Columbian Newspaper

Girls basketball: Kelso 65, Mark Morris 29
Author: The Columbian

Natalie Fraley scored 14 of her game-high 18 points in the first half as the Hilanders picked up the non-league road win.


KELSO — Josie Ahrens 6, Alexis Kleven 13, Cooper Joy 6, Erin Tack 12, Evermore Kaiser 12, Mati Ohlson 4, Natalie Fraley 18, Madison Harkins 1, KK Perez 2. Totals 25 (4) 11-23 65.

MARK MORRIS — Katie Troy 5, Mariah Bost 3, Lily Koski-Haase 6, Brooklyn Schlect 0, Emma Fisher 5, Isabella Merzoian 2, Erica Snyder 2, Taylor Wilkinson 0, Jacie Rismoen 6. Totals 10 (1) 6-11 29.

Kelso 21 17 14 13–65

M.Morris 10 6 2 11–29

Girls basketball: Camas 60, Washougal 31
Author: The Columbian

Haylie Johnson hit five of Camas’ six 3-pointers for a game-high 17 points to lead the Papermakers to the nonleague win.

Camas had a 26-7 first-half lead at one stretch and after Washougal cut it to 13 in the second quarter, ended the game on a 23-4 run.

Faith Bergstrom added 12 points for Camas and Emma Rehrer had 10.

Jaiden Bea and Skylar Bea each had 10 points to lead Washougal.


WASHOUGAL — Chloe Johnson 0, Jaiden Bea 10, Savea Mansfield 2, McKinley Stotts 6, Samantha Mederos 2, McKenna Jackson 2, Skylar Bea 10. Totals 11 (2) 8-19 31.

CAMAS — Haylie Johnson 17, Emma Rehrer 10, Jalena Carlisle 4, Emma Sanz 0, Avery Minich 4, Faith Bergstrom 12, Katelynn Forner 5, Ashley Bauer 7, Kyra Seggewiss 1. Totals 23 (6) 8-14

Washougal 4 11 13 4–31

Camas 11 17 13 19–60

State wins $57 million in Seattle tunnel lawsuit
Author: Associated Press

OLYMPIA (AP) — A jury on Friday awarded the Washington State Department of Transportation $57.2 million in damages over delays in the construction of a highway tunnel that runs beneath downtown Seattle.

The Seattle Times reports the verdict against the tunnel contractors in Thurston County Superior Court in Olympia represents the entire amount the state requested.

“The contractor, not the taxpayers, is responsible for the costs of repairing the tunneling machine,” WSDOT spokeswoman Laura Newborn said.

The Dec. 6, 2013, stall of tunnel-boring machine known as Bertha — then the world’s largest drill at 57 1/3 feet diameter — delayed the project more than two years and required contractors to lift the 4 million-pound front end and replace damaged parts, including cracked main gears and broken bearing seals.

The state sued contractor Seattle Tunnel Partners, alleging breach of contract and claiming mistakes by STP stalled the machine and held up the project. The contractor blamed the stall on a steel pipe struck by Bertha that was left over by the state from a groundwater test well sunk in 2002 by the state.

Contractors argued the state gave inadequate notice of the steel pipe’s location.

STP consists of tunneling specialist Dragados USA and heavy-construction firm Tutor-Perini of California.

In a statement Tutor-Pierini said it was “disappointed with the jury’s decision” and would appeal. The company said Friday’s decision conflicted with the findings of an independent review board.

The four-lane tunnel opened Feb. 4, 2019, beneath downtown to replace the earthquake-damaged Alaskan Way Viaduct, a double-decker bridge that had run along Seattle’s waterfront.

Louisiana State University president heading to Oregon State University
Author: MELINDA DESLATTE, Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana State University is looking for a new system chief, after President F. King Alexander was appointed Friday to lead Oregon State University.

Oregon State’s Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to hire Alexander in a special meeting, confirming that Alexander was leaving the LSU job he’s held for more than six years. He’ll start his new position in Corvallis, overseeing a university with 32,000 students, on July 1, though Alexander said he’ll start working with the transition team in April.

