Skagit Valley College

Skagit Valley College

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Skagit Valley College (SVC) is a two-year community college in Mount Vernon, Washington. The college is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Colleges and is managed by a board of trustees appointed by the governor.SVC offers associate degree, certificate and diploma programs. Associate degrees are available in the arts, business, music, science, technical arts, and visual arts.Certificate and diploma programs include a 90-credit transfer degree, Certificate of Educational Competence (GED), Adult High School Diploma, and Community College Diploma. A leader in distance education technology, the college facilitates learning with online courses.Other campuses of the college are Whidbey Island in Oak Harbor, the San Juan Center in Friday Harbor, and South Whidbey Center in Clinton.Along with associate programs, the Whidbey Island campus offers lifelong educational opportunities. Associate programs and specialized computer training are available at the South Whidbey Center.Libraries are located at the Mount Vernon and Whidbey campuses. As a member of the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC), SVC provides a number of athletic programs for students.Campus View Village, a cluster of contemporary Northwest-style buildings on the northwest border of the college, provides residential accommodations. Operated by the community college, the Business Resource Center on Montgomery Street offers free services for local businesses and community visitors.

READs: Biographies: History

This book re-creates the thrilling manhunt for the Wild West's most iconic outlaw. It is also the first dual biography of the Kid and Garrett, each a larger-than-life figure who would not have become legendary without the other. 325 pages.

Crazy Horse: a Lakota life

Crazy Horse was as much feared by tribal foes as he was honored by allies. His war record was unmatched by any of his peers, and his rout of Custer at the Little Bighorn reverberates through history. Yet so much about him is unknown or steeped in legend. 510 pages.

Ojibwa Warrior

"Born in 1937 and raised by his grandparents on the Leach Lake reservation in Minnesota, Dennis Banks grew up learning traditional Ojibwa lifeways. Banks became a founder of AIM, the American Indian Movement, which soon inspired Indians from many tribes to join the fight for American Indian rights.


A warrior as well as a diplomat, the great Shawnee chief was a man of passionate ambitions. Spurred by commitment and served by a formidable battery of personal qualities that made him the principal organizer and the driving force of confederacy, Tecumseh kept the embers of resistence alive against a federal government that talked cooperation but practiced genocide following the Revolutionary War. Tecumseh does not stand for one tribe or nation, but for all Native Americans.


Date in parentheses indicates year of initial service to SVC.

Anderson, Eric (1988)
Coordinator, Disability Access Services/Counselor
BA, Pacific Lutheran University
M.Ed., Western Washington University

Anderson, Nancy (1986)
Physical Education
BA, Pacific Lutheran University
MS, Seattle Pacific University

Andringa, Bernie (2001)
Diesel Power Technology
AT, Universal Technical Institute, Phoenix

Ashe, Bobbi (2007)
English Language Acquisition
BA, Evergreen State College
M.Ed., University of Portland

Avendano-Ibarra, Claudia
Human Services
MS, Eastern Washington University

Baker, Michael (2005)
Welding Technology
Whatcom Community College
Journeyman Fabricator
Certified Master Welder

Beemer, Michael (2011)
Marine Maintenance Technology, Whidbey Island Campus
AAUCT, Skagit Valley College
BA, University of Washington
MS, Ball State University

Bianco, Elena (2008)
BA, MLS, University of Washington

Boland, Jennifer (2014)
College and Career Bridge
BA, MA, University of Northern Colorado

Brady, Brian (2014)
Science, Whidbey Island Campus
BS, California State University - San Marcos
Ph.D., University of California - Riverside

Brierley, Rose (1997)
Counselor/Running Start
BA, M.Ed., Western Washington University

Bundy, Ruth (2010)
BS, California State University - Chico
M.P.A., California State University - Long Beach

Cahill, Neta Simpkins (2005)
Intensive English Language
BA, University of Washington
MA, University of British Columbia

Carter, Paulette (2012)
AA, ASN, Peninsula College
BA, Western Washington University
BSN, MSN, Loyola University

Christian, Tiffany (2017)
BA, Pacific University
MFA, Chapman University
MA, University of Oregon
Ph.D., Washington State University

Cofer, Deborah (1997)
BA, Colorado College
MA, State University of New York at Binghamton

