Quite a few years ago, after a long night and day running the Hood to Coast Relay, I piled into a van for the drive back home from the Oregon Coast. Famished, we rolled into a restaurant on Highway 26.
My wife and I spent last weekend in a fabulous country home in Parkdale, Ore., in the upper reaches of the fruit-filled Hood River Valley. We woke to spectacular views of Mount Hood's north slope and signed off our two evenings there, under a full moon that lit the silent valley and the wooded hillside that defined its boundary. We were in another world but less than two hours from home.
The band members walked onto the stage at the Clark County Fair's grandstand without fanfare, introducing themselves as the Guess Who. Frontman Derek Sharp, born the year that the Canadian rock band recorded its first hit 50 years ago, joked about the gray-haired crowd in the grandstand. Then it was on to a 90-minute run of old hits including "American Woman" and "No Time" that had us old-timers on our feet, singing along to the still-familiar tunes. This was a band from my high school days of playing LPs in my bedroom. As if we weren't all feeling plenty old, bassist Jim Kale told the crowd that he'd been performing for 53 years.
The problems of stagnant worker pay and rising global wealth inequality often seem insurmountable — too big to get your brain wrapped around them, too thorny and plutocratically entrenched to uproot with good policy prescriptions.
Last week, I asked for your thoughts on naming our new waterfront urban neighborhood. Gramor Development, the company that will create the bulk of the waterfront community, says it will call the area Waterfront Vancouver USA. But Gramor doesn't control all of the 40-plus acres of redevelopment waterfront property: The Port of Vancouver is redeveloping 10 acres of its Terminal 1 site, and it has no new name in mind for its property.
Vancouver, more than most places, should understand the importance of a name in shaping a community's identity. We forever live in the shadow of that much bigger, more cosmopolitan Vancouver to the north. And people sometimes confuse our state's name with our nation's capital city.
When we think about economic mobility — our capacity to improve our economic status by pumping up our paychecks — a college education, job training and hard work are among the winning ingredients that likely come to mind.
We can't count the ways that legitimate and not-so-legitimate businesses come after our pocketbooks, and how often they find our vulnerabilities despite our best defenses. Few among us have escaped being drawn in by too-good-to-be-true deals for discounts or financial deals that ended up costing us in the long run.
When high-end digital pen maker Wacom sprung the news this month that it would bail from Vancouver for a glitzier corporate address in Portland's Pearl District, company spokesman Doug Little acknowledged the move would be a loss to Vancouver and its technology business sector.
I'm stuck. Stuck between two schools of thought about the inexorable shift toward higher levels of technology, toward the further distillation of automatic, mobile, social, virtual -- everywhere, at all times.
Mercifully, the Port of Vancouver has been on the sidelines in the battle between West Coast port operators and the Longshore union that has turned increasingly nasty in recent weeks. The port's union dockworkers, having endured an 18-month lockout at the United Grain Terminal before reaching a contract deal in August, aren't in this fight affecting their union siblings at container-handling ports. Surely they're relieved that it's somebody else's turn on the front lines.
Ken Fisher, the billionaire Camas investment manager, has brought more jobs to Clark County in the past decade than anyone else. With more than 900 employees settled into a sparkling new office campus in Camas, Fisher carries some weight when he talks about what it might take to draw corporate bigwigs to a county that is often overlooked by the big guys.