Erik covers environment and transportation.
Army, county trying to divide responsibility
Army and Clark County officials are trying to forge a new agreement for converting a former artillery range into a future county park. Next month marks a year since Clark County sidelined its primary cleanup contractor after the removal of unexploded ordnance stalled over cost overruns and funding disputes. In 2006, the Army provided $28.6 million under a fixed-price contract.
Raising the fish in hatcheries might be solution
PORTLAND — Lamprey may lack the iconic status of Northwest salmon, but the eel-like jawless fish is no less important to tribal culture. Alarmed by their dwindling populations, the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission this week is hosting an international forum exploring the causes of their decline and how to revive them. Dams impede lamprey migration, pollutants mar the sediment where they rear, and their prey in the ocean may be thinning with overfishing and a changing climate.
Hazel Dell resident Darrel Santesson was as outraged as the rest of his neighbors when a developer proposed wedging 10 homes on a 1 ½-acre lot just across the street. Santesson and his wife, Norma, ultimately figured there was only one sure-fire way to protect the property: by purchasing it themselves.
Taxpayer-funded effort clears way for rail improvements
A former metal scrapping yard in west Vancouver, its soil tainted by a half-century of industrial pollution, is about to get a clean bill of health — courtesy of taxpayers. Contractors have nearly finished a $1 million taxpayer-funded cleanup of the former Cliff Koppe Metals site at 1701 W. Fourth Plain Blvd., according to the Washington Department of Transportation.
BRUSH PRAIRIE — A driving rain provided ideal conditions for the amphibians living in the two ponds behind a set of high school classrooms. Even though the conditions weren’t so great for the students in teachers Irene Catlin and Chris Collmer’s science class Thursday, three-dozen ninth-graders made the best out of the situation. The students collected traps containing native salamanders and non-native bullfrogs, part of a six-year amphibian monitoring study conducted at the Battle Ground school district’s unique natural area.
Measure on light rail, rapid transit won’t be ready until 2012
Clark County voters will decide on maintaining bus service this year but will have to wait until 2012 to vote on light rail, C-Tran’s board of directors decided Tuesday evening. The board will put forward a ballot measure on Nov. 8 asking voters to bump the sales tax by 0.2 of a percentage point to preserve existing bus service, add some new routes and shore up C-Van service for riders with disabilities. Such an increase would cost consumers 2 cents on every $10 purchase.
A popular warming shelter burned to the ground early Saturday at the Marble Mountain Sno-Park near Mount St. Helens. The cause is unknown and under investigation.
U.S. money, rejected by Wisconsin and Ohio, welcome here
Washington officially scored another $145 million in federal high-speed rail funding this week. The money had been rejected by newly elected governors in Ohio and Wisconsin. The latest federal commitment includes $10 million for 1,300 feet of new track in Vancouver.
The looming potential government shutdown would have subtle and not-so-subtle effects on Clark County residents. National wildlife refuges would be gated, but essential services would carry on as usual.
Boat is underwater in Columbia River, apparently upside down
A vacant vessel that dragged its anchor and impaled itself last month on a set of pilings off the eastern tip of Tomahawk Island has been freed, in a manner of speaking. The Columbia River appears to have taken matters into its own hands.