May 2023 Business Connection

Page 1

Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce

2023 legislative session ends: wins, losses

and missed opportunities

The clouds have parted and the end of the 2023 legislative session is here. The Legislature adjourned on April 23, finishing on time after 105 days. With just hours to go, lawmakers passed a $69.8 billion two-year state operating budget.

AWB’s statement: The Association of Washington Business is encouraged to see lawmakers slow down spending growth after record growth in recent years. The budget also includes no new general tax increases. The Washington Research Council has details

• “These are positive steps, especially in light of the cooling we’re seeing in the economy and the continuing concern about the possibility of a recession,” AWB President Kris Johnson said.

Wins: This session, lawmakers took meaningful steps to address the state’s affordable housing crisis. The Legislature passed nine bills to increase housing supply and dedicated a record $1 billion for new housing investments. This is the most housing legislation lawmakers have passed in years. The bills include:

• The Legislature adopted legislation to increase “missing middle” housing in traditionally single-family neighborhoods. The policy is intended to spur more duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, townhomes and cottage housing.

• A permit timelines bill establishes project review periods and supports local governments in speeding up permitting.

• Condominium reform legislation supports condos and townhomes as an option for affordable homeownership.

Washington will join the Nurse Licensure Compact under legislation passed nearly unanimously by the Legislature. The legislation has long been an AWB priority and is a critical step to addressing health care workforce shortages. The compact allows nurses to have one multistate license and practice in any of the 40 states that have enacted the compact.

May 2023 Volume 15 • Issue 5 Business Connection is published monthly by the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce 105 N. Minor Road • Kelso, WA 98626 STAFF Karen Sisson, Interim CEO Pam Fierst, Bookkeeper k CONTACT US 360-423-8400 To advertise, call Pam Fierst 360-423-8400 or Ad Deadline 20th of Each Month Business Connection
The Visitor Center is back open on weekends, stop by and say "Hi!"
For more AWB Recap, see page 5
2023 Vistor Guide & Directory COMINGSOON!

Pillars of Strengthand Crystal Apple Awards

Thursday, May 4, 2023

5:00 to 8:00 pm

Cowlitz County Event Center

1900 7th Avenue, Longview

Sponsorships Available

$35 individual • $280 table for 8

Please register by Wednesday, April 26 at

you to our sponsors
Crystal Apple Awards sponsored by Thank Scholarship Awards sponsored by:

Crystal Apple Award Nominees and Scholarship Recipients 2023


1. Aaron Madsen – Lexington Elementary School (Kelso School District)

2. Alex Brehm – Lower Columbia College

3. Alison Latham – Rose Valley Elementary School

4. Alynn Huhta – Northlake Elementary School

5. Angel Ruvalcaba Lower Columbia College

6. Angie Rogers – Lower Columbia College

7. Becky Richards – Rose Valley Elementary School

8. Bethny (Beth) Webb Butler Acres Elementary School

9. Betsy Brown – Mark Morris High School

10. Bianca Linares – RA Long High School

11. Brenda Angelico Butler Acres Elementary School

12. Brenda Buzalsky Monticello Middle School

13. Brenda Hall Cascade Middle School

14. Brittney Rister Butler Acres Elementary School

15. Cindy Chapman Kelso School District & Lexington Elementary School

16. Cindy Cromwell Kelso Virtual Academy

17. Cora Lazo Northlake Elementary

18. Courtney Anderson Coweeman Middle School

19. Daniel Turner Northlake Elementary School

20. David Hedge RA Long High School

21. Dawn Draus Lower Columbia College

22. Dena Enyeart Cascade Middle School

23. Deven Benson Cascade Middle School 24. Elaina Flores Rose Valley Elementary School 25. Erin Gregory Columbia Heights Elementary School 26. George Larson Huntington Middle School 27. Gianne Curry Kelso Virtual Academy 28. Heather Ogden Kelso School District/District Office 29. Holly Budge Kelso School District 30. Holly Davis Northlake Elementary School

31. Jacquelyn Radmer Huntington Middle School

32. James Kiefer Rose Valley Elementary

33. Janelle Ormond RA Long High School

34. Jayne Kolberg Kelso High School

35. Jenessa Norvaisis Columbia Valley Gardens Elementary School 36. Jesse Spellmeyer Kelso Virtual Academy 37. Jessica Vanson Cascade Middle School

