The Morning Press: Oil terminal, Herrera Beutler’s baby, light rail, dog park, beer



Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler and her husband, Daniel Beutler, welcomed their daughter, Abigail Rose Beutler, at 3:13 a.m. July 15.

Shonny Bria, right, former superintendent of Battle Ground Public Schools, reacts to the news that the district passed its four-year maintenance and operations levy on April 23. District residents have sharply criticized the school board for its secrecy surrounding the buyout of the contract for Bria, who retired June 30. The deal cost the district more than $400,000.

A group that failed to collect enough signatures to force a vote on light rail filed a lawsuit Monday, challenging a state law that invalidated some of their signatures.

Opponents of the proposed oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver urged commissioners to reject a lease deal with Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies on Monday night.

This week’s top stories and news you may have missed:

Herrera Beutler delivers prematurely; baby OK

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler delivered her baby earlier this month, and doctors are considering the baby to likely be the first to survive a diagnosis previously considered fatal.

Herrera Beutler and her husband Daniel Beutler welcomed their daughter Abigail Rose Beutler at 3:13 a.m. July 15 at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland. Abigail weighed 2 pounds, 12 ounces at birth.

While in utero, Abigail was diagnosed with Potter’s Syndrome, a condition associated with a deficiency in amniotic fluid often caused by a baby’s prenatal kidney failure. In Abigail’s case, absence of the kidneys resulted in a complete absence of amniotic fluid in the womb, which is critical to lung development, according to a news release from Herrera Beutler’s office.

Babies born with the condition typically suffer from severely underdeveloped lungs and are unable to breathe once outside of the womb.

Read the full story here.

B.G. board slammed over Bria

Given a chance to speak, Battle Ground community members berated the school board for not telling the truth about the $401,715 buyout of former Superintendent Shonny Bria.

Monday night’s special meeting provided the first opportunity for public comment since the buyout of Bria was announced June 26.

“It’s inconceivable to me that the board would apparently lie to the media,” said Walt Elliott, a retired Amboy resident. “The public wants the details. I can’t believe you’ve led us down the road of untruths.”

Elliott was referring to public records requests made by both The Columbian and The Reflector in May in which the district did not respond truthfully. The board apparently kept the buyout a secret from even high-ranking district administrators for two months.

Read the full story here.

Judge rules proposed light-rail initiative invalid

A proposed initiative to prohibit the city of Vancouver from using any resources to promote light rail exceeds the scope of local initiative power, Superior Court Judge John Nichols ruled Wednesday.

His decision ended the hope of anti-light rail activists that city residents would vote on the initiative in November.

Nichols’ ruling came a day after he heard oral arguments. He had thanked attorneys for filing detailed briefs and promised a quick turnaround on the ruling because of the Tuesday deadline to make the November ballot.

In his opinion, Nichols quoted from an analysis of a 1997 ruling affirming the legality of public financing of Safeco Field in Seattle, even though a group of residents opposed it:

“Stated another way, the people cannot deprive the city legislative authority of the power to do what the constitution and/or a state statute specifically permit it to do.”

Read the full story here.

Port of Vancouver unanimously approves oil terminal lease

Port of Vancouver commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved leasing 42 acres for a controversial oil terminal, despite overwhelming public testimony against the plan by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies to build what would be the largest such facility in the Pacific Northwest.

Commissioner Brian Wolfe said the lease — worth $45 million to the port over an initial 10 years — addresses public safety concerns. Port managers will stay on top of Tesoro and Savage like “white on rice” to ensure the project is “done right,” Wolfe said.

Commissioner Nancy Baker said if the port doesn’t build the infrastructure to handle oil, then “someone else is going to do it. That’s the way the world works.” The project will generate family-wage jobs, said Commissioner Jerry Oliver, and help the U.S. wean itself off foreign oil. “We’re not adding to global warming,” he said. “We’re replacing oil (that’s) already being consumed.”

Read the full story here.

Park’s dog days may be numbered

Most mornings, he lets the dogs out.

It’s become a cherished part of David Clarke’s daily routine — letting his two energetic pups loose in Washougal’s seven-acre Stevenson Off-Leash Dog Area.

Clarke’s been bringing his “fur children” to the undeveloped-private property-turned-makeshift park — complete with separate areas for large and small pooches and a doggy drinking fountain — for about as long as they’ve been alive. While 3-year-old Lakota and 2-year-old Chinook freely frolic with four-legged friends, the park’s volunteer manager socializes with other dog people who have also made early morning outings a ritual.

“It’s wonderful for the dogs. And the people make friends, too,” Clarke said.

Read the full story here.

After gallbladder surgery, Laina Harris’ resolve redoubled

The last month has taken a physical and emotional toll on Laina Harris.

After physical pain, surgery, weight gain and a harsh reminder of her past life, the Camas woman is ready to get back to her life.

For more than a year, healthful eating and regular exercise have been the norm for Harris, who, at her heaviest weighed 420 pounds. The result of her hard work is a 100-plus pound weight loss.

But last month, Harris decided to see a physician after weeks of off-and-on stomach pain. An ultrasound revealed she had multiple gallstones — the result of a chronically inflamed gallbladder.

Harris’ physician referred her for laparoscopic surgery to remove her gallbladder. She went in for a surgery consult July 1, and on July 5, she was in a hospital operating room.

Read the full story here.

HeLa High ready to inspire teens

The state-of-the-art mock pharmacy, nursing station and biotechnology lab at Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School are ready to inspire students to pursue health and medical careers.

But before the state’s first health and bioscience high school welcomes its first students, it’s putting out the welcome mat to the community Thursday afternoon with public tours beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Nicknamed HeLa High, the new school is immediately north of PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. That proximity will enable students to learn hands-on medical work via internships at the hospital and for medical staff to be guest instructors at the school, said Nicole O’Rourke, an English teacher at HeLa who was assisting student-led tours on Tuesday.

Read the full story here.

Readers suggest top local beers for IPA Day

Columbian readers chimed in on social media with their suggestions for Clark County’s top IPA beers in honor of IPA Day today.

IPA, or India Pale Ale, is a hoppy beer that is very popular in the Pacific Northwest. IPA Day is a national celebration of craft beer that started in 2011.

Here are their suggestions:

  • Ghost Runners Brewery, Hellacious Repeats Double IPA
  • Heathen Brewing, Transcend IPA / Transgression IPA
  • Laurelwood Brewing, Workhorse IPA
  • Loowit Brewing, Shadow Ninja IPA
  • Mill City Brew Werks, Alpha Ale IPA
  • Mt. Tabor Brewing, Asylum Avenue IPA

For more local beer news, brewery locations and event listings, visit The Columbian’s beer blog at