A glimpse at the rich history of Clark County


Enjoy snapshots of local history written in past issues of the Reflector from 30, 20 and 10 years ago, respectively.

A look back at March, 30 years ago

Oregon resident Charles Brown was charged on March 3, 1994, with murdering his brother, Stephen Brown. The victim’s decapitated body was found dumped behind the Food Pavilion store in Battle Ground. Both brothers had prior criminal convictions and spent time in prison.

An attempted armed robbery backfired at First Independent Bank near the Clark County Fairgrounds on Feb. 23, 1994, after the clerk hid when two men displayed a gun at a driveup window. The clerk reportedly screamed after one robber said, “Don’t be alarmed,” and displayed the weapon. First Independent spokesman Yalt Yost called the incident a “botched job” similar to a prior incident at the bank’s Hazel Dell branch.

Environmentalists opposed the Port of Ridgefield’s attempts to find a new wood treatment occupant for the former Pacific Wood Treating site, according to the March 2, 1994, edition of The Reflector. The previous company left a mess for the Port of Ridgefield to clean, including groundwater and soil contaminated with toxic substances. Environmentalist and City Council member Dan Robinson endorsed any business taking residence at the site, as long as it wasn’t wood treatment. EPA project coordinator Sylvia Burges estimated that stabilizing the site and preventing further contamination would cost upward of $1 million.

Missing kayaker Barbara Harper’s body was found on March 2, 1994, along the East Fork of the Lewis River. Her body and kayak were found upstream of Moulton Falls Park near Yacolt. Rescuers struggled to retrieve her body due to high and fast waters. Mike Brown from Clark County Sheriff’s Office said Harper was an experienced kayaker, but swift currents removed her protective gear and tore off parts of her dry suit. Harper was reported missing on Feb. 28, 1994.

A look back at March, 20 years ago

The La Center City Council expressed preliminary opposition to the possibility of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe building a casino in La Center on March 10, 2004. City attorney Dan Kearns expressed concern that the casino could negatively impact tax revenue from four non-tribal card rooms within the city. Attorney Dennis Whittlesey, tribe representative, said a casino would likely be part of the tribe’s plans, but it could take “six months to years” to process applications.

Ridgefield City Manager Randy Bombardier was ousted after a March 11, 2004, executive session of the City Council. An investigation into Bombardier’s conduct began after an executive session on Jan. 22, 2004, when council members hired attorney Eileen Lawrence to look into employee complaints and allegations regarding retaliation, threats and violations of “whistleblower” protection laws. Bombardier was also accused of interfering with a state Department of Ecology and Environmental Protection Agency investigation into alleged improper removal of lead-based paint from the front of City Hall in June 2002.

The Prairie Hatcher 4H Club installed wood duck nesting boxes at a pond near Dollar Corner on March 6. Club leader Larry Giberson said about 30 wood ducks were at the pond when club members arrived. The ducks were attracted to the four pre-existing nesting boxes, installed years prior at the pond. The club hoped that installing additional boxes would further bolster the wood duck population.

Prairie High School girls basketball team finished third at state on March 13, 2004. Prairie was the No. 1-ranked team in the state and expected victory but lost, 60- 47, to Garfield High School in the semifinals of the tournament. “Losing hasn’t been something that the girls have really had a chance to deal with very often,” Prairie head coach Al Aldridge said. “We talked about it and decided that third place was a lot more exciting than sixth place, especially for a team that had done what we had all year.”

Burgerville fast-food chain President Tom Mears reassured the public of the safety of its beef patties after a Washington cow was diagnosed with mad cow disease in 2004. The disease was transmitted by feeding grain containing animal byproducts. Burgerville was purchasing its beef from Oregon Country Beef, which raised cattle with animal-byproduct-free grain. Mears said that purchasing beef from Oregon Country Beef ensured that consumers received the safest possible product.

A look back at March, 10 years ago

The Reflector was named the official paper of record on March 18, 2014, by the Clark County Board of Commissioners. The Reflector began running legal notices on July 1, 2014, following the Board of Commissioners’ decision. Commissioners selected The Reflector due to its lower cost and wide distribution range.

Clark County deputies shot and killed fugitive Derral Mosby from Mossyrock on March 14, 2014, in Ridgefield. Mosby eluded arrest for several weeks after racking up several felony warrants. He also appeared on “Washington’s Most Wanted” television show. Mosby was shot during an exchange of fire after he exited the house with a firearm, Clark County sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. Fred Neiman said. Mosby died before the ambulance could begin its trip to the hospital. Six officers involved in the fatal shooting were placed on paid leave.

The Washington State Department of Transportation began construction on the $88 million safety and mobility project for the 502 corridor. Traffic delays were common along the route as workers began widening the road. The project also installed traffic signals and media barriers. The 4.5-mile project was expected to take three years.

Former Prairie High School boys basketball standouts Steven Madison and Adam Herman completed their stellar collegiate careers in March 2014. Madison helped the Idaho Vandals advance to the championship game of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament. He finished his career as the second all-time leading scorer in the program’s history. Herman was nominated the Cascade Collegiate Conference Player of the Year and International Basketball League Rookie of the Year. He also led the Concordia Cavaliers to an at-large berth to the NAIA DII National Championship Tournament.

Don and Jo’s Drive-In celebrated 50 years of business on March 1, 2014. Don and Jo Zumstein built the restaurant on the lot where Fred’s Hamburgers once operated. Don and Jo’s first opened its doors in 1968, after Don Zumstein renovated the pre-existing building with a $10 permit.