1. Jasper Harry Keller RA Long High School

2. Audrey Elizabeth Glaser RA Long High School

3. Jamison Perkins RA Long High School

38. Jill Whitright Mt. Solo Middle School

39. Jodi Hanson Robert Gray Elementary School

40. Kelli Stewart Barnes Elementary School

41. Kristen Peterson Monticello Middle School

42. Kristine Hansen Kelso School District

43. Lacey Girffiths RA Long High School

44. Lindsay Michael Northlake Elementary School

45. Lisa Kloke Mark Morris High School

46. Lucia Alejandro Mark Morris High School

47. Lynette Oswald Lexington Elementary School

48. Maleah Cooper Kelso High School

49. Maria Bueno Aguilera Northlake Elementary School

50. Marilyn Melville Northlake Elementary School

51. Marilyn Melville Irvine – Kelso School District

52. Mark Connolly Butler Acres Elementary School

53. Megan Berry Lexington Elementary School

54. Misty Brunelle RA Long High School

55. Nancy Baldwin Kelso High School

56. Natalie Worel Northlake Elementary School

57. Nic Roome Monticello Middle School

58. Noelle Carlson Cascade Middle School & Mark Morris High School

59. Penny Andrews Longview School District Office

60. Rebecca Keithley Coweeman Middle School

61. Rebecca Rodriguez Cascade Middle School

62. Rena Dillinger Lexington Elementary School

63. Robert Cochran Lower Columbia College

64. Robin Russel Columbia Heights Elementary School

65. Seth Peck Barnes Elementary School

66. Shelley Kyllo Kelso Virtual Academy

67. Tammy Smith Kelso High School

68. Tammy Trafelet Huntington Middle School

69. Tara Micheletto Lexington Elementary

70. Teresa Aloe Butler Acres Elementary School

71. Teresa Melone Rose Valley Elementary School

72. Teri Nickerson Columbia Valley Gardens Elementary School

73. Valentina Perkins Northlake Elementary School

74. Wanda Forgy Longview School District & Mark Morris High School


11. Madison Elizabeth Noel Mark Morris High School + Lower Columbia College (Running Start)

4. Jay Matthew Nickerson RA Long High School + Lower Columbia College (Running Start)

5. Mariah Bergquist RA Long High School + Lower Columbia College (Running Start)

6. Quinn M. Harvel Mark Morris High School

7. Brooke Sampson Mark Morris High School

8. Jiarong Chen Mark Morris High School

9. Ainsley Grace Hayes Mark Morris High School

10. Travis Wayne Sherman Mark Morris High School

12. Trey Cassius Varney Mark Morris High School + Lower Columbia College (Running Start)

13. Ruby Sereday Kelso High School

14. Jack Leonard Robarge Kelso High School

15. Malia Ana Christine Silva Cathlamet High School

16. Reigha Niemeyer Wahkiakum High School

17. Kenneth Andrew

Aigner Keene Woodland High School

18. Easton G Ashby Castle Rock High School

Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

Marlene Johanson, President Heritage Bank

Marc Silva, President Elect

Red Canoe Credit Union

Jason Gentemann, Vice President Foster Farms

Lisa Straughan, Past President Express Employment Professionals

Neil Zick, Treasurer Twin City Bank

Michael Claxton, Legal Counsel

Walstead Mertsching

Diane Craft

Koelsch Communities

Duane Dalgleish

Cowlitz PUD

Rich Gushman Gibbs & Olson

Keenan Harvey City Council, Kelso

Sean Kiffe NORPAC

Nick Lemiere

Edward Jones

Cherelle Montanye

St. John/PeaceHealth

John Paul

KUKN-KLOG-101.5 The Blitz

Bruce Pollock

Bicoastal Media

Ted Sprague

Cowlitz Economic Development Council

Michael Vorse

Minuteman Press

MaryAlice Wallis City of Longview Mayor

Dennis Weber

Cowlitz County Commissioner

Pam Whittle Realty One Group Pacifica

The Legislature approved similar compacts for dentists and dental hygienists and audiologists and speech-language pathologists

• Get a full wrap-up on this and other health care, child care and workforce development issues from AWB’s Amy Anderson here

The Legislature overwhelmingly approved new policies to scale up production of sustainable aviation fuel, low-carbon fuels that are considered crucial for the aviation sector to cut emissions. The legislation promises to attract new business investment and jobs. AWB, employers and unions testified in support of the bill.

Losses: Lawmakers approved legislation that will create additional challenges and hurdles for employers. One bill will allow the state adopt rules relating to ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorders, reversing a citizen initiative. Another bill will allow the state to set staffing quotas for warehouses, interfering with business operations. Another expands the list of circumstances where an employee can voluntarily leave work and be eligible for to receive unemployment insurance benefits.

Missed opportunities: Lawmakers took no action to address major issues with the state’s troubled long-term care program, WA Cares. Employers will need to begin deducting the tax from employees’ paychecks in July. The final budget also may not include enough in reserves.

• “Lawmakers failed to pass meaningful, broad-based tax relief and drew down reserves to a level that may not be sufficient in the event of a downturn,” Johnson said.

They also spent time discussing unproductive tax hikes. Proposals to increase the real estate excise tax (REET) and raise the annual cap on local property tax growth were left out of the final budget. AWB helped lead the effort to oppose the REET measure and its added housing costs.

• AWB and a broad coalition of business leaders sent a letter last week to House members urging them to vote no on the REET measure. The bill would have raised the state’s tax rate to the highest in America.

Legislators made it easier to permit clean energy facilities, but more work remains to be done. There were also misses with housing legislation, with lawmakers failing to pass three AWB-supported bills: lot-splitting, transit-oriented development, and a multifamily property tax exemption.

