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The Washougal Police Department confirmed today that Derik Ford, a former Washougal mayoral candidate and owner of 2 Rivers Bar & Grill, has died. His family was notified of his passing on Friday, and his cause of death has not been confirmed.

Ford had been running for mayor, but he suspended his campaign following a domestic violence arrest a month ago.

Ford had entered a rehabilitation center, and court records show he violated a no-contact order. He was in court earlier this week.

This is a developing story.

Washougal, WA — The sound of a steady drum beat and the singing of a blessing in Chinookan language filled the afternoon air at the dedication of the Gathering Place at Washuxwal pavilion held at its site at the Two Rivers Heritage Museum on Saturday, September 18. 

A small group of supporters and honored guests gathered to celebrate the project’s completion.  Four years ago, the Camas Washougal Historical Society (CWHS) Board of Directors decided to start an effort to recognize the contributions and tell the stories of the Native Americans who lived in this area of rushing waters. The Gathering Place at Washuxwal project was born. True to its name and intent, the Gathering Place will play host to a variety of interesting educational programs, as well as CWHS meetings and events.

The open pavilion design is inspired by traditional cedar plank houses used by local tribes living along the shores of the Columbia River.  It features Native-inspired wood carvings created by Adam McIsaac, project lead carver and advisor for the pavilion artwork, a respected expert in Native American art.

CWHS president, Jim Cobb, thanked supporters of the project at the event calling out three individuals for their significant roles. Michael Lewallen and Jason Ferrier of Lewallen Architects in Camas and Mark Albin of Able Hands Construction. 

“Without Michael’s help we could not have finished the project, or even got it started,” said Cobb.  “And Jason was our designer and architect and so much more. Mark was the one who set all of this up.  He cut the inserts, put in the posts, put on the roof, he is the one who literally screwed the place together.  Mark worked hard and I can honestly say I don’t know of anyone else who could have done it.”

The dedication highlight was the two blessings performed by Sam and Mildred Robinson.  Robinson, vice chairman of the Chinook Nation, told the group that long houses provided a lot for the people of this land.  

“You look around and notice one entrance,” he pointed out. “The step in would drop as much as three feet. People would ask how the elders got inside. Well, we would pack them. Our elders were very important to us. They carried our knowledge; they were like our libraries, so we took care of them at all times.”

Robinson went on to say that he refers to Chinook longhouses as the first colleges in the Pacific Northwest.  

“In these buildings is where people would sit in the winter by the fire and learn from their grandparents, their aunts and uncles. They would learn what it was like to be Chinook and how it was to be Chinook for tens of thousands of years on this Columbia River.”

As is the Chinook custom to give a gift to visitors, Cobb presented the Robinsons with Pendleton blankets from the CWHS.  

“We hope our relationship with the tribe can get solid and we can work together with educational programs and use this place to help bring back the local history and stories of the past,” Cobb said. 

The Two Rivers Heritage Museum is located at 1 Durgan Street in Washougal and open March through end of October on Saturdays from 11 am to 3 pm.  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 at 360-835-5449 for scheduling.

“We hope everyone will be interested in seeing this completed project and visit the museum before we are closed for winter maintenance starting in November,” said Cobb.  “Just because we have finished the plank house, doesn’t mean that we are done improving the Two Rivers Heritage Museum experience for the public and especially our local community.”

Camas, WA — The Camas Police Department reported today the arrest of Washougal mayoral candidate Derik Ford for one count of Assault IV-Domestic Violence during a Wednesday incident.

Initially, the Washougal Police were dispatched to the Ford residence following the report of an assault. Upon arrival, they learned the suspect was Derik Ford, owner of 2 Rivers Bar and Grill in Washougal, who had already left the scene. The report says the responding officers recognized Ford as a mayoral candidate and requested assistance from the Camas Police to eliminate any conflict of interest.

Camas officers interviewed Ford’s wife, and they reported a physical altercation had occurred and that she had been assaulted by Ford. Officers noticed red marks and scratches on his wife that corroborated her report. His wife declined medical treatment at the time of the report.

