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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: Talking it out; food cart theft

The Columbian
Published: March 11, 2024, 6:03am

Cheers: To community discussions. The focus of The Columbian’s Economic Forecast Breakfast was particularly timely this year — artificial intelligence. Business and community leaders gathered to hear a panel of experts discuss the current and future economic impacts of the growing technology. “They don’t have emotions. All they do is solve really, really complicated math problems,” said David Adkins, senior engineering manager for generative AI at Meta AI. Meta is the parent company for Facebook and Instagram.

In addition to offering cheers for an informative discussion about an important topic, we shall be so bold as to cheer ourselves. Unlike most newspapers, The Columbian is locally owned; editorial and business decisions are made by people who live in our community and have a vested interest in seeing that community thrive. The Economic Forecast Breakfast is one example of the benefits to having locally owned media.

Jeers … and cheers: To the Wiener Wagon saga. The wagon, a daytime fixture in downtown Vancouver, was stolen Monday from the owner’s home in the Rose Village neighborhood. Hours later, the food cart was recovered from a home in Portland, where police said the suspects were squatting. Jeers go to the suspects.

But that is where the cheers come in. Owner Robin Povec said the Wiener Wagon had been gutted, but a GoFundMe account was set up; by Thursday afternoon, the account had far surpassed its goal of $5,000. The generosity of others will allow Povec to again serve customers — along with providing free meals to local teens and those experiencing homelessness. “I try to take care of everybody as much as I can,” Povec said.

Cheers: To investments in Washington. The Legislature approved a $1.3 billion supplemental capital budget in the final days of this year’s session, including $82 million for projects in Southwest Washington.

Most notable among that outlay is $16.2 million for the Madrona Recovery Center, a 54-bed facility for youth with behavioral health and substance-abuse disorders. With Washington facing crises of mental health and drug addiction, investing now will help reduce costs in the future.

Sad: The pending closure of Vanco Golf Range. As detailed in a recent Columbian article, the practice range will close in October after more than 50 years, clearing the way for a portion of the Heights District Development. The development will include multi-family housing, retail outlets and open public spaces, revitalizing a long-neglected part of Vancouver.

Vanco will be missed, but as city official Patrick Quinton said: “If we have assets that can produce significant new housing, especially affordable housing, and provide open spaces … I think that’s a decent trade-off. But I certainly am not going to say you don’t lose something in the process.”

Cheers: To Camas girls basketball. The Papermakers rolled through the Class 4A state tournament, capturing the first championship in program history and leaving no doubt they had the best team. One year after losing in the championship game, Camas won four tournament games by an average of 23 points.

As coach Scott Thompson said: “The defining characteristic of this team is how they care about each other. The seniors care about each other, and they set the table for this entire team to have great chemistry. They play for each other, and they love each other. And that just makes us better.”