Down to business

At its most basic, news happens when things change. So here’s some news: I’m changing beats and joining The Columbian’s business desk, where I’ll be the lone staff writer under business editor Gordon Oliver. I’ll be covering the proposal for the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal, several ports, publicly traded companies and the economy of Clark County — 450,000 residents (or do I call them consumers now) and growing. It’s a big opportunity on a big beat; I promise not to screw it up.

Meanwhile, in Battle Ground…

A broken fence and other debris lie on the side of Rasmussen Boulevard in Battle Ground. A tornado ripped through the city of about 18,000 in December, leaving trees torn from the ground, fences and debris scattered, and reports of 36 homes damaged.
A broken fence and other debris lie on the side of Rasmussen Boulevard in Battle Ground, Wash. A tornado ripped through the city of about 18,000 in December, leaving trees torn from the ground, fences and debris scattered, and reports of 36 homes damaged. Natalie Behring photo.

The tornado ripped through the town a little more than a year after a tornado tore through Longview. Amazingly, in both cases, no one was hurt. Though the storms that bred this year’s twister had some other victims.

My first Sunday centerpiece at The Columbian ran Dec. 13 and concerned Camas, home of the Papermakers (at least in name and spirit). Even as the city’s paper mill has declined, the fortunes of Camas have soared. It’s a success story countless timber-dependent towns so common in the Northwest wish they could emulate, no doubt.

Elsewhere, I’m tracking a $32 million upgrade to La Center’s exit on Interstate 5, which will be completely paid for by the Cowlitz tribe and their casino’s financial backers. And then there’s the example of why you call inquiring reporters back, ahem, Camas/Washougal Moose Lodge. Also, don’t miss the lede on this one. I tell stories about it.

Back to business: In 20 years, I can see Vancouver’s waterfront being an obvious staple for the city, whether it be on the port’s land or the private development just downriver. Watching that happen and being a part of that history is going to be a rewarding ride.

New year, new beat, same commitment to accountability, clarity, brevity and levity. Stay tuned.

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