Downriver Dispatches


January 25, 2024

This time of year is usually a slow time for news out this way. We are used to cancellations from storms and flooding, but today, there seems to be a lot happening.


There has been news at the Naselle-Grays River Valley School District almost every day. Since Lisa Nelson’s resignation, things are moving right along to find a new superintendent who we hope with be on board during the coming summer. Lisa will stay through the August.

In her resignation letter, she set her last day as Aug. 30. Please make sure to read the article on the school board’s recent meetings and changes. Also in school news, Naselle’s mobile robotics team won the bronze medal at the regional competition. Congrats to Ricky Neet, Jaime Mareno and Kayden Childers. The team will move on to state competition. GO NASELLE!


There was a meeting over the weekend with a presentation from the Columbia Land Trust that I was unable to attend. But I did read information they sent me recently from their newsletter regarding their latest land purchase on the Grays River. It states that “This site protects 1,103 acres along 2.5 miles of the West Fork of Grays River, helping to create a corridor of habitat lands connecting two large blocks of state-managed forest in Pacific and Wahkiakum counties. Though it feels remote, this landscape is important to human communities who rely on forests as an economic driver and healthy rivers for water quality. It is also home to big, old trees that are critical for federally endangered marbled murrelets who depend on this type of older growth forest. As the forests grow under the Land Trust’s stewardship, we anticipate the development of new suitable marbled murrelet habitat over the next 20-40 years.

The Grays River watershed is a significant salmon habitat site within the lower Columbia River ecosystem. It supports several salmonid populations but stands out as the most important basin for chum salmon in the Columbia River basin. Our stewardship will prioritize maintaining and restoring fish populations through management of upland forests and implementation of in- stream restoration that collectively cool water, moderate floods, capture sediment, and create diverse habitat for fish and wildlife. This land acquisition was funded by grants from the federal Endangered Species Act, Section 6 for marbled murrelet, the Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program – Critical Habitat category.”

Oneida Water

On Sunday, I received this message from Ron Thielen from out Oneida Road.

“Karen, as I told you from the letter that many of us received, Fire District #3 has decided they will no longer make water deliveries after 4/11/24. I have four 3,000 gallon tanks that have held out the last two years but need a backup when a drought hits. Several landowners out here on Oneida will be affected by this. We need solid solutions because this will affect many immediately.”

This is a tough situation and unfortunately, not many solutions are available. I called a few folks to get a read on all this and it is as I expected.

Wahkiakum County’s local fire districts are run by volunteers. When landowners on Oneida Rd. received their water from a fire truck, the public utilities district received payment for the water, the fire district charged for maintenance for their truck, and the driver went unpaid. Fire volunteers can’t keep doing it because there are already too few volunteer fire fighters. The few that are left can’t keep making the trips out there on their own time to bring water to folks. What could help would be someone who would buy an old fire truck, fill it with water and sell it to folks who need it. Not only Oneida folks need water hauled; in droughts some folks have wells that dry up. It’s just not feasible for the fire districts to be delivering water forever. I hope someone will see this as a business opportunity.

Calendar of Events:

Mondays/Wednesdays: Balance Class Naselle Community Center 3-4 p.m.

Second Monday: American Legion at Rosburg Hall, meal at 6 p.m. Meeting at 6:30 p.m.

Tuesdays: Naselle Lutheran Church: quilters in morning/ knitters in afternoons.

Third Tuesday: Naselle/GRV School Board 6:30. Next on January 16 in School Library.

Wednesdays: AA meeting at Grays River Grange at noon.

Second Wednesday of the month: Grays River Flood Control District at Fire Hall 5:30 p.m.

First and third Wednesdays each month: RCC Senior Lunch at Rosburg Hall on Feb. 7 and 21.

Thursdays every week: CAP senior lunches at noon at Rosburg Hall. Joel Fitts recommends it.

Second Thursday: Johnson Park Board meeting at 10 a.m.

Jan. 30: Grays River Workshop at Rosburg Hall from 6-8 p.m.

Feb. 13: Naselle GRV School Levy Vote. Please vote to support our kids.

Feb. 16: Beekeeping class at Naselle Library taught by Julie Tennis. 360-539-3327.

February 24: Memorial Reception for Dale Dutcher at Rosburg Hall from 1-4 p.m.

April 7: Memorial service for Darlene Bjornsgard at Naselle school. Time not set yet.

Word for the week: Families.


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