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News / Life / Clark County Life

This week in Clark County history

By Katie Bush, public historian at the Clark County Historical Museum
Published: June 2, 2023, 5:41am

A weekly look back compiled by the Clark County Historical Museum from The Columbian archives available at columbian.newspapers.com or at the museum.

100 years ago

Ridgefield strawberry growers announced on June 2, 1923, that the weeklong spring rains interfered with their crops. The lack of sunshine held “back the ripening of the berries,” and the berries that had already been picked were not up to the typical quality. The berry growers noted that the “climate (had) been unusually cool … and much more rain (had) fallen.” The previous year, the strawberries had been affected by a lack of moisture.

75 years ago

The Columbia River crested around 30 feet during the evening hours of June 1, 1948, a 54-year record flood. The “seething Columbia” took out two dikes, closed main roadways into Portland and impeded mail delivery. The disaster displaced people living in the flood plains on both sides of the river, most notably in the 648-acre Portland wartime housing complex Vanport. President Harry Truman visited the area on June 11 to assess the damage.

50 years ago

The Columbian investigated the disappearing huckleberry fields of the Pacific Northwest in a May 28, 1973, article. According to forest managers and research studies, “trees, brush and competing vegetation like beargrass” were invading and crowding berry fields. The U.S. Forest Service announced it would conduct research to try and halt the decline of the huckleberry in the area.

25 years ago

The annual Water Resource Center Sturgeon Festival on May 30, 1998, celebrated the Columbia River ecosystem. More than 1,000 visitors “made hats, sang karaoke, played in sand, and learned about the river.” Vicky Ridge-Cooney, manager of the Water Resource Center and biologist and oceanographer, invited people to visit the festival to “‘learn about the festival so they will have a better appreciation of it, and learn to take care of it. … One of our objectives is to have fun, because people learn better having fun.’ ”