Standings remain same after overnight returns
UPDATE: Runoff Multnomah chair, Portland commission seat races inch closer to being set Thursday morning.
Local November runoff election candidate races moved closer to being official but weren't clinched in Thursday vote releases. Updated figures were posted on county election websites on the morning of May 19. ...
G7 Finance Ministers Race to Secure More Ukraine Aid
Officials are working on a plan to provide $15 billion to help keep Ukraine’s government operating during its war with Russia.
Space-rock epic in the run for best album of 2022
J. Spaceman has delivered another masterpiece.
The multitalented musician (whose real name is Jason Pierce) is operating at the height of his space-rock powers on the newly released “Everything Was Beautiful.”
It’s a gorgeous and moving suite of orchestral pop, towering rock and intergalactic sounds, sewn together in furious yet meticulous fashion by the always adventurous Spaceman and his fellow musical travelers in the band Spiritualized.
The album is overflowing with wildness and wonder, tension and turmoil, and every song seems to evoke new emotions and feelings. It’s the rare record that changes course on a regular basis and yet still manages to come across as totally coherent.
Of course, Spaceman has long been a master at making the whole feel so much greater than the sum of its parts. Most famously, Spiritualized’s 1997 effort, “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space,” is rightly considered one of the greatest albums of the ‘90s.
“Everything Was Beautiful” can be comfortably mentioned in the same breath as that acclaimed earlier effort and should be considered an early frontrunner for best album of 2022.
Indigo Girls streaming concert debuts
ATLANTA — Unlike, say, Simon and Garfunkel or Tears for Fears, the Indigo Girls have never broken up. The beloved harmony-infused Georgia duo has been together consistently over 35 years.
“We are so close,” said Emily Saliers of her duo partner Amy Ray in a phone interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We grew up together. We have a lot of respect for each other. We’ve just worked it out. We also respect each other’s autonomy.”
They have consistently released studio albums, the latest being 2020’s “Look Long,” while also pursuing their own side projects. In 2022, they remain super busy.
The pandemic has kept their regular band, some of whom live in Europe, from getting back together. So they are currently touring the country as an acoustic trio with their longtime violinist Lyris Hung. The duo will hit multiple stops in the Northwest in June, including, Bend, Ore., Olympia, Bellingham, Seattle and Pioneer Courthouse Square with Neko Case at 6 p.m. June 17 in Portland. Get more details at www.indigogirls.com.
As a way to get the band back together remotely, they created a 90-minute concert film that began streaming on May 8. Each band member taped their parts separately while Ray and Saliers did their work in Georgia. Guest stars and friends like Becky Warren, Tomi Martin, Trina Meade and Lucy Wainwright Roche contributed vocals as well. Titled “Look Long: Together,” it’s available for rental for $17.99.
They explain the origin of some of their classic songs and reveal bits of their home life. Ray, who lives in the north Georgia mountains, showed off a fancy treehouse in her backyard she built during the pandemic. Saliers, who lives not far from where she grew up in Decatur, gives her dogs and her expansive collection of guitars a lot of love.
“It’s a combo concert and conversation,” Ray said.
Among the songs they play include classics like “Moment of Forgiveness,” “Kid Fears,” “Get Out the Map” and “Ghost” as well as more recent cuts such as “The Rise of the Black Messiah” and “When We Were Writers.”
“It was a lot of work,” Saliers said, noting it took 18 months to edit it and make sure it sounded good. “We hope for a big turnout.”
Saliers had a breakthrough case of COVID-19 last August and had to cancel a few tour dates. Earlier this month, she caught a bronchial infection that Ray also got and the pair had to push back a few dates in Texas. “Bronchitis is something wicked but it’s not COVID,” Saliers said. “I feel bad postponing the shows but I’d feel worse singing badly during shows.”
She spoke to the AJC the day after the leak of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s early draft opinion that would overturn Roe. vs. Wade. “It’s very frightening,” she said. “Honestly, I’m glad my wife is Canadian. It gets to a point where you feel like you’re not welcome and you don’t know your own country. How can we stay in a place like this? For me, it’s a dark time.”
