New school gets a new mascot

Washougal welcomes the Columbia River Gorge Elementary River Otters

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Columbia River Gorge Principal Tracey MacLachlan shows off the school's new mascot, Raymond the River Otter.

After 263 students and 30 staff members weighed in, Washougal’s newest elementary school has a mascot.

Columbia River Gorge Elementary will be the home of the River Otters.

The choice was narrowed down from 20 choices, including the Eagles, Hawks, Chinook, Bobcats and Falcons.

“The kids are excited about this and we are excited,” noted new principal Tracey MacLachlan.

With just a few weeks until the school opens next to the new Jemtegaard Middle School, final preparations have taken on even more importance.

“I am very excited and don’t want to forget anything,” MacLachlan said.

This isn’t MacLachlan’s first experience helping with the opening of a new school, as she was a classroom teacher at Woodburn Elementary in Camas when it opened in 2013.

“I have been in the district office, so I’ve gotten to know some of the students,” the new principal said. “Every time a parent comes in to register them, I try to go out and say, ‘Hi.’ I am so proud of the beautiful space we get at our new school.”

Columbia River Gorge Elementary will host a kindergarten visitation from 5 to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 5. A back-to-school night and open house will take place from 4 to 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 6.