Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Columbia River Wetland Mitigation Bank, Vancouver, Washington"
Includes ... Columbia River Wetland Mitigation Bank ... Centennial Industrial Park ... Lower River Road Pond ... Rufener's Pond ... Elmer's Pond ...
Image, 2015, Lower River Road Pond, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
"Lower River Road Pond", Vancouver, Washington. View from moving car on Lower River Road. Image taken July 13, 2015.


The "Lower River Road Pond" is also known as "Rufener's Pond" or "Elmer's Pond".


Columbia River Wetland Mitigation Bank ...
In 2004 the Port of Vancouver bought the 273-acre old dairy farm of Elmer and Marie Rufener, setting aside 108 acres for the "Centennial Industrial Park" and 154 acres for developement into a wetlands known as the "Columbia River Wetland Mitigation Bank".

"The Centennial property actually encompasses 108 acres, with 58 acres ready for development and with 50 acres nearby that are available for future development. The industrial park -- located southeast of Vancouver Lake and within reach of key rail and highway corridors -- also skirts the boundary of the port's 154-acre wetland, called the Columbia River Mitigation Bank. The first of its kind in Clark County, the wetland mitigation bank is a partnership between the port and Clark County Mitigation Partners LLC, which is building and operating the wetland bank." ["The Columbian", August 12, 2012]

The Columbia River Wetland Mitigation Bank is located on the north side of Lower River Road west of Vancouver, Washington, at approximately Columbia River Mile (RM) 103 to 104. The Columbia River itself is approximately 1/2 mile south of the wetlands. Vancouver Lake and the Vancouver Lake Wildlife Area borders the northern boundary of the Wetland Mitigation Bank.


Image, 2015, Lower River Road, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Sign, "Centennial Industrial Park", Vancouver, Washington. View from moving car on Lower River Road. Image taken July 13, 2015.


"Lower River Road Pond" ... ("Rufener's Pond", "Elmer's Pond")
The "Lower River Road Pond" is also known as Rufener's Pond (mis-spelled by the Vancouver Audubon Society as "Ruefner's Pond") and Elmer's Pond.

In 2004 Elmer and Marie Rufener sold their farm to the Port of Vancouver. Port of Vancouver publications mention there was a pond known as "Elmer's Pond".

The Vancouver Audubon Society's newsletters however (as early as 2009) call the pond "Ruefner's Pond". Many birders however simply refer to the Pond as the "Lower River Road Pond".


Image, 2015, Lower River Road, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Great Egrets, Lower River Road Pond, Vancouver, Washington. View from moving car on Lower River Road. Image taken July 6, 2015.
Image, 2011, Lower River Road, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Great Egrets, Lower River Road Pond, Vancouver, Washington. View from moving car on Lower River Road. Image taken November 4, 2011.


"From Farm to Industrial Park" ...
"Moving the Centennial property into shovel-ready territory while preserving environmental goals all began with a decades-old, 273-acre dairy farm run by Elmer and Marie Rufener.

Elmer Rufener was forced to quit farming in 1989 after suffering a stroke. He died in 1995 at the age of 92.

When the port bought the Rufener property in 2004 for $5.9 million, the land was designated as parcels 6, 7 and 8. The port used more than half of the land to create the 154-acre wetland mitigation bank. It includes a body of water known as Elmer's Pond.

Another 108 acres became Centennial Industrial Park, encompassing a portion of the former Rufener farm that grazed cows and produced milk products.

In 2009, as it prepared to transform the parcel from farm to industrial complex, the port decided against demolishing the agricultural buildings. Instead, in another bid to help the environment -- and out of respect for the community's agricultural roots -- the port required its contractor to dismantle the buildings, piece by piece, for reuse and recycling, according to Kathy Holtby, the port's real estate manager, who spoke to the port's three commissioners about the project during a July 24 public hearing.

The contractor exceeded the requirements, Holtby said, with more than 78 percent of the building materials being reused, 19 percent recycled and just 3 percent ending up in a landfill.

The reclaimed parts of the Rufener buildings, meanwhile, were "incorporated into various community developments," Holtby said. For example, sections of former cow-milking stations "are being used as decorative fencing in the parking lot of McCallister Village," Holtby said, an affordable housing development in the Fruit Valley neighborhood."


Source:    Aaron Corvin, "The Columbian", August 12, 2012, retrieved online July 2015.


Image, 2015, McCallister Village, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Recycled Rufener Farm milking stations, McCallister Village, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2015.
Image, 2015, McCallister Village, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Recycled Rufener Farm milking stations, McCallister Village, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2015.
Image, 2015, McCallister Village, Vancouver, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Recycled Rufener Farm milking stations, McCallister Village, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken July 15, 2015.


Early History ...
The Next Generation Business Park: From dairy farm to industrial park and wetlands.

"... What was once a thriving dairy farm is now home to the port's 108-acre Centennial Industrial Park, as well as a 154-acre wetland mitigation bank. These two complimentary projects are located on property that was once the Rufener Dairy Farm operated by Elmer Christian Rufener for more than 70 years.

Located at the southeast end of the Vancouver Lake Lowlands, the 273-acre farm included a complex of agricultural buildings and was also one of the last dairy farms remaining in the region. The port purhcased the property in July 2004.

The farm got its start in 1849 as the Hudson's Bay Company was moving its headquarters to British Columbia. One of its employees named Francois La Frambois chose to settle within the lowlands south of present day Vancouver Lake. He and his wife lived on their roughly 504 acres and raised crops of timothy hay.

La Frambois died sometime between 1885 and 1887, and it wasn't until 1917 that local farmer Henry Huber acquired much of the property and started a dairy farm with his young family. By 1920, the Hubers, their two children, and several "field hands" were living in Fruit Valley on the dairy farm.

In 1924, Elmer Rufener, Henry's younger cousin, arrived in Clark County to work on the Huber farm. He lived in Huber's bunkhouse and worked for four years on the farm without pay. Rufener and Huber eventually agreed that the younger man could accrue an interest of ownership in the dairy through back wages and continued work. Upon accumulating half-ownership, Rufener seriously began buying out Huber's interest; Rufener's daughter believes that her father probably owned the farm outright by the late 1940s.

Elmer Rufener married Marie Jensen in 1934, and was the father of four daughters. ... Rufener was forced to quit farming in 1989 after suffering a severe stroke. He passed away six years later in December 1995 at the age of 92. ..."


Source:    Port of Vancouver "Community Report", Fall 2012.



More Early History ...
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) website shows Francis LaFrambois and the heirs of Margaret LaFrambois being granted title to 544.17 acres of parts of T2N R1E, Sections 7, 8, 16, 17, 18, 20, and 21, on December 22, 1865 (1850 Oregon-Donation Act).

An 1888 plat map of Clark County (found on "rootsweb.com" website) shows "F. La Franboise" with Donation Land Claim (DLC) in T2N R1E, parts of Sections 17, 20, and 21. Between the "La Franboise" claim and the Columbia River lies the DLC of "H. Van Alman".



From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, ...
 




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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources:    Corvin, A., 2012, "The Columbian", August 12, 2012, retrieved July 2015;    Port of Vancouver "Community Report", Fall 2012;

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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July 2015