Camas, WA — Clark County Public Health has upgraded their advisory at Lacamas Lake to warning, due to elevated levels of cyanotoxins in the water.

“Cyanotoxins can be harmful to people, especially young children, and deadly for small pets that drink the water,” said Clark County Public Health.

The agency recommends the following:

  • No swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking or canoeing
  • No water contact for animals
  • Clean fish well and discard organs
  • Avoid areas of scum when using motorized boats

Today’s announcement comes as Camas city leaders and Clark County officials are working on an inter-local agreement to start improving the water quality of Lacamas Lake and Fallen Leaf Lake.

Camas City Council member Steve Hogan has taken a leadership role with the city to keep the discussions moving. Lacamas Magazine has a more in-depth feature coming, but Hogan provided an update on Tuesday, September 23.

”We are in the process of working between the staffs and the attorneys for both Clark County and the City of Camas to come up with an inter-local agreement that will lay out who’s responsible for what,” Hogan said. “Basically what the City of Camas is interested in now in trying to take control of or lead on is the water quality, that’s what we are trying to focus on. Specifically, algae has been a huge problem, and we want to address that, but the overall water quality is what the city council appears to want to get their hands on and work on moving forward.”

Hogan addresses the timing of this water quality effort. Why now, and not years ago?

”There’s been a shift over the last few years,” Hogan said. “The Camas paper mill originally had control over the dam and the lake and Lacamas Lake for years wasn’t in the city of Camas so we’ve basically taken control of all the land around the lake and the paper mill is backing away from using any of this water in their operations so Clark County was overseeing the water quality when the paper mill was using the water. It was an industrial lake, and now it’s no longer considered an industrial lake. The City of Camas now owns the dam and we own the former ditch that used to lead down to the paper mill, so now it’s time to make a change. We are trying to work with the scientists who were involved with the county, they are on staff at the county and now we want them to work with our staff to begin to move forward at looking at where the science was and where we need to move in the future so that the water quality is available at a high level of cleanliness for people to recreate here.”

The advisory and signs will be updated as conditions change. For the latest info, visit our website: www.clark.wa.gov/public-health/public-beaches

Lake
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VANCOUVER, WA —Carolyn Long, candidate for Congress in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, received a political endorsement from The Columbian, which serves Vancouver and greater Clark County. 

“Our recommendation hinges on Long’s demonstrated ability to meet with and listen to constituents throughout the district; her understanding of economic policy; and her understanding of Congress’ role in holding the executive branch accountable,” the paper editorial board said. 

The Columbian concluded that she was the “superior choice to represent the Third.” Read the full endorsement from The Columbian below.  

“I am honored to receive The Columbian’s endorsement for the second time,” said Long. “In Congress, I will fight hard every day to bring affordable healthcare, family-wage jobs, and will only work for Southwest Washington. We desperately need new leadership to guide us out of this economic and public health crisis. And we need a leader who will listen. I will continue to listen to Southwest Washington by holding town halls, roundtable conversations on policy issues, and Coffees with Carolyn in our community.”

Abby Olmstead, Campaign Manager said, “Like many Southwest Washingtonians, The Columbian recognizes that our leadership has failed us. Small businesses continue to close, people are out of work, and our infrastructure is crumbling, all while D.C. politicians prioritize their corporate donors over their own constituency. It’s clearer than ever that it’s time for a change.”

Read the full endorsement below: 

Although each will try to portray the other as an extremist, congressional candidates Carolyn Long and Jaime Herrera Beutler are relatively moderate representatives of their parties. Each is capable of being an effective voice for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, and each has demonstrated a strong understanding of the issues that impact our region.

The Columbian Editorial Board recommends a vote for Democratic challenger Carolyn Long against Herrera Beutler, the Republican incumbent. As always, this is merely a recommendation; The Columbian trusts that voters will study the candidates and the issues before casting an informed ballot.

Our recommendation hinges on Long’s demonstrated ability to meet with and listen to constituents throughout the district; her understanding of economic policy; and her understanding of Congress’ role in holding the executive branch accountable.

