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Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Nov. 28, 2023

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Spotlight’s glow; rental rates

The Columbian

Cheers: To being in the spotlight. One of the globe’s biggest sporting events, the world track and field championships, is underway in Eugene, Ore. The event brings together athletes from 200 nations — including Vancouver native Kara Winger, a javelin thrower — and will continue through July 24, thrusting the Northwest into the spotlight. On top of that, Seattle was recently picked as a site for soccer’s World Cup in 2026, which the U.S co-hosts.

Sports are fun and games, but they also are big business. Global events not only bring visitors to host cities, but they provide valuable public relations as a city’s attributes are beamed to a worldwide TV audience. That can only mean positive publicity for our entire region.

Jeers: To the rental housing market. A report from WalletHub, a personal finance website, has ranked Vancouver as one of the worst places in the United States to rent a home. Using measurements for rental availability, affordability and quality of life, our city ranked 175th out of 182 in the study.

Like in many cities, rental rates continue to increase sharply here. In addition, there are benefits to having a high percentage of owner-occupied homes rather than rentals. But as one expert said: “Building more housing in high-opportunity neighborhoods creates widespread economic, social and environmental benefits. Regional labor markets function better when workers at all income levels can live within reasonable commuting distance of their jobs.”

Cheers: To the Washington Supreme Court. The justices have agreed to review the constitutionality of a capital gains tax passed by the Legislature. The court will consider a decision by a lower court that overturned the tax on high-profit sales of stocks and other assets. Critics argue that the capital gains tax amounts to an income tax, which is unconstitutional in Washington.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson appealed the lower-court ruling directly to the high court instead of first sending it through the Court of Appeals. Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules, some clarity on the issue will be beneficial to Washington taxpayers and lawmakers.

Jeers: To a lack of homes for pets. The Humane Society for Southwest Washington reports that adoptions have declined 40 percent since November 2020, and the average stay at the shelter has increased from 11 days to 16 days. The trend of pandemic pets, when many people sought companionship while stuck at home, apparently has reversed.

“We’re seeing more dogs that have greater needs, both medical and behavioral,” the shelter’s president said. “So it’s just taking more capacity, and they’re staying here longer.” Not everybody has the time or ability to properly care for a pet, but the situation is a reminder that there are many animals waiting for a loving home.

Cheers: To La Center High School. Thanks to an on-campus garden, various sustainability programs and an active environmental science class, the school in north Clark County has earned national recognition. La Center has been selected as a 2022 Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, one of a few dozen schools across the country to earn the accolade.

“We’re doing authentic work on our campus and in our community,” a teacher told The Columbian. “There’s such a sense of ownership from the students that their knowledge and skills just increase almost effortlessly.” Schools still teach the three Rs, but La Center is demonstrating that education also means learning about the world around us.

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