Camas officers contacted Ford at a different location and interviewed him. The report said he told officers there had been a “heated” argument but denied any physical confrontation. Officers noted marks on his wife that indicated otherwise. 

Following his arrest, Ford told officers that his wife had struck him but he didn’t want her to get into any trouble. 

Based on his wife’s statements, apparent injuries, and Ford’s inconsistent statements, officers determined there was probable cause to arrest Ford for Assault IV-DV. He was arrested and booked into the Clark County Jail for one count of Assault IV-Domestic Violence.

As of this morning, he was at Clark County Jail.

Ford has a history of domestic legal troubles. His former wife filed a temporary restraining order against him in May 2015 in Washington County, Oregon to prevent domestic abuse. Court documents show that Ford admitted to one count, and agreed to a two-year bench probation. 

Washougal, WA – The Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce plans to host Washougal Summerfest Beer Garden in Reflection Plaza, 1703 Main Street, in beautiful downtown Washougal, on Friday and Saturday, July 23 and July 24 from 4 pm-11 pm each day.

This new community event is open to the public and features live music by rock and roll band “The Hot Shots,” along with dancing, great beer, and good cheer!  This event is for those 21 and older.  Admission is $5.

“With the State fully re-opening at the end of June, the Chamber wanted a celebration as things return to normal,” said Jennifer Senescu, Executive Director of the Chamber.  “We have been through a lot the past 15 months, it’s time to come together as a community.” 

Recently, the Board of Directors at the Chamber had approved hosting two events, one in Washougal this Fall and one in Camas over the traditional Camas Days weekend. However, this week, Chamber officials were notified their Special Events Application with the City of Camas to hold a smaller hybrid of Camas Days was denied by Camas City officials. 

Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Burton said Camas was unable to accommodate the request due to police staffing issues. Vacations for officers were approved months ago given the cancellation of Camas Days by former Mayor Barry McDonnell.

The Chamber then approached the City of Washougal, where officials provided rapid approval for Washougal Summerfest on July 23 and 24. 

“We appreciate the City of Washougal’s flexibility and graciousness in approving this event so quickly. The Chamber’s involvement in Washougal is long overdue and our entire Board of Directors is delighted that we are hosting an event to promote downtown Washougal,” said Senescu. 

The Chamber is in the process of obtaining approval for an Oktoberfest in downtown Camas. 

Washougal, WA — With a generous Camas Washougal Community Chest grant and donations from The General Federation of Women’s Clubs Camas-Washougal (GFWC-CW), Washougal School District Early Learning is able to provide “Summer Learning, Summer Fun” packets to pre-K students entering kindergarten this Fall.

These packets include a “Get Ready for Kindergarten” workbook, two new books, and “Kindergarten Readiness Guidelines” for parents. 

The workbook is filled with skill areas such as letters, numbers, reading, writing, and math.  If the workbook is completed before the first day of school on August 31st, the student will receive an additional three new books.

The “Kindergarten Readiness Guidelines” outline the various skills a student should have when entering kindergarten to support their success. The guidelines encompass physical, social/emotional, language, literacy, math, and cognitive skills.  Parents can indicate if “Yes, my child can do this” or “We are working on this.”  

It provides a template for parents as they prepare their students for a smooth and confident transition to kindergarten.

At the end of the school year, Washougal pre-K students in the Washougal Community Education Preschools, ECEAP, and EOCF (Head Start) programs received packets at their preschool graduation.  Outreach continues so all pre-K families have the opportunity to participate in this summer learning. Over 125 packets are planned for distribution.

“Our goal is to reach every Washougal student that will benefit from this summer learning packet,” according to Lisa Young, Washougal School District Extended Learning Manager. “The generosity of the Community Chest and GFWC-CW is unparalleled. They fully understand the importance of ongoing learning opportunities for our youngest learners. As a community, we are fortunate to benefit from their sustained care and commitment of resources to education.”

Washougal, WA — About 60 local parents held a rally Tuesday night calling for open meetings with Washougal School District administration and the school board to more readily discuss curriculum issues, equity programs, sexual education, and Critical Race Theory, as well as mask mandates.