Long, a political science professor who lost to Herrera Beutler by 5 percentage points two years ago, built her 2018 campaign on a series of town hall meetings. That strategy has been hampered this year by social distancing, but it reflects her willingness to engage with constituents ranging from Goldendale to Long Beach. Herrera Beutler has not held an in-person town hall since early 2017, opting instead to answer selected questions on conference calls.

Long also demonstrates a strong understanding of economics. During a joint interview with the editorial board, Herrera Beutler defended the tax cuts and spending increases she supported in 2018, inaccurately claiming that the federal deficit was decreasing before the pandemic scuttled the economy. Long said: “We were told two years ago that the Republicans’ tax plan was going to pay for itself. We learned that within a year, a trillion dollars was added to the federal debt. That’s money that my daughter is going to pay for.”

Herrera Beutler also lauds President Trump’s economic policies and tariffs. Those policies devastated American farming prior to the pandemic, with taxpayers shelling out $28 billion in aid to farmers over two years.

Meanwhile, Herrera Beutler revealed to the editorial board that she plans to vote for Trump in his bid for reelection. In 2016, she declined to support Trump and says she voted for then-Rep. Paul Ryan as a write-in candidate. Last year, she voted against the House of Representatives’ impeachment of the president, at one point calling the proceedings a “farce.”

Regarding checks and balances, Long said, “Congress needs to reassert itself.”

Herrera Beutler has some strong selling points to warrant a sixth term in Washington, D.C. Those include a genuine ability to work in a bipartisan fashion and to focus on the needs of Southwest Washington. She has been active in trying to reduce sea lion predation on salmon in the Columbia River and in developing measures to reduce maternal mortality. Her work often focuses on health care issues, but we disagree with her frequent votes to overturn the Affordable Care Act without offering a viable alternative. For her part, Long supports strengthening the Affordable Care Act but does not support Medicare-for-all.

It is impossible to paint a complete picture of either candidate’s positions in a single editorial, and we recommend that voters do their homework rather than believe what they see in TV ads. Video of The Columbian’s interview is available online, and both candidates have agreed to debate on Oct. 9.

But in our opinion, Carolyn Long is the superior choice to represent Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.

Camas, WA — When Jacquie Hill, owner of Body Bliss Yoga, decided to organization a donation center for regional wildfire evacuees, she had no idea the incredible response she’d get.

The announcement that she’d partner with neighboring business, Lily Atelier, isn’t even a week old, and the donations pile in daily.

“I’m super happy that so many people were generous both with their time and with the supplies they donated,” said Hill. “We have received games, school supplies, nice clothes for all ages and genders, pet supplies, diapers, backpacks, all kinds of great things. The studio is filled with such great energy, and now all these supplies are heading our to Oregon communities devastated by the wildfires.”

Hill partnered up with Blake Brinker, a local Camas resident, who is working with the Global Empowerment Mission to ensure these supplies get to people who need them the most.

Since last Wednesday, Body Bliss Yoga Studio and Lily Atelier have been serving as drop off centers that pile up daily, which are then sorted by type, gender and age in boxes, bins and bags. It’s all quite organized.

“Jacquie has done an incredible job making this happen,” said Marilyn Reed, owner of Lily Atelier, a women’s boutique in downtown Camas. “We were happy to partner with her and we received so much support from our customers. Thank you so much!”

Hill said the donations received these past several days will support hundreds of families.

Donations
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Donations
Donations at Body Bliss Yoga.
Donations
Loading up wildfire donations.

To the Editor:

In Camas, we have an incredible opportunity to elect a leader who will sit across the table from you. Senator Rivers has been in the Senate eight years but still goes out knocking on doors. She leaves her phone number on fliers so that any constituent can call her, and makes sure to have a town hall or public event with her constituents every quarter, not just during campaign seasons. Not too often do you have the chance to elect a politician who is genuinely service-oriented. My son is an intern for her and I can speak on some of the stories he’s told about her. Trying to direct homeless families to resources, helping people with disabilities get pandemic relief, working as a golf caddy to put her son through college, and of course, giving an opportunity to my son, are all examples of her service that I can testify to. 

