Commissioners decline to protect county departments

By Craig Brown and Stephanie Rice December 16, 2014 3:01 p.m.

Clark County commissioners today voted down an ordinance that would have cemented county departments in advance of a new charter, effective Jan. 1.

Vancouver nearly doubles indigent defense fund

By Stephanie Rice December 15, 2014 9:56 p.m.

The Vancouver City Council on Monday approved a new indigent defense contract for 2015 worth nearly $1.1 million, approximately twice what it spent this year.

Board's vote Tuesday could affect Benton's department

By Stephanie Rice December 15, 2014 7:52 p.m.

The Board of Clark County Commissioners will vote Tuesday on Chairman Tom Mielke's proposal to formally establish existing departments by ordinance.

Federal judge rules in favor of Cowlitz

By Stephanie Rice and Justin Runquist December 12, 2014 6 p.m.

A U.S. District Court judge on Friday sided with the Cowlitz Indian Tribe in its long-running quest to establish a reservation along Interstate 5 west of La Center and build a casino. She dismissed a lawsuit filed by opponents.

Clark County audit: Controls sufficient for cash funds

By Stephanie Rice December 11, 2014 6:19 p.m.

A routine review of county cash funds found sufficient internal controls to prevent misuse of the money, Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey said Thursday.

Mielke: Plan not about Benton's job

By Stephanie Rice December 10, 2014 8:32 p.m.

Tom Mielke, chairman of the Board of Clark County Commissioners, said Wednesday that his proposal to formally establish existing departments by ordinance has nothing to do with saving Don Benton's job as director of Environmental Services, as alleged by former Commissioner Ed Barnes.

Madore balks at proposal that would limit county manager's powers

By Stephanie Rice December 9, 2014 6:42 p.m.

Clark County commissioners voted Tuesday to go ahead with a public hearing next week on a proposal to establish certain departments by ordinance, but Commissioner David Madore expressed strong reservations about the idea, and Commissioner Jeanne Stewart said she wanted to publicly discuss the proposal in advance of the hearing.

Man receives medal for tackling woman with gun

By Stephanie Rice December 9, 2014 4:37 p.m.

Neil Burkhardt, who tackled a gunwoman after she shot her former supervisor on Feb. 4, was awarded a Citizen Service medal on Tuesday by Clark County Sheriff Garry Lucas.

Firefighters' union chief not sending out fliers

By Stephanie Rice December 8, 2014 8:49 p.m.

Vancouver Firefighter Mark Johnston, president of the Vancouver Firefighters' Union IAFF Local 452, isn't going door to door to promote the Affordable Care Act and President Barack Obama's immigration policy.

County could act to circumvent charter, weaken manager

By Stephanie Rice December 5, 2014 6:55 p.m.

In a move former Clark County Commissioner Ed Barnes calls an attempt to save Don Benton's job as director of Environmental Services, commissioners will vote this month to formally establish existing departments by ordinance.

Vancouver approves breaks for big, high-wage employers

By Stephanie Rice December 1, 2014 9:19 p.m.

The Vancouver City Council on Monday unanimously approved discounts for large employers that offer high wages. In doing so, the council was careful to make a distinction between its program and, as Mayor Tim Leavitt put it, a "blanket waiver of fees" offered by Clark County that has been criticized as costly and ineffective.

Larch crews will help spruce up Vancouver

By Stephanie Rice December 1, 2014 6 a.m.

Three of the city's 14 grounds maintenance staff members spent a recent November morning attacking blackberry bushes to access shrubs that needed pruning along the north side of Mill Plain Boulevard near Franklin Street.

Vancouver hires new communications chief

By Stephanie Rice November 30, 2014 6 a.m.

The city of Vancouver's new communications manager will start Monday.

Vancouver mulls fee waivers for large firms

By Stephanie Rice November 29, 2014 6 a.m.

Some of the same incentives that helped convince Banfield Pet Hospital to move its corporate headquarters from Portland to Vancouver may be made available to other businesses.

Community Christmas tree lit

By Stephanie Rice November 28, 2014 9:03 p.m.

Santa Claus was greeted by a crowd of approximately 500 people Friday at Esther Short Park, where he had the honor of lighting the community Christmas tree.

Herrera Beutler questions feds' actions on Cowlitz casino

By Stephanie Rice November 24, 2014 5 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler sent a letter Monday to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, questioning why Jewell's department would make a promise to the Cowlitz Tribe to take land into trust for a reservation while the legality of the land transfer remains tied up in federal court.

