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News Releases
Clark County Finance Committee meeting scheduled for Feb. 7 - 02/01/23

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Finance Committee is scheduled to meet at 9:30 am Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. 

The meeting will be held via Teams, and participation information is below.

  • Dial-in number: 213.262.7043
  • Meeting ID: 249 909 385 124
  • Passcode: jZYK6z
  • Join online here

See the agenda for the meeting on the county’s website at https://clark.wa.gov/treasurer/investment-reports-meetings

County Council seeks volunteer to fill position for Drainage District No. 5 - 01/31/23

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Council is seeking nominations and applications to fill a vacant position for on the three-member board that oversees Drainage Improvement District No. 5.

This position is for an unexpired term, and this appointment ends Feb. 6, 2024. Anyone wishing to fill the remainder of the unexpired term, through February 2028, must file for election in December 2023.

The district includes the western Hockinson area bounded generally by Northeast 132nd Avenue on the west, Northeast 99th Street on the south, Northeast 182nd Avenue on the east and Northeast 159th Street on the north.

Applicants must be property owners within the drainage improvement district and registered voters in the state of Washington.

Drainage improvement district commissioners have authority to conduct business as needed to maintain and operate drainage systems, purchase property, enter into contracts, and exercise powers set forth in state law.

Interested applicants should submit a brief letter of interest and résumé to Michelle Pfenning, County Manager’s Office, P.O. Box 5000, Vancouver, WA 98666-5000 or email to michelle.pfenning@clark.wa.gov.

Application deadline is 5 pm Friday, Feb. 24, 2023.

UPDATE: County seeks applicants for three openings on Animal Protection Advisory Board - 01/30/23

UPDATE: Please note, an earlier release contained a typo. Please use the corrected language below.

Vancouver, Wash. ‒ County Manager Kathleen Otto is seeking applicants for several open positions on the volunteer Animal Protection and Control Advisory Board. All the openings are for terms that begin immediately.

The positions are for Clark County residents that represent:

  • Veterinarian or vet tech practicing in Clark County, term expires Oct. 31, 2023
  • Owns animal other than dog or cat, term expires Oct. 31, 2025
  • Facility owner, term expires Oct. 31, 2025

Advisory board members meet quarterly at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month. Meetings are currently being held virtually using the Microsoft Teams platform. 

Functions of the 10-member board include:

  • Reporting to the County Council at least once a year on general operations of the Animal Protection and Control Program
  • Recommending potential changes to services modifications to code that will promote animal welfare and the most efficient animal services possible
  • Acting as an appeals hearing tribunal on minor appeals of Notices of Violations
  • Promoting the program, including its licensing of all dogs and cats.


Applications and a résumé can be mailed to Animal Protection and Control, P.O. Box 9810, Vancouver, WA 98666-9810 or emailed to donna.goddard@clark.wa.gov

For more about the board or to download an application, please go to www.clark.wa.gov/community-development/animal-control-advisory-board

Application deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, 2023.

Public Facilities District board to hold online meeting Monday, Feb. 6, 2023 - 01/26/23

Vancouver, Wash. – The board of the Clark County Public Facilities District will hold a public meeting 4-5 p.m. Monday, Monday Feb. 6, 2023.

The meeting will be on the Teams platform. Anyone wishing to attend the meeting can click here to join the meeting and use the meeting password C6WbW3 or call 1.213.262.7043 and use the access code 108 694 51#.

The Public Facilities District was formed in 2002 for the purpose of participating in the study, planning and development of one or more regional centers that would promote tourism, such as the convention center in downtown Vancouver and exhibition hall at the Clark County fairgrounds.

The five-member board is comprised of two people appointed by Clark County and two appointed by the city of Vancouver. Those four appoint the fifth member.

The board typically tries to meet on the first Monday of February, May, August and November. 

Draft Public Participation Plan for County's Comprehensive Plan update project available for public comment - 01/24/23

Public comment period open until Feb. 8 

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County Community Planning is starting the process of updating the local Comprehensive Growth Management Plan, as required by the state’s Growth Management Act (GMA). The plan, last updated in 2016, is a long-range policy guide for how the county plans to manage growth and development over a twenty-year period. 

The GMA requires jurisdictions to periodically update their comprehensive plan and development regulations to bring them up to date with changes to state law; changes to land use; population growth; and housing needs projections. 

To begin the periodic update process, the county will adopt a Public Participation Plan (PPP) that would clearly identify the scope of the proposed update, when legislative action is expected, and how the public can participate or comment.