“We found the best of the best, Dr. F. King Alexander. From our perspective, Dr. Alexander is the total package,” said Rani Borkar, chair of the Oregon State University Board of Trustees.

Borkar described Alexander as a strong leader who helped diversify LSU’s student enrollment and advocated nationally for college affordability and research institutions.

Alexander, 56, who appeared at the board meeting, praised the land-grant institution and told those assembled: “I’m just thrilled to death to be the 15th president of Oregon State University.”

In a phone call after the meeting, Alexander told The Associated Press he had “mixed emotions” about leaving LSU. He said he didn’t seek another position, but was recruited by Oregon State officials starting in April.

His last day as LSU president will be Dec. 31. The university said he’ll be a faculty member, conducting research and working with the system’s governing board on the transition, until March 31.

Alexander will succeed Ed Ray, who is retiring from the Oregon State job at the end of June after 17 years as president. Ray will continue in a teaching role at the university.

At LSU, Alexander has been in charge of a multibillion-dollar system with 50,000 students across four university campuses, a law school and medical schools in New Orleans and Shreveport. His salary, including housing and car allowances, topped $660,000 a year. His pay package with Oregon State, according to the employment agreement, includes $630,000 in salary, an additional car allowance and supplemental retirement pay. He’ll also be provided with a university residence.

When he took charge at LSU, the university system was struggling through years of state budget cuts. Alexander was a vocal proponent of increased financing for his campuses and spoke frankly and publicly about the damage he believed was being done by the slashing. The cuts have ended, and the governor and state lawmakers recently boosted higher education spending.

The exiting LSU president noted the flagship university in Baton Rouge will see its largest-ever fall graduating class next week and has broken records on academic achievement.

“We’re leaving it in good shape. The university has great momentum thanks to the people there,” Alexander said.

Alexander’s tenure provoked some controversy, including about his decision to loosen some admissions standards. But he recently received a positive job evaluation by the university system’s governing board. In a statement, Board of Supervisors chair Mary Werner thanked Alexander “for his outstanding leadership at LSU and his untiring advocacy for public higher education.”

LSU law school dean Thomas Galligan will serve as interim president while the university system board conducts what it described as a national search to replace Alexander.

Alexander’s departure for another university had been rumored for months.

Before his hiring by LSU in 2013, the Oxford-educated Alexander had worked as president of California State University Long Beach. The Kentucky native was raised in Florida and has held positions at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana; University of Wisconsin, Madison; and University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He was president of Murray State University in Kentucky from 2001 to 2006, a job previously held by his father.

Alexander’s degrees are in political science and comparative education policy.

Judge allows Eyman to join lawsuit over car-tab initiative
Author: Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — A King County judge will allow Tim Eyman to join the lawsuit over his $30 car-tab initiative, but won’t force the state to hire outside lawyers.

The Seattle Times reports Judge Marshall Ferguson issued written rulings Friday allowing new parties, including Eyman, to join the case but rejecting a request for outside counsel which Eyman claimed would act as “adult supervision” over the state Attorney General’s Office.

Voters across Washington last month approved Initiative 976, which attempts to lower most vehicle registration fees to $30, roll back car-tab taxes that fund Sound Transit and eliminate local car-tab fees. Local and state government agencies use the tax revenues for road and transit projects.

Eyman is the longtime anti-tax initiative sponsor behind this measure. Seattle, King County, the Garfield County Transportation Authority and others have sued and won an injunction temporarily stopping the tax cut from taking effect while the legal case plays out.

As is standard with voter-approved measures, the state Attorney General’s Office is defending I-976. Eyman, who faces a long-running campaign finance lawsuit brought by the Attorney General’s Office, claims the state is botching its defense of the measure.

The judge on Friday also allowed Pierce County to join the case in defense of I-976 and granted a request to intervene from Franklin County Commissioner Clint Didier.

Being an intervenor in the case will allow Eyman and others to make arguments and motions before the judge, but does not necessarily mean the Attorney General’s Office will coordinate with Eyman on the case.

Girls basketball: Hudson’s Bay 47, Heritage 41
Author: The Columbian

Jaydia Martin scored a game-high 24 points and made both ends of a 1-and-1 to ice the game for Hudson’s Bay. Kamelai Powell added 14 points for the Eagles.

