Washougal receives $30K donation for parks

Danielson family money will help improve Hathaway, Hamllik parks

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Doug Danielson (left) and William Danielson (right) stand with Washougal Mayor David Stuebe (center) after receiving the city of Washougal's "Mayor's Award" during a Washougal City Council meeting held Monday, Oct. 9, 2023.. (Contributed photo courtesy city of Washougal)

The city of Washougal has received an unexpected, but much-appreciated gift.

Doug Danielson and William Danielson, the sons of former Portland-area grocery store magnate Norman Danielson, have donated $30,000 to the City, which will use the funds to improve two of its parks.

Norman Danielson, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 99, owned and operated four Thriftway grocery stores in Clark County, including one in Washougal, and launched the Norman C. Danielson Foundation, a nonprofit organization that benefits Camas, Washougal and east Vancouver, in 2012.

“(I felt a sense of) gratitude that there are people out there wanting to give back. It’s just like, ‘Wow, there’s such good people out there,’” Washougal Mayor David Stuebe told the Post-Record. “They’re providing things that our (future) generations are going to enjoy and make our parks safer and nicer and more friendly to people. They did really well (in their business ventures), and now they want to give back to the community. When (I first met them), I was just humbled and honored. It’s like, ‘Wow, this is really nice of you guys to be able to do this.’”

The City will use a portion of the donated funds to repair and replace a fence at Hathaway Park.

“The fence (borders) the road transitioning from Upper Hathaway Park to Lower Hathaway Park on 25th Street. It was installed many years ago and is falling apart in several sections,” said Trevor Evers, the City’s director of public works. “The goal of this project is to cut the post out of the curb and put the fence behind the curb so it is moved away from the edge of the roadway.”

The City awarded the construction project to Camas-based Hero Fencing, which bid $9,160 and will provide a donation to fix another 100 feet of fencing, valued at $9,000, according to Evers.

The City will use the additional $20,840 donated by the Danielson brothers on its Hamllik Park Basketball Court and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements project, Evers said.

“(The fence project) came in $20,000 less than what (the Danielson brothers) gave us. That’s a first, right? Usually it’s like, ‘(The project is going to cost us more than we thought), so where are we going to come up with the rest?’” Steube said. “They were cool enough to go, ‘Well then, what other projects do you have? (We gave you) $30,000, and you fixed it with $10,000 so now you have $20,000, so talk to us.’”

The City conducted a parks community survey “within the last couple of years that provided a significant amount of feedback from the community,” according to Evers.

“It was found that while many young children and adults have enjoyed Hamllik Park and its facilities, our community is lacking recreational areas that would engage teens and young adults,” Evers said. “After receiving these survey results, the City applied for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for a basketball court at Hamllik Park aimed at addressing that issue.”

The court will “add another outlet for youths and adults to develop coordination, motor skills, improve fitness, and mental health,” Evers said. The City is currently in the design phase and hopes to construct the new court in the spring of 2024.

Stuebe recognized the Danielson brothers with a “Mayor’s Award” during the Washougal City Council’s meeting on Monday, Oct. 16.

“The Danielsons’ gifts have provided structures and improvements to parks that will serve our community for generations,” Stuebe said, reading the wording on the award certificates. “Strong partners like (them) are pivotal in bringing many park projects to fruition. (Their) actions have greatly benefited and touched many of our citizens.”

Norman Danielson launched his retail career in Clark County in 1938 when he began managing a hardware store in Washougal that he and his brothers Val and Gil had purchased.

“So then from there, we crisscrossed building stores, buying stores, selling stores, and whatever,” Doug Danielson said during the Council meeting. “We ended up with four stores here in Clark County. But my dad wanted to help out the community that served him so well during the career that he had — the Evergreen-Camas-Washougal area was kind of his bailiwick.”

Norman Danielson, who went on to own and operate nine Thriftway stores, mostly in the Portland area, contributed to numerous local charities, including the Camas Boys and Girls Club, Washougal and Camas school foundations, and helped finance the construction of a Washougal soccer field that bears his name.