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News Releases
UPDATE: Public Works reminds residents to properly dispose of leaves to prevent street flooding - 10/05/22

UPDATE: The list of where coupons can be picked up has been updated. 

Vancouver, Wash. - Clark County Public Works reminds residents to rake and properly dispose of leaves to prevent roadway flooding. Leaves that aren’t properly disposed of can clog storm drains and create areas of standing water on roadways. Drivers can lose control of their vehicle when driving through standing water, or water can splash onto windshields and block other driver’s fields of vision.

Blowing, raking, sweeping or dumping leaves onto county roads is unlawful. Residents can clear clogged storm drains on neighborhood streets with low speed-limits and light traffic. On busy roads, storm drains should only be unclogged by Public Works staff. Residents can report clogged drains and street flooding at clark.wa.gov/public-works/report-park-road

Residents can dispose of their leaves for free with the Fall Leaf Coupon program, courtesy of the City of Vancouver and Clark County Public Works. From Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 residents can drop off up to five cubic yards of leaves at one of four designated sites at no charge. Residents can get their coupon by: 

The four sites for leaf disposal are H&H Wood Recyclers, McFarlane’s Bark, Triangle Resources and West Van Materials Recovery Center. Addresses, business hours and more information can be found on the coupon. The coupons are for residential use only and cannot be redeemed by businesses. Branches and other yard debris are not eligible for free disposal. Loads should be covered during transport, and all bags of leaves will need to be emptied at the disposal site by the resident. Residents can also dispose of leaves in their yard debris/organics cart.

To receive information about road and park projects, closures, opportunities for community input, and more, residents can follow Public Works on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and view information on Nextdoor. 

County council appoints Ken Lader as county engineer - 10/05/22

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Council this week approved a resolution appointing Ken Lader as the county engineer. Lader had been serving as interim county engineer for the last couple of months. His appointment takes effect immediately.

Lader has worked for Clark County Public Works more than 20 years and served the last eight years as manager of the Engineering and Design section. Previously, he held positions as engineer and engineering technician. 

Lader is a licensed civil engineer in the state of Washington. He earned a bachelor’s in civil engineering from Oregon State University. 

“Ken’s passion for the employees of Public Works and the design of the roads in our beautiful county has been present throughout his distinguished career,” said Deputy County Manager Amber Emery. “His leadership for the office of the county engineer has been steadfast through a time of change, and I am pleased that Ken has stepped into this role permanently.”  

“I’m excited to take on the role as county engineer,” said Lader. “The last few months have shown me how passionate and invested Public Works employees are to ensure the safety of our roads and bridges. I’m honored to work with such dedicated public servants.”

State law requires counties to designate a county engineer who is a registered and professional civil engineer in the state of Washington. Functions typically performed by the county engineer include construction oversight, modifying, planning, and maintaining all county roads and bridges, and other engineering related tasks as necessary.

More information on Public Works is available on the county’s website at https://clark.wa.gov/public-works

County seeks diverse applicants for Clean Water Commission - 10/03/22

Vancouver, Wash. – The county manager is seeking to fill three open positions on the Clean Water Commission, an advisory group representing the community’s needs and interests in stormwater management decisions. Terms begin January 2023 and end December 2025.

Applicants must be residents of Clark County, either unincorporated areas of the county or a city/town. Professional experience in stormwater management is not required. Applicants with an interest in water quality, data and program analysis, education and outreach, or experience advocating for the environment are encouraged to apply. 

In seeking to represent the community’s diversity, applicants are encouraged to request interpretation, translated materials, or assistance overcoming challenges to meeting participation, if needed, by emailing pw.outreach@clark.wa.gov or calling 564.397.1679. Interpretation and translation are available, upon request, for all commission meetings, communications and materials. 

The nine-member group makes recommendations to the Clark County Council about services and policies protecting watershed health throughout the community, and collaborates with residents, agencies, businesses and nonprofit organizations. The commission meets 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every other month, starting in January. Currently, meetings can be attended in-person or virtually via WebEx.

To apply, interested residents should submit a letter of interest and a resume to Clark County Public Works Clean Water Division c/o Brent Davis, PO Box 5000, Vancouver WA 98660-5000 or via email to cleanwater@clark.wa.gov. Applications must be submitted by noon Monday, Oct. 31. 

More information about the Clean Water Commission can be found at clark.wa.gov/public-works/clean-water-commission

To receive information about road and park projects, closures, opportunities for community input, and more, residents can follow Public Works on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and view information on Nextdoor. 

Local businesses and community members to be honored for their commitment to employment and services for individuals with developmental/intellectual disabilities - 10/03/22

Vancouver, Wash. – Businesses and individuals who are making a difference in the lives of people with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities will be honored Wednesday, Oct. 5,  at the Disability Employment Awareness Awards. 

Five Community Awards will be presented at the event which will take place bothin person at Clark Community College and virtually this year. The in person/virtual ceremony runs from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m, with in person networking taking place 4-4:30 p.m.

The event also celebrates October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Register for the even by following this link: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ejby3wv6864fb43c&llr=6ajwdndab

Awards will go to a large employer, small employer and an employee with a developmental or intellectual disability as well as people being honored for their extraordinary service to those with developmental or intellectual disabilities.

The Clark County Community Awards honor the role people with developmental disabilities have in helping achieve a dynamic, productive workforce and recognize those in the business community who have demonstrated leadership in employing people with developmental or intellectual disabilities.

County seeks applicants for Community Action Advisory Board - 09/29/22

Vancouver, Wash. – The county manager is seeking applicants to fill several positions on the volunteer Community Action Advisory Board. 

The board is made up of an elected official, a community representative and a low-income representative from each of the five county council districts. There also is one member at large. 