Coorough, Calleen (1995)
Multimedia & Interactive Technology
BS, University of Wyoming
M.Ed., Ph.D., University of Idaho

Cox, Dani (1988)
Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management
BS, Central Washington University
Diploma, Western Culinary Institute

Curtis, Joy
AA, Blue Mountain Community College
BA, Oregon Health Services University
MA, Western Governor’s University

Davern, Gail (2007)
English, Whidbey Island Campus
BA, MA, University of Utah

Deschenes, Susan (1997)
Physical Education
BA, Western Washington University
MBA, City University

Dixon, Sally (1989)
Business Management
BA, Western Washington University
MS, University of Southern California
MBA, Western Governors University

Dorothy, Carolyn (2015)
Allied Health Education
BA, Western Washington University

Dunbar, Kurt (1997)
History & Social Science
BA, MA, Western Washington University

Duncan, Kristine (1998)
BA, MA, Central Washington University

Dunn, Doris (1996)
Computer Information Systems, Whidbey Island Campus
ATA, Skagit Valley College

Edwards, Amy (1997)
BA, George Washington University
MA, University of California - Berkeley

Edwards, Dan (2014)
Nursing, Whidbey Island Campus
MA, Western Governors University

Edwards, Terry (2013)
Criminal Justice
BA, Kentucky Wesleyan College
MPA, Golden Gate University
J.D., University of Louisville

Fackler-Adams, Ben (1999)
Physical Sciences
BA, BS, University of California - Santa Cruz
MS, Western Washington University
Ph.D., University of California - Santa Barbara

Forsythe, Lisa (2006)
AA, Skagit Valley College 
BA, Washington State University 
MA, Western Washington University

Fotheringham, Don (2000)
Computer Information Systems, Whidbey Island Campus
BA, University of Ottawa
B.Ed., University of Toronto

Frazier, Bethany (2002)
Health Fitness
BS, MS, Washington State University

Gage, Abel (1998)
BS, Wheaton College
MS, Western Washington University

Gough, Christy (2014)
ASN, Everett Community College
BSN, Washington State University
MSN, Seattle Pacific University

Graber, Daniel (2001)
AAUCT, Skagit Valley College
BS, MS, Western Washington University

Graham, Jason (2007)
BA, MA, Western Washington University
MFA, University of Virginia

Haley, May (1989)
College Success Skills
BS, MS, University of Washington

Hall, Sharon (1990)
Art, Whidbey Island Campus
BFA, Arkansas State University
MFA, University of Washington

Halliday, Hilda (1985)
Computer Science, Mathematics
BS, MS, Western Washington University

Hanchett, Brian (1994)
BS, M.Ed., Western Washington University

Handley, Jennifer (1998)
BA, Western Oregon State College
MA, New Mexico State University

Harris, Nicole (2016)
BA, MA, Western Washington University

Heinze, Brian (2007)
BS, MAT, George Fox University
MS, Western Washington University

Heinze, Susanna (2006)
BS, George Fox University
MS, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

Henderson, Justin (2011)
Medical Assistant
ATA, Skagit Valley College

Iverson, Mary (2008)
BA, MFA, University of Washington
BFA, Cornish College of the Arts

Johnson, Diane (1998)
BA, University of California
MA, University of California
DMA, Claremont Graduate University

Kocol, Greta (1997)
BA, MS, Western Washington University

Kuebelbeck, Mary (2013)
Welding Technology
AAS, Bellingham Technical College

Kunz, Julie (2014)
Counselor, Disability Access Services, Whidbey Island Campus
BS, Washington State University
MS, Central Washington University

Larson, Kathy (1997)
Mathematics, Whidbey Island Campus
BA Ed, M.Ed., Eastern Washington University

Lind, Jason (1999)
Communication Studies
BA, Western Washington University
MA, University of Maine

Loonat, Farhana (2014)
Philosophy/Political Science
B.Soc.Sc., University of KwaZulu-Natal
MA, University of Virginia
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University

Luckmann, Charles (1997)
English, Ethnic Studies
BA, University of Illinois
MA, Western Washington University

Malphrus, Bob (2005)
Human Services
BA, Washington State University
M.Ed., City University, Bellingham