The public is invited to review and provide feedback on the draft PPP. The public comment period will close on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 5 p.m.

After the public comment period, Community Planning staff will prepare a final draft of the PPP to present to the County Council at a work session and then for final approval at a public hearing.

The document can be viewed on the project webpage along with information on the various ways the public can provide comment at https://clark.wa.gov/community-planning/2025-update

Public Works Parks and Lands now accepting 2023 picnic shelter reservations - 01/18/23

Vancouver, Wash. – Host a party, potluck or special event at a Clark County park. Picnic shelters at eleven county parks are available to reserve for dates between April 1 and Oct. 31. Many shelters have electricity and water. Some shelters have features like fireplaces and barbeques. Reserving a shelter ensures your exclusive use on the day of your reservation. Shelters that are not reserved are available to use on a first come, first served basis. 

Shelters are available to reserve at:

  • Captain William Clark Regional Park at Cottonwood Beach
  • Fairgrounds Community Park
  • Felida Community Park
  • Frenchman’s Bar Regional Park
  • Hazel Dell Community Park
  • Hockinson Meadows Community Park
  • Klineline Pond at Salmon Creek Regional Park
  • Lewisville Regional Park
  • Orchards Community Park
  • Pacific Community Park
  • Vancouver Lake Regional Park

The shelters at Vancouver Lake Regional Park can be reserved for dates between Memorial Day weekend through Oct. 31. 

Reservations cost between $50 and $150 for a full day. Cost depends on the size and occupancy capacity of the shelter. Reservations must be made for shelters that can fully accommodate the size of the group. Revenue from reservations helps support parks maintenance and operations. 

Park use permits are required for use of amplified sound systems, inflatable bounce houses and for weddings and baptisms. Permits are also required for events such as athletic competitions and fairs/festivals. Email parks@clark.wa.gov or call 564.397.2285 for information about park use permits.

Information about parks, shelters, reservations and cancelations can be found at clark.wa.gov/public-works/picnic-shelter-reservations-and-events. Reservations can be made online or by calling 564.397.2285.

Go to clark.wa.gov/public-works and click on “News” to read this information in another language. Click the button in the top right of the page that says “Change language” next to a globe icon and choose your preferred language. 

Vaya a clark.wa.gov/public-works y haga clic en “Noticias” para leer esta información en español. Haga clic en el botón en la parte superior a la derecha de la página que dice "Change language " junto al icono de globo terráqueo y elija su idioma preferido.

Чтобы прочитать эту информацию на русском языке, зайдите на сайт clark.wa.gov/public-works и нажмите на "Новости". Нажмите на кнопку Change language (“Изменить язык”) в правом верхнем углу страницы рядом с символом земного шара и выберите свой язык.

To receive information about road and park projects, closures, opportunities for community input, and more, residents can follow Public Works on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and view information on Nextdoor. 

Clark County Council seeks volunteers for Developmental Disabilities Advisory Board - 01/18/23

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Council is seeking community members with expertise in or experience with people with intellectual/developmental disabilities to serve on the Developmental Disabilities Advisory Board. 

The 10-member advisory board makes recommendations to the county council relating to developmental disabilities services and issues. Members provide leadership to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of community programs.

One position must be filled. The term is for three years starting upon appointment and ending Dec. 31, 2025.

Members appointed to the board include people knowledgeable about developmental disabilities or interested in services to persons with developmental disabilities in the community. Individuals with disabilities, family members, members of the business community or other interested individuals are encouraged to apply. There is a specific need for an individual with knowledge or experience related to early support for infants and toddlers, early learning or services for children with disabilities.

The Clark County Developmental Disability Advisory Board values diversity and the advisory board has adopted equity as a priority. People identifying as Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQ2+ as well as other historically under-represented groups are encouraged to apply.

The advisory board meets at 5:15 pm the first Wednesday of every month. Currently, these meetings are held in a hybrid in person/virtual format.

To apply, please send a letter of interest and résumé to Michelle Pfenning, Clark County Council, P.O. Box 5000, Vancouver, WA 98666-5000 or email to Michelle.Pfenning@clark.wa.gov.

Application deadline is 5 pm Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2023.

Photo provided by Kathy Bergen
Photo provided by Kathy Bergen
Medical Examiner's Office determines identity of man in 1998 cold case (Photo) - 01/17/23

Vancouver, Wash. – The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office used forensic genealogy to confirm the identity of a man whose body was discovered 24 years ago in the Columbia River. This is the second cold case in four months that the office has closed using forensic genealogy. 

