilities for two future sites.
The formation of the dedicated campsites, which provide shelter and connect unhoused people with necessary services, is a wise approach by city officials. The homelessness issue has proved vexing in Clark County and other locales, and it calls for bold and compassionate efforts on the part of our community.
Jeers: To a blood shortage. The American Red Cross reports its most severe blood shortage in more than a decade, and one local official says, “I’ve been with this organization for 18 years, and I haven’t seen it this bad. I have never seen us not be able to provide the products that hospitals need when they’re requesting it.” During the pandemic, donations have declined by 10 percent; schools and colleges — previously the most popular blood-drive locations — have seen precipitous declines.
According to RedCross.org, the supply is used to “meet the needs of accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.” To donate, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call 800-733-2767. To donate to Bloodworks Northwest, visit BloodworksNW.org or call 800-398-7888.
Cheers: To getting the news out. A recent article by The Columbian’s Will Campbell detailed a relic of a bygone age — paper boys (and girls). Years ago, when The Columbian was an afternoon publication, an army of schoolchildren would spend their after-school hours delivering the paper throughout the community.
The list of people who got their start delivering the paper and went on to become community leaders is rather remarkable. So, too, is the effort it took to disseminate the news in a timely fashion. The digital age — along with the newspaper’s move to morning publication in 2000 — has altered that dynamic. But the article brings back some fond memories.