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News / Life / Clark County Life

This Week in Clark County History

By Katie Bush for The Columbian
Published: September 15, 2023, 6:04am

100 years ago

“Liquor orgies” at Battle Ground Lake on Sept. 9, 1923, required Sheriff William H. Thompson and a squad of deputies to work “all Saturday night and late Sunday morning making arrests” — 13 total, including five soldiers from Vancouver Barracks. While transporting the suspects back to the city, Thompson and a deputy had to chase five soldiers who “prepared to seek safety in flight.” Thompson “drew his revolver to keep his prisoners together,” and all of them “with the exception of one who had disappeared, lined up besides the car and waited for the sheriff to arrive and aid in taking them to the county jail.” By Sunday, authorities had rounded up the escaped suspect and taken him to the county jail.

75 years ago

Betty Meuler, supervisor of the school lunch program in Vancouver’s 14 schools, announced on Sept. 13, 1948, that the “costs of school lunches will remain the same as last year.” Students could purchase complete meals in elementary schools for 25 cents, and in high school for 30 cents. Despite an increase in expenses, Meuler noted “every effort will be made by her department to continue operating on the same basis as last year.”

50 years ago

On Sept. 11, 1973, 111 individuals took the Vancouver Fire Department’s civil service physical fitness test. Three of the test takers were women — a first for the organization. Sharon Kelley, Vi Vernon and Dana Vest climbed ladders, carried 50-pound hoses, and even walked like ducks, just like the other potential recruits. All three women cited the excitement, challenge and pay offered by the job. Vernon hoped that women in the future wouldn’t “be so hesitant” to take the test.

25 years ago

Clark County commissioners voted 3-0 to break off negotiations with Paul Allen’s Aegean Development and Universal Concerts on Sept. 15, 1998. The deal centered on “an amphitheater with room for more than 20,000 spectators” to be built at the Clark County Fairgrounds. However, negotiations crumbled when Aegean-Universal wavered on a binding agreement to “negotiate exclusively with Clark County, not with the city of Portland.” Another company stepped up with a bid more pleasing to the county, and plans moved forward. However, more hurdles came up in later years, as neighboring property owners protested the project. Ultimately, construction on the amphitheater began in 2002.


Katie Bush is public historian at the Clark County Historical Museum.

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