Mardesich, Matthew
Marine Maintenance Technology, Whidbey Island Campus
AA, ATA, Skagit Valley College
BS, Western Washington University

Mattox, Tami (1990)
Medical Assistant
Paramedicine Certificate, Tacoma Community College
ATA, Skagit Valley College

McGuire, Beth (1990)
Counselor, TRIO Student Support Services
BA, Linfield College
MS, Western Washington University

McVicker, Patrick (2000)
Fire Protection Technology
AAS, Portland Community College

Meyers, Alexis (2017)
Early Childhood Education
BA, Pacific Oaks College Northwest
MS, Bank Street College of Education

Mills, Margret (1998)
BA, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
MLS, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Mohler, Christina (2013)
English, Whidbey Island Campus
BA, Boston University
Ph.D., City University

Moore, Linda (1979)
Developmental Education
BA, Pacific Lutheran University
M.Ed., University of Puget Sound

Morales, Dusti (2014)
Mathematics, Whidbey Island Campus
AA, Ventura College
BS, California Polytechnic University - San Luis Obispo
MA, University of California - San Diego

Morris, Damond (2014)
BA, MA, Western Washington University
Ph.D., University of Oregon

Munsey, Ben (1992)
English Language Acquisition
AB, Occidental College
MA, Western Washington University

Musk, Dinty (2017)
Chemistry, Whidbey Island Campus
BA, Taylor University 
Ph.D., University of Illinois

Oakes, Tamara (1990)
Office Administration and Accounting Technologies
AA, Skagit Valley College
BA, Western Washington University

O’Connell, Edward (Ted) (1999)
BA, DePauw University
MFA, University of Oregon

Ogden, John (2002)
Business Administration, Economics
BA, University of Washington
MBA, University of Washington
J.D., Gonzaga Law School

Palmer, Clifford (2008)
BS, California Polytechnic State University
MS, Western Washington University

Pickett, Malia (2015)
MA, University of Washington

Poole, Bruce (2011)
Manufacturing Technology
MS, Walden University

Price, Shelly (2015)
BA, College of Wooster
M.Ed., University of Georgia
MSN, Xavier University

Ridge, David (2017)
ATA, Everett Community College
CTE, Central Washington University

Riley, Heather (2016)
BA, MA, California State University, Dominguez Hills

Robertson, Gretchen (2004)
College and Career Bridge
BA, University of Washington
MIT, Western Washington University

Rodriguez Ortiz, Gilbert (2007)
Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management
ATA, Skagit Valley College

Sanchez, José (2003)
World Languages - Spanish
BA, Brigham Young University - Hawaii
MA, Indiana State University

Sandahl, Jeanne (2017)
BS, University of SC at Spartanburg
MS, Walden University

Scammell, Matt (2010)
AA, Skagit Valley College 
BA, MBA, Western Washington University

Scaringe, Cynthia (1999)
BSN, Niagara University
MSN, Syracuse University

Schaffner, Joventina (1990)
BS, University of San Carlos, Philippines
MS, Washington State University

Schaffner, Ron (2005)
Automotive Technology
A.A., A.A.S., Spokane Community College
BA, Puget Sound Christian College
ASE Certified Master Machinist and Certified Master Technician

Smith, Linda (1989)
Communication Studies
BA, Seattle Pacific University
MA, Western Washington University

Smith, Roxanne (2006)
BA/BS, Evergreen State College
MS, Western Washington University
Ph.D., University of Northern Colorado

Spinnie, Kristi (1997)
Office Administration & Accounting Technologies
BA, Northwest Nazarene College
MA, Ohio State University
MBA, Ashland University

St. John, Tony (2015)
BA, Whitman University
Ph.D., University of Washington

Stady, Jeff (1994)
Mathematics, Whidbey Island Campus
BS, MS, Western Washington University

Stevens, Chuck (1990)
AAS, Whatcom Community College
BA, MS, Western Washington University

Svendsen, Claus (1992)
Environmental Conservation
BS, MS, Copenhagen University, Denmark
Ph.D., University of Washington

Tutt, Ernest (2004)
Communication Studies
ASN, Grayson County College
BA, University of Texas
MS, Ed.D., Texas A&M University