Here’s the full video report featuring an interview with Patricia Bellamy, a parent who was not permitted to return to Washougal School Board meetings: https://youtu.be/72q6Ru6Y45g

She explains what happened a few weeks ago and said more than 70 grievances have been filed against Washougal Schools, and is calling for face-to-face meeting with school leaders. She said if they don’t accommodate these meetings and hear parents they will call for the resignation or start a legal process to remove administration leaders from office.

Washougal School District responded with this statement: 

“When the state of emergency was declared in the state of Washington last year, the normal Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) rules for in-person meetings were suspended, and school boards, along with other organizations, were required to meet via Zoom.  The governor modified this rule in early 2021, to allow boards to choose to hold in-person meetings, but only if they’re able to meet certain safety requirements. 

“Our board started meeting in person in February, and was pleased that patrons wishing to address the board and listen to the board’s meetings were following the required safety measures.  After the May 11 meeting, when a very small group of patrons refused to comply with posted and required safety measures, the board indicated that they will meet via Zoom, with no one attending in-person, for the until further notice.  This is specifically allowable under the Open Public Meetings Act as amended by the Governor’s Emergency Proclamation 20-05 and the OPMA changes in 20-25 and as amended in 20-28.14 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  You can find some information from the Washington State School Directors Association on this topic, which outlines the legal parameters for board meetings at this time. 

“Moving back to the virtual meetings will support meeting the safety restrictions currently in place in Phase 3 for public gatherings. Once the COVID health restrictions/requirements are lifted per OPMA, and it is safe to do so, we look forward to returning to our in-person meetings.  Because we don’t know the timing of the changes in the restrictions and requirements, this could happen at any time.  

“The meeting location and ways the public can participate in the board’s meeting are posted ahead of each meeting, and we would encourage patrons and community members to watch for updates on the board meeting page. 

“As it relates to masks, we are following the guidelines from the Department of Health for K-12 schools, and from Labor and Industries which apply to our employees.  You can find the relevant information for schools here: 

https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/FallGuidanceK-12.pdf  (see page 11 for the Mask information)

“For employees, the Labor and Industries requirements on page 5 states: ‘Cloth face coverings must be worn by every employee not working alone on the job site unless their exposure dictates a higher level of protection under L&I safety and health rules and guidance.’”

Washougal, WA — Awareness of the needs for competitive employment opportunities for young adults with disabilities is the topic of an upcoming webinar, June 9 from 4-5 pm.  It will feature members of the cast and crew of the award-winning documentary Hearts of Glass and local participants with experience surrounding local jobs for individuals with disabilities.

Hearts of Glass is a 2018 film which follows the initial months of operation of Vertical Harvest, a state-of-the-art hydroponic greenhouse that grows crops while providing meaningful, competitively paid jobs for people with disabilities working alongside people without disabilities. 

Thanks to a Camas-Washougal Community Chest grant, Washougal, Camas and Hockinson School District patrons, the movie is available for on-demand viewing access through June 12, 2021.  This is the first viewing promoted in Washington State. To sign up for viewing go to https://watch.showandtell.film/watch/washougal-hearts-of-glass or the WSD website.

“Our hope is that people will come away from viewing the movie and hearing the panel discussion on June 9 with a greater awareness surrounding employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities,” said Jessica Nickels, Washougal Adult Transition Program Teacher.  “We hope to spark conversation around innovative ways to increase opportunities in our own communities for these individuals.”

“This film shows that innovation and inclusion can go hand-in-hand, benefiting citizens with disabilities and the community at large,” explained filmmaker Jennifer Tennican.

“Our goal is for the film and webinar to provide a platform to advocate for greater inclusion of individuals of differing abilities into all aspects of our community,” explained Heather Kassel, WSD ELA/EdTech Instructional Coach. “The discussion around the film is meant to serve as a catalyst for change and the creation of new partnerships between local businesses and the school district.”

Panelists are:

EMILY TAGHON

Columbia Ridge Senior Living Executive Director

Emily is from Molalla, OR and has been at Columbia Ridge as Executive Director for the last three years. She values community connections and has made increased community involvement for the center a goal for her tenure as director. Because of the tangible benefits that she has experienced with interns from the Washougal Adult Transition Program, she has actively customized employment opportunities for employees with disabilities.

