Washougal, WA — Nearly two weeks of a Washougal teachers strike came to end Thursday morning at Washougal High School as the Washington Association of Educators (WAE) voted 100% to approve the tentative agreement negotiators presented to them.

The two-year agreement gives Washougal teachers significant pay increases — 18% in year 1 (immediately) and 5% in year 2, and also boosts starting salaries to $51,434 in year 1. At the high end, veteran educators will receive a total compensation package of $96,944 in year 1 — excluding benefits. In year 2, the starting salary jumps to $53,005, and veteran salaries max out at $99,906. Funding comes from the new McCleary legislation that pumps $2 billion statewide, which is earmarked for teacher pay.

The compensation package consists of three areas: 1) Base pay; 2) Professional Development stipend, and 3) “Responsiblity” pay.

”We’re very pleased we came to an agreement,” said Eric Engebretson, WAE President. “We learned a lot about what the district faces, and we’re pleased to be able to provide this new package to our members. We all worked very hard on this.”

The often acrimonious bargaining sessions and tedious picketing tested energies and stamina on both sides. Wednesday evening both Engebretson and Dr. Mary Templeton, the Washougal School District Superintendent, appeared jointly in a video to report the tentative agreement.

Joint Press Interview: Templeton & Engebretson

“I am thrilled about the 100% ratification vote today,” said Templeton. “I think that signals strongly that we got it right. The contract has a lot of enhancement for salary, and that was our focus. That was our focus before we even started bargaining. We wanted to make sure we were regionally competitive, which was the common mission that both sides of the table had. We’re at a place where all of us feel very good about the contract and the salary enhancement. With regards to the budget, we always have to strike that balance between being regionally competitive around salary, but also making sure that you are fiscally sound over the course of one year, two years, three years, four years out. We’ve done that.  We are so excited to say we are recruiting teachers at a starting salary of around $50,000. We are also able to value our teachers who have been with us for many years to say we can compensate you at around $96,000. In year 2, we get really close to $100,000.”

During the interview, Templeton also said the deal doesn’t put WSD into a deficit, but that they will have to watch the budget very closely as they are reducing reserves from 16% on hand to 9%, which is how they were able to make the agreement work. By statute, they are required to keep at least two months of operating revenue on hand at all times.

WSD operates on a $44 million annual budget.

And, she addressed rumors that the district had $12 million in reserves.

“That’s simply not true,” she said.

Templeton will tour schools on Friday to visit students and teachers, and plans to substitute in the classroom at a future date. This is her third month on the job as WSD Superintendent.



Camas, WA — Employees at Fisher Investments recently gathered supplies to assist 58 local students, and with help from the Camas-Washougal Rotary Club, they’ve been delivered and are being dispersed as needed.

“Fifty-eight backpacks were donated by Fisher Investment employees,” said Rotarian Kathy Bussman, who worked with Kalle Fletcher to organize the donations. “The supplies list is provided by school superintendents — pencils, paper, notebooks, glue, scissors, rulers, basic supplies.”

CW Rotary coordinated with both the Camas and Washougal school districts, gathered the supplies, and filled the backpacks. Fisher Investments provided giant boxes around their campus that were generously filled by their employees.

“Last year, they called us and asked how they could participate,” said Bussman. “That was the first year, and they called us again this year. We’re grateful for their support.”

Rotary delivered them to the administration offices, and the district will distribute them out to the schools.

“It was an honor for us and our employees to have the opportunity to partner with Rotary on this worthwhile initiative to provide school supplies to kids,” said John Dillard, spokesman for Fisher Investments. “This is our second year participating in the program, and this year we donated dozens of backpacks and several hundred school supplies.”


The Fletcher girls delivers backpacks and supplies to local school districts. The supplies were provided by Fisher Investments.


“We are eager to partner with community members and local businesses that are interested in providing supports to students and families,” said Dr. Mary Templeton, Superintendent of Washougal School District. “The backpacks are a great support to families that can’t provide a set of school supplies for their children, and are appreciated.  We also have collection boxes at schools for patrons who are interested in making more general donations of any school supplies, too.”

“The distribution process is a little different at each school.  In our schools that have a Family Resource Center, the FRC staff person will assist with identifying families that might need or have asked for support.  At Washougal High School, the Panther Den would be the place where students would be provided with these resources. School staff at all sites work to identify families that might need these kinds of supports so that social workers, counselors, and FRC staff people can reach out to offer them.  Staff will also make announcements and have posters or fliers in the office that let students and families know that these resources are available.”

Organizing supplies donated by Fisher Investments.


