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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.

In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Safe Stay support; blah Blazers

The Columbian
Published: April 15, 2024, 6:03am

Cheers: To Safe Stay sites. The city of Vancouver has added $163,896 to the budget of Hope Village, one of its four Safe Stay communities. The money, which increases the annual budget to $766,457, will be used to give cost-of-living wage increases to staff and hire a case manager to help clients find jobs or treatment for substance-use disorder. “We don’t want to be known as a place that’s funneling people through just to have them back on the street,” said Brian Norris, executive director of Live Love Outreach, which operates the site.

As with all government spending, the budget increase warrants scrutiny. But the Safe Stay sites thus far have been effective in providing stability for previously homeless people. Rather than throwing good money after bad, the boost is a wise investment to help ensure that the program works as intended.

Jeers: To bureaucratic snafus. As reported by The Columbian’s Chrissy Booker, the process for obtaining a death certificate in Washington can be needlessly complicated. In the case of local resident Cheryl Irvin, she had to wait a month following the death of her husband before she could have him cremated.

Several factors contributed to the delay, among them the state of Washington’s recent switch to a new electronic system for processing death records. Another issue was a doctor who did not return phone calls. We hope state officials and medical professionals will have enough compassion to prevent other grieving people from enduring a similar odyssey.

Cheers: To the Port of Vancouver. Officials say the port handled 98,000 Subaru vehicles in 2023, the highest total of its 30-year relationship with the Japan-based automaker. Vancouver is a major gateway to the United States for Subaru, and port CEO Julianna Marler said, “It makes us smile when passing a Subaru on the road because we know it likely came through the Port of Vancouver USA.”

Unlike larger ports, Vancouver does not handle container ships. But officials have carved out a niche by bringing in odd-sized items such as vehicles and windmill components. In the process, the port has served as an economic driver for the region.

Jeers: To irrelevance. The Portland Trail Blazers’ season has unceremoniously come to an end. The Northwest’s only National Basketball Association franchise finished the year with one of the worst records in the league and missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season.

This might come as news to all but the most diehard fans. A lack of inspired play and compelling players has caused interest to wane throughout the region. We long for the days when the Blazers were at least competitive enough to give basketball fans a reason to cheer.

Cheers: To a healthy Vancouver. According to WalletHub, Vancouver is healthier than most cities. Using 57 metrics in four categories (health care, food, fitness and green space), Vancouver was ranked No. 57 in a comparison of 182 cities across the country. Seattle, by the way, was No. 3, and Portland was No. 6. (In case you are wondering, the bottom 15 cities include 14 from the South, plus Detroit.)

Vancouver scored particularly well in the fitness category, which comes as no surprise to the many people who enjoy a brisk walk along the Columbia River or a hike along the many trails in the region. We could mention that you should always take such rankings with a grain of salt, but that would belie our healthy ethos. Instead, we will recommend a pinch of garlic.