'Boy Scout Bart' leads rescue of wayward ducklings

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

Published:

 
photoBart Hansen

Vancouver City Councilor Bart Hansen does plenty of community service. He plants trees and removes ivy. He risks public humiliation for a good cause, dressing as Braveheart for a benefit for The Children's Center and signing on for this fall's "Dancing with the Local Stars" to raise money for the Fort Vancouver National Trust

His earnestness has earned him the nickname "Boy Scout Bart," in the All Politics is Local blog.

On Thursday, Boy Scout Bart outdid himself, helping save 10 ducklings after mama duck was hit by a motorist on state Highway 14. And mama duck survived.

All together now: Awwww.

Hansen, 38, was westbound near the Grand Central shopping complex about 3:30 p.m. Thursday when he spotted the ducks in the right lane. He pulled his minivan to the shoulder of the highway and turned on his hazard lights. The mama waddled into the next lane and was clipped by a motorist.

"She was just kind of dazed," Hansen recalled Friday. A C-Tran bus, driven by Doni Christina, had followed Hansen's lead and stopped, blocking the right lane to protect the ducklings until they were moved off the highway. An off-duty C-Tran supervisor, Helen Scott, stopped as well, Hansen said, as did another motorist.

After the ducklings were moved off the highway, Scott and her niece placed them in the back of Hansen's minivan. Meanwhile, Hansen and others tried to catch the mama duck. A Washington State Patrol trooper arrived to help, as did David Hughes, an officer with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.

"Mama is tough as nails," Hansen said. The mama, bleeding from injuries, flew over to the nearby shopping complex, where she was caught by Hughes and reunited with her ducklings.

The Portland Audubon Society offered to take in the ducks, Hansen said, but Hughes planned to make sure mama was OK before delivering her and the ducklings back to water.

Scott Patterson, public affairs director for C-Tran, said Friday that Christina had finished her route and her bus was empty. Stopping on the highway was "less than an ideal situation, but given the circumstances and the conditions she made the call that she felt was best," Patterson said.

"We don't have a duck-crossing policy per se," he said. "But we do provide thorough training for drivers."

Hansen, an office services manager at Clark Public Utilities who serves on the C-Tran Board of Directors, downplayed his role in the rescue operation Friday. He did, however, use the opportunity to make a reference to his alma mater, Washington State University.

"No matter what the Ducks do in this community, they need a Cougar to save them," he joked.

Stephanie Rice: 360-735-4508 or stephanie.rice@columbian.com.