Current open positions include: 

  • Elected officials from the county’s fourth and fifth districts 
  • Low-income representatives from the county’s third, fourth and fifth districts 
  • Community representatives from the county’s first, third and fourth districts. 

Term periods start Jan. 1, 2023, and are three years, ending Dec. 31, 2025. Incumbents have the opportunity for re-appointment to two additional three-year terms. 

The advisory board makes recommendations about local government funding for basic needs, self-sufficiency and housing programs. Members also advocate for services supporting low-income communities, families and persons at local, state and federal levels. 

Clark County is looking to diversify the board composition and encourages people with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives to apply, especially people of color and from historically oppressed or under-resourced communities. 

Interested residents must submit an application and résumé to Rebecca Royce, Clark County Community Services, P.O. Box 5000, Vancouver, WA 98666-5000 or rebecca.royce@clark.wa.gov

Application information can be found at https://clark.wa.gov/community-services/caab-community-action-advisory-board or by calling Rebecca Royce at 564.397.7863.

Deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 11.

Learn about bats and celebrate Green Neighbors' birthday at free, family-friendly event - 09/29/22

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Green Neighbors program is turning 10 and inviting the community to its batty birthday party!

Celebrate at the Green Neighbors “Beneficial Bats” birthday party 2-3:30 pm Saturday, Oct. 8 in the Vancouver Community Library Columbia Room, 901 C St. in Vancouver. Advance registration for the event is requested, but not required. Register on the Green Neighbors website

Guest speaker Brandon Burger with Backyard Bird Shop will talk about local bats, how bats support local ecosystems, and what people can do to support them. Bat specimens will be on display and partygoers can take fun photos with props. The event will also include raffle prizes and light refreshments. In honor of Green Neighbors’ waste-reduction mission, guests who bring their own reusable cup will receive a second raffle ticket. 

Green Neighbors is a Clark County Public Health program dedicated to promoting residential waste reduction, composting, and recycling. For more information about the program, visit the Green Neighbors website or email info@clarkgreenneighbors.org

Construction on Northeast Hazel Dell Avenue water quality retrofit project to begin Oct. 3 - 09/28/22

Vancouver, Wash. – On Oct. 3, construction will begin on a water quality retrofit project along Northeast Hazel Dell Avenue from Northeast 83rd Street to Northeast 86th Street. The project includes installation of stormwater treatment basins and vaults to improve water quality in Cougar Creek, and downstream improvements to the stormwater collection and treatment system. 

Northeast Hazel Dell Avenue will remain open during construction; however, drivers should expect delays and lane closures. The outer lane and bike lane on southbound Hazel Dell Avenue will be closed for the duration of the project. Drivers should watch for flaggers and signage directing traffic through the construction area. Access to local businesses will remain open. 

Construction is expected to be completed by the winter of 2023-2024. Construction start and end dates are weather dependent. 

Project updates and information can be found at https://clark.wa.gov/public-works/ne-hazel-dell-ave-water-quality-retrofit.

To receive information about road and park projects, closures, opportunities for community input, and more, residents can follow Public Works on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and view information on Nextdoor. 

Free online workshops promote composting and sustainable living - 09/28/22

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County’s Composter Recycler program is offering a series of free online workshops for those interested in a sustainable lifestyle. The six-part series will teach participants how to reduce their impact on the planet through composting, waste reduction, and green living. 

Here are the webinars offered this fall:

  • Backyard Composting: 7-8 pm Wednesday, Oct. 12. Learn how to construct a compost pile and heat it up. 
  • Red Worm Composting: 7-8 pm Wednesday, Oct. 19. Learn how to construct and maintain a worm bin that will turn kitchen trimmings into nutrient-rich fertilizer. Participants will be eligible to receive a worm bin (supplies limited).
  • Lasagna Garden Composting: 7-8 pm Wednesday, Oct. 26. Learn how to grow, build, and plant a raised-bed garden from free, easily obtainable urban waste. No tilling or turning required.
  • Food Too Good to Waste: 7-8 pm Wednesday, Nov. 2. Learn why it is important to keep food waste out of the landfill and hear about alternative options like curbside food waste collection, food waste share apps, community food waste collection sites, and advanced food waste composting.
  • Green Cleaning: 7-8 pm Wednesday, Nov. 9. Learn how to make three versatile and environmentally friendly household cleaners. Participants will be eligible to receive a green cleaning kit (supplies limited).
  • Low Waste Living: 7-8 pm Wednesday, Nov. 16. Learn how to live a low waste lifestyle, including tips and resources to refuse, repair, refurbish, reuse and donate.

Pre-registration is required for all webinars. To register, visit the Composter Recycler website. Participants will receive a confirmation email after successful registration. Recordings of previous webinars are also available on the Composter Recycler website.

The Composter Recycler program educates the community about easy ways to reduce waste, increase recycling and create healthier homes. For more information about the program, visit the website, call 564.397.7333 or email info@clarkcountycomposts.org.

Public Works seeks feedback on proposed pickleball courts for Pacific Community Park at Sept. 29 meeting - 09/28/22

Clark County Public Works, Parks and Lands is hosting a public meeting to discuss the addition of four pickleball courts at Pacific Community Park and gather the community’s input.

Residents can participate in-person at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29 at the Bud Van Cleve Meeting Room at Luke Jensen Sports Park, 4000 NE 78th Street. Comments about the project can be submitted via mail, email or at the public meeting. 

The proposed pickleball courts will be located near the center of the park. Construction of the courts will include surfacing, striping, and installation of permanent fencing. Installation of a covered area is also under consideration. Existing park facilities and structures including the dog park, picnic shelter, skate bowl, and restrooms will not be impacted. The addition of the pickleball courts will not impact the park master plan.