Washougal, WA — There will be no school on Wednesday September 5, 2018, said the Washougal School District in a public statement.

The statement reads as follows:

The school district continues to bargain with our teacher union to end their strike. Both sides bargained from 8 AM to past 1 AM, but no agreement was reached. The district provided the association with a proposal at 6 PM, but the association did not respond with a proposal. The mediators have asked both sides to come back tomorrow.

After the sides come to agreement, the association will need time to present it to their membership and vote to ratify it. We will let parents know at least 24 hours ahead of time which day will be the first day of school.

Through the 21 bargaining sessions thus far, the association and the district have worked through many language issues. Both parties brought a list of items to the table and both have withdrawn some proposed changes. The district has agreed to an association proposal that improves caseload remedies for Special Education teachers. The district added monies to a fund that recognizes longevity in the district, and added dollars to incentives for teachers to notify the district early if they plan to retire. This early notice allows the district to recruit teachers during the height of the hiring season. The two sides have agreed to language that allows therapists and psychologists to use prior licensed clinical experience to enhance their salary.

In response to association proposals, teacher leave benefits have been improved. An additional day of bereavement leave was added, and the cash-out value of each personal leave day was increased. The district also agreed that teachers will now be able to receive the dollar value of any unused personal leave days when they retire from the district. Additional improvements based on association proposals include pay for attending First Aid training and Safety Committee meetings. Teachers will receive increased compensation for packing, moving and unpacking should they need to move classrooms.


Washougal children at a recent rally.

Remaining items that are still in discussions are salary, supplemental stipends for department chairs and club advisors, class size/overload changes, implementation of the new Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave program, and combination classrooms.

We remain committed to working with the association to reach an agreement so that we can all get back to serving the children in our community. Please visit our website for information on bargaining issues and to monitor the situation.

Both teams will return to the bargaining table on Tuesday September 4 to continue working with mediators to work on resolving remaining issues.

Washougal WA — The Washougal School District has announced the cancellation of school for both Thursday, August 30 and Friday, August 31 due to the ongoing Washougal Association of Educators (WAE) strike.  After-school sports and activities will continue as planned.

“We understand how difficult it has been on Washougal families and students with the daily uncertainty of whether or not school will be held,” said Mary Templeton, WSD Superintendent.  “For that reason, and to continue negotiations, we are making the decision now to cancel school both days before the long Labor Day weekend.”

WSD remains hopeful that the first day of school will be Tuesday, September 4.  The district has committed to communicating with parents at least 24 hours ahead of time if there will not be school on Tuesday.  In the event an agreement is reached, the association will need time to present it to their membership and vote to ratify it.

“We remain committed to working with the association to reach an agreement so that we can all get back to serving the children in our community,” Templeton said.  “We believe our proposal supports our well-deserving teachers, is fair and equitable and is something the Washougal community can sustain over time.”

At Tuesday’s Washougal School Board meeting, Templeton removed Action D from the agenda, which would have authorized her to use legal means to end the strike, which the district views as illegal. That removal came at the very beginning of the meeting. There is precedent for using legal maneuvers to end strikes in Washington state history. At times, parent groups filed suit.

Here’s a look at some of the history:

  • 2011: Tacoma teachers strike — Pierce County Superior Court Judge Bryan Chuschcoff ordered teachers to return to work under threat of monetary fine if they failed to comply.
  • 2009: Kent teachers strike — King County Superior Court Judge Andrea Darvas issued an injunction to end the strike. The strike ended under threat of monetary fine from Darvas.
  • 2003: Marysville teachers strike — Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Linda Krese ordered the strike to end, saying “Public employee strikes are illegal under the common law of Washington. The [Marysville Education Association] strike violates the prohibition on public-employee strikes and is an illegal strike.”
  • 2002: Issaquah teachers strike —  King County Superior Court Judge Joan Dubuque declared the strike illegal and threatened to fine teachers who continue to strike.

There are 22 other recorded court orders mandating striking teachers return to work.

RCW 41.56.120 states the “right to strike not granted. Nothing contained in this chapter shall permit any public employee the right to strike or refuse to perform his or her official duties.”

The Washington Attorney General’s office, in 2006, wrote: “In Washington, state and public employees do not have a legally protected right to strike. No such right existed at common law, and none has been granted by statute.”

Templeton said she removed Action D from the agenda because she felt negotiations were progressing.

Several citizens and teachers spoke during the public comments period claiming the board isn’t giving the teachers money that the state authorized in the McCleary legislation. One even claimed the board was violating federal law by not being transparent with the public about how funds are used.

