Former Woodland mayor Jim Graham dies




James R. Graham, who served eight years as Woodland mayor after retiring as the city’s police chief, died Saturday in Vancouver, said Woodland Mayor Grover Laseke.

Graham, known as Jim, was 68.

“It is with a sad heart that I report the death of former Woodland Police Chief and Mayor Jim Graham this afternoon in Vancouver,” Laseke wrote in an email.

No other information was available, and Laseke said a service will be announced when details are finalized.

Graham was elected mayor in 1995 and served until 2003.

Before that, he spent 17 years as chief of the Woodland Police Department.

He worked for the department a total of 28 years.

In his first year as mayor, Woodland was the hardest-hit community in Southwest Washington during February 1996 floods.

More than 1,000 people were evacuated and more than 200 homes were damaged or destroyed.

Then-President Bill Clinton came to survey the damage from the North Fork of the Lewis River and pledge federal assistance. Graham gave Clinton a 45-minute tour of flood-ravaged neighborhoods.

Graham lived in Woodland his entire life, and said few events in the city’s history could compare with the presidential visit.

“I would have to say it’s right up there at the top,” he said in 1996, although, “Mount St. Helens was a little Earth-shattering.”