Residents can learn more about the proposed plan at https://clark.wa.gov/public-works/pacific-community-park and submit comments to pwparksprojects@clark.wa.gov. Comments must be received by Oct. 21.

To receive information about road and park projects, closures, opportunities for community input, and more, residents can follow Public Works on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and view information on Nextdoor. 

County Fire Marshal extends open burning, recreational fire ban indefinitely - 09/28/22

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Fire Marshal Dan Young has extended the open burning and recreational fire ban indefinitely. The ban will be in place until the county gets a significant rain event. The county will put out notice when the bans are ended. 

According to Fire Marshal Dan Young this is a preventive measure to reduce the risk of grass or brush fires in Clark County. 

This action is in-line with DNR and the other counties in Southwest Washington. 

“The burn ban has historically been removed on Oct. 1 since we typically have at least one significant rain event in mid to late September, but this year has been unseasonably dry,” said Young. “At this time, the weather forecast does not show any rainfall in the next two weeks. If conditions change and we get enough rain, we will lift the ban.”

Creating a defensible space around a home helps prevent wildfires from spreading to a residence, or vice versa. Young recommends the following measures in both rural and urban areas:

  • Remove fuel
    • Within 3-5 feet of foundations, outbuildings, garages and sheds
    • Within 10 feet of a house
    • Under decks and porches
    • From gutters, eaves, porches and decks
  • Cut the lawn if it is brown. Dispose of debris and cuttings.
  • Prune trees so lowest branches are 6-10 feet above the ground.
  • Landscape with native and flame-resistant plants.

Self-contained camp stoves are not included in the ban. 

Northeast Hazel Dell Avenue sidewalk improvement project construction to begin Oct. 3 - 09/27/22

Vancouver, Wash. – On Oct. 3 construction will begin on Northeast Hazel Dell Avenue, between Northeast 99th Street and Northeast 117th Street, to construct and repair sidewalks on both sides of the road. Construction is scheduled to be complete by late February 2023. Impacts to local access traffic and brief delays are possible during construction. Flaggers and signage will direct travelers through the construction area. 

Northeast Hazel Dell Avenue is a two-lane urban arterial roadway traveled by up to 800 vehicles per hour. High vehicle speeds and inadequate sidewalks create hazardous conditions for the many pedestrians and bicyclists traveling the corridor to access several transit routes/facilities and schools. In sections without sidewalks, pedestrians must walk on the narrow roadway shoulder or navigate rough, uneven terrain. This creates additional barriers to safe travel for people with disabilities. 

This project will: 

  • Construct sidewalk segments in areas without sidewalks, repair damaged sidewalk segments and install curb ramps meeting Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, creating a continuous sidewalk network along Northeast Hazel Dell Avenue from Northeast 99th Street to Northeast 117th Street. 
  • Restripe shoulders and add signage and symbols to create designated bike lanes on both sides of the road. 
  • Move the existing mid-block crosswalk at Sacajawea Elementary School south to the intersection of Northeast Hazel Dell Avenue and Northeast 112th Street. 

This project is supported by county, state and federal funding sources, including the county road fund, county traffic impact fees, a grant from the state’s Transportation Improvement Board – Sidewalk Program and a grant from the federal Transportation Alternatives Program (Urban Large). Advanced Excavating Specialists, LLC is the contractor for this project. 

To receive information about road and park projects, closures, opportunities for community input, and more, residents can follow Public Works on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and view information on Nextdoor. 

James_Johnson_2.jpg
James_Johnson_2.jpg
Medical Examiner's Office determines identity of man in 2002 cold case (Photo) - 09/27/22

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed the identity of a man whose body was discovered 20 years ago. 

The Medical Examiner’s Office recently identified James Orin Johnson Sr. as the unidentified person found in Ridgefield on Jan. 13, 2002. Johnson was 32 years old at the time of his death. 

The Medical Examiner’s Office submitted a DNA sample from the remains to Bode Technology, a forensic DNA laboratory in Virginia that provides forensic genealogy services and specializes in the extraction of DNA from challenging human remains samples. The forensic genealogist used the DNA from the remains to predict the unidentified person’s ancestry and compared it to individuals in online genealogy databases that allow searches of unidentified persons. The forensic genealogist found an ancestral link to two sisters born in Oregon in the mid-1800s and compiled a long list of people who were distantly related to the unidentified man.

Medical Examiner’s Office investigator Christine Holroyd spent months contacting potential family members to inquire about a possible missing male relative, carving out time to work on the cold case in between current cases. The rising number of deaths in Clark County has outpaced population growth and left investigators with less time to work on cold cases. From 2012 to 2021, the number of deaths investigated by the Medical Examiner’s Office increased by 59.5%, while the county’s population increased by 18.6%. 

In May, Medical Examiner’s Office operations manager Nikki Costa met with a descendant of the two sisters. Arlene Zumwalt agreed to provide DNA that could be used as a family reference sample that aided the investigation by determining which branch of the family tree to pursue. Bode forensic genealogists analyzed the results from the newly obtained family reference sample and in August indicated the unidentified man was very likely a biological son of Judith Cox Johnson. The forensic genealogists noted that her son James Orin Johnson appeared to have no traceable activities since mid-2001.

Costa tracked down the children and brother of James Johnson. His son Jaccob Johnson confirmed the family had not heard from his father in over 20 years. Candy Hallanger, former wife of James Johnson, hired a private investigator in 2003 to try to find her children’s missing father. But for two decades, Johnson’s brother Robert Johnson and the rest of the family has been wondering about the whereabouts of their loved one. 

