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The Lakes

My first (and only) in-person campaign social took place on Fairview Lake. It was a few weeks ago, when it was warm and you could sit outside, and I had the pleasure of spending time on the dock of Bettianne Goetz.

Bettianne is a retired Reynolds school principal, a former Troutdale Historical Society president, an avid Dragon boater, and one of the founders of the Fairview Lake Property Owners Association. She’s lived on Fairview Lake for 50 years and she is a lovely human being. I met some of her neighbors and fellow Dragon boaters, many of them officers in the Fairview Lake Property Owners Association. They are a happy crew.

I learned a lot that afternoon. Fairview Lake used to be a wetland before the cattails were cleared and the soil dredged. It’s fed by Fairview Creek. It’s only about five feet deep in summer. (Apparently, non-residents don’t know how shallow it is and so you can always spot them in a boat or kayak – they’ve got the life vests on). In winter, Fairview Lake is less than two feet deep. That’s because each fall, the weir, or small dam, is opened, spilling lake water into the Columbia Slough, to allow the lake to catch the storm water that pours in during the winter rains. In this way, Fairview Lake provides us all with flood protection.

The 106-acre lake is the center of the neighborhood, the organizing principle of the community. It brings together residents of Fairview, on the southern edge, and unincorporated Interlachen, on the northern edge, as evidenced by the crew on Bettianne’s dock. Some live here, some there. Everyone loves the water. They kayak together and have Monday cocktails together. On the Fourth of July, there’s a boat parade, and the Fairview Lake Property Owners Association hosts poker nights and wine socials. On their website, the association reports regularly on status of weeds and algae that continually threaten to choke the water and are routinely beaten back with chemicals.

I spent Sunday dropping fliers in the subdivisions that line the lake, and it’s a pretty and well-designed collection of neighborhoods. There aren’t a lot of kids. There are a lot of retirees. It’s friendly. The only child I saw all day was a preschooler splashing plastic toys in a big fountain outside a big house. Did they live there? No, but the couple that does puts the fountain toys out for the kids. It’s that kind of place.

Like many parts of Fairview, the magnet here is nature. There’s a couple of lovely parks, including Lakeshore Park, which features fishing platforms and a dock where you can put in a kayak and a nature play center. And there is wildlife everywhere, especially birds.

I was lucky enough see so many kinds while out in a kayak one morning with Charles Flaum, whom I met on Bettianne’s dock.

The treasurer of the property owner’s association and a retired petroleum engineer, Charles was kind enough to invite me out on the water, and we slipped in one Sunday morning after coffee. I saw egrets, whose brilliant white elegance is always startling, and also stately great blue herons. Charles pointed out a green heron, a small, short-necked number whose throat is ruddy red and whose wings are a gorgeous blue-green. I saw my very first kingfisher in the wild, who rattled past overhead. Red wing blackbirds, the lords of wetlands, were everywhere, singing their conk-la-ree! We saw a beaver not far away, chugging off on some unknown errand. There are river otters on the lake, too. My favorite animal!

My dream is to get a kayak, and a paddleboard, and launch both from Lakeshore Park so I can always take in the smell of fresh water and slip into a world of birdsong.

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