Unzueta, Robert (2017)
Ethnic Studies
BA, Saint Mary’s College of California
MA, San Jose State University
Ph.D., University of Utah
Virendra, Sunaina (2015)
BA, Mount Holyoke College
MA, Western Governors University

Vonnahme, Erin
Librarian, Whidbey Island Campus
BA, MA, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
MLIS, University of Washington

Weeden, Claude (2018)
BS, MN University of Washington

Weyers, Chad (2010)
BA, Central Washington University
MA, Lewis and Clark College

Wood, Natsuko (2016)
Ph.D., University of Washington

Zukoski, Ann (2003)
BA, University of California
MS, San Jose State University
Ph.D., University of Southern Mississippi

Zwolenski, Christopher (Kip) (2015)
Early Childhood Education
AA, Whatcom Community College
BA, Goddard College
M.Ed., Western Washington University

History Emphasis

The suggested schedule below includes required DTA courses with an emphasis in History. Student schedule may vary based on entry point, credit load, and prerequisites. Consult with department chair or SVC counselor for scheduling options.

The two-year suggested schedule below is provided as only a guide for a traditional full-time student whose goal is the Associate of Arts Direct Transfer Agreement, AA-DTA   . Frequent course offerings allow for individualized schedules that will ensure all student degree objectives are met.

Note: An ampersand (&) designates Common Course Numbering.

First Year

1st Quarter

  • CSS 103 - First Quarter Experience(2)
  • ENGL& 101 - English Composition I(5)
  • PE 100 - Wellness For Life(1)
  • PE Activity (1)
  • SOSC 100 - Global Issues/Social Science(5)
Total Hours: 14

2nd Quarter

Total Hours: 15

3rd Quarter

  • ENGL& 102 - Composition II(5)
  • HIST& 214 - Pacific NW History(5)
  • Natural Science course (5) with lab, preferably in Learning Community format:
    Suggested: EASC 102   , EASC 110   , EASC 120   or ENVS& 101   or GEOL& 110   . Discuss specific course requirements with an SVC advisor. Students are responsible for checking specific major requirements of baccalaureate institutions.
Total Hours: 15

Second Year

4th Quarter

  • BIOL& 100 - Survey of Biology(5)
  • HIST& 118 - Western Civilization III: D(5) Or HIST& 148  
  • Humanities course (5), preferably in Learning Community format:
    Suggested: ART& 100   , ART 101   , ART 181   , DRMA& 101   , MUSC 100   . Discuss specific course requirements with an SVC advisor. Students are responsible for checking specific major requirements of baccalaureate institutions.
Total Hours: 15

5th Quarter

PE Activity (1) 

Humanities course (5), preferably in Learning Community format:
Suggested: ENGL& 112    or ENGL& 113   . Discuss specific course requirements with an SVC advisor. Students are responsible for checking specific major requirements of baccalaureate institutions. 

Total Hours: 16

6th Quarter

Humanities course (5), preferably in Learning Community format:
Suggested: ART& 100   , ART 181   , DRMA& 101   or POLS& 202   . Discuss specific course requirements with an SVC advisor. Students are responsible for checking specific major requirements of baccalaureate institutions.

Natural Science course (5) with lab, preferably in Learning Community format:
Suggested: ASTR& 100   , EASC 102   , EASC 110   , PHYS& 100   . Discuss specific course requirements with an SVC advisor. Students are responsible for checking specific major requirements of baccalaureate institutions.


The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is a spring festival attended by thousands of visitors.

Skagit Valley Chorale practice on March 10, 2020, proved the Covid19 aerosol transmission importance. [3]

  • Tulipmania : the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival : official festival guidebook, 1989, ISBN0-89087-584-7
  • Skagit Valley fare : a cookbook celebrating beauty and bounty in the Pacific Northwest, 1996, 0-9615580-5-9

Media related to Skagit Valley at Wikimedia Commons

This Skagit County, Washington state location article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.

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Black Odyssey: the Afro-American ordeal in slavery

This classic work of scholarship and empathy tells the story of the self-creation of the African-American people. It assesses the full impact of the Middle Passage -- "the most traumatizing mass human migration in modern history" -- and of North American slavery both on the enslaved and on those who enslaved them. 250 pages.

