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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: Secure loads; missed trips

The Columbian
Published: June 10, 2024, 6:03am

Cheers: To secure loads. Clark County’s Solid Waste division has launched a monthlong “Secure Your Load for Safer Roads” campaign, designed to reduce crashes on our roads and litter alongside them. Approximately 300 accidents a year in Washington are attributed to debris from unsecured loads, and an estimated 40 percent of roadside litter is blamed on items that fall off vehicles. In Clark County, a survey at transfer station locations found that 30 percent of arrivals were inadequately secured.

The county program, in conjunction with national Secure Your Load Day, is expected to promote awareness and will provide materials such as cargo nets and rachet straps. Jeers go to drivers who create the need for such a program, but cheers are warranted for those working to make our roads safer and cleaner.

Jeers: To missed trips. C-Tran officials warn that customers can expect delays and missed trips because of an ongoing driver shortage. The transit agency is working to expand classes for new drivers, but the shortage is expected to last for “at least three months.”

This is not unique to public transit in Clark County. TriMet, the transit agency in the Portland area, and local school districts also have reported a shortage of drivers. An aging workforce, attrition during the COVID pandemic and a lack of interest from young drivers are generally cited for the shortages. We hope C-Tran officials can develop solutions that allow people to get where they are trying to go.

Cheers: To athletic excellence. La Center’s Shaela Bradley and Mountain View’s Ayden Denbo were honored this week as The Columbian’s multi-sport athletes of the year. For the first time, The Columbian Sports staff held an in-person event to honor all-region selections for all sports throughout the high school year, and organizers reported a packed house at Kiggins Theatre.

Kara Winger, a Vancouver native and four-time Olympian, was the keynote speaker. Winger is the American record holder in the javelin and earned a silver medal at the 2022 World Championships. While there might or might not have been any future Olympians in the audience, the event was an opportunity to celebrate the region’s most accomplished high school athletes.

Jeers: To purloined Pop-Tarts. A 24-year-old man from Wapato, near Yakima, has been charged with first-degree robbery after pointing a gun at a Walmart employee while shoplifting Pop-Tarts. The suspect, identified by police as a known gang member, attempted to steal other items as well; but it is the Pop-Tarts that will mark him as a notorious criminal.

Sure, the toaster pastries with sweet filling between two rectangular crusts can be delectable. But we’re guessing that “I stole some Pop-Tarts” will not impress fellow inmates who ask, “What are you in for?”

Cheers: To housing youth. While homelessness has surged in Washington, our state apparently is doing an effective job of reducing the number of unhoused youths. By one count, there were 40 percent fewer homeless youths living on their own in 2023 than there were in 2016.

As detailed in a report written by The Seattle Times and published in The Columbian, one reason is the Office of Homeless Youth, which was created in 2015. “If your ship is sinking, who do you put in the lifeboat very first? It’s your children,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “They have the first claim on our affection, our hopes and our resources, frankly.” There hasn’t been a lot of good news recently in the fight against homelessness. The occasional successes are worthy of cheers.