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News / Life / Clark County Life

This Week in Clark County History

By Katie Bush for The Columbian
Published: May 26, 2023, 6:03am

100 years ago

On May 21, 1923, The Columbian reported that an alleged bootlegger evaded Vancouver police by jumping into the Columbia River the previous night. Police said the person in question “had sold one bottle to a man and by watching him closely they saw him selling more of the intoxicants.” An officer attempted to make an arrest in the midst of the transaction, but the purported lawbreaker took flight. During the chase, “the man increased his speed until he could have been arrested on a second charge of violating the traffic ordinances, even if he was afoot.” The cops arrived at the docks only to hear a loud splash and see “circular ripples” in the water.

75 years ago

The Retail Clerks Union and local employers reached a tentative agreement for increased wages on May 21, 1948. Amounting to a $4-per-week boost, the new wages “would give men clerks a top wage of $54 for a 40-hour week, and women clerks a top wage of $52.” Requests for pay raises from “some 350 other clerks in drygoods, variety, drug and delicatessen stores” had stalled. A special union meeting was set for the following week to discuss matters. With no new contract in sight, the union threatened a work stoppage on June 5. However, the 1948 flood required the union to postpone the matter.

50 years ago

The Evergreen schools went into the second week of a strike on May 21, 1973. Tensions between the Evergreen Education Association and the school board had been high from the beginning, with allegations leveled by the school board that the teachers’ strike was “an illegal act.” Evergreen educators received a show of encouragement from area colleagues. The Camas Education Association issued a letter informing “all citizens interested in the future of public education” that the Camas union supported the Evergreen union’s long-term goals to improve “the education system and … educational climate for the children of the Clark County area.” The Evergreen Education Association and the school board resolved the issues at the center of the strike before the start of the 1973-’74 school year.

25 years ago

A ceremony welcomed “The Wall That Heals” on May 21, 1998. Set up north of the Vancouver Barracks, the half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was open 24 hours a day, rain or shine, through Memorial Day. A city employee received a phone call from a Vietnam veteran who planned to drive four hours to see the names of “four very good friends whose names are on the first panel.” Events throughout the five-day exhibit culminated in the groundbreaking for the Clark County Veterans Memorial.

Katie Bush is public historian at the Clark County Historical Museum