The Biography of Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua: his passage from slavery to freedom in Africa and America

Classic Slave Narratives

No group of slaves anywhere, in any era, has left such prolific testimony to the horror of bondage as African-American slaves. Here are four of the most notable narratives: The Life of Olaudah Equiano The History of Mary Prince Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Incidents in the Life of Slave Girl. 518 pages.


Tells the true story of one of the last-known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade--abducted from Africa on the last "Black Cargo" ship to arrive in the United States. In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, just outside Mobile, to interview eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation's history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo's firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States. In 1931, Hurston returned to Plateau, the African-centric community three miles from Mobile founded by Cudjo and other former slaves from his ship. Spending more than three months there, she talked in depth with Cudjo about the details of his life.

Mount Vernon, a city of just over 32,000 residents, is located in Skagit County about 60 miles north of Seattle. The area was home to Upper Skagit Indians long before the first Europeans -- mostly fur traders -- passed through in the late 1700s. The first settlers came in 1869 or 1870, and the town itself was founded and named in 1877. Two massive logjams that blocked navigation on the Skagit were cleared by 1879, allowing upstream navigation, but the city has carried on a running battle with the oft-flooding river ever since. In 1884 Mount Vernon became the Skagit County seat, and by 1890 its population had grown to nearly 1,000, supported by logging and mining to the east and farming in the fertile bottomlands of the Skagit Valley. In recent years, Mount Vernon's economy has become more diversified, and major employers now include food processing plants, the Skagit County Hospital, Skagit Valley College, and local and county governments.

The Upper Skagit Indians

Humans have existed within the basin of the Skagit River for more than 11,000 years, and the region is the ancestral land of the Skagit Tribe, a branch of the Lushootseed linguistic group of Coast Salish. For centuries, they led a largely sedentary life of hunting, fishing, and gathering, living in small groups at sites from Whidbey Island to the west and along the course of the Skagit River to the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in the east.

In more recent times, tribal identity split into two divisions that came to be known as the Lower Skagit and Upper Skagit. The Upper Skagit, who ranged from near today's Mount Vernon east to the Cascade Mountains, were further subdivided into 10 or 11 small bands that lived in close proximity to the river. Those living nearest to present-day Mount Vernon were called the Nookachamps (Nook-wa-cha-mish in the Native language), and a creek east of the city still bears that name.

Both the Upper and Lower Skagits were signatories to the Point Elliott Treaty of 1855, which did not serve them well. The Lower Skagits were consolidated with other Coast Salish tribes and bands into the Swinomish Tribe, and were relocated located to the Swinomish Reservation on Fidalgo Island in 1873. The Upper Skagits were deemed too scattered to merit status as a separate tribe or a right to their own land. Most were taken to the Tulalip and Lummi reservations, but many drifted back to their traditional lands along the Skagit. Through the decades of this diaspora, they somehow managed to maintain tribal identity, and in 1974 one of the manifold inequities of the Point Elliott Treaty was redressed when the federal government granted the Upper Skagits full tribal status. The tribe established a reservation on an 84-acre parcel of land east of Sedro Woolley, and also bought a 15-acre site adjacent to Interstate 5 north of Mount Vernon at Bow. In 1995 the tribe opened the Skagit Valley Casino there, and in March 2001, a 103-room hotel and conference center.

The First Settlers and the Dammed River

The earliest significant non-Native settlement in what are now Skagit and Island counties was in the 1850s and 1860s, first on Whidbey and Fidalgo islands, then at LaConner and places to the north and east of the wide delta of the Skagit River. This river, the second largest in Washington, splits into two forks before emptying into Skagit Bay, and both forks were navigable except near their mouths at low tide. But about 10 miles upriver and very near present-day Mount Vernon, before the point where the river divides, two massive logjams blocked all navigation. An early history of the region gave the following description:

"The great jam consisted of two divisions, the lower beginning at the old Kimble homestead below Mount Vernon and extending up the river to a point about opposite the present Kimble residence, a distance of perhaps half a mile. The upper part of the jam was considerably larger, beginning about half a mile above the upper end of the lower jam and extending over a mile. The lower one was believed to be at least a century old and was probably much older, while the upper one was to all appearance of comparatively recent formation" (An Illustrated History, 113).

