<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=192888919167017&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Friday,  May 24 , 2024

Linkedin Pinterest
News / Opinion / Editorials
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: Smooth riding; floatlessness

The Columbian
Published: March 18, 2024, 6:03am

Cheers: To a smooth ride. The Washington State Department of Transportation has announced plans to ease the drive in north Clark County. Workers will replace 25 to 30 concrete panels on southbound Interstate 5 between Ridgefield and Salmon Creek this summer, and more replacements are scheduled for next year.

According to WSDOT officials, north county has more than 8,000 concrete patches that were installed 50 to 70 years ago, and hundreds are cracked or sunken. Signs warning of rough roads or urging speed reductions are in the area, reflecting Washington’s inattention to infrastructure in recent decades. While the Legislature has approved billions for new road construction, state Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar long has advocated for more attention to maintenance. Last year, officials estimated that 59 percent of the state’s lane miles are due, overdue or far overdue for maintenance. The necessary work on I-5 is just one example.

Jeers: To being floatless. A decadeslong tradition in Battle Ground appears to have ended. For the second consecutive year, residents have no plans to enter a float in Portland’s Grand Floral Parade, the centerpiece of Rose Festival festivities. As The Columbian reports: “The heartfelt and surprisingly durable display of hometown pride goes all the way back to 1955.”

These days, a lack of volunteers, civic energy and construction space appears to have doomed hopes for a giant float. As one longtime volunteer said: “Kids these days, they are involved in so much. They have activities and jobs after school. I think it’s just not too enticing to them.”

Cheers: To confidentiality. The Legislature has passed a bill strengthening peer support counseling for first responders. The need for the bill can be seen in a Clark County murder case in which a judge ruled that defense attorneys may depose first responders about what was said at a “critical incident stress debriefing.”

Allowing questioning about what is said at a counseling session could prevent first responders from seeking help following stressful situations. As Clark County Sheriff John Horch said: “They have to make split-second decisions, and we want them to be as healthy as possible.” The timely bill from the Legislature can help facilitate that and, in turn, help to protect the public.

Jeers: To being burglarized. According to an analysis of FBI crime data, Washington has the highest rate of burglaries in the United States. The state had 548.4 burglaries per 100,000 residents in 2022; New Mexico was second with a rate of 481.1 burglaries.

It probably is not a coincidence that Washington also has the lowest per-capita number of law enforcement officers — approximately 59 percent of the national average. Protecting homes, businesses and vehicles requires robust investment from taxpayers and elected officials.

Cheers: To a harrowing rescue. When a climber at Beacon Rock State Park fell 25 feet and suffered a traumatic hip injury, the Washington Region 4 technical rescue team climbed into action. “This was a really tough one,” read a statement from Vancouver Fire. “This was a once-in-a-career rescue effort. This is why we spend hundreds of hours training for an event like this. Everyone worked well together and performed professionally and proficiently.”

Led by team coordinator Capt. Chris McBride, the group spent hours navigating a precarious situation. The climber was transported to a hospital. As one battalion chief said: “That was the hardest tech call of my 30-year career. We were on plan D and E.”