Legislative wrap-ups: Stay tuned for short session wrap-up videos from AWB’s government affairs team. We’ll be posting the videos on social media.

• Peter Godlewski, AWB government affairs director, discusses energy and environmental policies, in a new video.

Learn more: There’s still time to register for AWB’s 2023 Spring Meeting to catch our legislative review panel.

For more information visit

Kelso Longview Business Connection | May 2023 | 5
AWB Recap from page 1

Taking a bite out of food insecurity: partnership grows food distribution capacity

In the wake of the pandemic, families across southwest Washington still struggle to make ends meet. Often that means deciding between paying bills and buying food. At the same time, the nonprofit organizations that provide critical services, support and resources to the community are stretched thin by spiking demand.

centers across the region. The program places interns with local food distribution centers, helping individuals gain skills and work experience and at the same time building much-needed capacity at food banks and pantries to feed our community.

“WSW’s investment increases economic opportunity for employees placed at food banks and families served through the sites,” said Miriam Halliday, chief executive officer of Workforce Southwest Washington. “Partnerships with community-based organizations and nonprofits across Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and Clark counties enable our local workforce development system to holistically serve families and individuals while supporting local business recovery and growth.”

The internship program includes partners at WorkSource in Vancouver and Kelso, and southwest Washington food distribution centers. WorkSource screens job seekers and matches them to one of the food distribution centers in a paid internship. In addition to Lower Columbia CAP, program participants had internships at the Clark County Food Bank, Salvation Army, FISH of Vancouver and XChange Recovery.

As of 2020, 13.5 percent of Cowlitz County’s population was facing food insecurity. That’s about 14,600 people. In Wahkiakum County 11.4 percent were food insecure (490 people) and in Clark County 9.9 percent (47,630 people) were facing food insecurity.

The COVID-19 pandemic put a strain on already limited social services, including the distribution of food to our region’s most vulnerable households. Southwest Washington residents struggle to make ends meet, facing skyrocketing inflation, and rising food, gas and housing costs.

Compounding the issue, volunteers that help keep food banks running are in short supply. “In the early part of the pandemic, we were desperate for volunteers to help get food into the hands of those that needed it,” said Tammy Davies of Lower Columbia Community Action Program (CAP). “Many of the volunteers that serve at food banks, pantries and meal programs are over 60 years of age and in the high-risk category for COVID-19. Those older volunteers stepped away from service to minimize their risks and have chosen not to return, leaving many food programs strained for help.”

In response, Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW) and the Washington State Department of Commerce began a partnership in 2021 to increase the capacity of food distribution

Since the start of the program, 47 people have participated at food distribution sites, increasing capacity in a time of critical need. After completing their internship and gaining valuable work experience and transferrable job skills, program participants were subsequently hired by companies including PeaceHealth, SEH America, Lower Columbia College, the United States Postal Services and others across southwest Washington.

Lower Columbia CAP hosted several interns through the program. Two interns worked in the warehouse, assembling food boxes for monthly food distribution. Another two interns worked in Senior Nutrition (commonly known as Meals on Wheels), making and packing meals, maintaining inventory and, when necessary, delivering food to local seniors. The interns are learning valuable skills, including office procedures, voucher tracking and food handling and have helped to enhance and expedite services.

Partnerships with food distribution nonprofits across southwest Washington are key to creating a regional economy where all people can build self-sufficiency and advance in their careers. The program empowers interns to build their skills, allows families to access resource integral to survival and builds capacity for nonprofit organizations through demanding times.

Investments in our community are the core of Workforce Southwest Washington’s work. We invest in programs that partner with our region’s businesses and community, and we hope you will join us!

For more WSW, see page 7

6 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | May 2023
Workforce Southwest Washington


Our Commercial Loans aren’t automated or handled online. It’s all person to person. We simplify an otherwise complicated process by navigating our members every step of the way. We offer commercial real estate loans, construction loans, vehicle and equipment loans, and business lines of credit, all designed with your needs in mind.

from page 6

Businesses interested in how Workforce Southwest Washington can help you recruit and retain workers, build quality jobs and assist with other business workforce needs, contact Darcy Hoffman, director of business services, at or 360-608-4949 or submit a request and she will contact you.

Job seekers can obtain valuable career and support services at WorkSource in Vancouver and in Kelso. If you are looking for an internship or need assistance finding a job or accessing other career services, contact WorkSource in Kelso at 360-577-2250 or visit

Community Resources – Lower Columbia CAP provides a list of hot meal sites and food pantries across Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties.

Please help support food banks and meal programs by donating time, money and nutritious food items. Donate to Lower Columbia CAP through shopping rewards programs

About Workforce Southwest Washington

Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW) is the Local Workforce Development Board (LWDB) designated by federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) legislation to oversee the public workforce system in Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties. WSW is a nonprofit organization and funds community prosperity by investing in services that help individuals gain skills to obtain good-paying jobs or advance in their careers and help companies recruit, train and retain workers. Since 2003, WSW has invested more than $126 million in Southwest Washington businesses, adults and youth. Learn more at

Kelso Longview Business Connection | May 2023 | 7 1135 3rd Ave. Suite S-101, Longview (360) 952-3100
“ “ Bring your business to Fibre Federal for Business Plus Checking, Business Online Banking, Remote Deposit, low-cost loans, and incredible member service. COMMERCIAL
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Ending soon! Employee Retention Credit

Ihave been tracking a topic you may have heard about and taken advantage of OR, as in a lot of cases, decided it didn’t apply to your situation.

The issue is the Internal Revenue Service’s Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC or ERC). If you look closely, there are TWO conditions that qualify a business to claim the credit (tax credits are more powerful than tax deductions) EITHER a reduction in revenue due to COVID OR full OR PARTIAL suspension of trade. You have three years to file an amended Form 941X from the date of original filing.

The deadline for filing for this pandemic related tax credit is JUNE 30

I’M NOT A TAX EXPERT or a CPA, however, I strongly encourage you to make sure you aren’t leaving tax credits “on the table” unknowingly. Please check with your tax experts and confirm you have taken advantage of the tools and credits available to your business.

There’s an article I found on titled “IRS Defines Nominal For Purpose Employee Rentiton Tax Cred: The Definition Might Surprise Essential Businesses” by Lynn Mucenski Keck that may help you evaluate if you may qualify for this or other benefits. This is NOT an endorsement of the author/source of the content and make sure you verify the information for the specifics of your situation. I just wanted to make sure you get the information.

You can read the entire article here.

Here is a link to a video that shows how filing for the tax credit works – it might be useful in understanding how this could benefit you.

This information was gathered from several sources and provided by Jerry Petrick, senior certified business adviser with the Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC) serving southwest Washington. The SBDC provides confidential business advisory services at no cost to the business. To schedule an appointment email:

may qualify even
not experience
revenue Business Toolbox
if you did
a drop in
8 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | May 2023 Your Locally Owned and Operated Community Bank There’s a Difference. • Checking, Savings and CDs • Business Loans • Construction Loans • SBA Loans 729 Vandercook Way, Longview (360) 414-4101



Large land site perfect for lodging/hospitality, retail, etc.


Just 30 minutes from PDX & the amenities of Portland


Environmental permits & road improvements in place


Designed to promote growth & ensure your succes






RIVER INDUSTRIAL | (360) 673-2325 | 110 WEST MARINE DR., KALAMA WA 98625

Ribbon Cutting, 11am, Dick Hannah Toyota




Small Business Boot Camp SCORE Series, 7:30-9am, American Workforce event center

7 Your Chamber Connection radio show, 6pm, KEDO 1270 AM or 99.9 FM

9 Small Business Boot Camp SCORE Series, 7:30-9am, American Workforce event center

13 Business After Hours, 5:30pm, Stewart Title Company

14 Your Chamber Connection radio show, 6pm, KEDO 1270 AM or 99.9 FM

16 Chamber Quarterly Membership Meeting, TBA

21 Your Chamber Connection radio show, 6pm, KEDO 1270 AM or 99.9 FM

26 Chamber Golf Classic, Noon shotgun start, Three Rivers Golf Club

28 Your Chamber Connection radio show, 6pm, KEDO 1270 AM or 99.9 FM

American Workforce event center
year anniversary
Chamber Executive Board, Noon,
Your Chamber Connection radio show, 6pm, KEDO 1270 AM or 99.9 FM 18 Ribbon
Premier Partners) Realty ONE Group Pacifica 19 Small
SCORE Series,
American Workforce event center Ribbon Cutting, 11am, Salvation Army Hygiene Center 23 Ribbon
Chamber Board of Directors, Noon, Mill City Grill 24 Your Chamber Connection radio show,
KEDO 1270 AM or 99.9 FM 25 Ribbon Cutting, 11am, Meadowlark Family Dentistry 29 Memorial Day – Chamber office closed 31 Your Chamber Connection radio show, 6pm, KEDO 1270 AM or 99.9 FM
2 Your Chamber Connection radio show, 6pm, KEDO 1270 AM or 99.9 FM 4 Chamber Ambassadors,
Canterbury Park Pillars of Strength & Crystal Apple Awards, 5-8pm, Cowlitz County Event Center 5
Business Boot Camp SCORE Series, 7:30-9am, American Workforce event center 9
Cutting, Cowlitz Chaplaincy 40th
Chamber Connection radio show, 6pm, KEDO 1270 AM or 99.9 FM 11
Cutting, 11am, Fraternal Order of Eagles
Aerie No. 2116 12
Business Boot Camp SCORE Series, 7:30-9am,
Cutting, 11am. Cowlitz Gun Range, 10
Cutting, 11 am, Lynn Madsen
Grill 17
Cutting, 11am, Lisa Thompson and Ken
(Keller Williams
Business Boot Camp
Cutting, 11am, The Broad
10 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | May 2023
LONGVIEW 1413 Commerce 360-575-9804 CENTRALIA 1530 S. Gold St. 360-807-1211 Shop Local

May 5

Small Business Resiliency & Toolkit

Monica Seidl Project Specialist, CowlitzWahkiakum Council of Governments

BOOT CAMP 2023 Small Business

New Series starts Friday, May 5

Friday Mornings ★ 7:30 am - 9 am

American Workforce Group Event Center

1145 14th Ave., Longview

SCORE Series sponsored by:

score series

May 12

Simple Steps for Preparing for Growth

Arthur (Bill) Ruttledge SCORE Course Leader

May 19

Managing and Financial Operations

Larry McKinley SCORE Course Leader

June 2

Small Business Strategic Marketing

John Hanley SCORE Course Leader

June 9

Business Continuation Strategies

Arthur (Bill) Ruttledge SCORE Course Leader

No pricing change since 2013!

$100 Members ★ $160 Non-Members

Includes up to 4 members of your organization.

June 16

Network & Mentor Open Forum

Monica Seidl Project Specialist, CowlitzWahkiakum Council of Governments

Boot Camp sponsored by:
Funding provided in part by the Washington State Microenterprise Association (WSMA) thanks to a grant made by Washington State Department of Commerce.

New Members

Add your business to our growing membership. Call 360-423-8400 Today!

Membership packages to fit your needs Business Association with opportunities to promote trade through Chamber socials, special events and committee participation.

• Annual Meeting and Banquet

• Networking Events

• Committee Participation

• Business Contacts

• Quarterly Membership Meetings

• Civic Representation

• Monthly Business After Hours

Business Services include marketing for your business, referrals and access to Chamber publications and research data.

• Mailing Labels

• Membership Window Decals

• Member Referrals

• Ribbon Cutting

• Website Links

• Member to Member Discounts

• Membership Directory

• Tax Deduction

• Newsletter

• Business Card Display

• Use of Chamber Logo

Representation through action committees, candidate forums and up-to-date action alerts.

• Legislative Representation

• Issues Tracking and Information

• Task Forces

• Candidate Forums

• Legislative Update Breakfast

• Demographics Publication

Membership Packages

Basic • $275 or $26 per month

Bronze • $500 or $46.66 per month

Silver • $1,000 or $86.33 per month

Gold • $2,500 or $211.33 per month

Platinum • $5,000 or $416.66 per month

Diamond Club • $10,000 or $834 per month

Nonprofit • $180 or $18 per month

Look Who Joined in April

Three Rivers Payroll Services

Micheal Cunningham

504 Clark Street

Kelso, WA 98626


Frazier’s Findings

Jeff Frazier

1252 Commerce Avenue

Longview, WA 98632


Jack Russell Home Service

Jack Russell

4810 Galvin Road No. 43

Galvin, WA 98544


Bookkeeping by Wendy

Wendy Covell

250 Primrose Road

Longview, WA 98632


Kelso Longview Business Connection | May 2023 | 13

Lower Columbia College

LCC Corporate and Continuing Education

Lower Columbia College’s Corporate and Continuing Education (CCE) department offers more than 350 noncredit courses to help employees advance their skills or prepare for a new career. Our CCE program offers fully online courses, small business workshops, customized training, and personal enrichment opportunities for the local community.

While CCE courses won’t earn learners’ college credit, many courses meet specialized continuing education requirements, industry certifications, and/or train employees on new skills and technologies. These courses are short in length and are less expensive than traditional academic courses or conferences. Below is a sample of what LCC offers, but the possibilities are endless.

Online Training Center – CCE offers fully online six-week, instructor-led, or self-paced, courses. Classes start every six weeks and there is something for everyone. Students can complete courses online from anywhere in the world.

Top Online Course Offerings (

• A to Z Grant Writing

• Accounting Fundamentals

• Computer Skills for the Workplace

• Introduction to QuickBooks Online

• Speed Spanish

• Discover Sign Language

Online Certificate Programs – CCE offers online certificate programs to increase your expertise and take a more comprehensive noncredit course of study.

Most Popular Online Certificate Programs (https://www.

• Bookkeeping Certificate

• Certificate in Leadership Development

• Coding Certificate

Small Business Workshops – CCE offers workshops for local businesses and entrepreneurs, in partnership with the CowlitzWahkiakum Council of Government (CWCOG). The goal of these workshops is to provide local businesses with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive.

Spring Workshops:

• Website Development and Digital Storefront Management

• Target Market Segmentation

• Utilizing Social Media and Influencer Marketing

Customized Training – CCE provides customized training based on the needs of our clients. Training sessions are tailored to meet the individual needs of your business.

Most requested trainings:

• Flagger certification

• First Aid/CPR

• Mental Health First Aid*

• CDL Training

• Introduction and Advanced-level Excel

Personal Enrichment Classes – CCE also offers classes in various disciplines geared toward personal and professional growth and development. Classes are held both in-person and online.

Top Personal Enrichment Classes:

• Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) nursing prep;

• Cultural Awareness for Health Care Professionals;

• Metal Art*

• Ceramics

• Community Choir*

When you think of investing in your employees – think of Lower Columbia College’s Corporate and Continuing Education Department. For more information about our offerings and to see what we can do for you, please connect with Liz Hoff, ehoff@, or Natalie Richie,

*Eligible for clock-hours

To learn about the different options for your retirement accounts, call my office today.

14 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | May 2023
You’re retired. Your money isn’t.
IRT-4395G-A © 2022 EDWARD D. JONES & CO., L.P. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. > | Member SIPC Nick Lemiere, CFP® Financial
1332 Vandercook Way Longview, WA 98632 360-425-0037
Make your Reservations Early! ~ Early Entry Fee ~ $500 per Team of 4 (Price goes to $600 on June 2) $125 per Individual ($150 after June 2) Includes: Lunch, driving range, $5,000 putting contest, awards ceremony, steak dinner, 18 holes of fellowship, $10,000 hole-in-one opportunity, a great tee prize and two carts per team. We will give you a call the first week of June to secure the people playing on your team. Register at or call the chamber 360-423-8400 Monday, June 26 2023 12:00 Noon Shotgun

The Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce would like to THANK the following loyal members for renewing their partnership with us this month.


Copies Today SpeedyLitho, Inc

Edward Jones – Nick Lemiere

Habitat For Humanity – Cowlitz County

Hart Radiator

Kelso Eagles No. 1555

Papa Pete's Pizza – Longview

Southwest Washington Symphony

Steele Chapel at Longview Memorial Park

The Roof Doctor, Inc

Twin City Service Company

Wagner Orthodontics

Washington State University - Vancouver Weatherguard, Inc

Wilcox & Flegel Oil Company

Longview Public Schools

Making strides in student performance

Since January our schools have been actively involved in analyzing their mid-year student achievement data and making instructional adjustments to maximize student learning. Our mid-year data shows that our students’ growth in reading exceeds 2022’s mid-year levels while our math levels remain steady.

We also received news from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) that most of our schools have improved their status on the Washington School Improvement Framework and that three of our schools have exited the state’s improvement process due to higher performance. Student attendance levels have also increased from 2022 levels. We are encouraged by these gains but recognize that much improvement must still be made. These gains and a continued growth focus are indicative of the hard work and dedication of our school staff members and students.

Each year, our schools set end-of-year goals that are aligned to the district’s student achievement goals and instructional focus outlined in our Design for Excellence. Action steps are being taken in our schools to address the identified needs of our students and supports to help with their success are being provided.

At the Longview Public Schools’ board meeting on March 27, the district’s mid-year student achievement data was shared. Time was also taken to share the initiatives and supports being provided our schools’ staffs to address the achievement needs of our students. We also had our principals from Kessler Elementary, Monticello Middle School, and Mark Morris High School share their school specific actions in response to the academic needs of their students shown in the mid-year achievement data. I am pleased with the commitment of our staff to focus upon improving the educational outcomes of the students we serve.

Our district is focused upon providing reading instruction that is aligned with the Science of Reading, grounded in direct instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Extensive training has been provided our elementary school teachers and principals, literacy specialists provide daily instructional support, and new learning materials have been adopted to help us in these improvement efforts.

The district is also focused upon providing all of our teacher’s with collaborative opportunities to assure that high standards and expectations are clearly present in each of their classrooms. These “Professional Learning Communities” assure rich discussions

For more Longview Schools, see page 17

16 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | May 2023

Longview Schools

from page 16

regarding student performance and effective instructional practices and are of great value as we seek to meet the achievement needs of each of the students we serve.

We are encouraged by our focus, efforts, and results and look forward to the ongoing work that needs to be done to continue to improve the education we provide our students. When it comes to academic growth and closing the achievement gap, the support of the community is critical. One way our community has shown its support is by passing replacement levies to fund things like new learning materials that align with state standards, classroom teachers to keep class sizes manageable, para-educators who assist with classroom instruction and intervention, building repairs that improve learning environments, installation of security features like fences, vestibules and cameras to make our schools safer, and extracurricular activities. All of these play a role in effecting student achievement and are made possible through the generous support of our voters. Your continued support of these efforts is much appreciated.

At Heritage Bank, we believe that keeping our local economy strong starts with supporting businesses like yours.

We make switching banks easy, and your dedicated business banking team will guide you through each step of the process. Scan

Kelso Longview Business Connection | May 2023 | 17 | 800.455.6126 | Equal Housing Lender | Member FDIC Empowering
local businesses to grow
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City of Longview

Hoping for good things out of Olympia and DC

Outside my work office window at City Hall is a lovely cherry blossom tree. Each year I notice different varieties of birds enjoying the first nectar of the season. This year, an unintended surprise landed upon the scene; an early migrating hummingbird, I suppose from someplace much warmer. A shout out to hummingbirds everywhere – welcome home and thank you for being a part of my happy space.

It is always near the end of April when anticipated news comes to the city from our state legislators. Sine Die (Seen-aye Dee-aye) meaning, without a day, a term used to describe an “adjournment when the date to reconvene is not specified”. In layman’s terms – the state legislative session is complete for the year. Between all the bills going back and forth between state senate and state house of representatives, the City Council also has a state legislative agenda, which is a list of council approved priorities requested of our state legislators, Sen. Jeff Wilson and Reps. Jim Walsh and Joel McEntire. These legislators do a remarkable job of representing the city’s priorities while away in Olympia writing and advocating for and against bills and policy for the state.

In addition to the many trips our council members and staff make to Olympia to advocate on behalf of our city, the city does employ a lobbyist team to represent us in Olympia. State lobbyists Josh Weiss and Annika Vaughn from the firm Gordon Thomas Honeywell work directly with our legislators to advocate for our city’s legislative agenda. Some of the capital budget request priorities for the 2023 session from the City of Longview included: Martin’s Dock at Lake Sacajawea infrastructure replacement, Windemere park playground replacement, and Highland’s neighborhood lighting. The city is hopeful that these priority items will be funded this session. We also advocate for changes to certain public policy measures including concerning law and justice, public safety, housing, and costly regulations and burdensome mandates for example.

Early in May a few council members and our city manager will collaborate with our federal congressional representatives, U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray and U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp-Perez and many federal agencies in Washington DC, facilitated by our federal lobbyist Joel Rubin of CFM Associates. Our federal legislative agenda includes congressionally directed spending requests for Hope Village, Columbia Heights Road Safety Improvement Project, Phase 2, Downtown Streetscape Project, and a Dedicated Fill Line to Water Reservoir Project, Phase 1. While in DC, we will talk with representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Transportation, and

For more Longview, see page 19

City of Kelso

Police and library annual reports

At a recent council meeting three departments presented their annual reports: police, public works and library. The police and library reports will be summarized in this article and public works will be summarized next month.

The best news from the Police Department is that it is presently fully staffed. Unfortunately, there are some upcoming retirements. The patrol division, staffed by four sergeants and 16 officers, handled more than 15,000 calls in 2022. Preliminary data indicates that burglary and total arrests were significantly higher in 2022 versus 2021. Other categories appear to be similar for 2022 and 2021.

One key change for the department is the addition of body cameras. This has added significant work for the records division. The cameras added 17,840 additional files that needed to be handled. This contributed to the increase in public records requests. The K-9 team completed its second year of work. In 2022 the team results included 10.5 pounds of methamphetamine, two ounces of heroin, eight grams of cocaine, 223,142 fentanyl pills and six firearms seized.

The department continues to have other activities not directly related to law enforcement. The department has a great relationship with the Kelso School District to employ a school resource officer. The school district pays 80 percent of the annual cost of the position and the city pays the rest.

The Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) began in 2021 and continues to provide excellent support to officers on calls when a person in crisis is contacted. In 2022, the BHU had 841 engagements in Kelso.

The KPD has two major successful community activities, Shop with a Cop, which provides underserved kids with a memorable Christmas, and National Night Out. The department also participates in the drive-through Halloween at Tam O’Shanter Park, a citizen police academy, numerous school presentations and the Torch Run and Polar Plunge to raise funds for Special Olympics.

Like the police department, the library is fully staffed with four full-time employees and four part-time staff, supplemented by volunteers.

In 2022, the library overcame significant challenges including, lingering pandemic effects, lack of community engagement and visibility and changes to the leadership team. The library is now under the good leadership of Eric Moser.

In 2022, there were 16,000 patron visits and over 34,000 items checked out. Individuals saved more than $1 million borrowing items versus purchasing them. Library patrons increased steadily with over 2,000 visits in December 2022.

For more Kelso, see page 19

18 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | May 2023

Department of Justice. Our city has public safety, transportation, and infrastructure needs and we hope to return to the city with a positive report that our voices for these priorities will be heard.

All the collaborative efforts of our state and federal legislators and lobbyists are appreciated. It’s truly a team effort. State and congressionally designated funding and grants are dedicated and can be directed toward our community, and if not our community, they will flutter off like a hummingbird to bless another community. The intention – to benefit our community and bring joy and happiness to the citizens in our city. Our council is working closely with our legislators and lobbyists to ensure our needs are well represented. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to do so. Happy spring everyone! What brings you joy and happiness? For me, it’s hummingbirds flying back home, and family all the way!

One significant action in 2022 was to open library check out privileges to all Kelso School District students and staff. For 2023, the library will continue to focus on improving its collection, technology access, literacy, community and school outreach, and expansion of services via community partnerships.