These logjams may have dated back to reported eruptions of Mount Baker in the eighteenth century, but however formed, they were massive, and the upper jam grew every year as more natural debris made its way downriver. It was described at the time as being

The logjams were so dense and long-established that living trees up to 90 feet tall grew from them. Together, the two obstructions rendered the river largely useless in both directions. Goods could not make it to Mount Vernon by river from towns closer to the salt water, and the wealth of the interior -- lumber, coal, and minerals alike -- could not be rafted or barged down from their source to mills and markets accessible from Skagit Bay. So long as the river remained closed to navigation, Mount Vernon had little hope of being much more than a fertile but somewhat isolated agricultural outpost.

That wasn't enough to deter a few intrepid settlers. The earliest on record were David E. Kimble (1828-1908), Jasper Gates (1840-1923), and Joseph F. Dwelley (1839-?), who in 1869 and 1870 homesteaded on land near what was to become Mount Vernon, and in Gates case, on the very site where the town would first be built. In late 1870 several women, including the wives of Kimble and Gates, arrived on the vessel Linnie, which was the first steamer to make it as far as the lower logjam, and Dwelley's wife and two children joined him the following year.

The valley downstream from these early homesteads was attracting more settlers, some of whom had married Native women, and the growing population was creeping upriver. By 1877 it appears that Kimble, Gates, Dwelley, and their families had been joined by several others in the area near the logjams. That is the year that Harrison Clothier (1840-1906), a teacher who had come west from Saratoga, New York, made it up the river. He and Edward G. English (1850- 1930), a former pupil from Clothier's teachings days in Wisconsin, bought 10 acres from Jasper Gates for $100, opened a store, and prepared a town plat (the original of which was never recorded, and thus of dubious validity). They named their aspiring community Mount Vernon, after the Virginia home of the nation's first president. Clothier became the town's first postmaster, and in later years, doing business as "Clothier & English," the two men would play leading roles in the political and business development of the area.

The first residential home in Mount Vernon was built by William Bice in 1877, and one Jonathon Schott opened the town's first hotel that same year. By the next year there was a saloon, and before the decade was out, a larger hotel and a drugstore. Started with little more than a name, Mount Vernon had in the span of three years become the first permanent town in the inland territory of what would soon become Skagit County.

Unlocking the River

The two huge logjams on the Skagit, which local Indians said had been there "since time immemorial" (An Illustrated History, 108), continued to stifle development of the rich mineral and timber resources east of town. In 1876 a newspaper described the situation this way:

"All of the settlements are crowded within the delta or along the forks of the river and Skagit City, while a magnificent country along a fine navigable steam for over sixty miles above the jam is by this means prevented from being opened to settlement and cultivation, to say nothing of the numberless mines of the best coal found on the Sound, or the great amount of . timber that this obstacle prevents coming into market. Logging can be carried on only to a limited extent until after their removal, as the high land is too far back from the river to haul lumber from" (Washington Standard, April 29, 1876).

Another reason for clearing the jams was perhaps even more compelling -- the safety of those who had started to live and farm in the rich Skagit Valley downriver from Mount Vernon. The water that backed up into the Skagit's sloughs regularly found its way to cause trouble in the lowlands, and a sudden burst of the natural dams when the Skagit was in flood could have taken a heavy toll on livestock, buildings, and in all probability, human lives.

The daunting task seemed too great for local resources, and the people of the valley turned to the government for help. It was not forthcoming. As early as 1874 or 1875, a general with the Engineering Corps of the U. S. Army had examined the obstructions and estimated that they could be cleared at a cost of $15,000. A request for funds was taken to the nation's capital by the Territorial delegate Orange Jacobs (1827-1914), but nothing came of it.

Realizing that they were on their own, a group of settlers formed a company in 1876 to take on the logjam themselves. The effort was initially funded by public subscription, and the men had hopes that much of the cost would be recouped through the sale of logs salvaged from the jam. It took them six months to cut a 250-foot channel through the lower obstruction and an additional two years to breach the upper blockage. Floods sometimes added to their work by piling more flotsam on the upper jam, and at other times aided them by sweeping loosened debris down the river. It was laborious and highly dangerous work, but they kept at it.