The family was eager to confirm Johnson’s identity and offered to assist in the investigation. Another of Johnson’s sons, James Johnson Jr., uploaded his DNA profile to GEDmatch. GEDmatch is a DNA site that allows people to upload their genetic profiles from other testing companies for comparison and allows users to opt-in to law enforcement searches when investigating genetic genealogy cases. Johnson Jr. had previously tested with another genealogy company that does not permit these types of investigative searches. 

Using autosomal DNA, Bode forensic genealogists determined that the two samples matched in a parent/child relationship as expected. Clark County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Martha Burt concurred that the forensic genealogical analysis, in conjunction with the circumstantial evidence, proved the previously unidentified man was James Orin Johnson Sr. 

“This great work by our team helped to provide a family with answers they had been waiting 20 years to receive,” Burt said. “The Medical Examiner’s Office is committed to finding the names of all unidentified decedents in Clark County.”

On Sept. 17, Costa met with Johnson’s family – son Jaccob and his wife, Kathryn, daughter Catreena Johnson, and former wife Candy – to walk through the investigation that led to Johnson’s identification. 

“This was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career,” Costa said. “Jaccob gave me a hug that communicated so much. I will remember it for the rest of my days.”

Additional information

GEDmatch and FamilyTree DNA are the only public genealogical databases that allow users to opt-in to database searches by law enforcement and those working to identify unidentified remains. These databases are a powerful tool to help law enforcement, medical examiners and other investigators resolve unidentified person cases and find leads in criminal investigations. 

The Medical Examiner’s Office encourages people to consider uploading their DNA profiles from other direct-to-consumer genealogy companies and opting-in to public searches. Doing so can help bring names to the unidentified, provide closure to their families, and help law enforcement identify perpetrators of violent crime. Both FamilyTreeDNA and GEDmatch allow users to upload their profiles from other companies for free. Find more information on the GEDmatch and FamilyTreeDNA websites. 

Attached Media Files: James_Johnson_2.jpg , James_Johnson.jpg
Oct. 19 community event to celebrate purchase, opening of new Gordy Jolma Family Natural Area - 09/26/22

Vancouver, Wash. – The community is invited to join Clark County Public Works, Parks and Lands at 5 p.m. on Oct. 19 to celebrate the opening of the new Gordy Jolma Family Natural Area. The new 118-acre natural area is adjacent to the Salmon-Morgan Creeks Natural Area and supports open space, regional water quality and salmon recovery goals. The property will also increase recreational opportunities in the area. 

The Oct. 19 event will include a brief presentation, ribbon cutting, and interpretive nature walk. Attendees are reminded to dress for the weather. Parking is available at the former Cedars Golf Course clubhouse at 15001 Northeast 181st Street in Brush Prairie. The ceremony will take place across 181st Street along a paved path. 

Gordy Jolma, the owner of the Cedars Golf Course, approached Parks and Lands in 2019 about selling the property. The property is identified as a high-value conservation area in the Natural Areas Acquisition Plan and the property acquisition was approved as part of the 2022-2027 Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan. After gathering input from the community, the Clark County Council approved the purchase of the property on Aug. 16 using Legacy Lands and Clean Water Funds. The sale of the property was officially finalized this week. The final purchase includes 133.5 max acre feet of water rights along Salmon Creek, property along the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad, and naming rights for the Gordy Jolma family. 

The Oct. 19 event marks the opening of the property to the public. Clark County park rules apply at natural areas, including hours of 7 a.m. to dusk (a half hour after sunset). Signage will be installed and mowing will keep trails visible. Visitors are asked to stay on trails and paved paths. Golf carts and motorized vehicles are not permitted. 

The Legacy Lands program conserves open space, farmland and timber land. Since the property was purchased with Conservation Futures funding, the site will transition from a golf course to a greenway. A master planning process, for trails and other low-impact facilities, could occur in the next 20 years. 

Interpreters will be provided at the Oct. 19 event upon request by emailing pw.outreach@clark.wa.gov or calling 564.397.1679. 

To receive information about road and park projects, closures, opportunities for community input, and more, residents can follow Public Works on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and view information on Nextdoor. 

County manager appoints David Shook to lead new Jail Services department - 09/26/22

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County Manager Kathleen Otto today announced the executive leadership team that will lead the recently established Jail Services department. David Shook will be the Director of Jail Services, Joe Barnett will be the Manager of Jail Administration and Bryan Pilakowski will be the Manager of Jail Operations. The team will begin on Monday, Oct. 17. Shook will report to Deputy County Manager Amber Emery. 

The county council last week approved a resolution adding a new department which begins the transition of management of the jail from the Sheriff’s Office to the County Manager’s Office. 

Shook today resigned his position as a deputy in the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. Prior to working for Clark County, Shook worked 25 years at Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon. His tenure with Washington County included enforcement and corrections and encompassed leadership roles in training and operations.

Barnett has worked for Clark County for more than 30 years and is currently a Commander in Corrections. Pilakowski has worked more than 20 years for Clark County and is currently a Corrections Deputy. Both Barnett and Pilakowski have been instrumental in providing leadership in their respective positions in Corrections.

“I am humbled and excited to have been chosen for the Director position of the newly formed Jail Services department. I look forward to working side by side with the jail staff and community stakeholders,” said Shook.

Emery stated, “We are fortunate to have a team of experienced and committed professionals.”

The process of transitioning management of the jail will take several months. 

“As we move forward, we are committed to having a transparent process, including involvement of key stakeholders and will provide continual updates to our employees and residents,” said Otto.

Financial assistance programs help Clark County residents in need of onsite sewage system maintenance and repairs - 09/23/22

Vancouver, Wash. – This Septic Smart Week, Clark County Public Health is reminding homeowners of the importance of keeping onsite septic systems up to date on inspections and maintenance. 