The board approved a $44 million budget for the 2018-19 school year, as well as resolutions that give the superintendent the power to close schools for security reasons during the strike.

Information on WSD/WAE bargaining can be found on the district’s website at


Washougal, WA — Because negotiators from the Washington Association of Educators (WAE) and the Washougal School District (WSD) could not reach a tentative agreement Monday at 5 pm, 205 WSD certificated teachers are officially on strike, effective Tuesday morning.

“The teachers already voted last week that if a tentative agreement wasn’t reached by August 27 at 5 pm, we will go on strike,” said Eric Engebretson, WAE president. “The work stoppage starts tomorrow morning. We are working on a counter proposal and we will keep negotiating. We’ve been in sessions all day. We’re still here and we started at 9. PERC is here, and they’ve been here since Friday.”

At issue are classroom sizes, salary, and WSD’s historically high turnover rates.

“We are still bargaining,” said Dr. Mary Templeton, WSD Superintendent. “We continue to press forward. Everyone is working hard at both sides of the table. We want an agreement as soon as possible. The district and the association have worked hard to reach an understanding but, unfortunately, we were not able to come to an agreement today. We have been excited to offer the biggest raise Washougal teachers have ever received, which would bring our salary into competition with regional districts. We believe our proposal supports our well-deserving teachers, is fair and equitable and is something the Washougal community can sustain over time.”

WSD put forward a new salary proposal that increases the offer to a 16% increase in salary, plus TRI. WAE countered requesting a 25.6% increase. There is still approximately $1.5 million dollar gap between the two sides.

According to WSD, they were given $14.2 million by the state to pay teachers and they have used all of these funds for salaries. They have also agreed to add $600,000 more of local money in this compensation offer. By law, Washington school districts are required to have 180 days of school. School will start on the first planned school day after the strike ends. Days will likely need to be added into the calendar later in the year.

Tentative agreements have been reached on 12 items, resolving concerns the teachers raised around salary advancement rules, retirement stipends, personal leave buy back and cash out rules, as well as just cause language.

“Everyday we will be in negotiations, said Engebretson. “We will negotiate until we cannot. We want to go back to school. It depends on the district.”

So, what actually happened on Monday during negotiations?

“There was some movement, less than a percent on salary —on their part,” he said. “No class size change.”


Washougal children at a recent rally.

WSD Answers Questions

Lester Brown, WSD Communications Director, provided guidance on what a strike means, and what are next steps.

1) What does the district do when the WAE announces a strike? What’s your process?

This is uncharted territory for all of us. We are focused on working to communicate with parents and staff about a potential work stoppage and its impacts on the start of school.

We will use automated phone calls, social media and our website, so families are aware of the need to plan for the impact.

We realize this is a huge inconvenience for families and we are optimistic that teachers and students will be back in classrooms as soon as possible.

2) How long does a strike have to go on until it starts affecting this year’s school schedule? Lacamas Magazine understand it’s like using up snow days.

The work schedule for our classified staff will not be impacted by the strike actions of the WAE. Teachers will work a 180-day contract, but will see an adjusted school schedule, based on this delay to the start of schools.

School will start on the first planned school day after the strike ends. Days will likely need to be added into the calendar later in the year much like snow days. If the strike lasts fewer than four days, the district does not anticipate needing to change the date for WHS graduation.

The district still intends to allow athletics and activities, covered under a different union contract, to continue as scheduled.

3) If a strike goes past 15 days, then classified staff won’t get paid, but will the teachers also not get paid?

The work schedule for our classified staff will not be impacted by the strike actions of the WAE. Teachers will work a 180-day contract, but will see an adjusted school schedule, based on this delay to the start of schools.

Our focus right now is still on resolving the remaining concerns the union has asked to talk about so we can come to agreement. We will be researching these more complex issues over the next few days to build understanding of the impact of a longer term strike.

4) In your opinion, is a strike legal? Citing RCW 41.56.120: “Right to strike not granted. Nothing contained in this chapter shall permit or grant any public employee the right to strike or refuse to perform his or her official duties.” The Attorney General’s Office said: “In Washington, state and local public employees do not have a legally protected right to strike. No such right existed at common law, and none has been granted by statute.” What is WSD’s opinion on this?

The legislature is responsible for law, but we are aware of the RCW 41.56.120. The district is working with legal counsel to understand this statue and the implications of it for the union.

5) Lacamas Magazine is hearing that oversized classrooms are a source of contention in these latest bargaining sessions. What is WSD’s position on classroom sizes?