As a leader, she’s exactly the type of person you want to have a line of communication with. Ann Rivers is the whip of the Republican party and rises above party labels to work on bipartisan bills. No matter who you are, you can count on her to answer your calls, return your emails, and work for you in Olympia. With all the problems we currently face we should not accept anything less than an experienced leader who cares about us. Ann Rivers is the clear choice for the state senate.  

Sincerely,
Eric Gonzalez

Editor’s Note: While we don’t receive many letters to the editor, we do encourage them. We ask that each letter be civil and respectful. All received will be considered. Please email letters to [email protected] with “LETTER TO THE EDITOR” in the subject line.

Letter
Senator Ann Rivers

COVID-19 EXPOSURE update from Clark County Public Health: An employee at Chiro One Wellness Center Salmon Creek, 13800 NE 20th Ave., tested positive for COVID-19 this week. The employee worked while potentially contagious and may have exposed nearly 300 patients who visited the office over four days last week. The employee also exposed the 14 other employees at the wellness center.

All patients who visited the Salmon Creek office Sept. 8, Sept. 9, Sept. 10 and Sept. 11 are considered close contacts who are at risk of contracting COVID-19 and should quarantine immediately. Patients who visited the Salmon Creek office on other days, or visited other Chiro One locations, were not exposed and do not need to quarantine.

Public Health will call each patient to notify them of their exposure and provide additional information about quarantine, but it may take several days to reach all 300 people. Patients who were in the Chiro One Wellness Center in Salmon Creek anytime Sept. 8-11 should quarantine immediately and not wait for a call from Public Health.

Patients should quarantine for 14 days from their most recent visit to the wellness center during that Sept. 8-11 timeframe. Individuals in quarantine should stay home and avoid all contact with anyone who isn’t a household member. They should not go to work, attend church or visit any public places, such as grocery stores.

Anyone who has questions prior to being contacted by Public Health can call 360.386.2140. Public Health recommends all close contacts call their health care providers and request testing for COVID-19, even if they do not have symptoms. Close contacts should quarantine for 14 days, regardless of the test result. Anyone who develops symptoms during the 14-day quarantine, even if they tested negative earlier, should be tested for COVID-19.

COVID-19
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The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) continues to monitor the Big Hollow Fire, which is located approximately 15 miles northwest of Carson and 7 miles southeast of Cougar, Washington. Temperatures will cool by a few degrees from yesterday, with light winds out of the southwest.

Yesterday’s Operations:

The layer of smoke continued to reduce at higher elevations. This resulted in higher temperatures and drier weather at high elevations of the fire. Crews continued firing operations in the southwest area of the fire, moving east along the 57 and 58 roads to secure the fire edge. Containment lines along the 1000 road in the Siouxon block were near completion. Road systems along the eastern edge of the fire were scouted for potential containment opportunities. Crews continued installing sprinklers around the cabins at Government Mineral Springs and conducted some fuel reduction around the structures. The team held a virtual community meeting, which is available for viewing at https://www.facebook.com/GiffordPinchot

Today’s Operations: 

In the west, crews will continue firing operations along the 57 and 58 roads. Road prep will occur ahead of the firing operations in order to implement a direct control line along the southern edge of the fire. Crews will continue to construct indirect containment lines and clear fuels north along the 1000 and 6000 roads in the Siouxon block. In the east, crews will monitor fire progress on the ridge west of Wind River Hwy, hold fire on the 201 road, and scout for possible containment opportunities in the northeast. Structure protection work will continue at Government Mineral Springs. Crews will begin to prep the Trapper Creek Trail as a possible containment line should the fire progress southeast. No work will be conducted in the Trapper Creek Wilderness.

Fire
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Closures & Evacuations: 

The cabins at Government Mineral Springs are under a Level 3 evacuation order. Carson Fish Hatchery is not under an evacuation order. Areas north and west of the fire are under a Level 1 evacuation order, including Yale, Cougar, Northwoods and portions of the towns of Amboy and Yacolt. The Forest Service has issued area closures in the SW portion of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest that include most developed campgrounds, dispersed camping, and most forest roads and trails. The Department of Natural Resources has issued closures for the Siouxon Block and Merrill Lake Natural Conservation Area. The Pacific Crest Trail is open

This article provided by the Department of Natural Resources. Written by Eric Frank.

