With most states having "citizen legislatures", learning from each other about best practices trends and solutions is of great value. There was much research, many tools, and inspiring speakers. I was able to listen and speak with someone I watch on TV too. Yesterday Ken Adelmen shared his experiences being in the room with Ronald Reagan and Michail Gorbachov while compromising and trying to do what is best for all and to reduce nuclear proliferation. Compromise did not used to be a dirty word. Now back to work to learn about federal transportation funding. We still need a bridge.
Yesterday I was asked to say a few words at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new and artistically extraordinary waterfront feature park. There were some people in the audience that had a much bigger role in bringing that project home to us than I did. The 49th district legislators worked together to bring home capital budget money for the infrastructure and other critical pieces. Jim Moeller has been there as part of our team. The project is so incredible that some of our colleagues from other districts such as Ann Rivers and Paul Harris also supported this waterfront vision.
But Jim Moeller served on the council when the vision of capturing that waterfront and returning it to the public was in development. Being a leader means investing in ideas for future generations. Most of the time, especially with a two year election cycle and in a sound bite world, we don't get to see the big things grow from idea to reality. We forget which leaders are there for the long term good of our community. Jim was not the only one who deserved recognition yesterday, but he has been an extraordinary team mate to me and my colleagues. We cannot do this job without each other.
We are now into the partisan part of the election process. But we should not forget that while campaigning is a competition, governing is a collaborative problem solving process. Our community of the Housing Authority, local philanthropists, non-profits, local governments and others partnered to help people out of poverty in an innovative way using best practices. I am talking about the "Bridgeview Project". Check it out!
My colleagues on both sides of the aisle worked with me to make sure that this project and others received state assistance, even in a year of scarce resources. Yesterday I was able to have my good friend Rep. Steve Tharinger, chair of the Capital Budget Committee join our community for celebration and a thank you.
I have also agreed with Rep. Paul Harris to co-chair the next phase of the community fundraising for this project that will greatly help our community and will be a model for our state. In the past, Clark County and Vancouver have been looked to by other regions for innovation and effective, collaborative solutions to complex problems. I am proud to be a part of continuing that tradition.
Yesterday I spent a portion of my day driving to the town of Mosier. Our northwest tribal leaders and members, leaders and Members of Riverkeepers and other conservation groups, first responders and elected officials from the town of Mosier gathered by the site of the horrible oil train accident that happened last week. Robert Kennedy Jr. flew in to participate.
A spiritual ceremony began what was an incredibly moving gathering. I want to share several things I learned and understood.
First, despite the amazing containment and oil removal this was a serious event. It was mere chance that the normal strong winds did not blow that day. It was mere luck that the pools of oil along the track did not ignite from the train sparks after they began running trains after initial "clean up".
It was mere chance that the affected rail was a bit farther from the water at that spot than other locations. Initial rumor is that the cause may have been one bolt failing. A bolt that had just been inspected.
The town of Mosier endured cost, disruption and fear for their children who were evacuated.
This easily could have been much worse and the fact that it was not had nothing to do with safety or prevention methods in place. It was luck.
If we are smart we will question what is good for our communities, our environment, our children and our planet for the next 10 generations, not just the next shareholder report. One memorable quote from the event: "We protect our environment because nature is the infrastructure of our community", said Robert Kennedy. Amen.
I was lucky to be invited to visit folks from Habitat for Humanity and Charter Communications. They were spending a drizzly Saturday (in addition to other days) cleaning, pruning, removing and replacing a dangerous ramp for one of our citizens who needed some help. This is only part of what I love about this community. Helping a neighbor stay safe in their own home is much better for the heart than the things that divide us. Charter Communications provides services to other parts of our state but they are one of our best corporate citizens. Partnering with Habitat is one great example. Proud of what you all do. Thank you all.