By the summer of 1879 the logjams had been cleared enough to permit navigation through and above Mount Vernon, but at substantial personal cost to those who had risked their lives to do it. The seven men who were most involved in the effort -- Joseph S. Wilson, Dennis Storrs, James Cochrane, Fritz Dibbern, Daniel Hines, Marvin Minnick, John Quirk, and Donald McDonald -- each ended up in debt, and the great bulk of the logs removed from the jam proved rotten and of no commercial value. Petitions were made to Congress to compensate them for their efforts, or to at least let them purchase timbered land upriver from Mount Vernon at a discounted price. There is no indication that any of the petitions were granted or that the men were otherwise made whole. It appears that all they received was the satisfaction of performing a minor miracle of amateur engineering, opening the upper Skagit to navigation, and ensuring that the new town of Mount Vernon would be able to grow and prosper.

Gold found near Ruby Creek far up the Skagit River around 1878 drew more settlers and prospectors to the area, and by 1881 Mount Vernon had a population of about 75 people. In 1884 the town's first newspaper, the Skagit News, was started by publisher William C. Ewing. Under different ownership it continued publication with that name for 12 years, then became the Skagit Valley News in 1897, the Mount Vernon Herald in 1913, and in 1956, the Skagit Valley Herald, which still publishes today. Another paper, the Chronicle, was started in Mount Vernon in 1891, renamed The Democrat, then the Post, and is still published (2010) as the weekly Argus.

From Backwater to County Seat

With the river now open, the optimism of those who first settled near the logjam was vindicated, although pioneer Joseph Dwelley and his family had decided to move down to LaConner in 1873, six years before the river was cleared. In November 1883 Territorial legislators from Whatcom County who lived and worked in the towns and settlements around LaConner, Anacortes, and the Skagit River successfully petitioned for the creation of a new county, to be calved off from the southern portions of Whatcom. LaConner was selected as the first seat of government for this new Skagit County, but in November 1884, just seven years after Clothier & English had drawn up its first (and unrecorded) plat and just five years after the logjams were substantially cleared, voters selected Mount Vernon as the county seat.

Whether intentionally or through disregard, the citizens of Mount Vernon by 1884 had still not petitioned the Territorial Legislature for official incorporated status, and did not do so for another four years. In 1888, one year before Washington became a state, Mount Vernon's population reached a thousand, and residents finally saw fit to prepare incorporation papers. The law required that the petition be approved by a federal Territorial judge, and in early March 1889 Judge Cornelius Hanford (1849-1926) refused to do so, ruling the Territorial Community Incorporation Law unconstitutional. Apparently unwilling to take the judge at his word, the townspeople tried again later the same month, with predictable results. Neither the law nor the judge had changed, Hanford again refused to approve the petition, and Mount Vernon remained unincorporated.

Washington achieved statehood on November 11, 1889, and was designated a federal judicial district. None other than Judge Hanford became the district's first, and for the next 10 years, only federal judge. Now both the law and the judge had changed, and Mount Vernon tried again. This time a petition signed by more than 100 citizens was approved by the Skagit County commissioners and by a county judge named Winn. Mount Vernon was just one of 43 cities and towns officially incorporated in 1890, the first post-statehood year. On June 27 the city held its first municipal election, and C. D. Kimball (despite the different spelling, this was the son of early settler David Kimble) was elected mayor, together with a five-man city council. Together, they then appointed other city functionaries, including a city clerk, a marshal, and a police court judge. Mount Vernon was now, at last, an official incorporated city under state law.

To Grow and to Prosper

Skagit County's abundant resources -- minerals in the mountains, seemingly endless stands of old-growth timber, rivers teeming with fish, and some of the most fertile soil in the world deposited in the valley by the Skagit River -- were attracting new settlers to the inland areas even before the town of Mount Vernon incorporated. By 1885 the county's population had topped 2,800. Town founders Clothier & English, among the many to prosper, had crews out logging the forests east of town and were soon selling several hundred thousand feet of logs to the Bellingham Mill Company. Clothier had also been a leader in the 1883 push to establish Skagit County, and would hold various public offices during his career, including, in 1886, county probate judge.