The current teacher contract defines class sizes as “in overload” when the following numbers are reached or exceeded:
K-3: 25+
4-5: 28+
Middle and High School: 28+

In Spring 2018, WSD had a total of 60 elementary classroom teachers. Six of those, or 10%, were in overload. With 1,373 elementary students, it was the difference of 11 students that caused those overloads which were one to three students more in those rooms. During the same time frame, there were a total of 77 middle and high school teachers. Four of those had more than 140 students per day and were considered to be in overload.

The district works hard to avoid overloaded class sizes by managing the boundary process and building schedule, but sometimes classes above targeted sizes cannot be avoided.

When elementary teachers have classrooms at or above these targets, teachers have an option of hiring an additional paraeducator to assist in their classroom or accepting “overload pay” at the rate of $10 per extra student per day. For middle and high school it is $2 per student in overload.

Although WAE has stated that class size is a major point, they had been unwilling to talk about this issue for the first 11 bargaining sessions that spanned three months.

The facts are that 90% of Washougal classrooms are below state class size goals/targets. Those teachers who are in overload have the option of receiving additional resource in paraprofessional support or additional compensation of $10 per student per day as overload pay.

Another union issue was the use of classrooms that combine grade levels. The district had no combination or split classes last year, and there are none planned for this year.

“As far as class size, the district figures class size as an average,” said Engebretson. “That means they include music, P.E., library, and art teachers into the equation.  However, the actual students in one classroom can be more than than is ideal and that classroom is in overload.  Posting that the district has an average number of students per classroom is misleading to the community.”


WAE teachers at a recently rally.

Washougal, WA — In a direct video message via YouTube, Washougal Association of Educators (WAE) President, Eric Engebretson announced that the local teacher’s union has officially decided to strike, effective Tuesday, August 28  unless a settlement cannot be reached by 5 pm on Monday, August 27.

Here’s a direct link to his message: WAE Strike Announcement

He cites concerns over salaries and classroom sizes as primary issues that led to their decision.

Here are some excerpts from his video:

“All of our teachers have struggled casting their vote as they understood that by striking, it would delay meeting their students on the first day,” said Engebretson. “… The days missed due to a strike will be treated similarly to snow days.”

“…We are committed to reducing class size Kindergarten through 12th grade.”

“ … We are asking for the amount of money earmarked by the Legislature to pay teacher’s salaries.”

Washougal School District issued the following statement:

“The district and the association continued to work with mediators from the Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC) on Saturday. Despite progress, the association told the district they will not bargain tomorrow (Sunday, August 26, 2018). We are hopeful that WAE will change their minds, and show up to continue to work on a contract that would avoid a strike.

“We are willing to work 24/7 to find a sustainable agreement so that our students can start school on Tuesday. We hope that WAE is also willing to work toward an agreement the community can afford.

“If WAE does not show up on Sunday, WAE and WSD will continue work on the agreement on Monday, August 27. As more information is available, the district will inform families about the possibility that a WAE strike will disrupt the first day of school.”

Engebretson said there were no official meetings scheduled for Sunday. He said they met Friday and Saturday for 12 hours each day, with no movement from the district about salaries.

“We would have sacrificed faith and family by meeting on Sunday, but we wanted more movement on salaries,” said Engebretson. “We will be meeting with them again on Monday at 9 am.”

We will continue to update you on this developing story.

To learn more about the details of the discussions, please read our article from Friday: Washougal Schools, Union Try to Reach Agreement

Washougal, WA — Earlier this week, the Washougal Association of Educators (WAE) voted with 96 percent approval to reject a 15.56 percent compensation increase offered by the Washougal School District (WSD) administration. Face-to-face negotiations between both parties continue today to address those salary issues, as well as other union concerns, in an effort to avoid a strike.

“The Washougal School District is offering teachers a 15.56% total compensation increase, which would result in a professional salary package from $50,000 to $94,000, providing a fair, equitable, and regionally competitive compensation to our certificated staff,” Washougal Schools said in an official statement. “This move demonstrates the value the district has for teachers, who are doing excellent work every day in classrooms, helping our students reach their potential and thrive. This offer uses all of the state provided increase for teacher salaries, plus levy dollars, plus funds from the district’s ending fund balance.”

In addition, teachers at the top end of the scale would earn more than $1,000 more per month than they currently do.

The WAE rejected the 15.56 percent increase, citing it’s not the full amount that the state is allocating, as well as other concerns, such as classroom size, and high Washougal teacher turnover.

“We want to be at school on the first day, said WAE president, Eric Engebretson. “Despite having numbers being posted by the district that change frequently, our community members have expressed support and understand what we are negotiating for. Our numbers have remained true and consistent since day one of negotiations. Our position is that the state has recognized that salaries for teachers has lagged over the years and that teachers (in SW Washington and beyond) just want what has been allotted to them.”

