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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: A new garden; a lack of Pride

The Columbian
Published: June 17, 2024, 6:03am

Cheers: To a garden “for all the tomorrows.” That’s the way the Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s spiritual leader, Tanna Engdahl, explained the new indigenous garden dedicated this week at Washington State University Vancouver.

The garden covers 11,700 square feet on the north end of the campus, and will be used to grow herbs, fruits and vegetables native to Southwest Washington and with ties to the history of indigenous people.

The space is divided into 15 different plots, which will be assigned to different students and classes, who can bring their specific ideas about what they would like to grow. Most of cost of the garden, estimated at between $4,000 and $5,000, was raised from students and faculty members and the project was organized by the school’s Collective for Social and Environmental Justice.

Jeers: To people who have no Pride. June is recognized as Pride Month by the LBGTQ+ community, and different events take place all around the area. It’s common for local governments to issue proclamations in support of Pride Month, but not in Battle Ground, where the attempt ended in hateful behavior and ultimately, defeat. Councilors Eric Oversholser, Victoria Ferrer and Tricia Davis were responsible for removing the proclamation from the agenda. According to The Reflector, a dozen protestors also disrupted the meeting by chanting The Lord’s Prayer.

This follows on the heels of a June 2 incident in La Center where a group of haters tried to disrupt the fourth annual Rainbow Walk, which was attended by about 100 people. Both ugly incidents show that tolerance and respect need to grow in our community, which ironically is one aim of Pride Month.

Cheers: To first responders who save lives by making water rescues. Beautiful weather on the first weekend of June led to several emergency situations, but local first responders were up to the task. On Saturday, a multi-agency technical rescue team aided a man stranded on a rock in the Washougal River. The Vancouver Fire Department rescued a kayaker who was sinking in Vancouver Lake. Finally, Clark-Cowlitz Fire-Rescue saved a man who was clinging to rock in the East Fork Lewis River on Sunday. Thanks go to the trained rescuers who are available when recreation goes wrong.

Jeers: To cronyism in county government. In an interview about their decisions not to seek re-election, Council Chair Karen Bowerman and Councilor Gary Medvigy claimed that open meetings laws limit the council’s effectiveness. “Two members constituting a quorum means that we can’t have a real conversation outside of a meeting,” Bowerman griped. “I’ve always felt that some of the best discussions that take place are in an informal environment.”

Medvigy said “I understand the need for open meetings laws, but it’s really self-defeating not to allow conversations to get someone’s view.”

While we thank both councilors for their service, we want to point out that the public has a right to know the views of public officials and see how the decisions are made. This is especially true at Clark County, where years of cronyism led to a cloud of public distrust that is yet to be diffused.

Cheers: To Crown Park. The oldest and most charming park in Camas is ready for its facelift. The 7.3-acre park, home to 160 shade trees, will be getting an interactive water feature, permanent restrooms, and upgraded lawns, pathways and parking that will make it more accessible to people with disabilities. Work to transform this 90-year-old dowager begins this summer.