County Commissioner Gary Stamper explains the county’s efforts to increase rural tourism at Toledo’s big community meeting March 16 at the Toledo Middle School.

Photo by Jake Morgan / Lewis County Tribune

Annual Meeting Showcases Volunteers

By Jake Morgan, staff writer

    TOLEDO – Volunteers shared new ideas, gave updates on ongoing projects and offered each other encouragement and support at Vision:Toledo’s seventh-annual big community meeting.

    “There are great, wonderful things going on in this community,” Toledo city clerk Michelle Whitten said of the March 16 meeting at the Toledo Middle School that drew approximately 80 attendees. “New stuff is happening all the time and there are a lot of new people getting involved who are full of energy.”

    Vision:Toledo volunteers are proud of their national designation as a “cool and connected community” and updated attendees on their progress to revitalize the downtown area by leveraging ToledoTel’s advanced broadband Internet and Wi-Fi technologies to further increase tourism and attract new businesses. Lewis County’s tourism website will soon be installing a touch-screen computer kiosk in the Riverview NAPA hardware store.

    In addition to the town’s annual Cheese Days celebration in July, upcoming community events include art shows in April and September, fishing derbies in May and July, a wine tour in May, a community clean-up day in June, a bluegrass festival and a threshing bee in August and a pow-wow and a fundraiser for the city park in September.

   Vision:Toledo organizer and volunteer Mike Morgan said Toledo’s events and clubs make him proud to be part of the Toledo community.

    Volunteers shared stories of successful events at the community library, growth with the new garden club and school gardens, an “honorable society” network of artists and crafters, progress on a new trail system and several new mural projects already underway, among other things.

    “We wouldn’t be where we’re at and we couldn’t do it without these volunteers,” Whitten said. “They all need to be patted on the back.”

    In other Toledo news, police chief John Brockmueller told the city council March 20 that the top candidate for a lateral police officer position has been selected by the civil service commission and is moving forward with the required psychological evaluation and polygraph testing. He said a new patrol car is on order and should be ready in a few months.

    Public works superintendent Steve Blahut said the city is working to keep its public restrooms clean and free from vandalism. The council voted to approve the renewal of a liquor license for Toledo Market Fresh IGA.

    The Toledo City Council meets at 6 p.m. on the first and third Mondays (or on Tuesday in the event of a holiday closure) at City Hall. Contact Toledo City Hall for special accommodations at (360)864-4564.

    For more Toledo community news and to stay updated or to get involved, follow Vision:Toledo on Facebook at or read Marlea Hanson’s daily Toledo news column at

Toledo Gets Cool and Connected

By Jake Morgan, staff writer

    TOLEDO — Community volunteers, business owners and city leaders were thrilled with last week’s Cool and Connected urban broadband planning sessions and are optimistic for Toledo’s high-tech future.

    The Nov. 10 workshop and community meeting brainstormed ways to better use Toledo’s gigabit Internet, including infrastructure planning, economic development, creating a connected identity and harnessing pedestrian connections via Wi-Fi to encourage existing high-tech businesses and start-ups to locate in the downtown area.

    ToledoTel’s broadband coverage area extends for 386 square miles, with fiber connections to every home and business. The area’s unusually high adoption rate for high-speed Internet access is due in part to multiple federal grants that offered free connections and a free trial period.

    Toledo was one of five cities in the county selected to receive expert assistance from the federal Cool and Connected Communities Initiative. The team included facilitators from Vita Nuova LLC, the EPA and USDA, as well as representatives from other federal and community agencies.

Photos by Marlea Hanson

Ceremony celebrates Oregon Trail history

By Marlea Hanson, staff writer

    TOLEDO — More than a hundred visitors of all ages attended the re-dedication ceremony of the historic Oregon Trail marker in Toledo last September, including at least a dozen people in period costumes.

    Speakers included representatives from the Sacajawea Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, the Northwest Oregon California Trails Association, historical memorial preservationist Marion Hersey, Pacific Northwest historian and author Dennis Larsen and Toledo Mayor Steve Dobosh.

    Honored guests included state representative Ed Orcutt, Lewis County Commissioners Edna Fund and Gary Stamper, Toledo volunteer organizer Johanna Jones, and Kathryn Templeton Israelson, the great-great granddaughter of Ezra Meeker.

    Historic accounts from journals, letters and diaries recounted Meeker’s tireless efforts to generate support for his venture and realization of that dream in 1916. Toledo’s early and recent roles were highlighted for those gathered. A replica of Meeker’s 1905 wagon was brought to Toledo for the occasion.

    Fourth grade students from Toledo Elementary School added their names on flat stones to the symbolic rock riverbed garden surrounding the monument and sang the National Anthem, recreating the activities of Toledo schoolchildren involved in the original installation of these fixtures 100 years ago.

    Toledo was a major stop on the Oregon Trail in 1844, connecting travelers coming up the Cowlitz River from Portland, with the main overland route to Olympia and Puget Sound.

Read Marlea's daily Toledo news blog at

City of Toledo

     The City of Toledo is located on the Cowlitz River and was once a critical junction for early travelers. The city is located approximately three miles east of I-5 at exits 57-63. Toledo was incorporated in 1892 and has a population of about 725.

     The Toledo City Council meets on the first and third Mondays of each month at 6 p.m. Council chambers are located at Toledo City Hall, 130 N. Second Street, Toledo, Washington 98591.

Jake Morgan / Lewis County Tribune

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