The Morning Press: A review of the week's news



A look back at some of this week's top stories:

Wrong-way crash on I-205 bridge jams the county

A wrong-way semi-tractor-trailer collided with a passenger car on the Interstate 205 bridge before dawn Monday, triggering a countywide traffic jam that persisted throughout the morning. Tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Clark County motorists were affected, with at least one veteran commuter ranking the traffic as about the worst she's ever seen.

The incident began long before most commuters were on the road. Someone first observed the tractor-trailer heading west in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 at 4:20 a.m., according to a Portland Police Bureau bulletin.

With law enforcement in pursuit on the proper side of the freeway, the driver of the rig veered off, then headed northbound in the southbound lanes of Interstate 205, police said. The pursuit ended when the tractor-trailer collided with the car on the Glenn Jackson Bridge, showering debris into both northbound and southbound lanes.

The trucker, Kenneth Eugene Burgess, 49, of Medical Lake, west of Spokane, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, reckless driving and two counts of second-degree criminal mischief. A records check found he has no criminal history in Washington.

Read the full story here.

Small tornado damages Hockinson barn

photoMike Ginter, with his dog Max, helps clean up pieces of his father's barn after a tornado-like wind tore the roof off in Hockinson on Thursday.

(/The Columbian)

A small tornado tore through a barn in Hockinson on Thursday afternoon as dark skies, hail and heavy rain swept through Clark County.

Irene Ginter was going to get a glass of water just after 4 p.m. at her home off Northeast 189th Street when she heard a loud crack. Looking out the kitchen window, she saw a rotating funnel touch down on top of the barn. Within 10-15 seconds, the funnel took most of the corrugated metal roof and half of the wooden barn with it.

“I looked out the window and there was this twirl, something rotating … and the roof was just flying all over the place,” she said. “I’m still kind of in shock.”

Mike Ginter was parking a tractor in his barn, south of his parents’ home, when he saw the roof fly up about 50 feet into the air and toss debris across the field to the southeast and northeast.

Read the full story here.

River flows through Leavitt's State of the City address

photoVancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt delivered the State of the City address on Wednesday at the Water Resources Education Center.

(/The Columbian)

The Columbia River was the central theme of Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt’s State of the City address Wednesday, which included praise for many and sharp criticism for few.

“As the largest river in the Pacific Northwest, she is our community’s lifeblood, and has been so for thousands of years,” said Leavitt, speaking to a crowd of about 160 people at the Water Resources Education Center. “The river brought us together for trade, for culture, for nature and for community life. And today? Our Vancouver neighborhoods and businesses are connected, from the Port of Vancouver to Vancouver Lake and Burnt Bridge Creek to Wood’s Landing, by inland streams that feed our watershed, nurture our wildlife and green our forests.”

“Indeed, the city of Vancouver incorporated on this great river, long before Washington became a state,” Leavitt said.

The defining river also represents the city’s future, he said.

Read the full story here.

Some things you may have missed:

Vancouver Farmers Market inspires vendor loyalty

An estimated 8,000 shoppers took in the Vancouver Farmers Market over the weekend as the 24th year of the downtown favorite opened its nearly eight-month run.

Some of the vendors have been coming to the weekend market for more than two decades.

Kham Prasouvo said this is the 22nd year that Teriyaki House has offered its food at the market.

"Been pretty successful," Prasouvo of Vancouver said Sunday of the opening weekend. "This year is drier."

Columbia River Coffee Company of the Battle Ground area is marking its 19th year.

"Given the weather (cold with some rain), it was great," owner Steven Cronbaugh said of sales, adding, "their favorite coffee vendor was down here."

Read the full story here.

Sharing the road on MacArthur Boulevard

MacArthur Boulevard has residents debating how it can best be used.

If you look back far enough into history, you can find stories that MacArthur used to be an airstrip. That's why the boulevard, four lanes across with a center median in some places, is so wide, some say. City engineers say they've seen photos, or heard of such stories. City Councilor Jack Berkman says he thinks it might have actually been an emergency landing area.

But there is no doubt, the road is wide.

More recent history shows a plan proposed to put the wide road on a diet, reducing the four lanes to two, and providing spacious bicycle lanes along the boulevard.

The plan was first introduced in 2010, but the city has since moved away from the redesign. The road will receive microsurfacing improvements between East Mill Plain Boulevard and South Lieser Road this summer. That means the city has a chance to change things when it restripes the road.

A survey of those living in the area surrounding MacArthur found that 60 percent rejected the plan to change the road to a two-lane street.

Read the full story here.

Elite journey for young gymnast

photoNaydenov gymnast Jordan Chiles, 11, recently qualified for USA gymnastics junior international elite status.

(/The Columbian)

Gina and Tim Chiles had seen the gym near the mall. They heard friends and family suggest that their youngest daughter — who would use any flat space to perform a cartwheel or handstand — looked like a gymnast.

But when they eventually checked out Naydenov Gymnastics, enrolling 6-year-old Jordan in a beginner's class, they didn't dream it was the start of a journey to rare heights.

"We thought we were just going to let her burn off some of that energy," Tim Chiles said.

The energy is as present as ever. It is one of the ingredients that has lifted the Pleasant Valley Middle School sixth-grader to an elite platform.

Jordan, who will turn 12 next month, is one of nine girls ages 11-15 in the United States who currently holds USA Gymnastics junior international elite status. On March 5, she passed the optional skills test during a developmental training camp at the USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center at Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville, Texas.

Read the full story here.

Former Columbian reporter Durbin dies

photoKathie Durbin Award-winning reporter covered state Legislature, environment

Kathie Durbin, an author and award-winning journalist who had covered the Washington Legislature and the environment for The Columbian, died Friday in a Portland hospice facility.

Durbin, who was 68, had been battling pancreatic cancer. She had been at Legacy Hopewell House Hospice since Monday. A Portland resident, Durbin was on The Columbian's reporting staff from July 1999 until December 2011, when she retired.

Her award-winning reporting included big regional stories like the removal of the Condit Dam on the White Salmon River and the wind-power boom in Klickitat County.

Durbin also was honored for her coverage of more intimate and personal topics. They include the story of a woman whose son's genetic disorder was so rare that it didn't even have a name.

Read the full story here.