Vancouver, Washington – The highly anticipated Columbia River water feature at Vancouver Waterfront Park (695 Waterfront Way) officially opened to the public today. 

The interactive art installation was gifted to the City of Vancouver by City Council resolution on Monday, Aug. 5. The Vancouver Parks and Recreation Department will maintain the water feature as it draws locals and visitors to enjoy the city’s waterfront for years to come. 

“I believe that carefully conceived environments can create places of meaning within communities,” said Larry Kirkland, the artist who designed the Columbia River water feature. “The best of public art can challenge, delight, educate and illuminate. But above all, it can celebrate the qualities that make each place unique and can create a sense of civic ownership. This pride of place is a building block for the future of these communities.”

Design and Details
The Columbia River water feature journey begins with the monumental structure called Headwaters. This 12-foot tall and 16-foot wide stone and bronze monolith is oriented north and south to the adjacent Columbia River.  

The east face is a cast bronze relief map of the Columbia Basin. The northern Rocky Mountains, Cascades and Coastal mountain ranges and river valleys are rendered in high relief to be touched and traced by human hands. 

The west face is an engraved stone with a topographic map of the origins of the Columbia, the “Great River of the West.” Water cascades down it in a variable flow, reflecting seasonal changes in the flow of the river. The one-inch deep river flows for 150 feet along a molded riverbed past variable-height stacks of textured granite representing each of the Columbia River’s tributaries. More water flows from between these rocks into the original river. The water is chlorinated and can be waded through and played in by visitors.

Facts about each of the tributaries are engraved on the dry side of each granite grouping. Intermingled with the factual text are quotes from literature that reference water and the flow of rivers. Combined, the facts and writingsmerge into a poetic and contemplative experience. 

Donors to the $3.5 million project are recognized on the side of the Headwaters structure.

Donors are Steve and Jan Oliva, who also played a major role in the development of the Vancouver Waterfront, as well as the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. Other key donors are Steve and Jo Hansen, Al and Sandee Kirkwood, Barry Cain, Alvin Charles Berg, Mary Jane Berg, Susan Lynn Berg, Jim and Shirley Johnson, The Columbian, Dean and Kristin Kirkland Family, Marilyn Denham, and Kenneth E. and Eunice M. Teter.

“We’re really happy to have this water feature built,” said Jan Oliva. “This entire Vancouver Waterfront project has been in the works for 12 years, and there are so many good, wonderful people here in Vancouver. Larry Kirkland is the artist and John Grant (John Grant Projects) is the one who built the fountain. It’s designed to show the inlets of the Columbia flowing into it, and the ocean is represented at the end.

“It’s going to be great for little kids. Since we’re involved in the whole waterfront development this is a key piece that is going to the city from the waterfront development group. We love what’s happening here because we feel it’s helping the whole area. There’s a great walking loop that connects us to the land bridge and the Fort Vancouver Historic Site. It’s a good thing, I’m just happy and pleased with it.”

Columbia River

Design and Details About the Columbia River Water Feature

  • $3.5 million gift to the City of Vancouver, accepted by City Council resolution on August 5, 2019, from Columbia Waterfront, LLC.
  • The water is chlorinated and can be waded through and played in by visitors.
  • The Columbia River water feature journey begins with the monumental structure called Headwaters.
  • This 12-foot tall and 16-foot wide stone and bronze monolith is oriented north and south to the adjacent Columbia River.
  • The east face is a cast bronze bas relief map of the Columbia Basin. The northern Rocky Mountains, Cascades and Coastal mountain ranges and river valleys are rendered in high relief.
  • The west face is an engraved stone with a topographic map of the origins of the Columbia River.
  • Water cascades down it in a variable flow, reflecting seasonal changes in the flow of the river.
  • The one-inch deep river flows for 150 feet along a molded riverbed past variable-height stacks of textured granite representing each of the Columbia River’s tributaries.
  • Facts about each of the tributaries are engraved on the dry side of each granite grouping. Intermingled with the factual text are quotes from literature that reference water and the flow of rivers.
  • Donors to the $3.5 million project are recognized on the side of the Headwaters structure.