After trailing 10-3 after the first quarter, Bay put on its press and outscored Heritage 30-17 over the second and third quarters.

Heritage was led in scoring by Katie Peneueta with 23.


HERITAGE — Malyiah Thompson 0, Jaylani Calderon 2, Katie Peneueta 23, Cammy Wolff 2, Mariah Bibens 2, Victoria Males 0, Makenna Kelly 0, Keanna Salavea 4, Sarah Rosenbaum 4, Alex Rosenbaum 1, Austin Soule 3. Totals 16 (1) 8-20 41.

HUDSON’S BAY — Mae Carse 0, Juliann Medrano 0, Maria Arroyo 0, Jaydia Martin 24, Ashley Rodriguez 0, Devon Johnson-Brown 3, Paytin Ballard 5, Kamelai Powell 14, Stacia Mikaele 1. Totals 18 (3) 8-16 47.

Heritage 10 8 9 14–41

Hud.Bay 3 19 11 14–46

Protesters who were arrested during a sit-in at the Oregon governor’s office last month will not be charged with trespassing
Author: ANDREW SELSKY, Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. — A prosecutor in Oregon has declined to file charges against 21 protesters who were arrested during a sit-in at the governor’s office last month as they protested a planned natural gas pipeline and marine terminal, a spokeswoman said Friday.

The office of Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson decided on Wednesday not to charge the 21 with criminal trespass in the second degree, her spokeswoman Amy Queen said in a telephone interview.

Gov. Kate Brown’s spokesman said the governor support the decision.

“Gov. Brown supports freedom of expression for all Oregonians, and she agrees with the district attorney’s office that pursuing charges would not have been a good use of public resources,” spokesman Charles Boyle said.

Hundreds of protesters had come into the Capitol on Nov. 21. Most left within a few hours. But several dozen refused to leave Brown’s office until she opposed the pipeline. She spoke to the protesters by phone, and then in person, but did not denounce the pipeline plan.

The state police warned the protesters they would be subject to arrest if they remained, and then arrested 21 men and women, who ranged in age from 22 to 78. They were jailed overnight and released in the early morning.

“We thought the Oregon State Police reacted safely and appropriately,” Queen said.

Protesters say the pipeline will encourage further use of fossil fuels that leads to global warming, and risk spoiling the land and ocean with spills.

Rianna Koppel, who is from Talent and was one of those arrested, said she is “thrilled” that the district attorney’s office decided not to file charges. Koppel called on Brown to oppose the project, saying “our land, air, water, and climate are at stake.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s final impact statement said it believes the Canadian company behind the Jordan Cove Project, Pembina Pipeline Corporation, will manage risks. Pembina Pipeline Corporation says the project will bring investments, property tax revenue and jobs.

The proposed marine terminal, in Coos Bay, would allow export of American liquid natural gas to Asia, and it would have a 230-mile (370-kilometer) feeder pipeline from an interstate gas hub in southern Oregon’s Klamath County. The pipeline would transport the natural gas, which would be converted from a vapor to more compact liquid natural gas for export.

The impact statement represents the final step in the federal environmental review process before an order is issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approving the project, expected in February 2020, Jordan Cove said.

The project is still undergoing permitting processes by the state. But in August, the Trump Administration proposed streamlining approval of gas pipelines and other energy projects by limiting states’ certification authorities under the Clean Water Act.

This version corrects that gas in pipeline will be a vapor that is converted to liquid natural gas for export

Follow Andrew Selsky on Twitter at

Tacoma colleges will benefit from late centenarian’s $10 million surprise donation
Author: Allison Needles, The News Tribune

TACOMA — Colleges across Western Washington, including four in Pierce County, will benefit from a $10 million donation from a late 101-year-old woman.

Eva Gordon, a Seattle resident who passed away in June 2018, left the donation to 17 colleges.

“The gift is one of the largest to community and technical colleges in Washington, with each college foundation receiving approximately $550,000,” according to a press release from Seattle Colleges Foundation.

Tacoma Community College, Bates Technical College, Clover Park Technical College and the Pierce College Foundation received donations.

