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Ringing in the new year with hope and optimism

As 2016 begins, we turn to the New Year with an optimistic eye. Here is a sampling of our hopes and dreams for the Portland metro area in 2016:

- For Metro President Tom Hughes and the Metro council: Now that they’ve made room for the elephants at the Oregon Zoo, how about the same consideration for people in the urban growth boundary?

- For the Oregon Legislature: Don’t ignore your own elephant in the room. A looming battle over a proposed gross receipts tax threatens to divide this state. Show some leadership and propose an alternative.

- For Oregon politicians in general: less sleaziness and more enlightenment during the coming campaign season.

- Let’s double the professional soccer champions — one for the Portland Thorns as well as the Portland Timbers, for a Soccer City USA sweep.

- Here’s to a graceful and constructive final year for Charlie Hales’ mayoral term.

- In the election to replace him: Let the best leader win, with no immediate scandals to follow.

- More help for backcourt mates Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who have been forced to carry too heavy a scoring load for the Trail Blazers.

- Help for the homeless and hungry in our community — let’s treat the core causes.

- Cheers to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act and a not-so-fond farewell to No Child Left Behind. May the incessant testing of our children come to an end.

- A good run for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in March at the Oregon Convention Center. And, another successful U.S. Olympic Team Trials at Eugene’s Hayward Field in July.

- A Big Sky Conference championship — and home crowds of 10,000-plus — for “Barney Ball,” aka Portland State football under 2015 national coach of the year Bruce Barnum.

- For Hillsboro School District: Smaller high school core class sizes.

- For the city of Hillsboro: Strong, focused mayoral candidates.

- For Portland State University: We wish you well in your quest to become a world-class university, but don’t be surprised if you have to do it without a payroll tax.

- For Oregon football: May Dakota Prukop become the next Vernon Adams, minus the early-season injury.

- Taking that a step further, a run at the national playoffs for the Ducks, a run at a bowl game for the Oregon State Beavers and a whale of a Civil War game Nov. 26 at Corvallis.

- A good start to construction of the Viking Pavilion, PSU’s new multi-purpose venue on the downtown campus.

- Renewed success for the soccer programs at the University of Portland.

- For Oregon State baseball: With solid pitching and a nationally ranked freshman class, a College World Series berth and chance for another national title are within reach.

- We wish public agencies and officials who withhold information were not so surprised when it makes us wonder what they are hiding.

- If it’s not too much to ask, we’d like to see the millions of additional dollars that Portland and Multnomah County are spending on the homeless actually reduce the problem in real numbers and public perceptions.

- Wouldn’t it be terrific if the city’s Vision Zero traffic safety program actually resulted in fewer accidents?

- A balanced approach to the region’s affordability crisis would be nice — both help for the poor and the creation of more middle-income jobs so everyday folks can afford to live here.

- We’re hoping TriMet can fully implement service-enhancement strategies that recognize not everyone lives in the suburbs and works downtown.

- More debate about important decisions by the Hillsboro City Council, Washington County commissioners and Metro Council would be appreciated. Far too often, it seems our elected officials are in lockstep and have made up their minds before the first public hearing on issues.

- A greater recognition that not everyone who complains about changes in their neighborhood is simply a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) complainer. Not everything happening in the city and region is for the best.

- Healing for Roseburg and Umpqua Community College.

- Healing for San Bernardino, Calif.

- Healing for our nation.

- Please, let the shootings stop.