McKeanSmith is one of the early tenants at the Vancouver Waterfront. Learn more about them here:

The following Crown Park information was prepared by the City of Camas:

Why not just replace the Camas Municipal Pool at Crown Park?
We understand that many people loved Camas Municipal Pool and have fond memories of their time there. However, through public outreach, the majority of Camas citizens have expressed interest in a community facility that is usable year-round and provides multiple recreational amenities. The Crown Park location cannot accommodate the size of such facilities or the parking and traffic enhancements that would be needed with them. Construction of another outdoor pool at Crown Park, though less in cost, would only provide use for roughly 10 weeks each year and would only fulfill a fraction of the features and programs sought by most Camas residents.

What’s the plan for Crown Park?
Public input gathered from 2017 to 2018 helped create the Crown Park Master Plan, which was presented to Camas City Council at its Nov. 5, 2018, workshop. Today, the plan serves as a vision for the park and a framework for future funding decisions. In 2019, we’ve been seeking bids, firming up costs, and starting to schedule work. Most improvements will be subject to the 2021-2022 budget cycle that begins next year. Here’s an overview of the proposed features included in the Crown Park Master Plan:

  • Interactive water feature
  • Large destination playground
  • Permanent restrooms
  • Outdoor amphitheater
  • Sports court
  • New ADA accessible pathways
  • Access improvements to Scout Hall
  • Flexible lawn space
  • New site furnishings
  • Upgraded irrigation system
  • Stormwater management gardens and updated plantings

Portions of these elements are already in the works:

Sports Court – In May 2019, an aging concrete slab that served as a basketball court was removed. In the upcoming months, we will be replacing it with a new multi-use sports court closer to Scout Hall and the play areas. Construction is anticipated for fall.

Upgraded Irrigation System – To ensure that new grass grows and thrives around the former pool site, an irrigation system is planned for installation in late July 2019, then the area will be reseeded. The orange fencing will remain until the grass is established, around late August 2019. Irrigation upgrades in other areas of the park will be made throughout the course of the project.

For more information on, please visit Questions may be referred to Parks & Recreation Manager Jerry Acheson at or 360-817-7990.

How does the Crown Park Master Plan relate to the proposed community aquatics center and sports fields?
When the Parks Commission and City Council approved the proposed features set forth in the Crown Park Master Plan, they made the requirement that the City continue to actively pursue options to fund and develop a year-round aquatic facility. Based on that requirement, we’re working on plans to bring a year-round community aquatics center to Camas at a location that can handle more amenities, parking, and access. The design for the proposed community aquatics center includes skylights and roll-up doors that will provide an open air experience and connection to nature.

Will any trees in Crown Park be removed?
No trees have been identified for removal. However, if a tree becomes identified as hazardous or bearing disease, it may be removed.

Here’s a link to a past article:

Crown Park
There are several plans for Crown Park.

Friends and family are rallying together to assist Feast @316 Chef Benjamin Ortega, known to many as “Chef Ben,” “Benji” or “Benny” as he recovers from a serious car accident.

On July 17, Chef Ben was involved in a tragic car accident along the Oregon Coast. According to Feast @316 owner, Melissa McCusker, a log truck turned toward the highway without stopping, and Chef Ben didn’t have enough time to stop, causing his car to slide under the truck and become wedged underneath.

“It took first responders 90 minutes to get him out,” said McCusker. “Then they took him to Portland OHSU and he had a dislocated jaw, fractured vertebrae, broken collar bones, broken ribs. He had two surgeries. He’s at home now recovering. He has worked for Feast for four years, and has a four-year-old son named Chinook and a loving wife, Ingrid.”

McCusker said he has insurance covered through Feast, but the GoFundMe is there to cover the extra expenses.

Chef Ben
Chef Ben with son, Chinook.

“He’ll likely be out for a good three months,” said McCusker. “Everyone’s been pitching in in the kitchen.”

The GoFundMe organizers said “After seeing the photos of the accident it is unbelievable that he survived and the injuries were not worse. Surgery was done to fix the broken jaw and today he is home under the care of his family. It will be some time until Benjamin can go back to work. Until then, we humbly ask for your financial support to help with medical and living expenses.”

Feast patrons recognize Chef Ben for his creative culinary abilities and for his contributions to the excellent food prepared at their restaurant. Feast @316 is local steakhouse and a favorite destination for many. To learn more about Feast @316, visit

To donate, click here:

Chef Ben

After months of preparation, Ducky Derby 2019 is a wrap.

A few hundred spectators gathered along the Washougal River Sunday afternoon to see if their ducky would win the annual race — and an array of great prizes. The Ducky Derby is a fun community event that raises significant funds to benefit local student scholarships, school programs, and humanitarian projects.

