Take a journey through this area’s rich history


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

A look back at June, 30 years ago

• Former Battle Ground Mayor Frank DeShirlia pleaded guilty to two counts of official misconduct, a gross misdemeanor, in Clark County Superior Court on June 3, 1994. He directed city staff to send a letter to the Clark County building department to authorize a building permit for two developments on West Eighth Street before paying water and sewer permit fees in violation of city procedures. The prosecuting attorney’s investigation found that between 1990-92, DeShirlia presented false statements that the city had issued 12 letters that falsely stated the city had authorized the issuance of building permits, and that the required fees had been paid.

• Clark County Fire District 3 purchased 2.5 acres in Brush Prairie to build a future fire station, 350 feet east of state Route 503. The $95,000 purchase was funded by a levy passed by voters in 1992. Fire District Chief Steve Wrightson said the agency was considering building a station to be jointly operated by Fire District 11 and the city of Vancouver Fire Department. The construction of a fire station adjacent to state Route 503 did not occur.

• On June 22, the Port of Ridgefield filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Ecology to gain irrigation water rights for its newly built 18-hole golf course. Port Manager Gene Schmitz said an application was made in April 1993, but no permits had been issued. The 12- to 14-month review was extended by eight months, according to port officials. The Department of Ecology threatened legal action if the Port used the well or water storage pond for irrigation. The suit asked that the department decide on whether or not to approve the site’s water rights. Despite this, the golf course was scheduled to open on July 1, 1994.

A look back at June, 20  years ago

• In a June 23, 2004, meeting, the Woodland School Board of Directors pledged to alert parents of initiation practices targeted at incoming Woodland High School freshmen. During comments, two parents described an incident in which their children endured bruises the prior week. According to one mother, her son was chased, forced into a car and taken to the Woodland Bottoms along with two other eighth graders. There, the children were whacked with a 2-by-4 at least seven times. High school Principal John Shoup said he had worked hard to end the tradition and had not heard similar reports in the last two years. The school later identified the three perpetrators, who were set for disciplinary punishment once school resumed.

• In June 2004, the Cowlitz Tribe signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the construction of a replica Chinook plankhouse in Ridgefield’s Wildlife Refuge. Under the agreement, the Cowlitz Tribe would be involved in the planning and production of the plankhouse, headed by a member of the Chinook Tribe. The plankhouse, which was partially funded by a $200,000 federal grant, can be found at the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge east of Gee Creek today.

A look back at June, 10 years ago

• Woodland’s City Council voted on June 16, 2014, to hire former Cowlitz County Sheriff Bill Mahoney as the city’s interim police chief. Mahoney replaced the previous interim Police Chief Brad Gillaspie, who was alleged to have engaged in sexual harassment, invasion of privacy and racial slurs in a tort claim by a co-worker. Mahoney was set to work three days a week for up to five months and said he owed Mayor Grover Laseke a favor. Gillaspie returned to his former position as sergeant after the decision.

• On June 13, Ridgefield resident Kelly Conover received a call from the Seattle Children’s Hospital — her 7-year-old son Jack would receive a long-awaited heart transplant. Jack was born with a congenital heart defect and experienced two open-heart surgeries before the heart transplant. After his surgery, Pleasant View Church of the Nazarene in Ridgefield held a yard sale and raffle fundraiser for the family’s travel expenses. Kelly said she did not know the name of the heart donor but wanted to thank them for saving her son’s life.