Washougal is one of 295 school districts in the state that have been in bargaining sessions with local and state teacher’s unions over how money from the 2017 McCleary legislation, passed by the Washington State Legislature to “amply fund education” throughout the state, will be allocated. Overall, just over $2 billion has been earmarked to increase teacher salaries, which has been funded by a 30% property tax hike.

Per our previous articles and videos, the legislation increases overall teacher pay to 26 percent — but it comes with strings attached. McCleary changes the old salary structure model by stripping away Time, Responsibility and Incentive (TRI) pay model and by capping local levying capacity by 50 percent.

“We used an extra compensation ability, which we called TRI,” said Mary Templeton, the brand-new Washington School District Superintendent. “We created a way to find extra dollars, so this is for all the things you do outside teaching, which includes planning, preparation, grading papers on weekends, calling parents at night — all the things teachers do.”

With McCleary, she said “the state told us ‘let’s give you 26% more of direct state money.’ But now the state said they won’t fund TRI with the new legislation. They said this would put major restrictions on how TRI is paid. After careful analysis of how this affects Washougal, we realized very quickly that we can’t pay our teachers TRI.”


Mary Templeton is Washougal’s brand-new Superintendent.

And to further complicate matters, local levy dollars for Washougal will drop over the next two school years, resulting in a loss of $2.9 million in local levy funding.

“The new model is a net of about 12 percent more state and local funding when you take away TRI and the levy,” said Templeton. “Every district is different so it’s unfair to make general comparisons. McCleary also affected staff mix, which allocated more state funds, which helped districts with more experienced teachers. The greater the number of experienced teachers, the more money a district would receive.”

After the WSD budget team looked at the numbers, they found a way to create the 15.56 percent increase, she said.

“The offer comes from finding more money to help us be more competitive. We are going to use our reserve. We have a $44 million operating budget. We’re going from a 16 percent reserve to a 9 percent reserve over four years. We have to be very conscientious and aware of how we’re prioritizing. We have to look at all of our expenditures to make sure we stay right at 9 percent, which is about $2.4 million at the end of 2019. That extra increase amounts to $1,197 more per teacher this year. The union wants 26 percent, but legally WSD can’t do it.”

To clarify, reserve money is not connected to levy dollars — it’s the WSD savings. The reserve is projected to decrease over four years, and is expected to level out at that time.

“We will pay for some things with levy, even with our reduced capacity,” said Templeton. “We can use levy money for enrichment. We are continuing on with a very positive approach to the whole thing. I respect their advocacy. The union wants the teachers to get every dollar the state is giving them.”


Washougal children at a recent rally.

How Sustainable is McCleary?

Templeton says it’s essential they maintain their fiscal solvency, but that McCleary makes it challenging to see the future past two years, even though the new law requires districts to forecast four years ahead.

“I’ve been in education for over 25 years, I’ve been in 5-6 school districts over that time,” said Templeton. “There will always be a place or time where the district is trying to hold back money, but for the most part these are fair people. All of us were teachers at one point. We are giving you everything we have. McCleary creates a new model, and it’s a big change.”

Districts used to get paid by number of teachers, now they are paid by how many students are in a district’s boundaries. For WSD, the state gave them a $69,128 as flat rate for teachers — per teacher. WSD is offering is $70,325. The difference is $1,197 more than what they’re getting from the state, per teacher. Those funds are coming from the reserve.

The WAE believes the district will have an additional $6 million by the 2020-21 school year.

A Looming Strike?

She refers to Washington state history, saying that strikes in the state are very rare.

“I’m optimistic we will find an agreement,” Templeton said.

Negotiations between WAE and WSD are ongoing, and that the duration of 15.56 percent increase is still being negotiated. It will likely take at least two years for the system to understand this new model.

WSD leadership has requested mediation from the Washington Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC) and their team will meet with WSD on Friday, August 24 as they work to finalize their negotiations with the union. School starts on August 28. The district thinks they will reach an agreement by August 27.

“We decided to look at all the money the state gave us and we decided to offer all of it, plus some at the beginning,” Templeton said. “We know that you need a salary increase, and we’re going to give it all we have, and then some. We want to retain you, so we pushed everything out right away. We took a new approach because we wanted to signal value to our teachers in transparency. This is what we have, this is our offer.”

She quoted a recent Seattle Times article that said the districts are saying I’m doing a four-year projection, and they realize they can’t pay their bills.

