Woodland: They have a good gas station!
Every now and then, a public meeting turns into a spontaneous love-fest. This happens when elected officials heap gratuitous, sometimes awkward praise on a person, department or organization, seemingly trying to one-up each other and see who can say the nicest things.
The Clark County councilors are not exempt from this phenomenon.
During Tuesday’s meeting, councilors Jeanne Stewart and David Madore had the Woodland Chamber of Commerce in their sights. Both were inspired after attending the chamber’s annual banquet last weekend at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver.
Stewart went first.
“It was more than just about money and business. It was about friendship and relationships,” Stewart said. “It was heartwarming. It was exciting. It was interesting. You can see how much Woodland is growing.”
Now, most of Woodland sits in Cowlitz County, though part of the city is in Clark County. The chamber’s banquet was at the Heathman, councilors explained, because there’s not a venue in Woodland large enough to accommodate the event.
Stewart went on list some of her favorite things about Woodland. That’s when things got a little strange.
“There’s a good gas station right off the freeway, actually more than one,” she began. “There’s Oak Tree Restaurant, where you can get those great big cinnamon rolls that are bigger than a kitchen plate — that’s for one person. They have a great Burgerville, the tackle shop is still open as you go out to make the loop to go fishing, and I could go on and on.”
Madore weighed in next, saying how impressed he was with the chamber’s gathering.
“What is a community? Is it a bunch of people living in the same geographic area?” Madore said. “No, a community is where people have relationships with each other and they care for each other, and they model that so well.”
There was a tinge of irony in all of this, considering Clark County commissioners in 2013 voted to abruptly stop paying membership dues to the Woodland chamber and others. The county did, however, pay $2,500 to help operate the Woodland chamber’s visitor center last year, as it has done in the past. The organization’s 2015 directory still lists Clark County government among its members.
Madore continued by espousing the benefits of unity.
“Somehow we have the gift of criticism, it seems, and the gift of finding fault,” he said. “There’s a place for that, but we could do so much better if we find good things and build each other up and find some common ground and extend some good will.”