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Tuesday, March 5, 2024
March 5, 2024

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Cheers & Jeers: Paddy Hough Parade; inflation

The Columbian

Cheers: To the Paddy Hough Parade. As the old saying goes, everybody loves a parade. That is especially true when the parade has been delayed because of a pandemic. For the first time since 2019, the traditional St. Patrick’s Day event known as the Paddy Hough Parade unfurled through the Uptown area, much to the delight of the participating schoolchildren.

The parade honors Paddy Hough, an Irish immigrant and longtime educator who inspired The Hough Foundation and has an elementary school and surrounding neighborhood named for him. The foundation supports family and mental health programs, as well as educational and after-school programs. As a Clark County history website maintained by The Columbian explains of Hough, “They say his eyes were as blue as Irish skies and his heart as big as all Killarney.” That giving nature lives on, 98 years after his death.

Jeers: To inflation. A Columbian article on Sunday detailed what we all know — the cost of just about everything has rapidly increased in recent years. Most notable is a 28 percent increase in Vancouver rent prices since the COVID-19 pandemic started three years ago.

The difficulty is that there’s nobody in particular to jeer. Landlords have their own bills to pay and should not be blamed for charging whatever the market will bear. But it’s clear that rising prices are related to a housing shortage that increases demand, and it’s clear that the shortage contributes to homelessness. Increasing the housing stock is the only way to solve the situation.

Cheers: To paddling and surviving. A group of breast cancer survivors from Vancouver will take part in the International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission Dragon Boat Festival next month in New Zealand. The festival brings together survivors from throughout the world for six days of events and racing.

As explained by Columbian reporter Nika Bartoo-Smith, the local team of 24 women combines clubs from Vancouver and Portland and ranges in age from 43 to 82. They have a shared experience of battling breast cancer and a shared love of dragon boat racing. As one survivor said: “The people are incredible. Very inspiring, supportive, loving, encouraging — all of it.”

Jeers: To derailments. Train derailments and industrial accidents can have an impact that lasts long after the immediate cleanup. Now, crews are reporting that diesel fuel from a recent BNSF Railway derailment on the Swinomish Indian reservation has made its way into groundwater. The accident spilled about 3,100 gallons of diesel.

Complicating the situation is the start of a trial in a lawsuit the tribe has filed against BNSF. The suit claims the company moves oil trains through the reservation without permission from the tribe and in violation of an earlier agreement. Political leaders at all levels must ensure that companies are held accountable when they cause environmental degradation.

Cheers: To outsmarting the criminals. Law enforcement officers have foiled a plot to deliver contraband at the state prison in Connell. An inmate had hatched a plan to have friends deliver methamphetamine, heroin and other banned items by tossing them over the fence at the prison.

The problem: The inmate used a monitored phone line to discuss the plot, so officers were waiting in camouflage when the perpetrators arrived. The result: Three arrests and confiscation of a bag filled with contraband. Cheers go to the officers; scorn goes to the criminals who thought this was a clever idea.