“What we’re offering is what we can afford,” she said. “To give anything more than that, there will be layoffs. That is the reality of every district.”

Given the new law, WSD has shifted their dollars more to personnel. Seventy-nine percent of their budget goes to personnel. It used to be 73 percent. (79 was the official number presented at board meeting 8-14-2018)

“The state gave the district 26 percent for salary, but they didn’t give us more for TRI,” she said. “We added to what the state is giving. 15.56 percent total compensation is what teachers will find in their paycheck — this doesn’t include benefits. We took every dollar the state gave us for teacher salaries and we added our own money to do it, which is $1,197 per teacher per year, from the reserves.”

This current offer provides WSD teachers a $50,000 starting salary — with a Bachelor’s degree.

“We head back into negotiations today (Friday, August 24) at 9 am and conclude at 5 pm,” said Hillary Marshall, of the WAE. “Our union has issued a strike if we don’t come to a resolution by 5 pm today which will start on Tuesday, August 28. The Washougal School District has acquired a mediator but our union didn’t feel like we needed to spend the extra funds for a mediator.”

The WAE Perspective

Since bargaining sessions are typically kept private, they can’t go into the details of those negotiations, but they have been public about general concerns and demands.

Engebretson said the WAE is concerned about the following:
• Class size
• Turnover
• Salaries
• Reserves

Class size. In an official statement, the WAE said “Overloaded classrooms have consistently been an issue for our teachers. We’ve already had parents speak at school board meetings because they are aware of how pressing the issue is, which is a detriment to our children. Our working conditions are student learning conditions, and no issue more effectively demonstrates that than reducing class size. Our union remains committed to reducing class size.”

Turnover. Hathaway teachers lost half of their teachers this summer.

“Turnover is so high in the District that for the 2018-19 school year, 1/3rd of staff will have one year or less of teaching experience in our District. “Because pay is so low in Washougal, experienced educators have chosen to teach elsewhere. How can we deliver a strong education program when we have higher turnover than fast food and retail industry? Washougal children deserve a stable staff that serve our students’ needs with consistency. Our goal is to attract and retain quality teachers.”


WAE teachers at a recently rally.

Salaries. “According to OSPI website Washougal will be receiving an increase of 26 percent just for teacher salaries alone. The District is offering an overall increase of 15 percent. This a significant improvement from their initial offer, which was in the single digits, and are maintaining the position that TRI (Time, Responsibility, and Incentive – additional hours worked outside of the teacher work day) no longer exists. While the District has made progress in their offer, it does not reflect the funds they are receiving from the state. The state legislature has made it clear that an investment in our teachers is an investment in our community.

Reserves. “The Washougal School District has a long track record of building their savings (labeled “Ending Fund Balance”) off the backs of our teachers. Even the District in negotiations have admitted they have not prioritized teachers!”

“We have every desire to start school on time. We want to be in our classrooms to greet our students on the first day of school. The only reason for why this wouldn’t happen has everything to do with the Washougal School District, once again, not prioritizing our teachers. You can’t put students first, if you put teachers last!”

Valuing Teachers

“Teachers are really vulnerable right now, since No Child Left Behind,” Templeton said. “Teachers used to be heroes in our society, and we need to polish it up and begin to talk about how important teachers are. They are the shaper of dreams, and the molders of the future. Teachers want to be valued. It’s more than just money — it comes in lots of different ways. What does the community say about teachers? Those are the things that create value, and compensation is part of that. People need money and that’s a reality, but they also need to be thanked for the contribution to society. That’s all of us, that’s the community. We need to get teachers back to where they should be. The heroes of society.”


Union negotiations are still ongoing.

Washougal, WA – Pirates will once again storm downtown Washougal for a free, family-friendly, festive community event featuring lively music, delicious food, beer garden, fire dancing, a pet parade and costume contest and more! The Pirates in the Plaza event returns for its third year on Saturday, September 15 from 2 pm – 10 pm at Reflection Plaza in downtown Washougal.  The event is sponsored by a generous donation from Mary Jane’s House of Glass and City of Washougal Lodging Tax funds.

The event coincides with the upcoming “Talk Like a Pirate Day” celebrated each September 19 and attendees are encouraged to come in pirate costume!

The evening concert will feature the musical mayhem of the Bilge Rats & Pyrettes from Portland performing at 5:30 pm and again at 7 pm.  Entertainment will also be provided by Flamebuoyant Productions, featuring belly dancers, fire dancing and more, plus Dayley Dance Academy from Washougal. For a complete schedule of the day’s activities go to

Presented by Downtown Washougal Association (DWA) and City of Washougal, the event proceeds will support DWA and the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society (WCGHS).