By ensuring systems are in good condition, owners can protect their property’s value and avoid needing costly emergency system replacements. Public Health recommends homeowners work with county-certified professionals to complete system inspections and get advice about maintenance, repairs, or onsite septic system replacement. 

“Addressing small problems and taking corrective actions will avoid bigger problems down the road,” said Chuck Harman, Environmental Public Health program manager. “By doing so, onsite septic owners protect their investment, maintain a sustainable wastewater treatment method, and protect groundwaters that serve as Clark County’s primary drinking water source.”

Several financial assistance programs are available to help Clark County residents cover the costs of onsite sewage system maintenance, repairs, and replacement. 

Clark County Community Services’ Housing Preservation Program assists with deferred, low-interest, flexible loans for onsite sewage system repair and maintenance. Over the past 15 years, the program has funded 48 septic repair or replacement projects totaling nearly $640,000, with an average loan amount of about $13,000. 

Here are some Clark County projects funded through the Housing Preservation Program:

  • In August 2019, the program provided financial assistance for a homeowner in the Washougal River Watershed to install a 1,000-gallon septic tank. The two-bedroom home utilized a well and needed to decommission the old septic tank. The total project cost was nearly $11,000.
  • In October 2017, the program provided more than $19,000 to replace a simple gravity system and 1,000-gallon tank. The two-bedroom home is in the Gibbons Creek area of Washougal, and the property presented challenges due to the slope of the land where the drainfield was located. 
  • In January 2019, the program helped a property owner in the Salmon Creek Watershed to replace a failing simple gravity system and 1,000-gallon tank. The three-bedroom home is located on a ¼-acre lot with multiple trees and roots. The contractor was able to save all the trees, including a large old maple tree, and complete the project. 

Visit the Community Services website for more information about the Housing Preservation Program or contact Dawn Lee at 564.397.7811 or dawn.lee@clark.wa.gov

A new local program, Poop Smart Clark, now has funding available for septic system repairs in select areas of Clark County. The grant-funded program is administered by Clark Conservation District and provides financial assistance to people with septic systems in areas near polluted streams.

Poop Smart Clark reimburses up to $130 for inspection costs and $500 for pumping and repairs, and now up to $20,000 for a limited number of full septic system replacements or major repairs. Assistance is available for property owners in specific watersheds of the East Fork Lewis River. 

The program runs through fall 2024. Visit the Poop Smart Clark website for more information. 

To learn more about these financial assistance programs and others, and for a list of certified professionals, visit the Public Health website

Clark County Medical Examiner's Office - MEDIA RELEASE UPDATE - 09/22/22

The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed the identity of a man whose body was found in his home on August 6, 2022 as that of James Z. Smith (formerly known as Joseph G. Quagliani). 

The Humane Society for Southwest Washington was instrumental in providing leads that facilitated locating dentists. Dental offices, in another region of the country, were contacted and expeditiously produced antemortem digital x-rays and dental charting. Subsequently, Forensic Odontologist, Dr. Kyle Tanaka, was able to confirm Mr. Smith’s identity within hours of receiving the antemortem dental records.

Dr. Kyle Tanaka is a practicing dentist who is also a forensic odontologist certified by the American Board of Forensic Odontology (https://abfo.org/). He volunteers as a Forensic Odontology Consultant to the Washington State Patrol Missing and Unidentified Persons Unit.

Medical Examiner opinions as to the cause and manner of death are pending. 

Reports and records of autopsies or postmortems shall be confidential as per RCW 68.50.105. No additional information is available for release from the Medical Examiner’s Office. 

 

Nikki J. Costa

Operations Manager

County begins conversation to transition management of jail from Sheriff's Office to County Manager's Office - 09/20/22

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Council today approved a resolution establishing a new county department of Jail Services. This is the first step of the conversation to transition the management of the county jail from the Sheriff’s Office to the County Manager’s Office. 

“The county is committed to work together internally and with our local partners to ensure a thoughtful and smooth transition during the upcoming months,” said Otto. “A safe, suitable jail facility for those housed in the jail as well as those who work and provide services in the jail will continue to be the number one priority.” 

An intentional transition plan of Jail Services will be developed in collaboration with all relevant partners and is expected to take several months.

“We are committed to provide more information with residents regarding this transition. We will be reaching out as we move through the process by sending news releases to the media, posting information on the county’s website and on social media platforms,” said Otto

The resolution and staff report can be found on the county’s website at https://clark.wa.gov/councilors/clark-county-council-meetings.

Clark County's ePlan review system goes live today, Sept. 19 - 09/19/22

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County Community Development has been working to implement an electronic plan review program which will went live today, Sept. 19. 

Now that the go live is complete, the county will only receive electronic applications and plans. Hard copies will no longer be accepted. This will apply to new applications. However, paper applications currently in the system will continue to be processed as is. 

The new ePlan system will allow applicants to submit building and development plans electronically as opposed to physically taking them to the county’s Permit Center. With ePlans, both the applicant and permit staff can access review status and comments in real time. 

For a new residential or commercial development project there can be numerous plans to review including construction, transportation, stormwater, engineering standards and environmental. 

Permit staff developed the tag line, Saving trees and parking fees for the project. “Our goal is to improve all aspects of the permitting process, making it faster and easier while still adhering to code and safety regulations in Clark County,” said Community Development Director April Furth.

Benefits of the new system include:

  • Reduction of paperwork, file management and plan scanning
  • Efficient information exchange between staff and customers
  • Increased access to plans in the field which improves inspection services
  • Ability to review plans concurrently with other programs

For more information on the ePlan review system visit the county’s website at www.clark.wa.gov/eplan. CVTV recently featured the ePlan review system in this Clark County Close Up video.

