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Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Dec. 5, 2023

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Fantastic fort; clouding the view

The Columbian

Cheers: To history. A report from the National Park Service asserts that more than 964,000 people visited the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in 2022. That includes visitors to park grounds, the Pearson Air Museum, the visitor center and the McLoughlin House Unit in Oregon City, Ore. That translates into more than $60 million in spending in communities near the facilities. “This data shows that in 2022 Fort Vancouver National Historic Site had its largest economic benefit since data has been recorded,” park Superintendent Tracy Fortmann said.

The fort itself is a reconstruction of the original Fort Vancouver, which was built by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1825 and destroyed by fire in 1866. The facsimile was constructed during the 1960s, providing a touchstone to the region’s past. For the past six decades, it has welcomed schoolchildren and visitors from near and far, standing as one of the region’s signature attractions.

Jeers: To cloud cover. Although we have been hoping for a little relief from summer heat, the clouds arrived at an inopportune time. Overcast conditions largely blocked views of a rare super blue moon this week, obscuring a unique lunar event.

For those who missed it, Wednesday night marked the closest full moon of the year — about 222,000 miles from Earth. A “blue” moon is the second full moon of a calendar month; a supermoon is when the moon is nearest the Earth. Combine them, and you have a rare spectacle. We’ll have to mark our calendars for 2037 — the next super blue moon.

Cheers: To the Vancouver Fire Department. The department’s annual report reveals a sharp increase in activity during 2022. The number of calls rose by 12 percent, and the most urgent-levels calls increased more than 9 percent. “I think we’re seeing the results of the growth of our community,” Fire Chief Brennan Blue told the city council. “The enhancements that we and you invested in as council and that the members of the community voted on, couldn’t come soon enough, and we’re looking at our call volumes starting to skyrocket.”

Last year, the department added 25 firefighters, in part to staff the first new station in 12 years. And more than 40 percent of the department’s 165 firefighters have joined in the past two years. While an increase in emergencies is not worth cheering, we are thankful for all first responders who help keep our community safe.

Sad: To train fatalities. A pedestrian and a dog were killed Tuesday when struck by a train on a bridge over the Lewis River, near the Clark-Cowlitz county line. A witness told officials that the person was trying to rescue the dog from the “ghost” railroad bridge when both were struck.

The dangers of railroad tracks are obvious, and no-trespassing signs are posted on the BNSF Railway property at the ghost bridge. Officials said there have been numerous pedestrian deaths in that area. Even if trying to rescue a dog from a dangerous situation, walking along railroad tracks is not worth the risk.

Cheers: To high school sports. Football season kicked off this past weekend, launching the prep sports year. Soon, competition in volleyball, girls soccer, cross country and other sports will be filling local gyms, fields and trails.

Scholastic sports offer broad opportunities for physical and emotional growth for competitors. They also offer enjoyable diversions for spectators. Best wishes to all athletes, coaches, officials and spectators for a safe and successful season.

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