“The local humane society is a great organization doing such important work in our community that we are happy to help support them,” said Heena, DWA President.  “Although the event is free to attend, we hope people will come ready to have a good time and make a donation to WCGHS.”

WCGHS also brings family and pet fun to the day from 2-5 p.m.  Activities include a wading pool of plastic balls with dog treat treasures for dogs to “dive in” and find, a service dog demonstration, and photos with your dog.  A pet parade and costume contest will be held at 2:30 p.m. with winners selected for best pirate themed costume, cutest costume, and most original or unique costume.

The Vancouver Walking Club, will help kick off the day by hosting a “Talk Like A Pirate Day Walk” starting in the Pendleton parking lot between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m., finishing by 4 p.m.  Walkers, invited to be in their favorite pirate costume, will walk through the heart of the city to Hathaway Park and Boat Launch then return and walk on the Lewis and Clark Heritage Trail along the levee to 54-40 Brewing and back.  The walk will include a visual treasure hunt.  The club will be accepting donations (treasures) for the West Columbia River Gorge Humane Society.  For more information go to

Additional family fun will be provided by Washougal Library face painters from 3-5 p.m.

Once children and pet activities wrap up, a “grog garden” will be provided by DWA starting at 5 p.m.  The beer selection features local breweries including 54-40 Brewing, Doomsday Brewing and Grains of Wrath. The 21-year and older area will be open until 10 p.m.  Food vendors will include Washougal’s Alex Smokehouse and area food truck vendors.

Volunteers are needed!  If you’d like to help out, contact DWA at

For more information on more events and activities in Washougal go to

Pirates in the Plaza Schedule (Times subject to change)

8:00 am–4:00 pm             Talk Like A Pirate Day Volks Walk

2:00–5:00 pm                    WCGHS Activities (Pet Parade/Costume Contest at 2:30)

3:00–5:00 pm                    Washougal Library Face Painting

5:00–10:00 pm                  Beer Garden

5:00 – 8:00 pm                  Entertainment: Dayley Dance Academy, Bilge Rats & Pyrettes, Flamebuoyant Productions.


Washougal, WA – Excitement is building as the 2018 Washougal Art Festival draws nearer.  Presented by Washougal Arts and Culture Alliance (WACA), the event features 26 professional regional artists and will be held Saturday,
August 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Reflection Plaza, 1703 Main Street, Washougal.

“We are expecting another large turnout at this year’s festival,” said Janice Ferguson, WACA President.  “Now in our third year, we have artists and community members who look forward to this annual event.  We love
transforming Washougal’s Reflection Plaza into a gallery of fine works of art.”

Wilson Cady, local birding enthusiast and artist, created the artwork that was used for the 2018 Washougal Art Festival poster and advertising.  “Wilson will be at the festival and plans to work on his current piece,” said
Ferguson.  “He is looking forward to chatting with people about his process and his inspiration.”  A limited number of signed 2018, 2017 and 2016 posters will be available for purchase at the festival for a $20 donation each.

Event proceeds will bring more public art to Washougal. This year’s festival will help fund a mural inspired by Washougal matriarch, Princess White Wing (Betsy Ough) created by renown Native American artist, Toma
Villa. The piece will be created for the outside wall of the Washougal Public Library.


For a preview of artists selected to participate in this year’s event, visit the WACA website at

They are Linda Andrew-Riggs, water color; Kathy Beckman, acrylic on canvas; Eric Berlin, handcrafted animal porcelain jewelry; Heidi Curley, mixed media; Marilyn Estenes, textile  creations and photography; Katy Fenley, handcrafted sterling silver jewelry; Chrissie Forbes, found object robot art; Anni Furniss, mixed media painting; John Furniss, wood; Vickie Green, fused glass; Cheryl Hazen, recycled mosaics; Glo Lamden-Mccollough, acrylic on canvas; Kobie Moore, painted acrylic, mixed media; Toni McCarthy, jewelry; Liz Pike, oils; John Reylea, acrylic on reclaimed wood; Christine Rice, block printing print making; Karen Reule, sterling and silver filigree jewelry; Ena Shipman, ceramics and handcrafted jewelry; Gary Suda, high fire ceramic pottery; Cyndee Starr, mixed media; Tamra Sheline, watercolor on yupo (plastic); Kiri Torre, one-of-a-kind jewelry design; Barbara Wright, watercolor, ink, colored pencil, graphite; and Beck Lipp, wood.

