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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.

Cheers & Jeers: Candidates; nature’s power

The Columbian
Published: May 20, 2023, 6:03am

Cheers: To throwing your hat in the ring. Thanks go to the dozens of candidates who filed this week to run for office. The 2023 Clark County ballot features races for mayor, city council, school board and other nonpartisan governing positions. A primary election will be held Aug. 1, and the top two vote-getters in each contest will advance to the November general election.

Local elections do not draw the same attention as federal or state elections, but they are equally important; decisions made by city councils and school boards can have a significant impact on the lives of residents. The jobs often are difficult, particularly during times of political discord, and being an elected official can be a thankless task. Cheers are warranted for all candidates who think they can make a difference in our community and are willing to face the scrutiny that comes with running for office.

Jeers: To Mother Nature. It is fruitless to criticize the power of nature, but jeers are warranted for two events this week. A landslide washed out a bridge on Highway 504 near Mount St. Helens, closing access to Johnston Ridge Observatory and leading to the rescue by helicopter of 12 people and a dog. Nobody was injured, but officials say access to the observatory likely will be closed for months.

Closer to home, lightning strikes late Monday and early Tuesday interrupted service for customers of Clark Public Utilities. Power was restored within hours, and thanks go to workers who were able to get the lights back on. But we hope that Mother Nature is a little more considerate next time.

Cheers: To visitors. According to research firm Tourism Economics, the industry has rebounded in Clark County following a pandemic downturn. There were 5.16 million visits to the county last year, and tourists spent $674.1 million here. Although 14,000 visitors a day sounds unrealistic, the point is that both numbers surpass the 2019 estimates.

The 2019 information “was kind of used as this benchmark to get back to for so long,” said Erica Lindemann of Visit Vancouver WA. “It allows us to stop looking at the past, and we can really focus on the future.” With The Waterfront Vancouver development adding to a long list of local amenities — and with a major city across the river — Vancouver is well-positioned to attract visitors for either short stays or elongated ones. Those visitors comprise a significant part of our local economy.

Jeers: To a restaurant fire. A late-night fire has temporarily closed The Thai Restaurant in Wenatchee. According to The Wenatchee World, police arrived on the scene and “helped a male employee from the building and then reentered to help another man exit the restaurant.” Neither man was injured.

While fires in restaurant kitchens are not unheard of, the circumstances of this one are unusual: “Investigators later learned the men were intoxicated and cooking after business hours.” To that, we offer a friendly reminder: Don’t drink and cook.

Cheers: To taco trucks. A recent Columbian article highlights an increase in the number of taco trucks throughout the Vancouver area. The mobile restaurants typically offer delicious food and convenience at reasonable prices.

Of course, Mexican food is not the only fare that can be found at food trucks, which continue to pop up throughout the area. Portland in recent years has been a national leader in the industry, adding not only to the region’s culinary options but to its culture and sense of vibrancy. Cheers go to the same phenomenon taking hold in Clark County.