Music, of course, is her solace, her sanctuary. On some dates this year, they are pairing with other big-name artists like Brandi Carlile and Sarah McLachlan. At Chastain, a venue they have played numerous times, they are joined by Rickie Lee Jones, one of their childhood heroines. Both fell in love with Jones’ 1981 album “Pirates” as teenagers.
“We’re so excited,” Saliers said. “She just rocked our worlds so deeply with her storytelling and her writing. She’s a compelling unique artist. Having her play with us in our hometown just blows me away.”
She hopes they can do a collaboration on stage but that is not something they’ve talked about yet. “She is her own bird,” Saliers said. “Flies her own way.”
The Indigo Girls also appeared on “Ellen” recently in a pretaped segment playing their seminal 1989 classic “Closer to Fine” and 1992’s pensive “Ghost.” It was the first time in several years they had performed on a talk show since working the late-night circuit hosted by David Letterman, Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien during their late 1980s/1990s heyday.
DeGeneres specifically requested them to appear in her final weeks on her longtime syndicated show, which is ending this year.
“She chose us and picked the songs,” Saliers said. “She’s an icon for queer rights, comedy and television. When we were rehearsing, she came up behind us singing ‘Closer to Fine’ with us.”
They are both excited about an upcoming fantastical musical film called “Glitter & Doom” based on their songs.
“I haven’t yet seen a rough cut,” Ray said. “But the script is amazing. There is a lot of magical realism. And they didn’t just use our songs. They mashed them up. We’re happy it’s something unconventional.”
They also agreed to co-write a song for the closing credits, which they have yet to do. Saliers said they’ve only written two songs together to date: one during the pandemic and another ages ago with (R.E.M. frontman) Michael Stipe.
“We normally write separately,” Ray said, “because we have completely different vocabularies. It’s really our time to have own our creativity. We also enjoy editing each other’s songs.”
Following in the footsteps of iconic female artists such as Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette and Linda Ronstadt, the Indigo Girls will be the focus of an upcoming documentary. Saliers said they had rejected previous offers to do a doc but ultimately said yes to Alexandria Brombach. They were impressed with Brombach’s Sundance award-winning documentary “On Her Shoulders” about a woman who survived atrocities committed by ISIS.
Ray was really good about chronicling and saving Indigo Girls memorabilia over the years, which she happily handed over to Brombach. Their long-time manager Russell Carter also kept plenty of clippings and video. “She digitized everything,” Ray said.
1,500 seniors compete in national pickleball tournament
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — About 1,500 pickleball players, all 50 years old and older, competed this week in a national championship in Fort Lauderdale. The oldest player this year was 92 years old.
“I think everyone that picks up the paddle and tries, they get hooked,” said tournament participant Lee Ingram, 53.
The event was hosted by the National Senior Games Association, which brings thousands of athletes from around the world to its annual events, according to tournament director David Jordan.
Last year’s was held in Albuquerque and saw just under 14,000 athletes who competed in about 20 individual and team sports.
Officials don’t have a total number of athletes this year, but they’ve seen a steady increase in numbers since their start in 1987, when 2,500 athletes competed in 15 sports at their inaugural event in St. Louis, Mo.
“Everyone seems to be having a great time,” Jordan said. “The turnout was great. It was way more than we ever expected. Last year we had 1,200 [pickleball players] in Albuquerque and we thought that was probably about as many as we’d get here, but we actually had 1,700 sign up, but because of COVID, we had about 200 drop out.”
Seniors competed in a hall on the second floor of the Broward County Convention Center as attendees watched balls get volleyed back and forth. More competitive games saw dozens of people gathered in front of the courts, cheering loudly when their preferred team triumphed.
For those who don’t play, pickleball is often described as a mix of tennis, ping pong, badminton and racquetball. The court is about half the size of a tennis court and usually requires less running, especially in two-versus-two games.
The game has exploded in popularity over the last 10 years and developers are incorporating more pickleball courts in new senior communities, according to Tim Craig , 60, of Phleugerville, Texas. “Anyone from 8 to 80 can play.”
