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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: UW’s comeback, ferry delays

The Columbian
Published: January 8, 2024, 6:03am

Cheers: To championship football. The University of Washington faces the University of Michigan tonight for the national championship in college football. A thrilling New Year’s Day victory over Texas advanced the Huskies to the championship game, but even that 37-31 win does not adequately capture the dramatic storylines that have accompanied UW’s journey through the 2023 season.

Just two years ago, Washington suffered through a 4-8 season that contributed to the firing of its coach. Now, under Kalen DeBoer, the Huskies have a 21-game winning streak that dates back 14 months; and along the way, the school announced that it is leaving the Pac-12 Conference for the Big Ten Conference. So, in its final football game as a member of the Pac-12, Washington will face a team from its future conference, adding to the intrigue. While the demise of a historic conference is lamentable, a national championship for a Pac-12 team would be an appropriate swan song.

Jeers: To ferry delays. We don’t often think about it in this part of the state, but the Washington State Ferries system plays an important role in the regional economy. In 2022, the network of ferries carried 17.4 million passengers across Puget Sound and inland waterways.

Now, state officials are acknowledging that normal service will not resume until new boats come online in four or five years. This belies a long-standing timeline for the resumption of full service. The situation exacerbates transportation woes in a metropolitan area that includes more than half the state’s residents.

Cheers: To local history. A recent article by Columbian Editor Craig Brown explored the mystery behind a large neon sign with an “S” and red arrow along Northeast 72nd Avenue. The quest to answer a question from a reader did not yield a clear answer, but it provided an interesting look at a small slice of local history.

For one thing, a search through Columbian archives revealed that the site near the sign was home to at least six different restaurants in the 1960s and 1970s. The last of those, Sigrid’s, managed to stay in business for several years, and might or might not be the “S” referred to in the neon sign. Either way, the sign stands as a link to a long-forgotten past.

Jeers: To Boeing. According to The Seattle Times, officials from the aerospace giant have petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration for an exemption from some safety standards for the 737 Max 7, which has yet to earn certification. The issue involves a flaw in the de-icing system of earlier 737 Max models.

Two crashes involving the 737 Max 8 — in 2018 and 2019 — brought new scrutiny to airplane safety and the relationship between manufacturers and the FAA. They also led to the grounding of all 737 Max planes for 21 months. Requesting an exemption from oversight for a different plane does not appear to be in the interest of public safety. Nor does it appear to be a wise public-relations move for Boeing.

Cheers: To responsible drivers. Despite increased patrols, Vancouver police did not make any DUI arrests on New Year’s Eve. Police officials report that traffic was light into the early hours of 2024; two people were arrested for other offenses and two crashes were investigated, but nobody was arrested for impaired driving.

Cheers go to local motorists who responsibly celebrated the new year. With traffic fatalities on the rise in Washington and throughout the country, we hope that such diligence is on display throughout 2024.