Vancouver City Council divided on taxi deregulation

By Stephanie Rice November 17, 2014 9:40 p.m.

The Vancouver City Council was divided Monday about how far the city should go in deregulating the taxicab industry.

Kidnapping convictions reinstated in Vancouver pot robbery

By Stephanie Rice November 13, 2014 5:15 p.m.

OLYMPIA — The Washington Supreme Court has reinstated kidnapping convictions for two Portland men who robbed a Vancouver medical-marijuana grow house in 2009 and then shot a Vancouver police officer as they fled.

Waterfront Renaissance Trail repair progresses

By Stephanie Rice November 12, 2014 6:23 p.m.

When the flood-stage Columbia River ate into its northern bank near Tidewater Cove three years ago, the sandy slope went down smoothly.

Veterans Day storm downs trees, disrupts power  

By Eric Florip , Emily Gillespie , Tyler Graf and Stephanie Rice November 11, 2014 9:21 p.m.

Strong winds have caused trees and limbs to come down, leaving thousands without power due to a swath of outages across Clark County this morning.

Vancouver PD unit can seek federal charges

By Stephanie Rice November 10, 2014 9:47 p.m.

The Vancouver Police Department's cybercrimes unit has been given authority to pursue federal charges in certain cases, a move that will take pressure off the lone special agent assigned to support the department as part of the federal Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Clark County renews medical pot ban

By Stephanie Rice November 5, 2014 5:55 p.m.

Clark County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to readopt a ban on medical marijuana collective gardens that had expired.

Commissioner Barnes: Dissolve environmental services department

By Stephanie Rice November 4, 2014 5:57 p.m.

Clark County Commissioner Ed Barnes, a Democrat who has only eight weeks left to serve, suggested Tuesday commissioners consider dissolving the Department of Environmental Services.

Vancouver hikes property tax, utility rates

By Stephanie Rice November 4, 2014 6 a.m.

The Vancouver City Council voted Monday in favor of property tax levy and utility rate increases.

Neighbors describe growing tension

By Lauren Dake , Marissa Harshman and Stephanie Rice October 31, 2014 9:44 p.m.

John B. Kendall lived next door to Erich and Abigail Mounce, and the neighbors had been in a legal feud for nearly two years, court records show. The primary source of tension was the fact Kendall had as many as five tenants and a home business in violation of subdivision restrictions.

Shooter found dead in Blandford Canyon; 1 victim critical  

By Lauren Dake , Emily Gillespie and Stephanie Rice October 31, 2014 9:47 p.m.

A man has been found dead in Blandford Canyon after a rash of shootings in Clark County this morning. One of the victims is in critical condition with a head wound.

Train horn quiet zone established at another crossing

By Stephanie Rice October 30, 2014 6 a.m.

Another train horn quiet zone has been established within Vancouver city limits.

Vancouver moves closer to property tax levy hike

By Stephanie Rice October 27, 2014 8:37 p.m.

A plan to increase the city's property tax levy and utility rates was advanced Monday by the Vancouver City Council.

Feds: Tribe could get casino land as soon as January

By Stephanie Rice and Justin Runquist October 23, 2014 8:39 p.m.

In a significant development in a yearslong fight to build a casino in Clark County, the Cowlitz Tribe was notified Wednesday they’ll receive 152 acres west of La Center in January or within 30 days of a federal court ruling in their favor, whichever comes first.

Challenger calls out Clark County clerk on pledge

By Stephanie Rice October 23, 2014 6 a.m.

In 2010, Scott Weber's voter pamphlet statement included a pledge: "If elected I will work to eliminate the office which will save the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. While I work to phase the office out, I will do everything I can to save taxpayer money."

Vancouver reaffirms moratorium on new crude oil projects

By Stephanie Rice October 21, 2014 12:59 p.m.

NuStar Energy can still move forward with plans to start storing crude oil

Vancouver council mute on charter

By Stephanie Rice October 20, 2014 10:30 p.m.

Six of the seven members of the Vancouver City Council support the home rule charter, but the council as a body won't be officially endorsing the proposed changes to Clark County government.

Treasurer's rival: Time for change

By Stephanie Rice October 16, 2014 6:45 p.m.

Clark County Treasurer Doug Lasher has been in office 30 years. Challenger Lauren Colas says it's time for a change and that her 25 years of business experience makes her a formidable opponent for the longtime incumbent.

Clark County assessor candidates say accuracy is crucial

By Stephanie Rice October 16, 2014 6:27 p.m.

Peter Van Nortwick emphasized it during his successful run for county assessor four years ago, and his challenger, Darren Wertz, says it this year: By law, properties should be assessed at 100 percent of market value.

