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Monday, September 25, 2023
Sept. 25, 2023

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Boardwalk; inmate escape

The Columbian

Cheers: To a walk along the river. The city of Vancouver is moving forward with plans for a waterfront development on the east side of the Interstate 5 Bridge. The proposal by Kirkland Development would include housing units, commercial space and underground parking. Most important, it would include a public boardwalk that would complete the Renaissance Trail, which runs for miles along the Columbia River.

Vancouver has done an admirable job of reclaiming the banks of the Columbia for the benefit of the public. What once was a Boise Cascade plant now is The Waterfront Vancouver development; soon, it will be joined by a Terminal 1 project, also on the west side of the I-5 Bridge, and the new project to the east. Together, the developments will connect the people with the city’s most impressive asset — The Great River of the West.

Jeers: To a jail escape. Brian Roman found an innovative way to escape Monday from the Cowlitz County Jail. One of Roman’s two cellmates was scheduled for release, and when a corrections officer went to fetch the man, the three were asleep. The officer called for the soon-to-be-free man, and Roman answered. He then followed the officer, signed the other man’s name on release papers and accepted the man’s personal belongings. Then he walked free.

Officials say that nobody noticed the error until the man who was supposed to be released asked when he would get out. Roman was found Wednesday near Scappoose, Ore. He had been jailed on drug charges, and the guess is that some additional offenses will be added to the list.

Cheers: To election transparency. The Clark County Elections Office has scheduled a hand count of 600 ballots following Tuesday’s special election for a Washougal School District levy. Totals from the hand count are then compared with the machine count.

Officials have performed similar tests to ensure accuracy in each election for years. But with claims of election fraud running rampant, such transparency is particularly important these days. The local elections office has done an impressive job of being open about the process while working to inform the public about how ballots are collected, processed and counted. Cheers go to Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey and his staff.

Jeers: To ferry problems. A Washington state ferry ran aground recently while sailing from Bremerton to Seattle, leading 600 passengers to be temporarily stranded. The vessel was refloated when high tide arrived, and 175 vehicles were eventually reunited with their owners.

Washington’s state-run ferries carried more than 17 million passengers last year and are an important part of transit in the Seattle area. But the aging system has been beset by troubles. The ferry system warrants the same attention afforded roads and bridges as Washington rebuilds its infrastructure.

Cheers: To Longview. A proposal for a cryptocurrency mining center in Cowlitz County appears to be dead. A Clark County company had planned to build a mining facility, which basically is structures full of computers running around the clock to concoct digital currency.

“They take up a lot of land, obviously use a lot of power, and don’t provide a lot of payroll,” said Craig Collins, chair of the Cowlitz County Planning Commission. With one employee to oversee the facility, cryptocurrency centers contribute little to a region’s tax base while using a great deal of resources.