The Medical Examiner’s Office recently identified Michael E. Johnson as the unidentified person found on Oct. 26,1998 in the Columbia River in Vancouver. The Medical Examiner’s Office estimates Johnson was about 53 years old at the time of his death. 

The Medical Examiner’s Office submitted a DNA sample from the remains to Bode Technology, a forensic DNA laboratory in Virginia that provides forensic genealogy services and specializes in the extraction of DNA from challenging human remains samples. The forensic genealogist used the DNA from the remains to predict the unidentified person’s ancestry and compared it to individuals in online genealogy databases that allow searches of unidentified persons. The forensic genealogist found an ancestral link to a family from California. While there were multiple possibilities, the forensic genealogist noted that one person, a son of Chesley Johnson Jr. and Ruth Marie Hansen, appeared to have no traceable activities since 1998.

In October, Medical Examiner’s Office operations manager Nikki Costa contacted other children of the couple. Russel Johnson and Kathy Bergen indicated their brother, Michael E. Johnson, had left California over 20 years ago and had no contact with family. 

Over the next several months, Costa reached out to other agencies for assistance as she pursued the lead. Since Johnson was missing from California, the California Department of Justice Missing Persons DNA Program provided analysis of family reference samples for comparison to the unidentified male in Clark County. The Wasatch County Sheriff's Office in Heber City, Utah, collected a DNA sample from Johnson’s sister, Kathy Bergen, and submitted the family reference sample to California’s missing persons program. And the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification, which developed the initial DNA profile of the unidentified male in 2008, sent its DNA profile to California’s missing persons program for comparison. 

Based on the results of the forensic genealogical analysis, DNA analysis and circumstantial evidence in the case, Clark County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Martha Burt concluded that the previously unidentified man was Michael E. Johnson.

Johnson’s cause of death is a gunshot wound to the head and his manner of death is undetermined. Law enforcement has no information on Johnson’s activities or travels leading up to the recovery of his body floating in the Columbia River near Lower River Road. Anyone with information about Johnson can contact Vancouver Police Department Major Crimes Unit Sgt. Patrick Moore at 360.487.7440.

Costa credits her diligent work to close this and other cold cases to her friend Dr. Katherine Taylor, Washington state forensic anthropologist who died of metastatic breast cancer in 2021.

“She mentored me and ignited a passion in me to give the unidentified their names back,” Costa said.

 

Additional information

GEDmatch and FamilyTree DNA are the only public genealogical databases that allow users to opt-in to database searches by law enforcement and those working to identify unidentified remains. These databases are a powerful tool to help law enforcement, medical examiners and other investigators resolve unidentified person cases and find leads in criminal investigations. 

The Medical Examiner’s Office encourages people to consider uploading their DNA profiles from other direct-to-consumer genealogy companies and opting-in to public searches. Doing so can help bring names to the unidentified, provide closure to their families, and help law enforcement identify perpetrators of violent crime. Both FamilyTreeDNA and GEDmatch allow users to upload their profiles from other companies for free. Find more information on the GEDmatch and FamilyTreeDNA websites. 

 

PHOTO: Michael Johnson photographed with his partner, Joyce, in the 1990s. Photo provided by Kathy Bergen.

Attached Media Files: Photo provided by Kathy Bergen
Annual Composter Recycler volunteer training series begins in February - 01/13/23

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County’s Composter Recycler program is offering a free, seven-week series to train a new cohort of volunteers. The training will prepare volunteers to be sustainability ambassadors in the community and experts in composting techniques, recycling, food-waste reduction, green cleaning and other sustainable living habits.

Composter Recycler volunteers share information with the community about composting, diverting food waste from the landfill, recycling materials correctly, and creating healthier homes by reducing household hazardous waste at outreach events throughout the year. 

To join the 2023 cohort and apply to be a Composter Recycler volunteer, visit the Composter Recycler website. Applicants will be contacted by email to confirm participation. 

