CC Rider special district option likely on 2016 ballot

CC Rider special district option likely on 2016 ballot

Voters expected to decide special district formation and property tax levy After a failed...

Leading by example

Leading by example

WEB program eases the transition into middle school, gives eighth-graders volunteer experience...

St. Helens delays business licenses for pot dispensaries

St. Helens delays business licenses for pot dispensaries

By a 3-2 vote, city officials put pot shop hopefuls on hold for up to one year Marijuana...

Appeals board takes up county pot moratorium

Appeals board takes up county pot moratorium

Attorney for plaintiff: 'You've got a lot of people who are very confused about a lot of...

Two-vehicle crash injures woman during Hood to Coast race

Two-vehicle crash injures woman during Hood to Coast race

A woman was hospitalized Friday morning after a van she was in was struck just south of Scappoose...

Sheriffs: New gun law impossible to enforce

Sheriffs: New gun law impossible to enforce

Local residents have limited options to comply with background check law A newly enacted gun law...

Landowners turn front yard into wildlife wetland

Landowners turn front yard into wildlife wetland

BPA grants $500k for levee breach on private property Karin Hunt walks the muddy banks of her...

Mark of excellence

Mark of excellence

Grace Christian Children's Center preschool and daycare receives accreditation from National...

Backpack program ready to take a bite out of weekend hunger

Backpack program ready to take a bite out of weekend hunger

St. Helens Lions Club partners with United Methodist Church to feed low-income students over...

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

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Scot Stockwell, St. Helens School District superintendent
September 04, 2015

New superintendent draws on sense of community

by Nicole Thill
Scot Stockwell, a St. Helens native, approaches new term as district superintendent While Scot Stockwell may be new to his role as superintendent of the St. Helens School District, he’s no…
STRIPLING FAMILY PHOTO - Stephen 'Mac' Stripling, a 15-year-old Clatskanie student, made his way to the Statewide Spelling Championship thanks to a love of history books.
September 04, 2015

How to spell s-u-c-c-e-s-s

by Courtney Vaughn
Local students compete at state-level spelling competition In an era when smart phones, computers and tablets are ubiquitous, some kids are still delving into paperbacks, and their spelling…
SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - City council members discuss concerns over water rates with residents. While the city was not proposing any water rate increases, residents were concerned about high water bills and the possibility of an increase.
September 04, 2015

St. Helens councilor: Higher water bills due to more use

by Nicole Thill
While only one item on the St. Helens City Council meeting agenda related to utilities, many citizens complained about high water rates during and after the meeting Wednesday night, Sept. 2.…
September 04, 2015

St. Helens eyes September close of Boise purchase

by Nicole Thill
St. Helens, Boise expected to move forward with sale agreement after exploring allegation of unreported contamination at site The city of St. Helens has pushed back the closing date of its…
SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, who represents Oregon's First District, listens to the concerns of a resident. Bonamici is holding several town hall meetings across the district to speak with voters about issues in their communities.
September 04, 2015

Water usage, rights heavily discussed at town hall

by Nicole Thill
Town hall attendees press Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici on Port Westward methanol plant, TPP Nearly 40 people filled the St. Helens Public Library’s auditorum to raise concerns about access to…
COLUMBIA COUNTY HABITAT FOR HUMANITY PHOTO - A volunteer crew helps erect the frame of a new Habitat for Humanity house in St. Helens earlier this year. The home is nearly complete.
September 04, 2015

Habitat for Humanity to select alternate homeowner for veteran's…

by Courtney Vaughn
Veteran and family selected for Habitat home moving to fulfill military career opportunity A nearly completed new home on Sykes Road in St. Helens that was slated to be purchased by a veteran…
COURTNEY VAUGHN - Ken Kovash asks the Columbia County Board of Commissioners to consider the economic opportunities associated with marijuana businesses during a special meeting Tuesday, Aug. 25. Kovash operates a medical marijuana grow site and said he can't expand his business under the extended moratorium.
August 28, 2015

County extends marijuana moratorium

by Courtney Vaughn
Unincorporated areas probably won't see pot facilities until 2016 Columbia County’s moratorium on new medical marijuana facilities and grow sites will likely stay in place until 2016. The…
COURTNEY VAUGHN - Columbia River People's Utility District attorney Philip Griffin (left) listens as Directors Jake Carter, Dave Baker, Craig Melton and Richard Simpson vote on replacing the district's interim general manager.
August 28, 2015

PUD management turmoil continues

by Courtney Vaughn
Board directors under fire as district management remains in flux, rate hike looms Rumors of recall efforts surfaced Wednesday, Aug. 26, in the wake of a split vote by the Columbia River…
Nicole Thill
August 28, 2015

Thill joins Spotlight staff

by Nicole Thill
Nicole Thill has joined the Spotlight staff as a news reporter covering the city of St. Helens, the city of Columbia City, and the Scappoose and St. Helens school districts. Thill replaces Mark…
August 28, 2015

Clatskanie cuts exit deal with police chief

by Courtney Vaughn
Clatskanie's Marvin Hoover agrees to retire amid probe into alleged racists comments he made Clatskanie's police chief, Marvin Hoover, will retire from his position on the heels of an…

Don't miss the local news

FILE PHOTO - Christopher Heller, 30, died last month after suffering a fatal head injury that left him hospitalized in critical condition. A suspect has yet to be identified.
Aug 28, 2015

Detectives seek 'person of interest' linked to Heller homicide

by Courtney Vaughn
Investigators are looking for leads in the late-July killing One month after the death of 30-year-old Christopher Heller, detectives are still searching for a suspect. The St. Helens man died…
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.
Aug 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.
Aug 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.
Aug 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.
Aug 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.
Aug 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…
Aug 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…
Aug 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.
Aug 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.
Aug 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…