Cheers: To catching some rays. Clark Public Utilities is preparing to launch its second community solar project — a series of five solar energy systems on buildings at the Port of Camas-Washougal. Beginning Friday, local residents, businesses and governments may invest in the project, which is expected to generate more than 900,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year — enough to power approximately 90 households.
The purpose of the project is to ease individual investment in solar power, which can be cost prohibitive for homeowners. By turning solar energy into an economy of scale, it lowers the cost for all involved. A similar project at the Clark Public Utilities Operations Center in Orchards opened in 2015 and sold out in one day, demonstrating the desire for community investment in renewable energy. It is a strong example of a private-public partnership for the benefit of all.
Jeers: To looky-loos. After firefighters effectively doused a wildfire near Tumtum Mountain in northeast Clark County this week, they offered some words of wisdom for local residents: Wildfires are not a spectator sport. Officials said their efforts were hampered when spectators’ vehicle blocked access to narrow roads in the area.
“It creates access issues for the water tenders making runs to aid in suppression,” Clark County Fire District 10 wrote on Facebook. “The roads are narrow with few turnarounds.” Firefighters from the Washington Department of Natural Resources and Clark County Fire Districts 10 and 13 responded to the blaze, which burned an estimated 28 acres. They have a difficult enough job without members of the public getting in the way just to watch.
Cheers: To the Clark County Fair. Attendance was down slightly for this year’s fair, which ended Aug. 13, but the numbers remain strong. Attendance was about 257,000, a 10 percent decrease from the previous year but higher than the 2019 pre-COVID event. The fair was canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic.
Temperatures that reached 100 degrees in the closing days of this year’s fair, along with higher gas prices and ticket prices, likely hampered attendance. But the 10-day fair remains one of Clark County’s signature events and has rebounded nicely from the COVID-induced hiatus.
Jeers: To feeding the bears. We don’t know if any pic-a-nic baskets were involved, but bears in North Cascades National Park are channeling their inner Yogi Bear. While portions of the park are closed because of wildfires, another portion has been closed because of an uptick in human interactions with bears.
Part of the problem, apparently, is that the animals have taken advantage of unsecured supplies of human food. “Many issues stem from unintentional feeding of bears,” one official said. “Throughout the season, bears are seeking out their natural foods in places that often put them close to areas used by humans.”
Cheers: To a place for kids. When Portland’s Children’s Museum closed for good in the wake of the COVID pandemic, Vancouver’s Laura and Greg Silva didn’t waste time lamenting the loss of an indoor place for creative play. They went to work and opened City Play for Kids in east Vancouver. “It has far exceeded our expectations so far,” Laura Silva told The Columbian. “And we’re not even in the rainy season yet.”
As one customer said, “Obviously by the amount of people that are here, it was needed.” By identifying a need and filling it, the Silvas have demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit.