Community focus: Residents share concerns about future of Clark County


As Clark County grows and the landscape changes, community members, new and old, are finding positives and negatives regarding the transitions taking place.

When asked in two Battle Ground-focused Facebook groups, residents had much to say about their thoughts on living in Clark County, including their concerns, what needs to be improved, their favorite aspects of living here, feelings toward population growth and more.

Commenters became passionate about infrastructure issues — specifically roadways and pedestrian access, as well as how fast the area is growing, which is leading to fewer open spaces.

Older residents commented more negatively about the current state of Clark County. More positive comments came from newer residents, such as Beth Uiveleth, a recent Battle Ground transplant originally from Oklahoma.

“We are absolutely loving it here and are amazed at how much better the schools are, how amazing health care is, how friendly everyone is, and how well the town is put together,” Uiveleth wrote. “It definitely is more expensive to live here overall, but the quality of life is much higher than where we are originally from.”

Another fresh Battle Ground local, April Hall, believes the area needs more basketball courts, bicycle trails and hiking opportunities, along with a new sports complex with swimming pools. Comments about road infrastructure, population growth, schools and shrinking open space and agriculture land overshadowed comments about crime and homelessness.


Numerous comments on the two Facebook posts were focused around roadways and pedestrian access throughout Clark County.

Beth Learn, a Clark County resident living outside of Battle Ground’s urban growth boundary, said, “I’m deeply frustrated with the breakdown in infrastructure even as thousands of new homes have been built. The roads get torn up when new houses go in. Then they’re patched up and left to break down further where the new asphalt meets the old pavement.”

Learn also expressed her concerns about pedestrian access. Her comment resulted in 20 reactions, the most on the post in the Facebook group, Talking about Battle Ground.

“The sidewalk system looks like a preschooler who doesn’t know how to draw from dot to dot, leaving neighborhoods disconnected from services,” Learn’s comment stated. “In general, the increases in traffic and population size constantly outpace our roads’ size and ability. Clark County is becoming a congested mess.”

La Center resident Jonathan Johnson mentioned rural areas, especially northern Clark County, needing more high-speed internet options.

“Where I live, I am limited to the telephone company’s DSL service or satellite. I would appreciate having more landline options such as fiber (optic) and cable from different providers to drive competition,” Johnson wrote.

Development concerns

Clark County residents who commented were unhappy about the loss of agricultural land and open spaces as more homes are needed to meet the area’s growth.

Cathay Olsen, who lives on the outskirts of Battle Ground, is dissatisfied with the loss of both large and small agricultural acreage. She said she fears her land will be annexed into city limits. Vancouver resident George Sampson said he was concerned about the influence of developers.

“My biggest concern is the developer-friendly policies of local government at the expense of existing neighborhoods and streets,” he wrote. “Developers seem to have more sway with local government than us citizens.”

Sampson cited massive warehouses being built along northeast 162nd Avenue in Vancouver that will add “hundreds of trucks onto city streets in an area already heavily impacted by traffic.”

Alicia Komm, a Battle Ground resident for roughly 50 years, has concerns that the power grids and water systems won’t be able to meet demand due to the rapid growth. Jeffery R. Smith, of Hockinson, believes sprawling population growth only serves to enrich developers at the cost of small-town quality of life and services such as police, fire, medical, utilities and education.

Dissatisfaction with education

A few residents addressed their unhappiness with the education system across multiple districts in Clark County. One resident believes the number of recent staff strikes does not help the students, while others cite the impacts COVID-19 is still having in education.

“I struggle with children who have fallen so far behind due to COVID, and special education needs cannot catch up due to a lack of resources,” Desiree Mitchell, a Battle Ground resident, commented. “The teachers won’t stay to help after school. They get four minutes between classes, and tutoring is a fortune. ... Why can’t they just notice kids that need the extra help and pull them aside.”

Battle Ground resident Sarah Griffith believes public schools are suffering in all of Clark County.

“The superintendents make exorbitant amounts of money and will not take pay cuts ... so that we can have more teachers and support staff to help the students,” Griffith wrote. “COVID set many kids back, so we need support for this generation more than ever. After all, children are literally our future.”