The virtual classes will be held via Zoom and are scheduled for 7-8:30 pm Wednesdays, beginning in February. Here are the training dates and topics:

  • Feb. 1: Backyard Composting
  • Feb. 8: Red Worm Composting
  • Feb. 15: Other Composting Techniques
  • Feb. 22: Composting Science
  • March 1: Low Waste Living / Green Cleaning
  • March 8: Recycling Done Right
  • March 15: Tips, Tricks and Techniques to Prevent Food Waste

In addition to the virtual classes, the training will include two in-person events – a tour of a transfer station and a hands-on composting field training – and weekly actionable homework assignments so volunteers can move towards a low-waste lifestyle. For example, participants will be asked to complete an inventory of their fridge, freezer and pantry, and reflect on how they can prevent food waste in the first place. 

The Composter Recycler program educates the community about easy ways to reduce waste, prevent contamination in recycling and create healthier, greener homes. For more information about the program, visit the website www.clarkcountycomposts.org, call 564.397.7333 or email info@clarkcountycomposts.org.

Clark County Medical Examiner's Office - MEDIA RELEASE - 01/11/23

Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office

MEDIA RELEASE      

The following information is in reference to a death investigated 

by the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office.

 

This individual died on 12/27/2022 in Vancouver, WA

The name of the decedent: Rudolph Jr., Hamzai        Age: 31 Yrs            

The decedent was a resident of (city/state):  Vancouver, WA 

 

The opinions listed on the death certificate are as follows:

Cause of death:  Gunshot wound of the chest   

Manner of death:  Homicide

How the injury occurred:  Decedent shot by other person(s) 

Place of injury:  Other person’s residence          

Reports and records of autopsies or postmortems shall be confidential as per RCW 68.50.105. No additional information is available for release from the Medical Examiner’s Office. Refer all other inquiries to the Vancouver Police Department. 

 

Media release issue date: Prepared 01/11/2023

Doreen Gunderson 

Operations Manager  

County manager appoints County Engineer Ken Lader to lead Public Works - 01/10/23

Vancouver, Wash. – County Manager Kathleen Otto this week appointed Ken Lader as Director of Public Works. The Clark County Council in October 2022 appointed Lader to serve as Clark County Engineer, and he will continue to serve in that position. His appointment as director takes effect immediately.

Lader has worked for Clark County Public Works more than 20 years and served the last eight years as manager of the Engineering and Design section. Previously, he held positions as engineer and engineering technician. 

Lader is a licensed civil engineer in the state of Washington. He earned a bachelor’s in civil engineering from Oregon State University. 

Clark County Public Works has more than 300 employees who support several divisions including Parks & Lands, Clean Water, Engineering and Construction, Transportation and Road Maintenance and Safety. 

“I’m truly honored to announce Ken as the Public Works director,” said Otto. “He has a unique skillset in that he has the technical expertise to ensure public safety in our community and is a natural leader in Clark County, inspiring all who interact with him with his passion for the work product and services. He will continue to be an instrumental member of Public Works, leading the team through multiple diverse priorities over the next several years.”

“The heart of Public Works is the employees who strive every day to implement our mission to enhance Clark County’s quality of life by providing transportation, environmental, and parks facilities and services,” said Lader. “I feel privileged to be able to serve the community alongside such committed public servants.” 

More information on Public Works is available on the county’s website at https://clark.wa.gov/public-works

County kicks off growth plan update due to the state by mid-2025 - 01/09/23

Kick off presentation scheduled for Jan. 19, 2023 

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County Community Planning is starting the process of updating the local Comprehensive Growth Management Plan, as required by the state’s Growth Management Act (GMA). The plan, last updated in 2016, is a long-range policy guide for how the county plans to manage growth and development over a twenty-year period. 

The GMA requires jurisdictions to periodically update their comprehensive plan and development regulations to bring them up to date with changes to state law; changes to land use; population growth; and housing needs projections.

A kick-off meeting to provide decision makers and the public an overview of the requirements of the GMA and initial information on the county’s multi-year process is scheduled for 1:30-3:30 pm Thursday, Jan. 19, in the sixth-floor Hearing Room of the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St. and virtually via Webex. The meeting will be shown live on CVTV channel 21/321 and available later that day for on-demand viewing on CVTV.org.

Dave Anderson, Managing Director of Growth Management Services for Washington State Department of Commerce will present along with county staff.

Following the Jan. 19 kick off meeting, planning staff will prepare a general framework to guide the process to completion by June 30, 2025. 

County staff will need county council approval on several initial decisions which include: 

• A proposed public participation plan 

• A twenty-year population projection 

• A proposed scope of work 

To find details and information about the project, upcoming meetings, and how to sign up for email updates, please visit the project page at https://clark.wa.gov/community-planning/2025-update