Clark County Medical Examiner's Office - MEDIA RELEASE - 09/16/22

Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office                                                                                                                 

MEDIA RELEASE      

The following information is in reference to a death investigated 

by the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office.

 

This individual died on 09/12/2022 in Cougar, WA

The name of the decedent: Beech, Shane        Age: 52 Yrs            

The decedent was a resident of (city/state):  Battle Ground, WA 

 

The opinions listed on the death certificate are as follows:

Cause of death:  Pending   

Manner of death:  Pending         

Reports and records of autopsies or postmortems shall be confidential as per RCW 68.50.105. No additional information is available for release from the Medical Examiner’s Office. Refer all other inquiries to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. 

 

Media release issue date: Prepared 09/16/2022

Doreen Gunderson 

Office Assistant III      

Public Health's Vital Records office to offer in-person services five days per week - 09/16/22

Clark County Public Health’s Vital Records office is expanding its hours for in-person services to five days per week, beginning Monday, Sept. 19. 

People can continue to place orders for birth and death certificates online or by mail; details for ordering certificates are available on the Public Health website. For those who prefer to place orders in-person, here are the Vital Records office hours beginning Monday, Sept. 19:

  • No appointment: 8 am to noon Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 9 am to noon Wednesday
  • By appointment: Noon to 4 pm Monday through Friday

To schedule an appointment with Vital Records, visit the Public Health website. People who need help scheduling an appointment can call 564.397.8092 from 8:30 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday.

The Environmental Public Health office will continue to be open for in-person services by appointment 8:30 am to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays. To schedule an appointment, visit the Public Health website.

The Public Health offices are in the Center for Community Health, 1601 E Fourth Plain Blvd., Building 17. The Center for Community Health is a health care facility and face masks are required to be worn in the building.

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Clark County Medical Examiner's Office - MEDIA RELEASE (Photo) - 09/16/22

The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office is seeking the public’s help to confirm the identity of a man whose body was found in his home on August 6, 2022. 

 

The man is presumed to be 68-year-old James Zephyrus Smith of Vancouver. But the Medical Examiner’s Office needs help locating the man’s dentist and biological relatives in order to confirm his identity.

 

The Medical Examiner’s Office believes the man was born in New Jersey and named Joseph Gene Quagliani. He is believed to have been known as Joseph Gene Quagliani until 2001, when his name was changed to James Zephyrus Smith.

 

He is believed to have lived in the Pacific Northwest since the early 1990s, residing in King County and Clark County, and the Hillsboro, Oregon area.

 

At the time of his death, he lived in Vancouver and frequented local dog parks with his two greyhounds. He was also a volunteer for the Humane Society for Southwest Washington.

 

Medical Examiner opinions as to the cause and manner of death are pending. 

 

The Medical Examiner’s Office asks anyone with information about James Z. Smith to please send it to nikki.costa@clark.wa.gov

 

Reports and records of autopsies or postmortems shall be confidential as per RCW 68.50.105. No additional information is available for release from the Medical Examiner’s Office. 

 

Nikki J. Costa

Operations Manager

Attached Media Files: Photo_Smith.jpg
Closure of intersection of Northeast 99th Street and Northeast 94th Avenue to begin Sept. 26 - 09/15/22

Vancouver, Wash. – The intersection of Northeast 99th Street and Northeast 94th Avenue will be closed beginning Monday, Sept. 26. The closure is expected to last at least 20 days but may be extended as needed. Exact start and end dates of the closure are weather dependent. 

Drivers will be diverted onto a detour route. To reduce the impact of increased traffic along the detour route, the contractor will place temporary asphalt speed bumps along the detour route prior to the start of the closure. The temporary speed bumps will be removed by the contractor as soon as the closure ends and the detour is no longer needed.

The closure will allow a contractor to make necessary utility upgrades to prepare for future construction of a roundabout at the intersection. Construction of a roundabout is part of a larger project to improve traffic circulation on Northeast 99th Street between Northeast 94th Avenue and Northeast 117th Avenue (SR-503). The project at Northeast 94th Avenue will connect Northeast 99th Street between Northeast 94th Avenue and Northeast 105th Avenue, at the north end of the closed Leichner Landfill. Future improvements in the area include construction of roundabouts at the intersections of Northeast 99th Street with Northeast 107th Avenue and Northeast 110th Avenue/112th Avenue. Residents can learn more about the Northeast 99th Street corridor improvements and related projects at clark.wa.gov/public-works/ne-99th-street

To receive information about road and park projects, closures, opportunities for community input, and more, residents can follow Public Works on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and view information on Nextdoor. 

Commission to hear creative communication, outreach strategies used by volunteer coordinators to help older residents - 09/15/22

Vancouver, Wash. – The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the challenges of connecting older adults to resources, information and each other. These connection challenges existed before the pandemic and will continue into the future. Learn how volunteer coordinators are creatively conducting outreach with older residents, families, friends, faith communities, and neighbors at the next meeting of the Commission on Aging, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022.

Meeting guests include:

  • Jon Seibert, Blanchet House 
  • Ulises Alvarez Olvera and Cendy Cruz, Meals on Wheels People

Meetings are currently held in a hybrid format with both in-person and virtual participation options. Attend in the sixth-floor Hearing Room of the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St., or join by phone or computer through information provided at: https://clark.wa.gov/community-planning/commission-aging-meetings.

The Commission on Aging, supported by the Clark County Council, is a nine-member volunteer group that implements the Aging Readiness Plan and provides leadership addressing needs of aging community members. For more about the commission, please visit www.clark.wa.gov/aging.

