Yacolt high in elevation and growing in population

By Paul Suarez, Columbian freelance


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• Population: 1,566

• Must see: Mount St. Helens views; living Christmas tree; nearby Pomeroy Living History Farm; Chelatchie Prairie Railroad; Yacolt Burn State Forest; nearby Moulton Falls Regional Park

• On the Web: http://townofyacolt.com/


For more information on life in Clark County, visit www.columbian.com/portrait.

Clark County’s northernmost municipality sits at 700 feet in elevation — higher than any other in the county — and it’s population of 1,566 is the lowest of all incorporated cities and towns. The elevation isn’t changing, but population is on the rise.

Yacolt has grown by about 48 percent since the 2000 U.S. Census, when it checked in at 1,055 residents.

City facilities are growing, too. In 2010, the Town Hall was moved into a remodeled two-story building at 202 W. Cushman St. that once was Yacolt’s Masonic Lodge.

The new location is a significant upgrade from the former seat of town government. Built in 1908, when Yacolt was incorporated, the former Town Hall also doubled as the Yacolt jail.

The old Town Hall was about 800 square feet; the new one is about 4,500 on two floors. That means a lot more room for town operations, as well as events. It offers more space to assist the public, said Crystal Bielec, the town’s customer service clerk.

Yacolt hopes to turn the former Town Hall into a museum, which would also expand the community’s menu of attractions. After its initial remodel, the new Town Hall has been getting another upgrade to help the building meet accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The town received a grant to install an elevator to the second floor.

The website, http://townofyacolt.com, gives residents access to council agendas, town ordinances and other civic links. It also has a history link, which offers some background on the town’s name. “Yacolt translates to ‘Valley of the demons’ or ‘Haunted place.’ It was named for a Native American legend about several children camping in Yacolt many years ago, who wandered away from camp never to be seen again. It was believed that evil spirits had taken them.”

Recent additions to the town include a veterans memorial, 105 E. Yacolt Road. The memorial, which includes a flagpole, brick paving and landscaping, was created by Josiah Woltersdorf for his Eagle Scout community service project. It provides a site for the Veterans Day observance.

While Yacolt is the county’s smallest town, Yacolt Primary School has an enrollment of 830. The children represent an attendance area of 197 square miles — the entire northeast quarter of the county.