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News / Clark County News

Top Stories: ‘Forever chemicals’; Cowlitz to split from Mohegan at ilani; I-5 landslide

By Amy Libby, Columbian Web Editor
Published: April 15, 2023, 6:02am

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Here are the top stories on columbian.com this week:

1. City of Vancouver finds 3 of its water stations exceed state levels for PFAS

The city of Vancouver has found that three of its nine well fields exceed state levels for “per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances,” compounds harmful to both humans and the environment in testing in late February.

The substances, also known as PFAS, include thousands of human-made compounds that have been branded “forever chemicals,” since they don’t break down in soil, water or the human body, said Tyler Clary, Vancouver water engineering program manager.

2. Cowlitz Tribe to end relationship with Mohegan Tribe, ilani casino operator

The Cowlitz Indian Tribe announced Tuesday that it will end its six-year relationship with the Connecticut-based Mohegan Tribe, which oversees operations of its highly profitable ilani casino in Ridgefield.

In a statement on the Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s website, Chairwoman Patty Kinswa-Gaiser said: “After careful consideration, the Cowlitz Tribal Gaming Authority has recommended, and the Cowlitz Tribal Council has approved, a decision to begin a multi-step process of transitioning ilani from an enterprise managed by the Mohegan Tribe to a self-managed enterprise.”

3. I-5 reopens more than three hours after landslide blocks northbound lanes

Freeway lanes reopened on northbound Interstate 5 more than three hours after a landslide blocked traffic at Milepost 24 near Dike Access Road in Cowlitz County, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. Lanes reopened at 6:30 p.m.

Before lanes reopened, traffic was diverted southbound from all northbound on-ramps from the 179th Street interchange near the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds  to Woodland, according to Washington State Patrol Trooper Will Finn. Motorists had been advised to delay travel, turn around or use alternate routes.

4. Vancouver man accused of stealing car with a baby inside

A judge set a Vancouver man’s bail at $900,000 Monday in three new cases, including one in which he’s accused of stealing a car with a baby inside Saturday in Hazel Dell.

Mario D. Andrews, 40, appeared in Clark County Superior Court on allegations of second-degree kidnapping, theft of a motor vehicle, reckless endangerment, possession of a stolen vehicle, attempt to elude and failure to register as a sex offender. He is scheduled to be arraigned April 24.

5. City of Vancouver turns focus to short-term rentals on Airbnb, Vrbo, other sites

There are more than 300 short-term rentals — such as Airbnbs and Vrbos — in Vancouver. Due to zoning laws, almost all of them are illegal.

Short-term rentals — defined by the city as units rented by individuals for less than 30 days — are banned in Vancouver’s residential zones unless they are bed and breakfasts. However, a city website states that “the project team believes that most existing short-term rentals do not meet this requirement.”