SHELBI LANGSTON

Adult Transition Program Participant

Shelbi is a 2016 graduate of Washougal High School and a 2019 graduate of the Washougal Adult Transition Program (WATP). As a WATP participant, she interned at Columbia Ridge Assisted Living and Metropolitan Dance Academy in Vancouver.  Her employability strengths include: punctuality, resourcefulness, and attention to detail. She lives in Washougal with her immediate family and enjoys texting and hanging out with her friends.

JENNIFER TENNICAN

Director & Producer of Hearts of Glass

Jennifer began her documentary career in the late 1990s working on NOVA science programs for WGBH with independent producers in the Boston area. Since moving to Wyoming in 2002, she has focused on local stories. Her films explore identity, inclusion and community, and although they are rooted in Jackson Hole, they resonate far beyond the mountain west. Jennifer’s award-winning work, including “Hearts of Glass,” “The Stagecoach Bar: An American Crossroads” and “Far Afield: A Conservation Love Story,” has been featured in numerous film festivals and seen on PBS. Currently, “Hearts of Glas”s is the centerpiece of an impact campaign to improve employment and inclusion outcomes for people with disabilities. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys rock climbing with her husband.

JOHNNY FIFLES

Senior Farm Associate, Vertical Harvest Farms

Having arrived as a toddler in the “Equality State” from Chicago in the spring of 1993, Johnny is almost a Wyoming native. He graduated in 2015 from the University of Wyoming with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. Johnny has been an employee at Vertical Harvest since it opened in the spring of 2016. His professional skill sets at the greenhouse include: seeding, harvesting, delivering produce and guiding tours. He is passionate about human rights and social justice. In his free time, Johnny enjoys listening to music, going to movies, studying pop culture and travelling with his family.

ANDREA “DRE” ESTAY

Packaging Manager, Vertical Harvest Farms

Andrea, or Dre as she prefers to be called, grew up in Driggs, Idaho — just over Teton Pass from Jackson, Wyoming. She learned about Vertical Harvest from her brother and sister-in-law, who are closely involved with the greenhouse. Since joining Vertical Harvest in 2016, Dre has worked in many different positions. She started as a volunteer and worked her way up to tomato associate, job support and finally packaging manager. Dre’s favorite part of her job is interacting with coworkers and creative problem solving. In her free time, she likes to watch scary movies, play guitar, go on long drives and hang out with her friends. 

Camas, WA – The Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Riverview Community Bank, names Taylor Greenberg of Washougal High School and Joey Stanley of Camas High School as this year’s recipients of the Camas/Washougal Chamber College Scholarships. They were selected for their dedication to academics, extra curricular activities, sports, volunteerism, and community involvement.

On Wednesday, June 2nd the scholarship recipients will be honored along with the Businessperson of the Year: Marquita Call, Camas Gallery; and the Citizen of the Year: Doug Quinn at the Annual Award Banquet at Camas Meadows Golf Club. Teachers of the Year from Camas and Washougal will also be honored at the banquet. Social hour begins at 5:30, with dinner being served at 6:30 pm.

TAYLOR GREENBERG– WASHOUGAL HIGH SCHOOL

Greenberg is graduating from Washougal High School and plans on attending Whitworth University pursuing a major in Elementary Education and ultimately obtaining a Master’s degree in Education Administration.  Greenberg’s positive experience at Camas Schools and Washougal Schools helped her develop a sense of community and love for education.  She recognizes the importance of dedicated teachers and the true impacts that they have on their students’ lives. Her goal in life is to make a difference and change the world.  She wants to teach kids in the Camas-Washougal community how to thrive both educationally and in life.  She enjoys golf, basketball and dance.  

