The Morning Press: Volcano photos, new police chief, West 39th Street



A snowclad slope of Mount St. Helens in April 1980.

"Despite being here for such a short period of time, watching the officers interact with the community, I think they are A-plus." New Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain

A massive fire at an old and untended building burnt down in 1913. The fire may have killed a 13-year-old boy and was blamed on "tramps."

Greg Martin, who has lived on 39th Street for 32 years, continues to be frustrated with the number of semi-trucks that use the street to get from Interstate 5 to Fruit Valley Road. The city's director of public works has said that while the city should ban oversize loads, banning all tractor-trailers would not be simple and would put additional trucks on Fourth Plain Boulevard.

Camas quarterback Reilly Hennessey threw for 3,387 yards and 38 touchdowns, and rushed for three more TDs, leading Camas to a school-record 13 wins.

With all the week’s festivities, here some top stories and news you may have missed:

Photographer’s parting shots of Mount St. Helens live on

They’re brand new images of a Northwest icon that disappeared more than 33 years ago — the conical summit of Mount St. Helens.

Reid Blackburn took the photographs in April 1980 during a flight over the simmering volcano.

When he got back to The Columbian studio, Blackburn set that roll of film aside. It was never developed.

On May 18, 1980 — about five weeks later — Blackburn died in the volcanic blast that obliterated the mountain peak.

Those unprocessed black-and-white images spent the next three decades coiled inside that film canister. The Columbian’s photo assistant Linda Lutes recently discovered the roll in a studio storage box, and it was finally developed.

Read the full story and see the photos here.

New chief on the beat in Vancouver

One knock against the previous chief was he was isolated from the rank-and-file and didn’t learn officers’ names.

Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain said Monday, the start of his second week on the job, he plans on having photographs of officers to help memorize names and a magnetic board in his office showing an organizational chart with command staff and what they do.

Most important, he plans on “getting out of this position right here,” he said during an interview in his office at police headquarters near Officers Row.

During his first week, he made trips to the department’s east and west precincts, met police chiefs from the county’s smaller cities, as well as Clark County Sheriff Garry Lucas, mingled with community groups and participated in two “Shop With a Cop” holiday outings.

His first goal, he joked, was to survive his second week.

Read the full story here.

Vancouver’s 1913 news echoes 2013’s

Looking at The Vancouver Columbian’s holiday season headlines from 100 years ago provides an unusual window into the past that is both antiquated and surprisingly modern.

Issues over the Interstate Bridge, marriage rights and homelessness plagued the city — with many headlines that could be ripped from today’s papers.

At the same time, a typhoid epidemic ravaged the state, tuberculosis and diabetes were major killers, bounties were paid for the shooting of outlaws and many groups were looked upon as second class citizens.

Here are some highlights from the week of Dec. 24, 1913, to Jan 1, 1914. The full text of these stories is online at

Neighbors seek ban of big rigs on 39th Street

More than a year has passed since Greg Martin and a few of his neighbors in west Vancouver’s Lincoln neighborhood started distributing signs reading, “No semis on 39th!”

All he’s heard from city officials about increased truck traffic on the two-lane street has been the “usual political blah-blah-blah,” said Martin, a retired city firefighter who has lived on 39th Street for 32 years. He now has a more pointed sign outside his home, reading, “Thank you city of Vancouver for destroying another neighborhood with trucks and higher speeds!”

“I’m still frustrated,” Martin said Thursday. He said he’s told by city staff that speeding on the two-lane street should be taken up with the police department, and he’s spoken with the sergeant in charge of the traffic unit and knows how few officers are assigned.

He said he and his wife are considering selling their home, but he still has hope the city will take steps to limit trucks.

But he and his neighbors shouldn’t expect relief soon, as the city’s director of public works explained recently in an email.

Brian Carlson acknowledged the city could ban oversize trucks that require a trip permit from using 39th Street, but said that won’t satisfy residents.

Read the full story here.

Anglers may lose portion of Buoy 10 area

A small but popular section of the Buoy 10 fall salmon-angling area near the mouth of the Columbia River may be off-limits to fishermen beginning in 2014.

Legislation adopted in Oregon this year requires establishment of a zone at the mouth of Youngs Bay in Astoria that is closed to recreational fishing. Senate Bill 830 says the zone is “to reduce interception of hatchery fish returning to the off-channel fishery in Youngs Bay.”

The closure zone emerged during the Columbia River sport-commercial fishing reform discussions in 2012.

According to the reform plan, by 2017 gillnets will be limited to off-channel sites such as Youngs Bay with seine fisheries in the main Columbia. Sport-commercial allocations of spring and summer chinook are being shifted to the benefit of sportsmen.

The commercials asked for the Youngs Bay sport-closure zone to keep the angling fleet from catching bright fall chinook and coho at the mouth of Youngs Bay. Many of those fish are released in Youngs Bay to fuel the commercial fishery inside the Highway 101 bridge.

Read the full story here.

All-Region football: Reilly Hennessey, Camas

Reilly Hennessey prefers to think of the season as a whole, not just one final game that went awry.

When put in totality, there was very little that went wrong with the Camas Papermakers this past football season.

“It was exactly how we pictured and dreamed until Week 14,” said Hennessey, the quarterback. “Record-wise, we had gone through 13 weeks of perfect football.”

Through 13 weeks and 47 minutes into Week 14, the Papermakers still looked to be perfect. We all know what happened. Chiawana stunned Camas with two touchdowns in the final minute for a 27-26 victory in the Class 4A state championship game.

Hennessey said of course that game is still on his mind, but he also is mourning the passing of his high school and youth football career.

“To be able to walk out to that (practice) field every day, to see my best friends every day, that’s what I miss,” Hennessey said. “For the last eight or nine years of my life, I’ve been throwing a little oblong ball to these guys.”

His football career will continue. He intends to sign a letter of intent with Eastern Washington University in February.

But today, we celebrate Hennessey’s final season with the Papermakers as The Columbian’s All-Region football player of the year.

Read the full story here and see the rest of the all-region athletes at