The Department of Ecology issued a statewide air quality alert Thursday, which continues through the weekend, as smoke from many fires across the region continues to impact the state. 

Calmer winds and hazy skies helped to keep large fire growth moderated yesterday and allowed for firefighters to progress in Washington‘s fire danger zones.  The Big Hollow fire, however, in Southwest Washington still has active fire behavior with no containment.  

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) image (featured image) shows the extent of smoke that currently covers most of Western Washington and parts of Central Washington.  Smoke is expected to continue its path across the state, impacting Eastern Washington.  Overall, air quality is expected to slowly start getting better, from West to East, on Sunday. 

With such a large area experiencing poor air quality, the Department of Health recommends people to stay indoors. 

Resources:

Air
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Big Hollow Fire Update

The Northwest Incident Management Team 12 took command Friday at 6 am on the Big Hollow Fire 15 miles northwest of Carson and seven miles southeast of Cougar, Washington. Weather is expected to be partly cloudy and very smokey, with temperatures in the low to mid-70s. Light westerly winds of 7 to 12 mph are forecasted, shifting to southwesterly in the evening.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that indirect control lines are being constructed with heavy equipment and roads to protect the communities of Cougar, Chelatchie and Yale to the west. Structure protection is being implemented to protect cabins at Government Mineral Springs and the Carson National Fish Hatchery. Firefighters are also assessing the risk to structures to the north and east in the fire area. 

Closures: The Forest Service has issued area closures in the southwest portion of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest that include most developed campgrounds, dispersed camping, day-use and wilderness areas, and most forest roads and trails within the closure area. DNR has issued closures for the Siouxon Block and recreation sites within the Merill Lake Conservation Area.

Evacuation levels 1 (ready), 2 (set), and 3 (go) are currently in use. Level 2 evacuation orders are in place for the areas around Yale Lake. Level 1 closures have been issued for the areas around Swift Reservoir and south of Lake Merwin. There is an air quality alert in place for southwest Washington and northwest Oregon for unhealthy and hazardous conditions.

Washougal, WA – Late last week, Washougal School District began notifying staff in certain positions that they were being placed in temporary layoff status starting on September 9, 2020.

Temporary layoff status is temporary leave from a work assignment. In temporary layoff status, employees maintain their benefits, such as healthcare, as long as they pay their portion of their premiums. In this status, employees may also apply for unemployment benefits.

“Our goal is to get students back to the classroom as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Mary Templeton, WSD Superintendent. “Many of the staff will be able to return to work as the district begins bringing back groups of students for in-person education. The decision to bring employees back from temporary layoff will be based on need and position.”  

“This very difficult decision was made to address budget challenges the district is facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Aaron Hansen, WSD Assistance Superintendent of Human Resources and Student Services. “School districts receive funding from the state based on enrollment numbers and bus ridership, both of which have declined.” Additionally, the district has additional unbudgeted expenses because of the COVID pandemic, including providing personal protective equipment, increased costs for postage and transporting classroom materials, and increased technology expenditures to support families in connecting to online coursework. 

Positions identified for temporary layoff make up 29.4 full time equivalent (FTE), or about 60 full and part time employees.

“The majority of these staff work in the district transportation department, but the list also includes library assistant, playground assistant, paraeducators and custodial staff members,” said Hansen. “Additional positions may be impacted as we work to align staffing with our enrollment.” 

Employees who are being laid off are provided with information about the change and resources to support them in accessing unemployment benefits, as well as guidance on maintaining their health care coverage. 

“If we all do our part to stay healthy and avoid the spread of COVID19 virus, we will all be together in our schools more quickly,” said Templeton. 

Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has issued Level 1 (Get Ready) and Level 2 (Get Set) evacuation notices from the Big Hollow fire near Yale Reservoir. The DNR’s Level 1 “Get Ready” evacuation notice applies to the north Yacolt and Amboy areas, and the Level 2 “Get Set” notice is for Chelatchie residents.