Here is the official list of winners and the prizes won:

  • 1 week Alaska Cruise plus $1500 cash: Kristen Boos
  • $1000 cash: Awna Underwood 
  • $500 cash: Gene Cox
  • $1000 hand crafted table: Kate Davis
  • $800 Traeger Grill: Amy Rasmussen 
  • $400 HP Laptop Elitebook: Rich Biggs
  • $275 4 Rounds of Golf with Cart at Orchard Hills:  Lynda Taylor
  • $100 Feast 316 gift certificate:  J. Hammerstrom
  • $100 Target gift card: Gene Cox
  • $50 Amazon gift card: Michael Kelly
  • $50 Our Bar gift card: Leslie Durst
  • $50 LaPellah gift card: Chris Wynn
  • $40 Caps and Taps gift card: Mel Baker
  • $25 Mesa gift card: Leslie Durst

“The winner of the last place duck prize is Barbara Gutzler,” said CW Rotary president, Nan Henriksen. “She will be receiving a water cooler jug full of prizes and rubber ducks. This prize is a reminder that every duck in the race is a winner because each represents dollars that enable us to make a positive difference in our community and our world.”

Each year, community members buy tickets for $10 apiece, which are sold by Camas Washougal Rotary Club members directly and at events, such as the Camas Car Show and the annual Camas Days festival. The club is grateful for local sponsors, donors and ticket buyers.

Camas-Washougal Rotary Club is part of an international service organization that works to improves communities by assisting with education, health services, charitable giving, and disaster relief. The local chapter meets every Thursday morning at Orchard Hills Golf Club, and holds several special events throughout the year.

To learn more, visit or

Ducky Derby

The annual Camas Days is fast approaching with festivities beginning Thursday night.

The annual event, which is organized by the Camas Washougal Chamber of Commerce, has some changes this year.

“We are placing 114 assorted vendors, 12 food vendors this year, of which two are brand-new: Coast to Coast Seafood, and Bao Quach Sides (Vietnamese cuisine),” said Brent Erickson, CW Chamber Executive Director. “We’re bringing in Beth Willis Band, they are opening. Hot Shots, which was previously called Wise Guys will be perforating, as well. The Kid’s Street climbing wall, fast pitch, and caterpillar crawl are all coming back.”

This year’s Camas Days has 56 parade entries, with the main parade starting at 11 usually ending by 12:30 pm on Saturday.

“Having organized the event for 19 years it brings back memories for me about what a community festival was like in my time in the 1960s,” said Erickson. “So, Camas Days today is a huge community festival to bring everyone into the downtown core, young and old, for people to meet up for class reunions, and to see friends again. It brings in 12,000 people into the downtown corridor. Camas Days would not be as successful as it is without the 100+ volunteers it takes to run the show, be it the wine garden and the microbrew, and the people who help Tim Hazen on the parade.”

We’ve included a full schedule of events.


  • 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm CONCERT IN THE PARK @ Crown Park featuring Brian Odell Band (Funk, Fusion & Folk Rock)
  • 4:30 pm – 8:00 pm ENCHANTED EVENING SENIORS PROM @ Columbia Ridge Senior Living: 4:30 – 5:30 Formal Dinner; 5:30 – 8 pm Dancing. RSVP to Columbia Ridge (360) 335-1238. Dinner cost for guests $15.


  • 10:00 am – 8:00 pm VENDOR BOOTHS OPEN Six City blocks, downtown Camas. Handmade crafts, gifts food and more!
  • 10:00 am – 8:00 pm FOOD BOOTHS Birch between 3rd and 4th Avenue. Food from all over the world, and your classic festival favorites!
  • 11:00 am – 8:00 pm KIDS STREET: Climb For Fun! Rockwall, fast-pitch, jump house, slide and more on Dallas & 4th.
  • 11:30 am KIDS PARADE LINE UP & JUDGING: In front of City Hall, 4th & Franklin. 12:15pm KIDS PARADE BEGINS
  • 5:00 pm – 11 p.m. (Gates close at 10:30) A TOAST OF CAMAS: Wine & Microbrew Street. On Birch Street, between 4th & 5th. Live Music! Blues rock & classic rock all evening long! $5 entry at the door, 21 and over only. Entertainment: 5:00 – 7:00 The Beth Willis Band & 7:00- 11:00: The Hot Shots