JOEY STANLEY – CAMAS HIGH SCHOOL

Joey is graduating from Camas High School and plans on attending John Hopkins University pursuing a degree in Environmental Engineering. Stanley is a self-starting, diligent, creative problem-solver who is courteous and trustworthy.  He is logical, mathematical, and physically capable.  He values promptness, collaboration and is steady under pressure.  Stanley serves at the Camas High School ASB government treasurer.  He received the WoHoLo Award the highest award earned in Campfire USA (similar to the Eagle Scout award).  His Science Olympiad team placed first in regionals in 2018, 2019, 2020 and first in state 2018; second in state 2019. Stanley plays the flute, piano, and is an active fly fisherman involved with Clark Skamania Flyfishers Club. 

Washougal, WA — What could be more fun for students of Columbia River Gorge Elementary (CRGE) than participating in The Kids Heart Challenge which combines learning about their heart while helping others by raising money for the American Heart Association?  It would be to see a pie smashed in the face of their favorite principal, Tracey MacLauchlan! 

“The students and families worked hard raising more than $4,000 to help support the work of AHA,” said CRGE PE teacher Jessica Warta who organized the fundraiser. “The students are extremely excited about the opportunity to pie Principal MacLachlan and are proud of their efforts to do good in the world and help others that are less fortunate.”

Students registered online and took on healthy challenges like a pledge to be kind, move more or choose water.  Students raised money online or by asking family and friends in person, all while learning about their physical and emotional well-being.

“In P.E., the students learned about why water is a better choice to drink over other sugary beverage options as well as fun heart facts,” said Warta. “Students could earn prizes or thank you gifts for the amount of money they raised.”

Any student who participated in the fundraiser or challenges was eligible for schoolwide prizes. For every $1,000 CRGE raised a staff member volunteered to get pied in the face. First grader, Jase Kenyon, was randomly drawn out of all the participants and was the lucky winner to pie Principal MacLachlan on May 21.  Other pies in the face were received by Warta and CRGE kindergarten teacher, Mandy Bradford. A staff member, yet to be determined, will be slimed in early June!

Washougal, WA — Washougal restaurant owner Derik Ford has formally filed to run for Mayor of Washougal. For has been living in the Pacific Northwest his entire life and has made Washougal his home for the past four years. 

“I’m running for Mayor of Washougal to lead with a greater emphasis on fiscal responsibility and provide a brighter vision for our city,” said Ford. “Washougal is experiencing growing pains, causing a greater financial burden on residents. Water and sewer rates continue to skyrocket. Our public works department is challenged to keep up. Revitalization of downtown Washougal has stalled.”

“As the gateway to the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, Washougal has untapped potential as a destination.” Ford said. “Tourism should be a central part of our economic development plan along with a renewed emphasis on attracting the next generation of clean manufacturing to provide more living wage jobs for our residents. Washougal is poised for new commercial development on the Washougal waterfront, and we must embrace this new addition to our community while working to preserve our historic downtown district and family-owned businesses. I’ll lead the charge to invigorate our downtown core area so that Washougal becomes a gathering place for residents and visitors alike.”

Ford graduated from North Bend High School and has attended South Western Oregon College, College of the Redwoods, Portland Sate University and Eastern Washington University. Together with his wife Michelle, they own and operate 2 Rivers Bar & Grill in downtown Washougal for the past three years. Ford is also a franchisee with Massage Envy for the past 14 years, a national leader in providing massage and facial services. Derik and Michelle have been married since 2018. She is a teacher and varsity volleyball coach at Camas High School. 

“As Mayor of Washougal, I’ll focus on implementing a fiscally responsible budget that also protects the safety of our citizens,” Ford added. “As a former law enforcement officer, I will ensure the Washougal Police Department is fully funded and has the resources it needs to properly train staff. I love this tight knit community which is why my wife and I chose Washougal as our home and the site for our restaurant. I bring energy and vitality to everything I do. I’ll always put the citizens first to move Washougal in the right direction.” 

“There are people living in their cars on Main Street in Washougal. My opponent’s answer to the homeless crisis is to use your hard-earned tax dollars to build tiny houses. This will only attract more addicted homeless people to our community. As Mayor, I’ll provide strong leadership to get folks off the street permanently.” 

Ford loves the great outdoors. His leisure time activities include traveling, hunting and snow skiing. He can be reached at 503-709-6546 or [email protected]. To learn more about Derik’s campaign platforms, visit ElectDerikFord.com