The festival is family-friendly and features The Paint Roller – Mobile Paint Party who will be offering free, fun, artistic projects for children. Another popular element of the festival is the raffle for works of art donated by participating artists.  Tickets are $5 each and visitors choose the work of art they would like the chance to win.  Raffle winners do not need to be present to win and will be given a phone call but must be available to pick up their prize by the end of the day.

New at the festival this year will be food available for purchase at the plaza.  Local restaurant, Alex Smokehouse, will be serving delicious barbeque meals and more.

While in Washougal, visitors are encouraged to discover works of public art using the WACA art map which provides locations, artists name and the year for more than 30 installations around town.  Maps will be available at the raffle table.

WACA Board Members and Festival Committee members working alongside Ferguson, are Chuck Carpenter, Joyce Lindsay, Rene Carroll, Suzanne Grover, Kelli Rule, Susan Warford and Jim Cooper.

The Festival is sponsored in part by the City of Washougal Hotel/Motel Tax Fund.  Other event sponsors include The Paint Roller – Mobile Paint Party, Washougal Coffee Company and Camas Gallery.

Washougal, WA — The driving curiosity and love of history of the late Curtis Hughey continues to have a significant impact on the future of the Camas-Washougal Historical Society (CWHS) and the Two Rivers Heritage Museum.

Hughey, long-time historian and 16-year president of the CWHS, passed away November 25, 2017.  His son, Mark, recently bestowed volumes of research notes and a complete second set of Camas-Washougal Homestead Records complied and organized by his father.

“It is a treasure trove of historic information,” said Brian McClatchie, CWHS Board Member and Accessions Director.  “In my opinion this research and notes are the most important records we have for telling stories of the people of Camas-Washougal.  Much of it we did not even know existed until it was dropped off for us.”


Call 360.696.9877

Sorted alphabetically by last name, the Homestead Record notebooks cover property from Cape Horn to 192nd Ave in East Vancouver.  They feature land records, court documents, affidavits, verbatim testimony from homesteaders and their witnesses, newspaper clippings and additional family information that Hughey collected and organized.  These records have been used extensively by researchers who come to the museum for information on area families and property.

“You can look at official homestead land records, but they don’t tell the story” McClatchie said.  “It is all the rest of the information that Curtis compiled that is the most meaningful in storytelling.”

This second set of Homestead notebooks will be offered to the Clark County Historical Museum to be added to their collection.

In addition to the Homestead documents, Hughey also used excerpts from local newspapers written by and about local residents, to author and publish two books, The Good Old Days 1877-1906 and Good Old LaCamas News, 1887-1892.  “The donation included eight notebooks of historical research documentation and his notes used for writing these books,” explained McClatchie.

Born in 1929, Hughey came to Camas in 1946 with his mother to live with his grandparents.  He graduated from Camas High School that year.  He was active in civic work and was involved in the start of the Fern Prairie Fire Department.  Hughey retired from the Camas Papermill in 1991 and began dabbling in genealogy research.  He and his wife, Bev, were very active in CWHS activities and worked at the museum for many years. Hughey left the CWHS Board in early 2017 and it was McClatchie, in fact, who filled the empty seat.  “I never had the chance to meet Curtis,” McClatchie said.

Hughey’s work will be used extensively to build stories for the museum’s new Gathering Place project, a plank house-inspired pavilion to help tell stories of the Native Americans and early pioneers of the area.

“We are finding so many remarkable stories to be told from this research,” McClatchie said.  “There are even some early accounts of Dr. Parker and the founding of Parkers Landing. Curtis’ work was a true labor of love, and one that our historical society will be forever grateful for.”

Community members who have artifacts, historic documents or information that helps to tell the story of the area are encouraged to consider donating those items to the museum.  McClatchie has office hours at the museum each Friday from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. for accessioning.

“People can just give me a call or swing by and we can talk about what they have and if it would be of interest to the museum,” McClatchie offered. “I can tell pretty quickly in a conversation if it is something we’d like to accession. We need to avoid duplication and ensure items we accept have a strong tie to the area.  We appreciate community members offering us items of historic value knowing that they are often a family treasure as well.”

The Two Rivers Heritage Museum is located at 1 Durgan Street in Washougal and open March through October.  Regular hours are Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Admission costs are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $2 for students and free for children under 5 and all CWHS members.  Group tours are available any day of the week (by appointment only).  Call Lois Cobb 360-835-5449 for scheduling.

Join CWHS to help support additional historic presentations and preservation of local history. Membership and volunteer information will be available at the presentation.  For more information about the CWHS and the Two Rivers Heritage Museum go to


Brian McClatchie, of the Camas-Washougal Historical Society.



Two Rivers Heritage Museum.