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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.
News / Opinion / Editorials

In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Future park; weather delays

The Columbian
Published: January 21, 2023, 6:03am

Cheers: To a future regional park. The state Department of Natural Resources is transferring 80 acres of land to Clark County. The parcel, near Lucia Falls Regional Park and Moulton Falls Regional Park, will become a regional park managed by the county. The deal “preserves this pristine natural area for generations,” Clark County Council Chair Karen Bowerman said. “We appreciate the efforts of DNR and Clark County Legacy Lands staff in bringing this exchange and reconveyance to fruition.”

Efforts to transfer the land began in 2019, and County Councilor Gary Medvigy noted, “We’re not done yet, but this has been a lesson for me on how long things take.” Indeed, bureaucracy can be messy and time-consuming, but the transfer of the land will benefit Clark County residents for years to come.

Jeers: To weather delays. We can’t control the weather, but we can complain about it. So, it is disappointing that the establishment of a third Safe Stay Community — this one in downtown Vancouver — has been delayed because of winter weather.

The project will sit at Evergreen Boulevard and Daniels Street and provide tiny homes for unhoused people, and development is expected to begin late this month. We hope the project is as successful as two existing Safe Stay Communities managed by the city of Vancouver, helping people in need procure shelter with minimal disruption to surrounding residents and businesses.

Cheers: To consumer awareness. Thanks to a student project at a Kirkland high school, Washington lawmakers are considering the impact of a “pink tax.” The gist: Products for women often cost more than similar products designed for men. Senate Bill 5171 would allow the office of the state attorney general to review complaints and hand out fines to companies that demonstrate gender bias in their pricing.

Enforcement of the law could be difficult, and lawmakers should be cautious about wading into the free market. But bringing attention to the issue can help inform consumers and help hold manufacturers and retailers accountable for their business practices.

Jeers: To armed robberies. An article in The Columbian has detailed a spike in cannabis shop robberies in Clark County, mirroring a trend that has been documented across the state. Locally, there were four thefts in 2022; throughout Washington there were more than 100 armed robberies.

Cannabis shops are particularly vulnerable for robberies because they operate as all-cash businesses. Marijuana remains prohibited under federal law, preventing banks from offering services to cannabis businesses. On six occasions, the U.S. House has passed legislation to rectify the situation, but the Senate declines to address the issue. Congress should pass legislation that recognizes the cannabis industry as a legitimate business in states where it has been legalized.

Cheers: To Camas Public Library. Officials are launching a yearlong celebration in honor of the library’s 100th anniversary. First proposed in 1922 by the Camas Women’s Club, the library has remained independent rather than becoming part of the FVRLibraries network.

“It’s more than just books. It’s the place where the community gets together,” Director Connie Urquhart said. “Everyone has some sort of memory involving the library.” Indeed, libraries are more than a collection of knowledge; they are public gathering spaces. In the process, they become essential contributors to the culture of a community.