Location, location, location

How’s that saying go? “It’s all about location, location, location?”

The county commissioners sitting on the Southwest Washington Behavioral Health governing board had lots to say about location during their 2 ½ hour meeting Thursday.

Specifically, the location of their meetings.

The governing board is made up of three county commissioners – one from each of the counties represented. Clark County is represented by Commissioner David Madore, Cowlitz County by Commissioner James Misner and Skamania County by Commissioner Christopher Brong.

The commissioners spent 25 minutes agonizing over where they should hold meetings. In the end, they walked away with calendar entries for their next two meetings.

The group debated whether to rotate meetings between locations in each county.

Skamania Commissioner Brong, however, said his county would be satisfied with two meetings in Clark County – but only if one is at the Center for Community Health.

Commissioner Madore wanted to host local meetings in the Public Service Center. The commissioners hold their weekly meetings there so the building is already equipped for CVTV, which could live stream the meeting, Madore said.

But Brong argued the downtown Vancouver location doesn’t have any nearby bus stops and constituents don’t want to feed parking meters.

The health department – with ample parking and bus stops – would be a better location, Brong reasoned.

(Clearly, I’ve been visiting the health department building at the wrong time of day/week/month/year. Every time I go out there, I snag what is sure to be the very last spot in the crowded lot.)

“TV coverage isn’t critical,” Brong said.

Many Skamania residents don’t have TVs or Internet access, he said. That’s why free parking and bus access are so important, so Skamania residents can attend the meetings in person, Brong said.

Later in the meeting, during citizen comment, one resident said what I was thinking as the location discussion was dragging on.

“Most people out in rural areas don’t even know this exists,” she said.

So much for residents flocking to the next governing board meeting.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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