Commission meetings are carried on CVTV Channel 23/323 and online at www.cvtv.org. To see replay times, go to www.cvtv.org.

Public Health encourages residents to take action during Septic Smart Week - 09/15/22

Vancouver, Wash. – In advance of Septic Smart Week (Sept. 19-23), Clark County Public Health wants to remind onsite sewage system owners to take action to ensure their personal wastewater treatment systems are maintained and operating at their best leading into fall and winter. Several financial assistance programs are currently available to help property owners in Clark County pay for inspections, maintenance, and repair or replacement of their systems.

“Regular inspection and maintenance of onsite sewage systems is critical to ensuring these systems continue to operate in good condition,” said Chuck Harman, program manager for Public Health’s Onsite Sewage System program. 

Regular inspection and maintenance have multiple benefits, including: 

  • Keeps onsite sewage systems running well and protects against premature failure
  • Sustains the performance level of the system’s treatment to protect groundwater, which is important for properties served by individual wells
  • Helps to prevent problems that could require an expensive major repair
  • Sustains the home’s original investment, which is important both financially and at times of property transfer or sale

Clark County is fortunate to have several financial assistance programs available for onsite sewage system maintenance, repairs, and replacement. Current programs offered by local organizations include:

  • Housing Rehabilitation Program – Clark County Community Services assists with deferred, low-interest, flexible loan programs for onsite sewage system repair and replacement. For more information, go to www.clark.wa.gov/community-services/housing-preservation
  • Craft3 – This nonprofit community lender offers flexible loans with competitive rates for the repair and replacement of onsite sewage systems. For more information, go to www.Craft3.org/CleanWater
  • Poop Smart Clark – This local grant-funded program is focused on water quality within the East Fork Lewis River and is administered by Clark Conservation District. The conservation district, along with the local Watershed Alliance, offers direct financial assistance for onsite sewage system inspections, maintenance actions, and minor and major repairs. Assistance is available for property owners in specific watersheds of the East Fork Lewis River. For more information, go to www.poopsmartclark.org/septic

Clark County Public Health is also developing a financial assistance program, funded through the American Rescue Plan Act, to help homeowners adversely impacted by COVID-19 and the resulting economic strains. Public Health hopes to launch the program in late 2022.

During Septic Smart Week, Public Health will share stories on social media of Clark County residents who benefited from the financial assistance programs outlined above. These stories will also be shared in a news release next week.

“In a county where all of our drinking water comes from groundwater and where we value our beautiful recreational waterbodies, the inspection, maintenance, and repair of septic systems throughout the county is incredibly important,” Harman said. “We encourage property owners to take action and, if they need to, take advantage of the financial assistance opportunities that are available to our community.”

For more tips and information about Septic Smart Week, visit www.epa.gov/septic/septicsmart-week

County seeks applicants for Community Action Advisory Board - 09/15/22

Vancouver, Wash. – The county manager is seeking applicants to fill several positions on the volunteer Community Action Advisory Board.

The board is made up of an elected official, a community representative and a low-income representative from each of the five county council districts. There also is one member at large.

Current open positions include: 
• Elected officials from the county’s fourth and fifth districts 
• Low-income representatives from the county’s third, fourth and fifth districts 
• Community representatives from the county’s first, third and fourth districts.

Term periods start Jan. 1, 2023, and are three years, ending Dec. 31, 2025. Incumbents have the opportunity for re-appointment to two additional three-year terms.

The advisory board makes recommendations about local government funding for basic needs, self-sufficiency and housing programs. Members also advocate for services supporting low-income communities, families and persons at local, state and federal levels.

Clark County is looking to diversify the board composition and encourages people with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives to apply, especially people of color and from historically oppressed or under-resourced communities.

Interested residents must submit an application and résumé to Rebecca Royce, Clark County Community Services, P.O. Box 5000, Vancouver, WA 98666-5000 or rebecca.royce@clark.wa.gov.

Application information can be found at https://clark.wa.gov/community-services/caab-community-action-advisory-board or by calling Rebecca Royce at 564.397.7863.

Deadline is Thursday, Oct. 7.

Arts Commission's updated website a hub for events, venues and resources - 09/14/22

Vancouver, Wash. – Volunteers on the Clark County Arts Commission recently updated their website creating a one-stop site to find all events involving visual and performing arts throughout the county. The update also includes an interactive map showing various performing and visual arts venues. 

Arts Commission board members encourage community members to submit their art events to be included on the website using the contact feature at https://www.clarkcountyartscommission.com/

“We are really excited to promote events throughout the county that celebrate the talented artists in our community,” said Commission Chair Deborah Nagnano.

In addition to art event information, the website also has information on calls for art for upcoming shows as well as commission members, vacant positions and meeting agendas and minutes. 

Commission extends nomination deadline for 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award

Art news and announcements also is available on the website. One such announcement is that the commission recently extended the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award nomination deadline to Nov. 30. 

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an artist, arts educator, or arts advocate who lives or works in the county and has made a significant contribution to local arts and culture. Individuals or groups may be nominated. Find eligibility requirements and a nomination form on the Arts Commission website

Commission to hear creative communication, outreach strategies used by volunteer coordinators to help older residents - 09/13/22

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the challenges of connecting older adults to resources, information and each other. These connection challenges existed before the pandemic and will continue into the future. Learn how volunteer coordinators are creatively conducting outreach with older residents, families, friends, faith communities, and neighbors at the next meeting of the Commission on Aging, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022.

