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Sunday, December 3, 2023
Dec. 3, 2023

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Office space filled; in the dark

The Columbian

Cheers: To filled office space. Experts say downtown Vancouver has an office vacancy rate of 5.8 percent — well below the rates nationally and in downtown Portland. “We are seeing good, stable activity,” one commercial real estate executive said. “Buildings that are leased are still producing, and they’re meeting their performance.”

That is a good sign for the economy at large. The COVID-19 pandemic — and the resultant increase in remote work — has led to doubts about the future of commercial office space. The national office space vacancy rate was 16.2 percent at the end of November; in Portland, the rate is 11.1 percent, and experts say many companies are looking to relocate to this side of the Columbia River. Despite current uncertainty in the market, office space rentals typically are an important measure of economic health. Low vacancy rates in downtown Vancouver are a good sign for all of Clark County.

Jeers: To human-caused power outages. Utility workers have a tough enough job dealing with severe weather; they don’t need human foolishness adding to the difficulties.

An impaired driver this week crashed a vehicle into a power pole in central Vancouver and knocked out power to thousands of Clark Public Utilities customers. Meanwhile, two men have been charged for a Christmas Day attack on a substation that knocked out power in Pierce County — part of a series of substation attacks in the Northwest. Whether by accident or planned attack, knocking out power can have serious consequences.

Cheers: To science. As pointed out in an article by the Tri-City Herald, a laboratory in Richland is a global hub of research and innovation. Analytics firm Clarivate determines which scientists have their work most often cited by other researchers, and this year’s list includes 20 researchers with ties to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

“These individuals are helping to transform human ingenuity into our world’s greatest breakthroughs,” a Clarivate executive said. There’s no telling what kind of innovations will result from current research, but even the greatest innovations start with only a germ of an idea.

Jeers: To calling the cops … on the cops. When a Washington State Patrol trooper pursued a suspected drunk driver last week in Eastern Washington, a passenger in the offending truck called police to complain that her “constitutional rights” were being violated. “They called county 911, who transferred them to us. It’s hilarious,” a State Patrol supervisor said.

Contrary to popular belief, police in Washington are allowed to engage in high-speed pursuits under certain circumstances. The results of this pursuit were charges of driving under the influence and attempting to elude police. Jeers are warranted for drunk driving — and for misunderstanding constitutional rights.

Cheers: To the Seattle Seahawks. In a development that nobody predicted, the Seahawks have reached the NFL playoffs, wrapping up the regular season with a 9-8 record that included a must-win overtime victory Sunday. The Seahawks have far exceeded expectations this year, following the trade of star quarterback Russell Wilson in March.

As far as pundits who predicted disaster this season? “We really just kind of brushed it off,” coach Pete Carroll said. “That wasn’t a factor for us.” The Seahawks play the San Francisco 49ers today in the first round of the playoffs, and no matter how long their season continues, they have generated plenty of cheers.

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