All residents in the northeastern part of Clark County were notified Wednesday night to be ready for evacuation if the wildfire burning east of the reservoir moves in their direction.

Level 1: READY – Level 1 evacuations are an Alert. Residents should be aware of a danger that exists. Now is the time to “Get Ready”. Residents with special needs, or those with pets or livestock, should take note and prepare for relocating family members, pets and livestock. Refine your evacuation plans and gather the things you will need if you must evacuate.

Level 2: SET – Level 2 evacuations indicate there is a significant risk to your area. Now is the time to be set for immediate evacuation. Residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or designated area or with family/friends outside the area or be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

Level 3: GO! – Level 3 means there is immediate danger. GO NOW! You are advised to evacuate immediately.
Es posible que escuche en las noticias sobre diferentes Niveles de avisos de evacuación … Aquí hay explicaciones de esos

Residents in the area received this message:

This is an emergency message from CRESA nine one one and Department of Natural Resources. Please do not hang up. This message contains urgent safety information. We are responding to the Big Hollow Wildfire in the area of Yale Reservoir. At this time, there is no immediate threat to the area but fire department officials want to make you aware of the situation in case conditions change. Because the situation is not stable and may worsen, you may need to evacuate the area. You are receiving this message because you are in an area that may be impacted. Monitor radio or TV news visit CRESA.911.org or the CRESA Facebook page for further information. No evacuation or other measures are necessary at this point however, you should prepare now to evacuate immediately upon request. Again, please monitor the news for further information about this incident. Avoid using your telephone and do not call 911 except for a life-threatening emergency. Thank you.
Este es un mensaje de emergencia de CRESA Nueve Uno Uno y el Departamento de Recursos Naturales. Por favor, no cuelgue. Este mensaje contiene información de seguridad urgente. Estamos respondiendo al Incendio Forestal de Big Hollow en el área del embalse de Yale. En este momento, no existe una amenaza inmediata para el área, pero los oficiales del departamento de bomberos quieren informarle de la situación en caso de que las condiciones cambien. Debido a que la situación no es estable y puede empeorar, es posible que deba evacuar el área. Recibe este mensaje porque se encuentra en un área que puede verse afectada. Supervise las noticias de radio o televisión, visite CRESA.911.org o la página de Facebook de CRESA para obtener más información. No es necesario realizar ninguna evacuación u otras medidas en este momento; sin embargo, debe prepararse ahora para evacuar inmediatamente si lo solicita. Una vez más, siga las noticias para obtener más información sobre este incidente. Evite usar su teléfono y no llame al 911 excepto en una emergencia que ponga en peligro su vida. Gracias.

Additional Resources can be found at: http://cresa911.org/wildfires-2020/

There are currently no mandatory evacuation orders in place, according to Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA).

The notices also affected Battle Ground Public Schools, who announced Wednesday night that Yacolt Primary School and Amboy Middle School will be closed Thursday.

Riots
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An overwhelming series of fierce, wind-driven wildfires in Oregon have all but destroyed five small towns, leaving a potentially high death toll in their wake, Governor Kate Brown said on Wednesday, as initial casualty reports come in.

Winds of up to 50 miles per hour sent blazes moving tens of miles within hours, engulfing hundreds of homes as firefighters fought at least 35 large blazes across Oregon.

The town of Detroit in the Santiam Valley, as well as Blue River and Vida, and Phoenix and Talent in southern Oregon, were substantially destroyed, Governor Kate Brown said during a press conference.

“This could be the greatest loss in human lives and property due to wildfire in our state’s history,” Brown said.

Wildfires in Clackamas County have destroyed 22 houses and structures since Sunday night and are threatening more than 600 other houses and structures as thousands have been forced to evacuate their homes. The entire county is under some level of evacuation warning, with about half the county, including Estacada and parts of Molalla, under a Level 3 evacuation order, meaning residents are asked to leave immediately.

“Everyone must be on high alert,” Brown said. 

The blazes are extremely destructive around Medford, in southern Oregon, and near the state capital of Salem.

At least three people were killed in Oregon fires and a small child died in blazes in Washington state. Brown said some communities were substantially damaged, with “hundreds of homes lost.”