River Queen: Hands tied

River Queen: Hands tied

Clay Jonak hopes to move forward with repurposing the 1922 steam ferry, but feels like the state...

New administrative team takes shape at Scappoose High

New administrative team takes shape at Scappoose High

Jim Jones, Brad McKedy head up staff at time of change Scappoose High School has a new principal...

Fire districts: No recreational burning

Fire districts: No recreational burning

CRF&R, SFD announce temporary prohibitions Columbia River Fire & Rescue declared Tuesday, Aug....

PUD probes secret contract bonuses for managers

PUD probes secret contract bonuses for managers

Retention agreements not authorized by board, district says An attorney for the Columbia River...

Gardeners, quilters to showcase eats and crafts

Gardeners, quilters to showcase eats and crafts

Gardenfest and Craftfest held at Scappoose Senior Center Aug. 22 Debbie Brimacombe plucks vine...


Columbia County's Latest News

COLUMBIA RIVER FIRE & RESCUE PHOTO - Firefighters from Columbia River Fire & Rescue work the scene of a crash involving a semi truck Monday. The crash sent the driver to a hospital and left Highway 30 closed for hours.
August 24, 2015

Semi-truck overturns on embankment

by Courtney Vaughn
Traffic stalled for hours after crash on Highway 30 One person was hospitalized Monday, Aug. 24, following a single-vehicle semi-truck crash on Highway 30, about 3 miles west of Goble near the…
Betsy Johnson.
August 21, 2015

Will she or won't she run for governor?

by Hillary Borrud/State Capital Bureau
Sen. Betsy Johnson's tour in rural Oregon prompts questions about Democrat's plans for state office Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, is in the midst of a tour of rural Oregon that is fueling…
SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: MARK MILLER - A sign along Highway 30 outside Scappoose Middle School previously displayed the school's logo, a stylized 'Warrior' in profile. The icon was taken off the sign during summer maintenance work and is unlikely to be replaced, according to the schools superintendent.
August 21, 2015

'Warrior' logo removed from Scappoose Middle's highway sign

by Mark Miller
Superintendent: Effort to improve appearance of 'shoddy' sign Amid uncertainty at the state level as to whether districts like the Scappoose School District will be able to keep their Native…
COURTNEY VAUGHN - Columbia River People's Utility District Directors Harry Price, Jake Carter and Dave Price discuss matters with district staff Tuesday, Aug. 18. The board opted to wait for more cost models before finalizing new energy rates for customers.
August 21, 2015

Board delays setting new energy rates

by Courtney Vaughn
Ratepayers ask PUD to focus on increased usage fees rather than flat rates Columbia River People’s Utility District directors are waiting to receive more data before moving forward with…
SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Attorney Gregory Chaimov listens as Ann Kneeland (middle) presents oral arguments in favor of the Columbia County Clerk's approval of a Sustainable Energy Future Ordinance. Last week, a judge ruled in one of two lawsuits regarding the proposed initiative.
August 21, 2015

Judge sets path for voters to decide renewable energy ordinance

by Courtney Vaughn
Advocates will move forward with efforts to get ordinance on 2016 ballot The second of two legal challenges filed in opposition to a proposed “community Bill of Rights” relating to energy…
August 21, 2015

Campfires prohibited in state parks, forests

by Spotlight news staff
Oregon agencies issue orders as fire danger increases Campfires and other recreational fires, including tiki torches and candles, are prohibited in state parks and on beaches by order of the…
August 20, 2015

Rainier man killed in motorcycle crash

by Mark Miller
Stephen D. Pefley, 59, pronounced dead at scene A 59-year-old man from Rainier was killed Wednesday, Aug. 19, when his motorcycle crashed near the intersection of Orr and Nicolai roads in the…
TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - Booms collect oil leaked into the Willamette River by docked ships. State officials are working on oil spill regulations.
August 20, 2015

State tinkers with oil spill regulations

by Peter Wong/Capital Bureau
Changes aim to transport oil, other materials more safely A year-long review will end with revised state rules enabling emergency services agencies to plan for and respond to spills of hazardous…
COURTESY OF COLUMBIA RIVER FIRE & RESCUE - A firefighter stands in the doorway to a Railroad Avenue storage shed where there was a fire Wednesday morning, Aug. 19.
August 20, 2015

Firefighters control blaze in St. Helens storage shed

by Mark Miller
Fire doesn't spread to nearby area, other buildings A storage shed on Railroad Avenue in St. Helens was damaged by a fire Wednesday morning, Aug. 19, causing an estimated $15,000 in damages. The…
Jeanne P. Atkins.
August 17, 2015