“ T h e m o r e y o u ’r e e ng aged withothers, themoreyou ’reableto understand w h e r e t hey ’ re coming from. ” – Brandon:Landscaper , Dad and part of o u r c o m m u n i t y 23-BRAN-453150-ColumbiaNetwork-PrintAd-LongviewCham_7-83x4-9.indd 1 3/15/23 2:45 PM Longview from page 18 Kelso Longview Business Connection | May 2023 | 19
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Kelso from page 18

Business After Hours

Hosted By Cowlitz Wahkiakum Legal Aid

We had a great time welcoming spring with Cowlitz Wahkiakum Legal Aid as our Business After Hours April host. The event provided plenty of networking opportunities for members, great food provided by The Crowded Kitchen and beautiful gifts for a few lucky raffle winners.

20 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | May 2023

Thinking about hosting Business After Hours in 2024? Contact us at 360-423-8400 or email

January 10: Total Employment and Management (TEAM)

February 21: Three Rivers Law Center

March 29: Building Bridges Business & Tourism Expo

April 11: Cowlitz Wahkiakum Legal Aid

June 13: Stewart Title

July 11: Mary Cranston, LLC

August 8: Cowlitz Indian Tribe

September 12: Northwest Enforcement

October 10: Edward Jones - Roy Gawlick

November 14: Windermere Northwest Living

December 12: Holiday Mixer


News & Events

Tour de Blast gears up for another ride

First-timers and old pros, it’s time to get ready to ride! The Longview Rotary Club again presents Tour de Blast June 17, a bicycle ride into the heart of the Mount St. Helens blast zone. The Spirit Lake Memorial Highway winds its way up the Toutle Valley into the Mount St. Helens blast zone to the Johnston Ridge Viewpoint. Most of the course is on recently resurfaced highway with wide shoulders and excellent visibility. Fully supported ride with staffed rest areas (food and drink), bike repair, sag wagons and on-course motorcycle aid if things just don’t work out (flats, tired, sasquatch sighting…).

For more information, visit

Give where you live. GiveBIG May 2-3

GiveBIG is an opportunity to join forces and donate to southwest Washington charities May 2 and 3.

Last year, community members in the Kelso-Longview area rallied around local nonprofits during Give More 24! for an incredible,

$3.6 million impact. Now, as Give More 24! joins forces with GiveBIG, you can keep that giving feeling going.

It all starts here, where you can discover and donate to dozens of important causes serving Clark, Cowlitz and Skamania counties. Find out how to get involved.

Early giving is under way. The 48-hour virtual giving even tbegins May 2. A May 2 in-person event is also planned from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at The Merk.

CWCOG needs volunteers to serve on Project Stakeholder Committee

The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments (CWCOG) is looking for two to four people from Cowlitz County interested in trails and bicycle/pedestrian planning to serve on a Project Stakeholder Committee.

The committee will oversee the development of the five-county Regional Trails Plan that will be starting soon. If you are interested or have any questions, please contact Robert Stevens, CWCOG Senior Transportation Planner, at

News and events come from our website, press releases, and public information shared with us. To see more visit 22 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | May 2023 Consistent Courteous Complete 1425 Maple Street • Longview, WA 98632 360.425.2950 Title and Escrow Services

Business Connection Advertising Rates

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Kelso-Longview Business Connection monthly newsletter is published the first of each month, posted electronically on our website and emailed to over 7,000 local business professionals, city and county officials. To be included in this monthly email, call the Chamber office at 360-423-8400.

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Ribbon Cuttings

Welcome New Member Alzheimer’s Association Oregon and Southwest Washington Chapter

Welcome New Member Novakai Wellness PLLC

Welcome New Member Occupational Health Services

Thank you to these Ambassadors who participated in ribbon cutting celebrations during April!

DeDe Brill PeaceHealth


Diane Craft Koelsch Communities

Katie Dillinger Life Mortgage

Fran Gehrman Academy Mortgage

Kelly Godden Specialty Rents

Kerri Guitteau and Corby Cowlitz Black Bears

James Hoyt Heritage Bank

Joy Klein Umpqua Bank

Kodie Kultala RE/MAX Premiere Group

Nick Lemiere Edward Jones

Eric McCrandall Family Health Center

Carrie Medack Diamond Residential Mortgage

Shylah Tapani Speciality Rents and Axecutioner

Betsy Wyatt Sho’me Real Estate

Pam Whittle Realty One Group Pacifica

24 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | May 2023

New Location

New Member
for All Kelso Longview Business Connection | May 2023 | 25
Ribbon Cuttings Welcome New Member White's Cleaning Company Welcome
Congratulations to the Columbia Artist Association on its move to the Cowlitz Historic Museum
26 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | May 2023 Wednesdays at 6 pm KEDO 1270 AM or 99.9 FM Contact Karen Sisson at 360-423-8400 or to schedule your interview Your Chamber Connection Radio Show
Elaine Lagerblade, The Roof Doctor Brandi Ballinger, Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue Keenan Harvey, Biggs Insurance Agency Ian Thompson, Lower Columbia School Gardens Ariel Large and Elizabeth Borad, The Broad Strokes Project Dominic and Sara Tupua, Novakai Wellness Wendy Keegan, Life Works Shaden Nugent, Minuteman Press
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