  • 7:30 am – 11:00 am BLUEBERRY PANCAKE BREAKFAST Camas United Methodist Church at 14th & Garfield.
  • 10:00 am – 8:00 pm VENDOR BOOTHS OPEN Six City blocks, downtown Camas. Handmade crafts, gifts food and more!
  • 10:00 am – 8:00 pm FOOD BOOTHS Birch between 3rd and 4th Avenue. Food from all over the world, and your classic festival favorites!
  • USED BOOK SALE at the Camas Library Thursday 10 am-6 pm, Friday 10 am-6 pm, Saturday 10 am-6 pm and Monday 10 am to 3 pm (bag sale, bring a bag and fill it for $5!).
  • 11:00 am – 8:00pm KIDS STREET: Climb For Fun! Rockwall, fast-pitch, jump house, slide and more on Dallas & 4th.
  • 11:00 am CAMAS DAYS GRAND PARADE – “Candyland” themed parade! 4th Avenue, Oak to Adams.
  • 1:00 pm BATHTUB RACES 4th & Franklin. Organized by Lutz Hardware.
  • 5:00 pm – 11 pm (Gates close at 10:30) A TOAST OF CAMAS: Wine & Microbrew Street. On Birch Street, between 4th & 5th. Live Music! Blues rock & classic rock all evening long! $5 entry at the door, 21 and over only. Entertainment: 5:00 – 7:00: The Beth Willis Band & 7:00- 11:00: The Hot Shots.
  • 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Steak Feed at Grove Field: Field BBQ your own steak! (chicken available). Dinner includes 6 oz Steak, Salad, Baked Potato, Lemonade, Pork & Beans, & Cake $15 per person (PRICE INCLUDES INTRODUCTORY MEMBERSHIP IN CWAA). Proceeds benefit CWAA scholarship fund. Bring your own steak knife!


  • 8:00 am – 7:00 pm ANNUAL SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT ASA sanctioned “D” tournament at Ione & 19th.
  • 10:00 am-4 pm GROVE FIELD OPEN HOUSE: Raffle, plane rides @ $25, Airplane displays, soft drinks.
  • 12:00 pm DUCKY DERBY Watch from the 3rd Ave Bridge on the Washougal River as the C/W Rotary Club launches all its ducks and a grand prize winner is chosen!
  • 11:00am – 4pm PICNIC IN COLOR: Held in downtown Camas on Cedar between 4th and 5th Avenue.

Camas, WA — There’s still time to purchase 2019 Ducky Derby tickets, which is part of the annual Camas Days celebration.

The event, which is organized by the Camas-Washougal Rotary Club, has allotted 5,000 tickets to be raffled off for the Derby, at a cost of $10 apiece.

“This is the annual fundraiser for the local Rotary Club, which goes to all the projects we support,” said John Tennant, of CW Rotary. “The money we raise supports scholarships, Young Men/Women in Action, High School robotics, polio, food drives, and provides essential money to be able to function.”

When people purchase tickets, they’re given a ticket stub receipt, and the main ticket is attached to each of the 5,000 rubber ducks. Rotarians recently hosted a tagging party, attaching the tickets to each duck.

The race begins on Sunday, July 28 at noon on the Third Avenue Bridge in Camas, when a front-loader donated by Nutter Corporation tips its bucket and unloads over 5,000 plastic ducks into the water below. From there, the current takes over and the ducks dash to the finish line. The fastest ducks down the river will win prizes for those who’ve adopted them.  The entire community is invited to come to see the Ducky Derby Race. The grand prize is a weeklong Alaskan cruise plus $1,500 for expenses. The second prize is $1,000 cash, and there is more than $8,500 in prizes overall.


You can still buy tickets through Sunday, and the CW Rotary Club will have a booth at Camas Days. It’s likely the tickets will sell out half way through Camas Days. Each ticket is sold person-to-person.

Camas-Washougal Rotary Club is part of an international service organization that works to improves communities by assisting with education, health services, charitable giving, and disaster relief. The local chapter meets every Thursday and holds several special events throughout the year.

To learn more, visit

After reviewing 12 Camas Community Aquatics Center and sports fields options Monday night, Camas City Council voted unanimously to present one of those options to voters in the coming days, weeks, and months. It’s the next step in gathering public input on design, features, and costs.

Option I was selected, which gives Camas City staff specific directions as to how to proceed with planning, includes a community aquatics center design with two pools (a recreational pool with slides and an 8-lane, 25 yard competitive pool), extensive gym, community/event room, and a complete renovation of three Camas sports fields.

