OLYMPIA - "The Washington Board on Geographic Names decided to defer initial consideration of the name Cape Columbia as there was insufficient evidence of broad public support. The board does not want to move without first obtaining a clear message from the Pacific County Board of Commissioners," Tom Downer related last week.

Downer met with WBGNofficials Oct. 1 in Olympia. Tim Gregg, executive secretary of WBGN, and each of the individual members of the board took their turns reviewing Downer's presentation. According to Downer, "They all said that it was perhaps the most thorough, well-organized, and well-documented case they had ever seen."

Long Beach Mayor Ken Ramsey sent a letter dated Sept. 30 to the WBGN saying, "Long Beach Peninsula has become the common reference to the area ..." The mayor added, "Naming the area Cape Columbia would not unite the area. It would divide the community."

Ramsey noted that the whole of the community is economically dependent upon tourism and that the Cape Columbia name needed to befurther assessed. Downer has accepted an invitation from the Long Beach City Council to speak at their Nov. 3 meeting.

The WBGN's position is to avoid names that are principally intended to provide economic improvement. However, this case is unique in that it does not aid any particular business, industry, or group according to Downer. They dismissed the possible exclusion for consideration in saying that the broad public interest would best be served by a name that held wide support.

At this point in time, the advocates of Cape Columbia have six months to produce documented support from the local government for the request to advance to the next step of being accepted for initial consideration.

The WBGN's next meeting will be in March 2005.

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