Leavitt will boycott Friday's prayer breakfast

By Scott Hewitt and Stephanie Rice October 15, 2014 7:18 p.m.

Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt has reversed course and said he will boycott the 2014 Clark County Mayor and Civic Leaders Prayer Breakfast, where this year's keynote speaker is nationally known for denouncing Muslims and Jews.

Budget manager disputes Madore's charter claim

By Stephanie Rice October 10, 2014 3:50 p.m.

A claim by Republican Clark County Commissioner David Madore that adopting a county charter will cost taxpayers money has prompted the county's budget manager to say Madore's claims are not factually correct.

Waterfront milestone celebrated on City Hall rooftop

By Stephanie Rice October 9, 2014 8:42 p.m.

Even with Thursday morning’s fog, the vantage from the roof of Vancouver City Hall provided a clear view of where crews have started deep utility work for one of the city’s top priorities: a $1.3 billion commercial and residential redevelopment of the waterfront.

2 Vancouver men among 5 people arrested in auto theft ring

By Stephanie Rice October 8, 2014 9:10 p.m.

Two Vancouver men were among five people recently arrested in connection to a large-scale auto theft ring in Portland, according to a news release from the Portland Police Bureau.

Two Vancouver men arrested in Portland auto theft ring

By Stephanie Rice October 8, 2014 3:37 p.m.

The ongoing auto theft investigation centers on Portland's West Coast Car Crushing and A1 Light Truck and Van Parts

Hough activist advocates for bike lanes on Columbia Street

By Stephanie Rice October 8, 2014 6 a.m.

The Sept. 5 addition of shared lane markings — a bicycle beneath two arrow tips — on Columbia Street has added to the debate about the so-called sharrows. Do they sufficiently create a safe bicycle corridor, or are they just a nod to cycling advocates that stop well short of satisfying requests for dedicated bike lanes on heavily traveled streets?

Vancouver council: Taxi code needs to be updated

By Stephanie Rice October 6, 2014 7:51 p.m.

The Vancouver City Council said Monday the city's taxi code needs to be updated to include transportation network companies such as Uber, which has been operating illegally in Vancouver since this summer.

Vancouver will consider policy on Uber

By Stephanie Rice October 3, 2014 5:52 p.m.

The Vancouver City Council will have its first discussion Monday about Uber, a ride-sharing company that has been operating illegally in the city since this summer.

Proposed budget would reopen Vancouver's east precinct to public

By Stephanie Rice October 2, 2014 6:10 p.m.

Public service counters at the Vancouver Police Department's east precinct are scheduled to be staffed next year, according to the city's proposed 2015-16 city budget.

Mental health court a 'safe zone' of help

By Stephanie Rice September 29, 2014 6 a.m.

Tracey Anne Green walks 9 miles round-trip to make her Clark County Mental Health Court appearances.

Local delegation supports proposed state law on massage businesses

By Stephanie Rice September 22, 2014 8:38 p.m.

Local state lawmakers told the Vancouver City Council on Monday they support a proposed new state law that would punish owners of illicit massage businesses.

Bus tour gives Vancouver councilors close look at streets

By Stephanie Rice September 19, 2014 9 p.m.

With big decisions ahead on how to improve and maintain Vancouver's single largest asset — its streets — members of the city council met Friday morning at City Hall.

Murals focus of Destination Downtown tour

By Stephanie Rice September 16, 2014 9:02 p.m.

Try describing the who, when, where and why of Vancouver's Destination Downtown and run the risk of falling into a pot of bureaucratic alphabet soup: In 2006, state lawmakers passed the Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) Efficiency Act, under which local jurisdictions had to develop CTR plans. Cities could designate a Growth and Transportation Efficiency Center (GTEC) and implement policies aimed at reducing drive-alone trips. The money for Destination Downtown, Vancouver's GTEC, comes from a $100,000 annual Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

Deal reached to demolish Centennial Center

By Stephanie Rice September 16, 2014 8:01 a.m.

The Centennial Center, part of the 1962-built Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay, will be demolished for the extension of Columbia Way.

Centennial Center will be demolished

By Stephanie Rice September 16, 2014 6 a.m.

The Centennial Center, part of the 1962-built Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay, will be demolished for the extension of Columbia Way.

New sites eyed for fire stations

By Stephanie Rice September 15, 2014 10:06 p.m.

Two west-side Vancouver fire stations will be rebuilt in new locations, and the change will improve response times at a total of four stations, according to a city analysis.