Under the direction of Camas Mayor Shannon Turk, Camas city staff has been drafting community aquatics center and sports fields designs in preparation to put a general obligation bond to voters on the November ballot. They have until August 6 to submit details in order to make the ballot.

“Voters have told us repeatedly they want a new community aquatics center and address sports fields concerns,” said Turk. “I feel we’re moving in the right direction.”

Monday’s vote is about water safety, said local resident, Doug Lumbard, who attended the session.

“We don’t have a community pool,” he said. “Swimming is multi-generational, and anybody from little babies to senior citizens will be able to use this new pool. It has something for everyone.”

The preferred site for the community aquatics center is six acres of city-owned property near Fallen Leaf Lake on Lake Road, across from Heritage Park.

At Monday’s council workshop, Camas City Administrator Pete Capell presented 12 options to council.

“All options include the $5.8 million expense for offsite traffic and signal improvements, including adding significant parking at Heritage Park,” said Capell. “The Sierra and Lake Road intersection has been close to needing warrants for a signal, and it’s been a problem area so we’ve included funding for signals at Lake and Sierra, as well. The site has a lot of topography to it. Designers are trying to minimize the footprint as they work with the topography.”

Community Aquatics Center
Aerial view of Camas Community Aquatics Center.

This proposed community aquatics center design (78,000 square feet) has three floors, with both recreational and competitive pools that have very flexible elements. To the west are locker rooms and support spaces. This design will have roll-up doors to the east facing Fallen Leaf Park to create a more outdoor pool feeling. The second floor has a basketball gym with casual seating areas, and a meeting/party room with access to an outdoor terrace in a forest setting. The third floor has a small multi-purpose room for revenue generating purposes. The recreation pool is for all age groups and will include a slide and other fun water features. The competitive pool will have eight 25-yard lanes and spectator seating for 300. The proposed design has a lobby with views of the competition pool, which will have a lot of natural lighting. Cost: $53 million for the aquatics center, plus $19 million for the gym and community room. The city is preparing better cost breakdowns because the building is not that expensive — a lot of the cost is site work.

“We are tucking the building into the hillside,” said Capell. “There are many grades. The gym is tucked into the hillside. The building works with the topography and has a concentrated footprint with a good setback from Lake Road. Has real simple roof shapes with a lower profile. It has nice illumination.”

Community Aquatics Center
First floor, with a 2-pool option.
Community Aquatics Center
Interior view of proposed Camas Community Aquatics Center.

Sports Field Renovations

Council nixed the inclusion of a totally new sports complex in this general obligation bond, stating this should be part of a separate bond, but they did propose making extensive renovations to three existing parks: Forest Home, Prune Hill Sport Park, and Dorothy Fox Field.

The Forest Park renovation would convert the two fields to synthetic turf and make several site improvements. The Prune Hill Sport Park renovation would have synthetic turf in the lower field, and smaller turf soccer fields, as well as installation of field lighting. At Dorothy Fox, the existing soccer and lacrosse fields would be converted to turf, plus lighting would be installed.

“Adding turf and lighting would create a longer window of time for use,” said Capell.

The cost of the sports field renovations: $6 million.

The recent open house for the new community aquatics center and sports fields was well attended, and the city has used feedback from that meeting, as well as online feedback to guide their decisions.

Community Aquatics Center
Proposed renovations at Forest Home Park.

Capell said the leisure and competitive pools are very popular. Using Option I as guidance, the city will have a booth at Camas Days that will provide the public with details, and another opportunity to provide input on designs and programming.

Community members, including Randy Curtis, expressed concerns are about parking given the popularity of Heritage Park in the summer. He is also concerned about community aquatics center users crossing Lake Road for access.

The project includes significant parking and traffic enhancements – not only at the site of the new community aquatics center, but also nearby – to ensure maximum access, traffic flow, and safety for pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists. The following is part of the overall Option K plan:

  • At Heritage Park, 100 vehicle and eight trailer parking stalls will be added for a total of 152 vehicle and 53 trailer parking spaces.
  • Lacamas Lake Lodge will maintain its 66 existing vehicle parking spaces. At the community aquatics center itself, 134 vehicle parking spaces will be constructed. Patrons may also utilize parking at Heritage Park and Lacamas Lake Lodge.
  • These parking projects add 242 new parking spaces for a total of 405 spaces in the area.
  • Additional frontage improvements, site work, and Lake Road upgrades will be implemented.
  • A traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of NW Sierra Street and NW Lake Road.
  • The upcoming roundabout at NE Everett Street and NE Lake Road will further promote access, traffic flow, and safety.