Attendees and players alike appreciated that the games were indoors and out of the heat, although several players bemoaned how slick the playing surface was.
The oldest competitor in this year’s pickleball tournament was Joyce Jones, 92, of Seattle.
Ingram had just lost her latest game after a series of several wins and losses in her tournament bracket. She’s been playing for about four years.
Clark County 911 dispatchers tackle difficult job — and they are hiring
Several of Clark County’s 911 dispatchers never imagined they’d be the ones answering the phones when someone calls about an emergency.
One said she was working at a bank when she decided to apply at the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency’s dispatch center. Another was at a dental office, and another was working toward medical school.
They applied at the agency for the challenge, the fast pace, and a schedule of four days on and four days off.
The Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency is again hiring more dispatchers after receiving funding for four more staffers amid an increase in call volumes. The agency has 56 dispatchers but now has capacity for 64. The agency has also felt the county’s growing pains and the ways the increasing population has strained its staffing levels, along with the departments it works alongside.
The deadline to apply is May 31. People can apply at cresa911.org/employment.
But it’s not an easy process to start answering emergency calls. Agency spokesman Eric Frank warns that the position is a career, not just a job, and applicants must be prepared for a year of demanding training with an ever-changing schedule.
Applicants don’t need a college degree or any prior training. They don’t even need to be familiar with the entirety of Clark County because that’s a part of the training academy, Frank said. Applicants will take a test to measure their keyboard, memorization and recall skills, which Frank said has a 60 percent pass rate.
Many of the current dispatchers said they were drawn to the dynamic pace of the job and the way that no two days are the same. Jennifer Melton enjoys when she pieces together a problem, like a puzzle, by collaborating with her coworkers to connect several calls they’ve received throughout the day.
Frank noted one call that the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency received about someone who was in trouble at a local river. Rescuers were too far away to get to the person in a timely manner, so a dispatcher started calling around. The dispatcher found someone with a private boat nearby who could get to the person much faster.‘It’s life or death’
Jodi Gaylord, a supervisor at the agency, said she approaches each call as if she’s guiding the caller down a hallway with doors on all sides, representing police, fire, paramedics, crisis negotiators, mental health providers and many more services. It’s her job to get each person through the right door, she said.
While the role is rewarding, Abby Ogdee said it’s not one that people should commit to lightly. She said it’s important for those who enter the training program to have their home lives sorted and a good support system. She didn’t apply until she was sure she had child care for the four 10-hour shifts she works each week.
“You really give yourself to the job the first year,” Ogdee said. “It requires your full attention — it’s life or death. You have to learn to leave your life at home, and you have to be honest about where you are with your personal life.”
Ogdee has no regrets about making the career change from working at a dental office.
“Knowing what you’re doing is special is rewarding,” she said. “The best part is when you feel you made a difference for somebody.”
After 25 years at the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency, Kelly Henderson said she’s still seeing new types of calls and constantly adapting. She said an important part of the job is being able to let go of the traumatic calls once they’re over; some people struggle to do that.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” Gaylord said. “You learn every day.”
Gaylord said the hardest part is the yearlong training and becoming comfortable with never knowing who or what is going to be on the other end of the phone. But Henderson said no one is alone on the dispatch floor.
It can be challenging when dispatchers don’t get to hear how a situation ended, although Gaylord said sometimes it’s better when she doesn’t know.
“It’s a thankless job, and sometimes it’s hard to feel like you’re making a difference,” she said. “But it’s bigger than you realize, and it gives you an appreciation for life.”
Some difficult calls have stuck with Gaylord, but she said those often motivate her to never let something similar happen again.
For a job that can be so serious, several dispatchers also called the role fun and said their constant teamwork makes them feel like a family that shares the burden.
Melton said the work is often not like it’s portrayed in movies, which tend to show only the most intense, high-stakes aspects of the job. While those types of calls happen, Frank said, dispatchers sometimes have to act as Google when people call with random problems.
But if she could go back in time, Melton said, she would’ve started as a dispatcher sooner.
Violinist, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra interpret concerto
Nothing can stop Rachel Barton Pine from making music with her violin. She started lessons at age 3, soloed with the Chicago Symphony at age 10, and won the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in 1992 a few months before turning 18. Her concerts have taken her around the world, and her playing has been featured in 39 albums.
Now that the pandemic has released its grip a bit, Pine is back on the road again, and this weekend, she will be in town to play Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Violin Concerto with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
I caught up with her over the phone recently while she was on her way to a solo recital in Lincoln, Neb.
“I started the year with a recording of the Shostakovich First Violin Concert,” said Pine. “And it’s paired with a new concerto by Earl Maneein that is inspired by heavy metal music. In March, I played the Vivaldi Concerto for Two Violins with my daughter Sylvia. That was extra special! Right after the concert in Vancouver, I will fly to Vienna to record with the Vienna Symphony and Marin Alsop, and in September I will be back in Vienna to be part of the jury for the Fritz Kreisler International Violin Competition.”
Those are a few of the highlights that she has underway this season. She is noted for being able to play a different violin concerto every week, and although she has not kept count, she thinks that she has performed about 100 different concertos during her career.
Korngold’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra is one of Pine’s favorites. He wrote it in 1946 in a style that has lovely, expansive melodies. Because he made a big name for himself writing music for the movies, including an Oscar for the score to “Anthony Adverse” (1936) and another for “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938), many people assumed that his film music filtered into the concerto.
“I love this concerto,” Pine said. “A lot of composers like Korngold came from Europe to America and wrote film scores to pay the bills. It’s a fun way to express yourself artistically. Some people have been dismissive of Korngold’s music, saying that it sounds like Hollywood, but they have it backwards. Hollywood sounds like Korngold. People have argued that Korngold took bits from his movie scores and recycled them into his Violin Concerto. I think that he wrote the concerto first, but it didn’t get much traction. So, he took some of the good bits from the concerto and used them in the film scores.”
The Korngold Violin Concerto has been steadily gaining in popularity and is now considered to be a standard in the orchestral repertoire. To get more connected with the music, Pine encourages her students to watch movies that have Korngold’s music.
“It is illuminating to understand the scene or moment in a plot where Korngold used these melodies,” Pine explained. “It gives you an idea about the character and meaning of the melodies. I love the secondary theme of the first movement, which is a tender scene between spouses in one of the films. There’s an intimacy, a deep love that they have shared for so many years. It’s a gorgeous theme.”
Pine will be seated when she plays because of a serious accident that she suffered many years ago.
“I’ve been nonambulatory since 2019,” Pine said. “I was supposed to have some operations that would have gotten me back on my feet. That was scheduled for the spring of 2020, but the hospitals were hit with the pandemic. That was disappointing and difficult, but I prefer to look at the positive side. My family is healthy, and we are doing well.”
She said Itzhak Perlman, a renown violinist who contracted polio at age 4 and has used crutches since, has given her “plenty of advice about what to do and how to manage.”
“I am very grateful to him,” she said.
For this weekend’s performances, Salvador Brotons will lead all the pieces on the program, which includes Alexander Glazunov’s Fifth Symphony. It ends with a flourish that has helped to make it one of Glazunov’s most popular works.
The concert will begin with the “Rip Van Winkle Overture” by George Whitefield Chadwick. This piece was inspired by Washington Irving’s story and a popular play version. It won a composition contest when Chadwick studied at the Leipzig Conservatory. That helped to solidify his career after he returned stateside. He taught at the New England Conservatory and became its director in 1897. Since his music is rarely played today, it will be a treat to hear this short, one-movement work. Just don’t fall asleep!
In Our View: Pearson Field plays role in growing Vancouver
For more than a century, Pearson Field has served aviators in Southwest Washington while occasionally playing a role in flying history. Yet questions linger about whether the single-runway airfield can effectively serve the bustling city that has grown up around it.
Judging from an investment by the federal government, Pearson Field will continue to play a role in a changing Vancouver. The Federal Aviation Administration this week committed a $150,000 grant for renovations at the airfield. It is part of $608 million doled out from the Airport Improvement Program under the Department of Transportation, with $38.68 million of that going to airfields in Washington.
“As we continue our pandemic recovery, more Washingtonians are taking to the skies and showing just how crucial it is to make investments now in our airport infrastructure to prepare for future growth,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. and chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. “This $38.68 million in airport infrastructure funding will play a vital role in maintaining Washington state’s airport conditions. … These grants will help ensure that our airports grow in tandem with the regions they serve.”
According to a press release, the Pearson money will go toward the design of new airport lighting, a new emergency generator and new runway edge lighting.
It is undeniable that investment in America’s airports, airfields, ports, roads and bridges is necessary. Decades of neglect have hampered the economy, and a bill signed late last year by President Joe Biden commits $1.2 trillion over 10 years to bolster that infrastructure.
And it is undeniable that Pearson Field has played a historic role in Vancouver since opening in 1911. The airfield, which sits on the Fort Vancouver National Historic Reserve site and is visible from Highway 14, is believed to be the second-oldest continually operating airfield in the United States. Most notably, it was the terminus when Soviet aviator Valery Chkalov made the first non-stop transpolar flight in 1937.
History and modern needs often do not mesh, however, and issues in recent years have raised questions about whether Pearson Field is archaic. In 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration backed off new rules that would have limited air traffic at Pearson to avoid conflicts with flights in and out of Portland International Airport; and the design of a proposed Interstate 5 Bridge replacement must take nearby Pearson into account.
If local residents had to choose between the airfield and a new bridge, the preference would be a bridge. But with Pearson sitting partly on land owned by the National Park Service, and with a lease running through 2050, the airfield is not going anywhere. Bridge planners must find a way to make construction compatible with an established part of Vancouver’s history.
According to the city of Vancouver, Pearson Field and Museum annually attract nearly 40,000 visitors to the city, generate $27 million in revenue and support approximately 460 jobs. Pearson receives no operating funds from the city.
That points to the current benefits of the general aviation facility, in addition to the historic benefits. Small airports are not solely for pleasure excursions; as a report out of Indiana surmises, “The aviation industry is an economic generator. It equates to jobs and income. There is an important link between an airport and a community’s economic vitality.”
That applies even to a mid-sized city with an international airport just across the river.
Clark County tourism is on the increase
As the pandemic appears to be fading, tourism has picked up substantially in Clark County, even more so than in the rest of the state.
Numbers still haven’t reached 2019 levels, said Erica Lindemann, director of marketing for Visit Vancouver, as she shared a recent report by the state showing a 20.6 percent in visits this year and a 37.8 percent increase in visitor spending from 2020 to 2021 in Clark County.
Mike McLeod, general manager of the Hilton Vancouver Washington, finds that news encouraging and says he’s noticed a healthy increase this year.
“We’re on our second year of growing, and we had a pretty good 2021 as well,” he said. “We’re still improving so far and expect to for the rest of the year.”
McLeod said the hotel is seeing more group meetings and catering events as well as nonprofits scheduling conventions there.
“We’ve seen an increase compared to last year, a pretty big increase, when before we were heavily restricted,” he said, referring to masking and social distancing rules imposed on businesses.
The Hilton also benefits from an increase in bookings on the American Empress riverboat, said Michael Hicks, director of marketing for American Queen Voyages.
“The Hilton is included as our pre-cruise hotel, and people stay there before the cruise,” he said. “It’s included in our pricing, and that’s good for Vancouver because they get that bed tax, as well.”
The increase in tourism will also help the east end of the county, he said, as the American Empress will start docking for the day in Camas-Washougal at Parker’s Landing Marina starting on June 8.
The ship will dock at the landing from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Wednesday and Saturday through November. A motor coach will take ship passengers to both towns for brief stops, according to Derek Jaeger, business development director for the Port of Camas-Washougal, in a recent interview with the Camas-Washougal Post-Record.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to partner with a company like this that will have a good economic impact for our region,” Jaeger said. “Plus it will be kind of cool to see a big paddlewheel boat outside the marina.”
The ship’s docking will no doubt be a boost for tourism at the east end of the county, he said.
“They’ll be rotating 20-minute cycles at different stops throughout the community, so it’s a great opportunity for the passengers to see the local community and support it and spend some money,” Jaeger said.
American Empress passengers typically spend from $135 to $175 per stop, Jaeger said, and could spend as much as $1 million per year in those two communities.
“It’s not significant in terms of lease revenue for the port, but we do value the impact for our community and the businesses within our community,” he said.
Although having fewer COVID-19 restrictions certainly plays a role in increasing visits, publicity about The Waterfront Vancouver development has likely brought more visitors to the city. An April 22 Seattle Times story by travel writer Carol Pucci goes into all aspects of the riverfront.
“On the waterfront, enjoy views of the Interstate 5 and I-205 bridges to Oregon and Mount Hood, with lots of scenic stops along the way as well as a connection to the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site,” Pucci wrote. “Take it all in, then head home happy you finally took the time to stop in Vancouver.”
Fodor’s Travel also took note, including the Vancouver waterfront in its list of the 15 best river walks in the U.S. in its August 2021 issue. Fodor’s described it as “a two-mile paved path with fantastic views and a wealth of cultural and recreational experiences for visitors and locals to explore.”
“Take the Waterfront Renaissance Trail … and head toward Grant Street Pier, the focal point of Vancouver Waterfront Park, designed to evoke the billow of a passing sailboat. … Check into the trendy Hotel Indigo, Vancouver’s first boutique hotel with fantastic access to the river walk.”
The hotel isn’t open yet but is already taking reservations, with plans to welcome its first guests July 19.
Tourism across the country should continue to increase this year, according the World Travel and Tourism Council in a February article in Business Traveler magazine.
For example, an analysis by the World Travel and Tourism Council and Oxford Economics predicts that domestic travel and tourism in the U.S. are “projected to outperform pre-pandemic levels by 11.3 percent, and reach over $1.1 trillion.”
International tourism is projected to not grow as fast, but could reach $155 billion in 2022, a growth of $113 billion over last year but still 14 percent below 2019 levels.
Tourism supports nearly 7,000 jobs in Clark County, an increase of more than 500 jobs over 2020 levels, according to Visit Vancouver. Total state and local tax revenue increased by 27.1 percent to $82.3 million in the past two years, with an average tax savings of $329 per household.
The state as a whole has not recovered as quickly, states Visit Vancouver, with reported visitation at 87 percent of 2019 levels and visitor spending at 81 percent of 2019 levels.
Mt. Vernon Christian Eliminates Vikings from State Contention
Mt. Vernon Christian jumped out to a big lead in the first inning and kept Mossyrock in check the entire way in a 6-0 win Tuesday in the regional round of the 1B state baseball playoffs.
The Vikings trailed 5-0 after an inning in the loser-out game, played at Lakewood High School in Arlington.
Easton Kolb came on in relief in the second inning for Mossyrock and tossed the next five frames, scattering three hits with four strikeouts and giving up just one run.
“I really think after that ugly first inning the kids really came around, but we couldn’t get that big hit to change the momentum,” Mossyrock coach Darren Kolb said. “It’s been quite a while since we’ve played a regional game and the kids were pretty excited, but it just wasn’t our day.”
Gunner Mulligan went 2 for 3 at the plate. Easton Kolb and Jake Comer each added a hit.
“This is one of those games that will bother me for a long time, because we were a better team than what played today,” Kolb said. “We’re going in the right direction and next year, we’re going to win these types of games.”
Mossyrock finished the season with an 8-5 record. The Vikings were the No. 10 seed into the regional playoffs and graduate seniors Mulligan, Nayson West, and Andrew Bender.
“This group never gave up, and I told them this is a step in the right direction for our sports programs,” Kolb said. “Those three are going to be missed.”
No. 7 seed Mt. Vernon Christian moves on to face No. 2 Almira-Coulee-Hartline on Saturday in Moses Lake.