Independent Party of Oregon allowed to participate in primary

by Spotlight news staff
Status of party that challenged Johnson last year confirmed by secretary of state Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins announced Monday, Aug. 17, that the Independent Party of Oregon has…

Don't miss the local news

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: MARK MILLER - St. Helens Police Chief Terry Moss urges city councilors against allowing marijuana businesses to operate in St. Helens during a lightly attended work session on Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 12, in the council chambers at St. Helens City Hall.
Aug 14, 2015

Police pressure sways council's pot shift

by Mark Miller
Chief appeals to councilors at work session to keep code blocking marijuana business licenses In a dramatic about-face only weeks after unanimously approving changes to the development code that…
JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - The roof above the top deck near the stern of the River Queen has begun to collapse. A message warns trespassers to stay off the boat, and a vending machine sits as a sarcastic greeting for the 'tweakers,' according to owner Clay Jonak.
Aug 14, 2015

Ghost Queen: Story of the forgotten River Queen

by John William Howard
Rotting River Queen lurks up the Columbia River from Goble, her story and memory fading with time Editor's note at the request of the owner: the River Queen is on private property. Please…
Aug 20, 2015

Charities finding success on heels of recession

by Courtney Vaughn
Columbia County’s economy may be slowly rebounding, but local nonprofits are already bouncing back. Much like households during the recession that learned how to penny-pinch, streamline and cut…
SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: MARK MILLER - Barbara Gordon (standing), acting chairwoman of the Columbia City Planning Commission, speaks during the commission's third and final meeting to consider a proposed residential zone change Thursday, Aug. 6. The commission voted to recommend approval, although two of its members recused themselves due to bias.
Aug 14, 2015

Columbia City considering zone change

by Mark Miller
Controversial application would allow townhome development The City Council of Columbia City will consider next month an application to rezone about 1.3 acres of land along Second Street for…
SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: MARK MILLER - Scappoose Sand & Gravel trucks dump red cinder on the track at Sauvie Island Academy on Saturday, Aug. 10.
Aug 14, 2015

Sauvie Island Academy track resurfaced with donations

by Mark Miller
Community support makes maintenance project possible The maintenance director at Sauvie Island Academy knew his school's athletic track had seen better days. “It was in pretty bad shape,”…
SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: MARK MILLER - The beach behind Julie Holmason's house off Northwest Gillihan Road on Sauvie Island looks out onto the Morgan Bar reach of the Columbia River. The U.S. Coast Guard sought to use Morgan Bar as a dumping site for dredge spoils, but it now says it will not do so after a meeting at which neighbors objected to the plan.
Aug 14, 2015

Sauvie Island residents relieved as dumping plans change

by Mark Miller
USCG: Morgan Bar off the table for dredge spoils placement Amid vocal opposition from residents, the U.S. Coast Guard is backing off plans to dump dredge spoils from an environmentally…
COURTNEY VAUGHN - An industrial warehouse leased by Custom Fab Inc., is set to receive more than $80,000 in upgrades. Custom Fab was recently acquired by US Pipe and has plans to expand.
Aug 14, 2015

Pipe manufacturer says expansion on the horizon

by Courtney Vaughn
Recent purchase of Custom Fab Inc. will add more employees to site A recent acquisition of Custom Fab Inc. by U.S. Pipe marks the third transition at the Multnomah Industrial Park warehouse in a…
SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Columbia County Commissioner Tony Hyde has opposed the county's marijuana moratorium put in place in April. The Columbia County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to hold a special meeting Tuesday, Aug. 25 to consider extending its marijuana moratorium once again.
Aug 14, 2015

County to consider extending pot moratorium

by Courtney Vaughn
Special meeting planned Aug. 25 to consider extending moratorium on dispensaries, grow sites Columbia County’s Board of Commissioners will consider extending a moratorium on marijuana…
SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Torey Gregory, who owns the property in Goble where Columbia County Sheriff's Office deputies say a music event was held Aug. 7-9, addresses Columbia County Commissioners in July about a permit for the Field of Dreams music festival, proposed at the same location. That permit was denied, but a smaller scale event was held at a later date.
Aug 14, 2015

Sheriff's Office responds to 'kind of a rave' near Goble

by Courtney Vaughn
An estimated 400 people turn out for music, camping event at location of previously planned 'Field of Dreams' After Columbia County commissioners denied a mass gathering permit for a weekend…
SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: MARK MILLER - Although this house on Kelley Street has been condemned by the city of St. Helens and boarded up, evidence of human activity remains in the form of a garbage pile in the front yard.
Aug 14, 2015

St. Helens struggles to keep up with squatters

by Mark Miller
Council discusses derelict houses at work session The St. Helens City Council and city staff discussed the community’s problems with abandoned houses, squatters and homeless residents Wednesday…