City planners have carefully looked at the traffic impact if we have an aquatics center would be built at this location. They went out to 2040 for planning and their research showed the overall impacts are fairly minimal from the community center aspect. From a queuing stand point, it was an additional car length.
Council member Ellen Burton expressed concern about increasing boat traffic. To which Capell said: “They’re already there, and they’re parking on the street. It’s an unsafe situation. This plan calls for additional parking to get boaters off the street.”

The council’s vote Monday night caps the November bond at $78 million. Council members asked staff to look for ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality.

“This ordinance number sets a maximum and allows us to work down from that,” said Camas City Finance Director, Cathy Nickerson. “The number in the ordinance is what will go on the ballot measure, but council has the ability to use that as a maximum amount. The debt service from that bond issue is what you would levy.”

“I’m so excited by the visuals,” said Council member Don Chaney. “I feel comfortable with the plans. We started this looking at this piece of property, but remember there are costs, and we own that property. I really think we move on this but not be blind to other potentials down on the road. Let’s go with the max, and for the full project.”

Council member Greg Anderson called for a motion to approve Option I, which was supported unanimously by council.

“A lot of work went into this,” said Anderson. “The full meal deal makes a lot of sense, but it’s a big ask. And there’s A LOT in this ask. I hope we stick with this location. It would have to be compelling for me to support a different location. I’m on board for the full deal. We need to sound committed to it. We can’t be wishy washy or it will not fly in November.”

A lot of heavy lifting is still necessary. For example, Curtis, who presided over the construction of Salem’s Kroc Center Pool, said the city needs to determine programming, specific designs, and weigh all the maintenance costs.

Paying For Community Aquatics Center

There was discussion about deferring the community/gym/event space to phase two to give the city more time to seek grants and private funding, which would lower overall debt service by $19 million. Given Monday’s vote, the maximum annual cost would be $474 per median home value of $464,400.

In 2021, the Camas Library levy expires, as does a $1.32 school bond, which gives the city $1.44 in additional capacity. The levy would go down in 2021. Camas School District said their forecast that a new bond levy won’t be required until 2026.

Chaney emphasized that the city find ways to spend less money on the overall project.

“It’s important to find cost savings,” said Chaney. “This is the people’s money.”

18th LD State Representative Larry Hoff was in attendance, and said the city is wise to plan for the future, and look 20 years ahead.

“The city is only going to grow,” said Hoff.

“How is the school district aligned with this?” asked resident Susan Schultz. “I know the high school teams are having a hard time getting some lanes to swim in. I would hope this pool has all the things we need for competitive swimming. Make sure the schools are aligned with the planning. Make sure parking can handle 2-4 buses.”

“This is a win for safety,” said Lumbard. “This will give children and people of all ages the opportunity to learn how to swim year-round. I hope the community adds their input on design and programming.”

“I’m very excited about the possibilities,” said Mayor Turk at the close of Monday’s session.

To stay updated on progress, and to have your voice heard, visit

The driver of a truck struck by a BNSF train Monday morning in Washougal was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in critical condition, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Department.

The deputy on duty said the driver was likely ejected from the vehicle.

BNSF Spokesman, Gus Melonas, said the accident happened at 6:18 am and that Camas-Washougal firefighters were dispatched at 6:23 am.

“The train was traveling westward through Washougal and the individual ran into the side of the lead locomotive,” Melonas. “The train didn’t derail. The train crew was not injured. The train can operate. The track was not damaged. Thirty-five trains use this main line daily.”

The truck, driven by a man described in his mid-50s, was struck on the train tracks on Whitney Street, just south of James Street, in Washougal. Melonas said the vehicle was pushed about 75 feet down the tracks.

“Arriving units discovered a small truck was traveling southbound on Southeast Whitney Street when it (was involved in a crash) with a westbound (BNSF Railway) train,” said the Camas Police in a press release.

The identity of the victim hasn’t been identified.

Police and BNSF are investigating the cause but noted it appears that all of the safety equipment is properly working. Melonas said he knows the victim was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but does not have an update.

“We are investigating the scene,” said Melonas. “We have tapes and cameras on the locomotives. But we won’t know for many days. The train was hauling grain.”

