The Morning Press: Freeholders, Steakburger, drug busts, CRC audit



Portland State quarterback Kieran McDonagh takes part in a passing drill Wednesday.

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

123 file for 15 freeholder spots

Clark County voters will have 123 candidates to choose from in the November election to fill 15 freeholder spots.

The nonpartisan board of freeholders will then undertake the task of drafting a new county charter, to be offered back to voters for approval as soon as November 2014. The new charter would allow the county to be governed by its own set of rules, as long as those rules don’t conflict with the U.S. or Washington state constitutions, or state laws.

The massive turnout of candidates more than doubles the previous freeholder election in Clark County, held in 2000, when 52 candidates sought 21 positions in what would become a failed charter attempt.

Mike Heywood, chair of the local Democratic Party, said he was “amazed” by the turnout.

Read the full story here.

Developer’s plan would demolish Steakburger

After 51 years of selling barbecue-sauce-slathered burgers with a side of putt-putt golf, the iconic Steakburger & Golf-O-Rama restaurant is on the chopping block once again.

But with a tough economy, stringent land-use regulations and increasing development costs, the only question is how long it will take the Hazel Dell restaurant’s owners to find a willing buyer for the quirky, fun-filled landmark that dates to the community’s early history as Vancouver’s first suburb.

A developer’s plans submitted to Clark County’s planning department would demolish the restaurant and its miniature golf course at 7120 N.E. Highway 99, east of Interstate 5, to make room for a new retail center.

Read the full story here.

Anatomy of a drug bust

Even to someone watching closely, the vehicle idling in the driveway of a home in a quiet Salmon Creek neighborhood wouldn’t have seemed odd.

But the undercover officer inside — a detective with the Clark-Vancouver Regional Drug Task Force — was vigilantly watching the neighborhood’s lone entrance.

Spotting the Yamaha motorcycle whip into view, the officer keyed his police radio: “Our boy’s coming right now! He’s coming right now!”

What happened next took only seconds.

Seven cars sped down the street, screeching to a halt surrounding a gray two-story house. Leaving their car doors open, officers rushed into place. Their outstretched arms gripped their weapons, pointed at the motorcyclist, who was now in the garage.

“Police! Put your hands up!”

Read the full story here.

Funding restraints to limit scope of CRC audit

A new Columbia River Crossing project audit, which was mandated in this year’s state transportation budget, won’t examine all facets of the project because of funding constraints, Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley said Friday.

“The budget amount is very small, so in terms of a full-blown audit across the board, that’s not something we can do,” Kelley said while sitting down with The Columbian during a trip to Vancouver on Friday. “The worst thing would be to bite off more than we can chew and not be able to finish it. … The Legislature wouldn’t be happy.”

What the audit will focus on are architectural and engineering contracts awarded for the apparently defunct Interstate 5 Bridge replacement plan. Auditors will look to see if there were any overcharges or unauthorized services provided between 2005, when the first contracts were awarded, and June of this year, when the project began shutting down. Construction never began, but about $170 million was spent on the planning.

Read the full story here.

Viking Quest: Skyview grad McDonagh aims to lead Portland State at QB

PORTLAND — Hip-hop music echoed off the buildings surrounding Portland State’s football practice field.

Occasionally, a coach’s whistle pierced the baseline’s din. Staccato clapping from players added a layer to the steady drumbeat.

As the sun set behind the West Hills during the twilight of a recent Vikings practice, quarterback Kieran McDonagh got his message across without cranking up the volume.

After leading his unit in a game simulation, the sophomore went player to player. With a fist-bump here, an instructional hand motion there, McDonagh — a Skyview High grad — showed how leadership can take on a calm, subtle identity.

Read the full story here.

Seeking a new fit at Bluer Denim

Jeff Shafer has spent almost two dozen years as a clothing industry entrepreneur, and his Ridgefield-based Agave Denim is a nationally recognized brand for high-end jeans and other denim apparel.

Now Shafer is focusing his entrepreneurial skills on a new brand of jeans and denim products, called Bluer Denim. Separate from Agave, the new company being launched this month is built on direct sales to young consumers to appeal to their social awareness.

The online retailer hopes to address the challenge of allowing customers to touch and try on clothing with a new concept — free delivery of up to three clothing items, which can be returned with no shipping cost within seven days.

Read the full story here.