“Ms. Gordon’s gift will provide many students a pathway to a college education,” said Ivan L. Harrell, president of Tacoma Community College, in a press release. “Although she had dreamed about going to college, but did not have the opportunity to do so, her thoughtful donation will allow others to accomplish their college goals.”

Gordon grew up in Oregon and graduated high school at the top of her class. While she wished she’d continued her education, she didn’t have the financial capability, according to John Jacobs, her godson and estate representative.

Over the years, she worked as a legal secretary and for a Seattle investment firm and saved up her money. She married Ed Gordon, a stock broker, in 1964.

“A lot of people didn’t know the wealth she had,” Jacobs said in a press release. “She liked seeing students working, earning and doing things. Her goal was to provide an opportunity for those folks who could ill-afford it, whether vocational training or an academic skill.”

The colleges received a copies of Gordon’s will, which specified the donations, said Bill Ryberg, vice president for college advancement at TCC. The funds must be used in some way to help give students access to college. TCC hasn’t decided what they’ll go toward yet.

“On behalf of Tacoma Community College, we’re extremely grateful for her generosity,” Ryberg said. “It will help hundreds of students — there’s no question about it.”

Donation recipients

• Bates Technical College

• Cascadia College

• Clover Park Technical College

• Edmonds Community College

• Everett Community College

• Grays Harbor College

• Green River Community College

• Highline Community College

• Lake Washington Institute of Technology

• North Seattle College

• Pierce College Foundation

• Renton Technical College

• Seattle Central College

• Shoreline Community College

• Skagit Valley College

• South Puget Sound Community College

• Tacoma Community College

Pete Capell to retire as Camas city administrator
Author: Adam Littman

Camas Administrator Pete Capell announced his retirement on Friday, effective Jan. 1.

Capell, 63, has held the position since 2014, and will be available through March 31 to help with the transition and complete work on projects currently underway. The city will start a search for a new city administrator in the coming weeks.

“There’s a lot of change going on in the city,” Capell said. “I was just looking at all of my options. My wife and I have some plans. I’m going to still be doing some things for the city for a little while.”

The biggest recent change in the city is the election of Barry McDonnell as the new mayor. McDonald rode a wave of anger in the city over a proposed bond for up to $78 million to build a new community center, winning a write-in campaign over then-Mayor Shannon Turk. The bond itself failed with nearly 90 percent opposition.

“Obviously, I believe the outcome of the mayor’s election was a result of Proposition 2,” Capell said. “We need to do some rebuilding. Because I was a spokesperson for the council on many things — I really was just doing my job — I ended up getting a target on my back some of the time. It has not been the most fun last quarter I’ve had.”

Prior to coming to Camas, he served as the public works director of Clark County for 17 years. In his time with the county, Capell said he was most proud of boosting morale and getting the department on track to complete projects at a more efficient rate.

With Camas, Capell said he was most proud of his work with the Lacamas Legacy Lands program, in which the city has worked to acquire and preserve lands in the North Shore area.

“We acquired the Leadbetter House with intention of restoring to its prior days of glory,” he said. “That’s going to serve this community for generations and generations. That’s pretty cool.”

Capell and Kris Capell, his wife of 41 years, plan to travel, spend more time at their house on the Long Beach Peninsula and visit their children and grandchildren.

He also said that since word has gotten out about his retirement, he’s had some offers for other opportunities. He’s going to talk about them with his wife before deciding. One thing he is sure of, though, is that he’s not going to spend his retirement in Camas.

“When I’m truly totally retired, not doing any work, I’ll sell my Camas home,” he said. “If I never have to go through a Northwest winter again, I’ll be happy. I come from a family of snowbirds. It’s always been my intention to spend my winters in Arizona or Palm Springs.”

Documents: Mining company writing own environmental report
Author: KEITH RIDLER, Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho — Documents show the U.S. Forest Service allowing a Canadian company to write a key environmental report on its proposed open-pit gold mines in central Idaho after the Trump administration became involved.

The documents obtained by conservation group Earthworks show British Columbia-based Midas Gold’s lobbying efforts after initial rebuffs from the Forest Service.