Whitney Street opened up for through traffic at 9:30 am.

In 2018, there were six grade crossing fatalities in Washington state, and 18 trespass fatalities, according to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. To learn more, visit:

This story will be updated.


There are lots of interesting Camas History factoids, given the town’s experience with the paper mill, multiple renovations, demolitions, and rebuilding that’s happened since the late 1800s. There are rumors of tunnels, friendly ghosts, and many hidden artifacts.

We’ve written a few stories about Camas history, so we thought we’d continue from time to time with some interesting factoids.

Officially incorporated on June 18, 1906, the city is named after the camas lily, a plant with an onion-like bulb prized by Native Americans. The paper mill was first established in 1883 with the support of Henry Pittock, a wealthy entrepreneur from England who had settled in Portland, Oregon, where he published The Oregonian, which is still in existence today.

Building upon the city’s industry, the downtown area took shape, and we’ve been learning a few things about its history.

Artifacts, Tunnels, Ghosts

Did you know the building that today is Lutz Hardware is actually two buildings merged into one? The main entrance used today sits on the site of the original Stoller’s Funeral Home building that was first erected in the late 1800s.

A portion of the Lutz Hardware basement is still very rustic, complete with an ancient boiler, and the dumbwaiter that was once used to lower coffins from the main floor of the funeral home to the embalming room.

“There’s a lot of history in this town, and it’s quite fascinating,” said Aaron Lutz, owner of Lutz Hardware. “We have a lot of cool things!”

The storage room also houses several mill artifacts, including mill paddles that used to mix pulp and a giant metal stenciler.

Camas History
Old mill paddles used to mix pulp.
Camas History
Old mill stenciler.
Camas History
This tunnel entrance has been blocked off on both ends. This is the view from under Lutz Hardware where the tunnel connects under Dallas Street to the building across the street.

And, what about the rumors of tunnels?

“They’re true, “ said Lutz, pointing to a bricked off entrance. “This was blocked off a long time, but it’s the tunnel that goes underneath Dallas and goes to the building across the street.”

There are several rumors about why the tunnels were built, and we’re working to confirm those.

And, what about rumors of ghosts?

“There are a lot throughout,” said Seth Michael, a spiritual advisor and physic/medium. “I sense at least one in most stores. Most are in or from the mill.”

He is volunteering at the Camas Haunted Walking Tour on September 13 and October 12, which is sponsored by The Wild Hair, and hosted by the Downtown Camas Association. The tour includes visits to several Downtown Camas buildings.

“We have history blended with activity some people experience in the businesses along with what mediums have picked up on,” said Michael. “The tour starts at the Camas Gallery and ends at Sauld for final stories. One spirit I came across I heard say, ‘We are happy to tell the stories. People just need to listen.’”

Jyl Straub, owner of The Wild Hair, the mastermind behind the tour.

“Jyl talked about it for a while then three years ago she said let’s do it,” said Michael. “Then all the writing and research began.”

For our next installment of Camas History factoids, we’re researching more about the tunnels and their use.

Paper Cutting
Call 360-409-3167

The Clark County Public Health Department has officially lifted health advisories at both Lacamas Lake and Round Lake in Camas as the blue-green algae, also called blooms of cyanobacteria, left both bodies of water in recent days, according to a Public Health statement released Tuesday.

Warmer temperatures increase the risk of algae blooms returning, and Public Health advises swimmers and boaters to be on the lookout for floating blue-green scum and to avoid any contact.

Lacamas Lake has had many health advisories in the past, and many locals are aware of it history. Local residents complain that toxic runoff from lawn fertilizer is to blame, while others cite the man-made lake lacks proper water flow, which increases the likelihood of blue-green algae issues.

Public Health also said that blue-green algae blooms are still present in other Clark County recreation spots, including Vancouver Lake’s Burnt Bridge Creek inlet while a warning remains at Vancouver Lake, which tested positive for elevated levels of cyanotoxins just days ago.


Public Health collected water samples for testing earlier this week, and if toxins are no longer present, then Vancouver Lake’s warning may change.

Vancouver Lake’s algae blooms have been presented since June 12, and Public Health will continue to monitoring the lake by taking regular water samples to test for possible toxins.

To learn more, visit the Public Health public beach website. And, if you see any algae blooms, you may report those at Public Health’s website.

A link to a past article about Lacamas Lake: