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Our Opinion: A few things we'd like to see in 2014

As 2014 arrives, we can’t help but feel a rush of optimism. After all, there are signs of a strengthening economic recovery in our region, and there’s a buoyancy at the Rose Garden, er, Moda Center, as the Trail Blazers look to be the destiny team for the new year. Even the U.S. Congress has taken baby steps toward a more bipartisan approach to solving the nation’s most basic problems.

Still, we have plenty of issues to worry about as the new year unfolds, which brings us to our annual wish list for the coming year:

• To property owner Michael Wright and the homeless campers at R2D2: An offer they can’t refuse — and one that will hold up in court and doesn’t contradict any previous city deals — that will put an end to the soap opera beneath the Chinatown Gate.

• To Portland’s many homeless: a city policy with a more realistic outlook than Portland’s Ten Year Plan To End Homelessness, since everybody knows ending homelessness isn’t possible. That policy might look at why the number of people sleeping on Portland’s street has grown since the Ten Year Plan was put into effect, and consider that part of the reason is homeless people moving here from other cities.

• For Portland police: A successful implementation of the progressive new hot-spot policing program, which emphasizes officers walking high-crime areas. May their actions stay clear of civil liberties lawsuits as they walk the fine line between community policing and stop and frisk.

• For Intel: Good luck with the ongoing expansions in Hillsboro, which benefit the entire region and justify the tax breaks the chipmaker is getting. We also hope the bright minds on their Hillsboro campuses can find a better way to connect with community members who are concerned about air quality.

• For downtown Portland merchants:

a better handle on the panhandlers.

• For TriMet and ATU 757: a just contract that allows the transit system to move forward without the existing rancor.

• For the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability: a way to talk about the city’s Comprehensive Plan update without putting everyone to sleep.

• For the Trail Blazers: a second NBA championship — and for their fans, the

euphoria of celebrating down Southwest Broadway for the first time in 37 years.

• For LaMarcus Aldridge: a Most Valuable Player award, joining Bill Walton (1977-78) as the only Trail Blazer ever to have achieved such distinction.

• For the Timbers: a Major League Soccer Cup title, giving wildly optimistic Portlanders the opportunity to call itself the pro sports capital of the U.S.

• For the Portland Thunder: a successful first Arena Football League campaign, with strong crowds and a playoff appearance — and promise of a return for a second season in 2015.

• For Portland’s restaurants: Giant worm bins to handle your scraps. Odors at Nature’s Needs composting facility in North Plains dropped by more than 90 percent after Washington County commissioners banned commercial food waste at the site this spring. Lawmakers are trying to find a new home for Portland’s uneaten hummus and free-range chicken breasts. Until then, “how ‘bout them worms?”

• For Portland Mayor Charlie Hales: That things go at least as well in his second year as they did in his first.

• For city Water Commissioner Nick Fish: a chance to create a few of his own water bureau headaches, instead of having to deal with all the ones he inherited from Randy Leonard.

• For Cover Oregon: 10,000 electric typewriters to help with all those paper applications.

• For the Oregon Legislature: The opportunity finally to build that new bridge.

• For Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber: a worthy opponent in either May or November. But on another topic, does the state’s next governor really want to stub his or her toe on some sort of sales-tax proposal? It’s only been voted down nine times in Oregon already.

• For Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton: A new office. Isn’t it about time we got the sheriff and his deputies out of their mold-infested surroundings on 122nd Avenue?

• For teachers at Portland Public Schools: a new contract, with no strike.

• For the Port of Portland: perhaps just a modicum of public appreciation for the economic role it plays in the region.

• To the producers of the Portland-based television series “Grimm” and “Portlandia”: Keep taking your storylines out into the suburbs. They love the attention out there.

• For Portland school students: A full school day that doesn’t send them off to study halls for lack of teachers to teach them, and a longer school year so they can have a fighting chance of improving their mastery of today’s complex subject matter.

• For Oregon Lottery Director Jack Roberts: a backbone to enforce the Oregon Constitution’s ban on non-tribal casinos at faux delis that are mini-casinos, at Jantzen Beach’s Lottery Row, and at street corners throughout the state

• For voters: The wisdom to recognize that the Oregon Constitution’s ban on same-sex marriage has been overtaken by the steady march of civil rights in this nation. Nineteen other states now recognize same-sex unions, and it’s time for Oregonians to repeal a ban that was put in place just 10 years ago.

• For Oregon basketball: a Final Four berth, the next step in Dana Altman’s bid to provide the Ducks with their first NCAA basketball championship since the very first year (1938-39).

• For Oregon State baseball: another College World Series crown, confirming Pat Casey — who won national titles in 2006 and '07 — as the nation’s premier coach.

• And for all of us: In a year when

voters will be asked to loosen marijuana laws and liquor purchases, how about less dependence on brain-numbing substances and a little more time spent exercising our minds and bodies in the wonders of Oregon’s outdoors.

It’s just a small suggestion.