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Monday, December 4, 2023
Dec. 4, 2023

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Cheers & Jeers: Renewed waterfront; hunger

The Columbian

Cheers: To the Washougal waterfront. Port of Camas-Washougal leaders have approved a lease agreement that will lead to mixed-use development along the Columbia River in Washougal. “That’s a great revenue source,” port Chief Executive Officer David Ripp said. “Besides the revenue, we’re excited about what’s going to take place (to turn) a dilapidated sawmill into a commercial retail mixed-use development that’s going to beautify our area and create a work-live-play atmosphere here at the Port of Camas-Washougal.”

After a century of using waterfronts for industrial purposes, cities throughout the country are recognizing them as opportunities to enhance residents’ quality of life. The amenities afforded by waterfront access can enhance the livability of a city and spur economic development throughout the region. The Waterfront Vancouver is one shining example; we look forward to the Waterfront at Parker’s Landing joining that list.

Jeers: To food insecurity. With high inflation rates, increasing numbers of working families report that they are struggling to put food on the table. Nationally, food banks say that increasing labor and distribution costs, along with a decline in donations, is leading to shortages.

Locally, the Clark County Food Bank also is reporting shortages. The National Association of Letter Carriers will revive their Stamp Out Hunger food drive today after a two-year COVID hiatus. The timing is fortuitous, but a situation in which many Americans are going hungry calls for broader solutions.

Cheers: To the great outdoors. The Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge has reopened after undergoing more than two years of restoration. The area, east of Washougal along the Columbia River, has additional trails, wetlands and wildlife habitat after a $25 million renovation.

“Just because we have so much more open water at the refuge than we used to, now there are so many opportunities for nesting birds and a much larger variety of waterfowl,” said one U.S. Fish and Wildlife official. “There was a little killdeer mother over by the trail that was yelling at everybody walking by.” Clark County is blessed with numerous outdoor amenities, and those amenities often require care and updating.

Jeers: To rising COVID-19 rates. Coronavirus infections continue to grow in Clark County, increasing 23 percent over the previous week according to the latest statistics from public health officials. That likely is a vast undercount, with many infected people choosing to use home testing kits and never reporting positive results. Hospitalizations in the region increased approximately 50 percent since the previous reporting period.

Meanwhile, more than 800 deaths in Clark County have been attributed to COVID-19 since the virus arrived two years ago, meaning that one in every 624 residents has succumbed to coronavirus. The toll is enormous, providing a reminder that vaccines remain the best way to prevent the disease from spreading and that caution and common sense still are warranted.

Cheers: To the Washington Supreme Court. Justices unanimously affirmed that drivers may be cited for being high while behind the wheel. THC levels are notoriously difficult to measure, and they dissipate from the body much differently than alcohol.

But the fact is that driving after using marijuana poses a threat to the driver and to others on the road. The state must retain the power to help keep those roads safe while providing protection from drivers who are impaired — regardless of the substance used.

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