The dawn of 2014 brings with it something we haven’t felt for years: optimism. The sounds of nail guns and Skil saws can be heard in Forest Grove developments — a sign of the strengthening economic recovery in our region.

Congress has taken baby steps toward a more bipartisan approach to solving the nation’s most basic problems. The Trail Blazers have Rip City excited again and The Hillsboro Hops’ first home game is just 168 days away!

Still, there are plenty of challenges ahead, which brings us to our annual wish list for the coming year:

n For Forest Grove: Some serious prospective tenants for the Times-Litho property that the city bought a year ago.

n For Cornelius: A calmer year inside the police department and another run at the library bond measure. The plans for a mixed-use library building are sound, and the proposal deserves a second chance at the ballot box.

n For Banks: Now that the Quail Valley property has finally been brought into the city’s urban growth boundary, we’d love to see the community get involved in discussions of how development on those 149 acres might look.

n For Gaston: Homes in Gaston’s first new development in years should be ready for occupancy by spring. Here’s hoping the new residents spead the word about the benefits of small-town living.

n 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 limit hazardous emissions and a more effective way to connect with community members who are concerned about air quality and traffic.

n For Portland’s restaurants: Giant worm-bins to handle your scraps. Complaints about odors at Nature’s Needs composting facility in North Plains dropped by more than 90 percent after Washington County Commissioners banned commercial food wastes at the site last 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?”

n 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.

n For the Timbers: A Major League Soccer Cup title, giving Portland the opportunity to call itself the pro sports capital of the U.S.

n For the Hops: A successful second season for Hillsboro’s minor league baseball team, with strong crowds and a playoff appearance in the Hops’ wonderful new stadium.

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

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

n For Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber: A worthy opponent in either May or November.

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

n To the producers of “Grimm” and “Portlandia”: Keep taking your storylines out into the suburbs. We love the attention out here.

n 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 10 long years ago.

n 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.

Contract Publishing

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