The Morning Press: Vancouver Police, Land bridge, summer travel, Kiggins

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Vancouver Police officer Colton Price gets out of his patrol car during field training. The 24-year-old spent 51/2 years with the U.S. Army before getting hired with the Vancouver Police Department.

The Northwest Indian Veterans Association Color Guard leads a procession Saturday over the 5-year-old Vancouver Land Bridge to the village at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

Columbia Land Trust stewardship lead Dan Friesz walks through a section of recently planted tree cuttings on Pierce Island this week. The Vancouver-based nonprofit has also removed invasive plants as it takes on restoration work on the island this year.

After yesterday’s rain, are you wondering about this week’s forecast? Check it out at columbian.com/weather.

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

City pays to prepare police

On Colton Price’s first day as a full-time police officer, his field training sergeant tossed him the keys to the patrol car and told him to drive.

It was a surprise for the 24-year-old newbie at the Vancouver Police Department, who expected to ride shotgun for a day or two to gather his bearings. But Sgt. Jim White, who’s been training incoming officers for more than a decade, knew better.

“This isn’t a spectator sport,” White said. “You’re up to your eyeballs from Day One.”

Price is one of nine new hires at the Vancouver Police Department. Some, like him, come straight out of the police academy in Burien, while others hail from law enforcement agencies around the U.S. The agency hasn’t been fully staffed since 2002 due to Baby Boomer retirements, resignations and a couple of deaths. It has three more vacancies it plans to fill.

Read the full story here.

Land Bridge, five years old, draws people to crossroads, meeting place

Her long braids bouncing with each step, Tyese Arthur danced an American Indian “circle dance” Saturday morning with about a dozen other members of the N’chi Wanapum Canoe Family. In beaded moccasins, her feet hopped and stepped to the beating drums.

As they moved in a circle, Arthur and the other fancy dancers from Warm Springs, Ore., also chanted traditional American Indian songs at the base of the Vancouver Land Bridge to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the project’s completion.

Part of the Confluence Project, the Vancouver Land Bridge was inspired by Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam War Memorial. Its purpose is to reconnect the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site to the Columbia River.

Read the full story here.

Gorge islands a rare setting for renaissance

PIERCE ISLAND — At first glance, it’s easy to miss.

The seemingly innocuous plant doesn’t look like much. It’s only a few inches across, its tiny leaves staying close to the ground.

And its name — persistent-sepal yellowcress — doesn’t exactly inspire a wave of excitement for the average person.

“As far as plants go, it’s not the showiest,” said Ian Sinks, stewardship director with the Columbia Land Trust. “Botanists get excited.”

So do Sinks and his colleague Dan Friesz. That’s because they know they’re looking at something that’s found almost nowhere else in the state. As the two walked the northern edge of Pierce Island, in the Columbia River just below Beacon Rock, they took note of the state-endangered plant. It’s one of many characteristics that have drawn renewed attention to the unique ecosystem supported by Pierce Island, nearby Ives Island and the surrounding area as environmental stewardship groups continue their efforts there.

Read the full story here.

Patience paying off for C-W port

Laying the groundwork for eventual private-sector growth and public-sector amenities often comes in small steps, not big strides. In local government and economic development, public input and patience matter. David Ripp, executive director of the Port of Camas-Washougal, will tell you about it.

Since taking the port’s helm in 2008, the 46-year-old Ripp — whose professional experience includes serving as executive director of the Port of Woodland for 13 years and as a branch manager for Norwest Financial — has methodically shepherded several high-profile projects to completion.

In April, for example, the port announced that longtime port tenant Foods In Season, a gourmet fresh food supplier, had signed on to relocate to the 120-acre Steigerwald Commerce Center’s first building, a new distribution center. The company expects to add 10 new jobs as a result of its expansion.

Read the full story here.

Summer sojourns of service

During the summer, some Clark County residents recharge by traveling to other countries to gain a new perspective, see things in a new way. Many volunteer summer after summer, and say that they gain as much as they give. Some of these world travelers wrote posts for The Columbian’s “Summer Journeys” blog. Here are their stories.

‘Kigstarter’ campaign hits goal three days early

Vancouver, you really Kigged it.

The Kickstarter campaign launched by the Kiggins movie theater last month, raising money for a do-or-die conversion to digital projection technology, has reached its $85,000 goal. As of Friday evening, the website of the crowdfunding campaign was reporting that 729 backers had pledged a total of $88,493 — with three days still left before its Monday morning deadline.

Owner Dan Wyatt has said the movie industry is dumping film and going digital across the board, and that he was faced with the choice to “go digital or go dark” this year. And while everybody claims to love the spacious, historic Kiggins at 1011 Main St., he said, not everybody actually spends money on tickets — which is why he was forced to turn to Kickstarter, an online fundraiser that collects individual pledges to donate to good causes and creative projects.

Read the full story here.