Yacolt: County’s smallest city growing fast

Yacolt has annexed 3 properties, seen population rise by 50% in 10 years

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photoFort Vancouver Regional Library staff stocks the shelves of the century old former Yacolt jail as they convert it into a "library express" location on Aug. 30, 2012.

(/The Columbian)

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Yacolt

Population: 1,605

Must see: Mount St. Helens views; living Christmas tree; nearby Pomeroy Living History Farm; Chelatchie Prairie Railroad; Yacolt Burn State Forest; nearby Moulton Falls Regional Park

Website: http://townofyacolt.com; express library: http://www.fvrl.org/aboutus/yacolt-LE_main.htm

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Although Yacolt has the lowest population of any incorporated city or town in the county, the town’s population has grown by about 50 percent since the 2000 U.S. Census. Then, it checked in at 1,055 residents. Now, the town has a population of 1,605.

Yacolt recently has annexed three new pieces of property, one of which will become a recreational area, Yacolt Clerk-Treasurer Cindy Marbut said. City facilities have grown, too.

In 2010, the Town Hall was moved into a remodeled two-story building at 202 W. Cushman St. that once was Yacolt’s Masonic Lodge.

The new location is a significant upgrade from the former seat of town government. Built in 1908, when Yacolt was incorporated, the former Town Hall also doubled as the town’s jail.

The old Town Hall was about 800 square feet; the new one is about 4,500 on two floors. That means a lot more room for town operations and events, and more space to assist the public.

The new building also better meets accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It has an elevator to the second floor, for example.

Yacolt has turned the former Town Hall into an express library to make up for the recent loss of bookmobile service, Marbut said. The express library, a branch of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District, often has no staff members, but patrons can access the library’s resources after swiping their library card to unlock the door.

The express library has about 2,000 books, CDs and DVDs, according to the website. It also has a phone connection to the Vancouver library, as well as a wireless Internet connection. For more information about the facility, call 360-906-5106 or email contact@fvrl.com.

Yacolt’s website, http://townofyacolt.com, gives residents access to council agendas, town ordinances and other civic links. It also has a history link, which offers some background on the town’s name: “Yacolt translates to ‘Valley of the demons’ or ‘Haunted place.’ It was named for a Native American legend about several children camping in the area many years ago who wandered away from camp, never to be seen again. It was believed that evil spirits had taken them.”

The town sits at 700 feet elevation, which is the highest elevation of any municipality in the county.

Recent additions to the town include two new city council members, Lewis Gerhardt and Dave Hancock, and a memorial for former Yacolt City Councilman Ron Madler, who died of cancer. The flag pole at Town Hall was dedicated to Madler in June.

Yacolt also has a veterans memorial, 105 E. Yacolt Road. The memorial, which includes a flagpole, brick paving and landscaping, was created by Josiah Woltersdorf for his Eagle Scout community service project. It provides a site for the Veterans Day observance.

Yacolt Primary School has an enrollment of 813 students, grades kindergarten through fourth. The Yacolt Primary School became a part of the Battle Ground School District in 1975.