Rain: It's just another four-letter word, writes Editor/Publisher Steve Brown.

FILE PHOTO - Steve BrownI can safely speak for just about everyone by welcoming rain back to the local weather forecast.

I never thought those words would come off my finger tips, given that I intensely dislike rain. I detest how it seeps into my shoes on cold November mornings. I abhor how its turns a brisk autumn walk into a miserable sprint for cover. I am depressed by the incessant grey clouds that block out the sun for months on end.

Rain: It's just another four-letter word.

But on this day, I love rain.

After one of the longest hot and dry spells that I can remember in Northwest Oregon, the arrival of soaking rain has helped firefighters gain the upper hand on the Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia River Gorge. The smoke that that made breathing difficult — even into this last weekend — is gone.

And with more rain in the forecast and mild temperatures through the coming weekend, this could be the break that firefighters have needed.

It also should help businesses that have been stung by an absence of customers over the last couple weeks. A combination of forces — closure of Interstate 84, smoke-filled air keeping people indoors, and word of evacuation notices — resulted in a sudden and damaging decline in customers at Troutdale business.

Now that the smoke has cleared, this would be a good time to intentionally go out of your way to visit a business in Troutdale — have lunch, have dinner, enjoy a cocktail, buy a gift.

We're especially concerned about the businesses along Troutdale Road at Stark Street, which received a one-two punch to the gut this summer, with the closure of Stark Street for the culvert replacement, and then the loss of customers as the Eagle Creek Fire roared to life.

Yes, rain is an annoyance, but on this day, it's a godsend.

And one more thing. That thing about people in Northwest Oregon who don't use umbrellas; well, they haven't met me.

SnowCap is in good hands with Wageman as director

Congratulations go out to Kirsten Wageman, who has been chosen as the next director of SnowCap Community Charities, which provides food, clothing, advocacy and other services to people in-need in East Multnomah County.

SnowCap is among the most important of local nonprofit organizations, providing assistance to low-income clients in an ever-evolving and challenging environment.

Wageman is stepping into this role as current Director Judy Alley ventures off into retirement.

We believe that Wageman, who was mentored by Alley over the last several years, has been well prepared to take on this appointment.

Wageman has demonstrated that she not only has the know-how, but she also has the heart that is so necessary to serving people who may not know where their next meal is coming from.

Steve Brown is publisher of The Outlook, Sandy Post and Estacada News.

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