The Cowlitz County Fair opens July 21. This year’s Thunder Mountain Pro Rodeo is set for July 22. Longview Rotary is bringing back Squirrel Fest on Aug. 21. Even the Castle Rock Fair Board, which canceled for the second year in a row, managed to announce its decision in the second week of May. Yet it’s somehow still a mystery whether the traditional Go 4th festival will take place.
We love walking around Lake Sacajawea, browsing the stalls, laughing at the cardboard boat race, eating elephant ears and watching the fireworks. Go 4th is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work. Vendors, food trucks and volunteers need advance notice. There’s a long list of tasks: parking, security, writing COVID-19 safety rules, lining up pyrotechnicians. It’s past time to get started.
These other summer events have managed to confirm whether they will hold a 2021 edition, despite coming well after Independence Day. Organizers are moving forward with plans, but the city of Longview is stalling the necessary permit for the event. We need a decision now.
Little towns, big rivalry
The title game of the Oregon Class 3A state softball tournament was a familiar one for local sports fans: Clatskanie vs. Rainier.
The Coastal Range League’s finest clashed in Springfield, Ore., on May 22 with a state title on the line. The defending state champion Tigers produced a third-inning explosion to give pitcher Shelby Blodgett more cushion than she needed to bring home a 9-1 win.
Clatskanie finished the year 15-1, with the lone loss coming to, you guessed it, Rainier. And at least five players from that title game will go on to play college softball. Our hats are off to both teams.
Urban hiking done right
Urban trails are great in theory, not always in reality. Would-be walkers sometimes encounter sketchy neighborhoods, cars whizzing past with only a white line for protection, and random bits of path linking nothing in particular. Rainier’s Riverfront Trail, opened this month after paving, is an example of doing it right.
The 700-foot section just completed is ADA accessible and wide enough for hikers, bikers, dog walkers and wheelchair users to share. It has a great view of the Columbia River. Future plans include plants, lighting and a connection that would reach the boat tie-up at Third Street.
On one side, the riverbank needed to be stabilized; on the other, easements were needed from private landowners. Rainier mayor Jerry Cole called this trail his “dream” and “vision.” This is one dream that deserved to come true.
Blazing a new trail
The Portland Trail Blazers debuted vaccinated sections this week in the Moda Center as Portland played host to Denver in the NBA Western Conference Playoff.
By presenting proof of vaccination, fans gain access to a more tightly packed section of seats. Oregon also will allow businesses and churches in “lower risk” counties to create their own vaccinated sections.
Under the state’s metrics, Columbia County will be considered “higher risk” until at least June 3, so this won’t directly help us here for a while longer. And we’re not convinced “papers, please” methods should be the standard.
But credit where credit is due: This is important progress. We have traumatic memories of the Seahawks playing in front of empty seats at home, while other states made it possible for at least some fans to attend. Now the Blazers are the first NBA team to have this. We’re delighted to see a sign the Northwest is not bringing up the rear in this journey back to normal.
Slow down, move over
More than 100 tow truck drivers put on a procession along Interstate 5 Sunday to honor Longview’s Art Anderson, the owner of Affordable Towing. Other local towing companies, together with Anderson’s family, organized the event.
Anderson was one of three people killed last month when an out-of-control car smashed into a disabled vehicle behind his tow truck on the shoulder of I-5. It was a needless, preventable death, and the drivers who turned out to remember Anderson urged all of us to slow down and move over when we see them at work.