News Briefs for July 18, 2019

'Lights for Liberty' vigil draws crowd; Vancouver Lake closed to swimmers; man injured in train accident

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At least 125 people gathered outside the Camas Friends Church in downtown Camas on Friday, July 12, for a vigil addressing abuses against migrant families in government-run detention centers on the southern United States border. (Photos by Wayne Havrelly/Post-Record)

Camas ‘Lights for Liberty’ vigil draws a crowd

At least 125 people showed up for a “Lights for Liberty” candlelit vigil in downtown Camas on July 12. Organized by the Camas Friends Church, the vigil was one of hundreds happening throughout the world over the weekend, and was designed to highlight abuses faced by asylum seekers and refugees on the United States’ southern border and call for an end to human detention camps being run by the U.S. federal government.

The Camas vigil was held from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., Friday, July 12, in the Friends Church parking lot, at 1004 N.E. Fourth Ave., in downtown Camas.

Attendees held signs saying “End Immigrant Abuse” and “Children Deserve Compassion.” At 9 p.m., the vigil participants observed a moment of silence.

To learn more about the Lights for Liberty campaign, visit LightsForLib

Camas names bridge in honor of local couple

The Camas City Council on Monday agreed to name the Washougal River Greenway Trail pedestrian bridge after longtime Camas residents Don and Eunice Abrahamsen.

In the proclamation honoring the Camas couple, Mayor Shannon Turk said the Abrahamsens “exemplified the spirit of service above self, for their country, their community and their families.”

Don Abrahamsen lived in Camas for 45 years until his death in 2007 at the age of 78. He was a member of the U.S. Army during the Korean War and served as the director of logistics and planning at the Camas paper mill until his retirement in 1986. He also served on the Camas Planning Commission and on the Camas City Council and was a member of the Camas-Sohoe Sister City Program. Eunice Abrahamsen was one of the founding members of the Friends of the Camas Cemetery, served as a member of the Camas Parks and Recreation Commission, helped name Liberty Middle School and was president of the East Clark County Community Concert Series. She was named queen of the Camas Days Senior Royalty in 2008, and received the Mayor’s Spirit Award for her community service in 2016.

Vancouver Lake closed to swimmers

Clark County Public Health on Tuesday closed Vancouver Lake to swimmers due to elevated levels of E. coli bacteria detected during routine testing. Some E. coli bacteria can cause serious gastrointestinal illness if water is accidentally swallowed.

Due to the elevated bacteria levels, Public Health is closing the lake to swimming and wading. People who fish at the lake should take precautions to avoid water contact.

“It’s especially important to keep children out of the lake because they are more likely than adults to swallow some of the water,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director.

Closure signs were posted at Vancouver Lake on Tuesday after water samples taken from the lake on Monday showed elevated levels of E. coli bacteria. Public Health will continue to regularly monitor water quality at the Vancouver Lake.

The closure will remain in effect until tests show that E. coli bacteria levels do not exceed state and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. Public Health will advise the public when water contact is considered safe again. Test results and information about current advisories are posted on the Public Health public beaches website.

Public Health also has a blue-green algae warning in place for Vancouver Lake, due to elevated cyanotoxins in the water. Public Health is advising people to avoid direct contact with all lake water.

Vancouver Lake Regional Park remains open. Water in park restrooms and shelters is not affected by lake water and remains safe to drink.

Park visitors may continue to fish in the lake but should thoroughly clean all fish and equipment. Fish should be cooked before eaten. Anyone having contact with water in Vancouver Lake should wash hands with soap and water.

E. coli is a common kind of bacteria that lives in the intestines of animals and people. The presence of E. coli in Vancouver Lake water indicates that the water may contain bacteria found in animal or human feces. Some of these bacteria are capable of causing severe gastrointestinal illness.

Depending on the cause, people with gastrointestinal infections may experience fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea beginning several hours to several days or longer after exposure. Some infections may cause bloody diarrhea.

People who experience bloody diarrhea or persistent gastrointestinal symptoms should call their physician or other health care provider.

Man seriously injured in vehicle vs. train collision

A man was hospitalized with serious, life-threatening injuries after an early Monday morning collision between a small truck and a BNSF Railway train.

First responders from the Camas and Washougal police departments and the Camas-Washougal Fire Departments arrived at a call for a vehicle versus train collision at the railway crossing on Southeast Whitney Street around 6:30 a.m. Monday.

Police say a 55-year-old man driving a small passenger truck was heading southbound on Southeast Whitney Street when his truck collided with a westbound BNSF train.

The driver of the truck was the sole occupant of the vehicle. He was transported to PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center with serious injuries.

Police said no one aboard the train was injured.

The cause of the crash is under investigation but Camas police said in a press release it “appears that all of the implemented safety equipment near the tracks was functioning at the time of the collision.”

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit is assisting Camas police with this investigation.

Southeast Whitney Street was closed for several hours following the collision.

The identity of the man injured in the collision has not yet been released.