First, it was exhausting for those involved, but the Third Annual Cathlamet Downhill Corral longboard festival provided a weekend of entertainment.
Competition was more keen than ever. Longboarders came from Canada, the East Coast and all over The West to compete. They brought some of the big names in the sport, too, the pioneers who figured out how to do all those moves.
Longboarding is what I call an alternative sport. It doesn't have a lot of money. Competitors love the thrill, and they learn by challenging themselves, meaning most of us would say they need more protective equipment. They're not always welcome in places they compete, and the fact that Cathlamet does welcome them is delightful to them.
Besides a lot of fun, the festival brings some money to the community. Some eating establishments say it's one of the two biggest weekends of the year.
Festival organizers and sponsors deserve a big pat on the back. Keep up the good work!
Second, it seems obvious to me that the county assessor's office needs a higher level of staffing than the county board of commissioners has been willing to fund.
Commissioners cut back on funding for all departments several years ago, citing a decline in revenue from county trust timber land and an impending decline in revenue from state and federal sources that has now come true.
However, it's evident that the office can't function properly at the reduced level of funding. New Assessor Bill Coons brought in a team from the state Department of Revenue, and that group identified 23 instances where the office is not meeting its legal requirements. It attributes a decline in meeting requirements to the reduced funding, which occurred while the department was trying to implement new, complicated computer program software.
Coons and the commissioners don't hit it off well for a variety of reasons, some points of principle and some long standing personal differences.
However, for the good of the public, the taxpayer, they need to have open minds and find a way to give the office the staffing level it needs.