The report, called a biological assessment, would typically be written by the Forest Service or an independent contractor. Its purpose is to examine the potential effect the open-pit mines would have on salmon, steelhead and bull trout protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The assessment could sink Midas Gold’s Stibnite Gold Project if it results in habitat restoration work that makes the mines economically unfeasible.

An internal Forest Service document in February 2018 shows the agency deciding to deny Midas Gold’s request to participate as a non-federal representative in writing the assessment because the massive project would likely harm protected fish. But by October 2018, Midas Gold was not only a participant, it had taken over leading the process and writing the document.

“I think it’s particularly inappropriate for a mining company to be analyzing their own project,” Bonnie Gestring of Earthworks said this week. She obtained the documents as part of a public records request.

Mckinsey Lyon, vice-president of external affairs for Midas Gold, said it’s normal for a company to write the biological assessment for its project, and the company has been holding monthly meetings with federal agencies, state agencies and tribes.

“We will prepare the draft assessment from that collaborative process,” Lyon said. “We are really looking at this to make the process more inclusive and transparent in getting all the voices and input at the table.”

Documents show ongoing lobbying efforts with federal agencies and then a meeting in May 2018 between Midas Gold and Dan Jiron, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s acting deputy under secretary for natural resources and environment. In November, Midas Gold met with Jim Hubbard, the Agriculture Department’s under secretary for natural resources and environment.

Meanwhile, Forest Service resistance to Midas Gold playing a significant role in writing the biological assessment crumbled, according to Forest Service internal emails, meeting notes and a memorandum.

“And to be clear,” then-Payette National Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom wrote in a short email to colleagues in October 2018, “Midas will have the lead on fish, wildlife and plants ESA (Endangered Species Act) consultation.”

Lannom, who earlier this year became a deputy regional forester based in Montana and no longer oversees Payette National Forest issues, didn’t return a call from The Associated Press.

John Freemuth, an expert on U.S. land policies at Boise State University, said it’s not unusual for companies to lobby whatever administration is in power. But he said having a company get the OK to write its own biological assessment is something he’s never heard of before.

“It looks like there was a lot of political pressure that Midas brought to bear at higher levels,” said Freemuth, who reviewed the documents. “It wouldn’t pass what people call the smell test.”

Midas Gold says the Stibnite Mining District contains more than 4 million ounces (113 million grams) of gold and more than 100 million pounds of antimony. Antimony is used in lead for storage batteries as well as a flame retardant. The U.S. lists antimony as one of 35 mineral commodities critical to the economic and national security of the country. Midas Gold says the mines will directly create an average of 500 jobs for up to 25 years.

Mining in the area about 40 miles (65 kilometers) east of McCall dates back more than a century and has resulted in two open pits, including one that has been blocking a salmon spawning stream since the 1930s. The site also has extensive tailings left from mining operations that are the source of elevated levels of arsenic.

Previous mining companies walked away, leaving cleanup to U.S. taxpayers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has spent about $4 million since the 1990s restoring habitat.

Midas Gold plans additional mining in the two open pits and to create a third open pit. The work would roughly double the size of the disturbed mining area to about 2,000 acres (800 hectares) and eliminate some previous reclamation work.

But Midas Gold’s plan includes cleaning up tailings by capturing gold with new technologies. Ultimately, the company says, it will restore much of the area when mining is finished.

The Nez Perce Tribe has treaty rights to the area and has come out against new mining amid concerns for fish habitat. Below the mining area is about 80 river miles of habitat for spring/summer Chinook salmon, steelhead and bull trout in the South Fork of the Salmon River and its tributary, the East Fork of the South Fork. The Salmon River itself is home to additional federally protected salmon, including endangered sockeye salmon.

The biological assessment will be used to create a draft environmental impact statement expected to be released in early 2020, with a final decision possible later in the year. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Fisheries, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Forest Service will have to sign off on the plan.

Midas Gold officials said the draft biological assessment has not yet been written, but an outline of the document has been created.

Freemuth, the public lands expert, said if the project is approved, a lingering question will be whether land and wildlife managers or political appointees made the decision.

“At the end of the day, people are going to sue if they think that the document is insufficient,” he said. “This will be heavily scrutinized.”