Meeting guests include:

  • Jon Seibert, Blanchet House 
  • Ulises Alvarez Olvera and Cendy Cruz, Meals on Wheels People

Meetings are currently held in a hybrid format with both in-person and virtual participation options. Attend in the sixth-floor Hearing Room of the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St., or join by phone or computer through information provided at: https://clark.wa.gov/community-planning/commission-aging-meetings.

The Commission on Aging, supported by the Clark County Council, is a nine-member volunteer group that implements the Aging Readiness Plan and provides leadership addressing needs of aging community members. For more about the commission, please visit www.clark.wa.gov/aging.

Commission meetings are carried on CVTV Channel 23/323 and online at www.cvtv.org. To see replay times, go to www.cvtv.org.

Board of Health seeks applicants for volunteer Public Health Advisory Council - 09/09/22

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Board of Health is seeking applicants for a position on the volunteer Public Health Advisory Council. 

The open position is for a medical doctor practicing in Clark County. The three-year term begins Oct. 1, 2022 and ends Sept. 30, 2025. 

The advisory council meets 5:30-7:30 pm on the fourth Tuesday of every even month via Zoom. When in-person meetings resume, they will be 6-8 pm in the main conference room on the second floor of the Center for Community Health, 1601 E Fourth Plain Blvd.

The Public Health Advisory Council uses a health equity framework to identify community health needs, and review and recommend public health policies and priorities to address the identified needs. The council may provide community forums or establish community task forces, as assigned by the Board of Health. And the council reviews and makes recommendations to Clark County Public Health and the Board of Health for the annual budget and fees. 

Clark County Public Health promotes healthy communities and environments, health equity, and disease and injury prevention. With community partners, Public Health works to promote healthier choices; ensure the safety of food and water; reduce environmental waste and contamination; and protect people from disease outbreaks through monitoring, early detection and swift response. 

Those interested in an appointment to the advisory council should submit a brief letter of interest and résumé to Michelle Pfenning, County Manager’s Office, PO Box 5000, Vancouver 98666-5000. 
Applications can also be emailed to michelle.pfenning@clark.wa.gov.

The application deadline is 5 pm Friday, Sept. 23. 

Public Health issues danger advisory at Lacamas Lake due to elevated toxin levels - 09/08/22

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County Public Health has issued a danger advisory for Lacamas Lake after test results revealed elevated levels of cyanotoxins in the water due to a harmful algal bloom. Cyanotoxins can be harmful to people, especially young children, and deadly for pets.

Results from water samples taken from Lacamas Lake on Tuesday revealed cyanotoxins above the threshold levels recommended by the Washington Department of Health. The harmful algal bloom is currently present at multiple public access points at Lacamas Lake.

The danger advisories previously issued for Vancouver Lake and Round Lake also remain in place. 

Public Health is advising against all recreating in Lacamas, Round and Vancouver lakes, including swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing, using motorized boats, water skiing and fishing. Pets should not have any contact with the water.

Harmful algal blooms can pose a significant health risk if the cyanobacteria or toxins are ingested, inhaled or contact skin. Inhaled bacteria or toxins can cause wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Skin contact can lead to rash, itching, blisters and eye irritation.

If water with cyanotoxins is accidentally swallowed, symptoms can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, numbness of the lips, tingling in fingers and toes, and dizziness. The toxins can be fatal to pets that drink the water.

Public Health will continue to monitor the lakes and take weekly water samples while blooms are present to test toxin levels. Signs will be updated as conditions change.

Additional information about algal blooms and current advisories are available on the Public Health public beach website

County Fire Marshal expands burn ban to include recreational fires - 09/08/22

Vancouver, Wash. – Due to the extreme fire danger, recreational fires will be prohibited throughout unincorporated Clark County effective 12:01 am, September 9, 2022. 

This recreational fire restriction is in addition to the general outdoor burning prohibition that was implemented on July 15

According to Fire Marshal Dan Young this is a preventive measure to reduce the risk of grass or brush fires as a result of escaped campfires. 

This ban joins with the ban imposed by the Cities of Camas and Washougal.

“The ongoing hot, dry weather has us concerned with how easy it is for a fire to be ignited by an escaped ember from a recreational fire,” said Young. “A small campfire can accidentally spread to adjacent properties very easily with our current dry conditions.” 

With no precipitation in the forecast and the expectation of temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s to continue, the ban will be in place until sufficient rainfall occurs to lower the risk. 

Creating a defensible space around a home helps prevent wildfires from spreading to a residence, or vice versa. Young recommends the following measures in both rural and urban areas:

  • Remove fuel
    • Within 3-5 feet of foundations, outbuildings, garages and sheds
    • Within 10 feet of a house
    • Under decks and porches
    • From gutters, eaves, porches and decks
  • Cut the lawn if it is brown. Dispose of debris and cuttings.
  • Prune trees so lowest branches are 6-10 feet above the ground.
  • Landscape with native and flame-resistant plants.

Self-contained camp stoves, which are not banned, are a safe and easy alternative for outdoor cooking. 

 

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Northwest 11th Avenue between Northwest 164th Street and Northwest 179th Street to close for culvert construction - 09/07/22

Vancouver, Wash. – Beginning Monday, Sept. 12, Northwest 11th Avenue between Northwest 164th and Northwest 179th Streets will be closed through the end of September as a private contractor, Rotschy INC, installs a culvert across 11th Avenue. 

A detour on Northwest/Northeast 164th Street/Northeast 10th Avenue/Northeast Delfel Road will allow drivers to access Northwest 11th Avenue south of the closure area, while a detour on Northeast/Northwest 179th Street will allow access to Northwest 11th Avenue north of the closure. Signage will be posted to direct drivers. Local access to adjacent property owners will be provided.

To receive information about road and park projects, closures, opportunities for community input, and more, residents can follow Public Works on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and view information on Nextdoor.