And as the town he cofounded grew, so did its needs. The first school was built in 1881. A regular steamboat mail run was started in 1883, and a larger school went up in 1884, with an enrollment of 19 boys and 26 girls. That was the same year Mount Vernon's first church congregation, of Baptists, was organized, although the city's first church building didn't come until 1889, 11 years after its first saloon opened. But cultural pursuits were also served, and the city's first opera house opened in 1892.

The Skagit Sawmill and Manufacturing Company was incorporated in 1887 by, among others, Clothier & English, another of the many investments they, and particularly Edward English, would make in the logging industry. The following year the company's, and the town's, first mill was built the on the riverfront by Captain David F. Decatur (1838-1913).

A devastating fire in 1891 destroyed most of the riverside commercial district, and much of it was rebuilt on 1st Street, a little farther back from the banks of the oft-flooding Skagit. But not all was disaster that year. In August 1891 the tracks of the Seattle & Northern Railroad reached Mount Vernon, allowing the economy to be more easily uncoupled from the unpredictable river. Just two years later a publication prepared for the 1893 Chicago World's Columbian Exposition by the Washington World's Fair Commission showed how far the young city had come:

The year that was written, 1893, also turned out to be a pretty good one for Mount Vernon, despite the financial panic that seized the nation that year. The Skagit County courthouse had stayed in LaConner after Mount Vernon became county seat, and this was a source of considerable irritation. The slight was remedied in 1893 when the courthouse was packed up and moved to a substantial new building in downtown Mount Vernon. That building, its third-floor garrets now gone, still stands today (2010). It was also in 1893 that the city's first bridge across the Skagit, a wooden-truss structure with a draw-span to allow vessels to pass, was opened, supplementing a ferry that had been operating nearby for several years.

Into the Twentieth Century

Mount Vernon was included in the federal census for the first time in 1900, and the population at that time was 1,120. The Skagit County fairgrounds were established in 1901, new schools went up in 1905 and 1908, and by the 1910 census there were 2,381 residents, more than double the count from 10 years earlier. Steady development continued and the economy diversified. A government publication from 1905 had the following to say:

Another contemporary account describes Mount Vernon seven years later, in 1912:

In August 1912 Mount Vernon also welcomed the arrival of its first electric interurban train, owned by the powerful East Coast conglomerate Stone & Webster. This provided convenient connections to Bellingham and Sedro Woolley and was later to play a significant part in the construction of dams on the upper Skagit River.

Mount Vernon continued to do well into the 1920s. A new courthouse went up in 1922, along with a new high school. Skagit Valley College was founded in 1926, and Highway 99 came in the late 1920s, providing an excellent transportation link between the city and larger population centers to the south and north. Mount Vernon suffered during the years of the Great Depression along with nearly every other Washington community, but federal funds from the Works Progress Administration helped built more roads, another school, and a new post office during those dark years. By 1940, the city population stood at 4,278.

It was not until the end of World War II that the city fully recovered from the effects of the Depression. The decade between 1950 and 1960 saw the opening of several new schools and a new campus for the college. After a 1955 bond issue pushed by the city's Women's Guild passed with a 92-percent "yes" vote, construction began on Skagit Valley Hospital, which was completed in 1958. It has continued to grow over the years and is now the major provider of comprehensive health care for the county. More business came along when Interstate 5, completed in the 1960s, cut right through Mount Vernon, cementing its links with the larger cities of Everett, Seattle, and Bellingham.

Mount Vernon's population began to boom in the 1970-1980 decade, expanding from 8,800 to more than 13,000. During that same period, the city annexed 2.32 square miles of county land to the north and east, most of which was developed as commercial property. Over the years since, additional smaller annexations have pushed the city's limits farther south, and its population has continued to grow, reaching 31,000 in 2010.

The Eternal Battle: City vs. River

The Skagit River has been the one constant in the life of Mount Vernon, for good and for ill. The relationship was fraught from the beginning and has remained so ever since. After the logjams were cleared in the 1870s, frequent floods bedeviled the city, with major inundations in 1892 and 1894, after the latter of which a massive and none-too-effective dike system was built at considerable expense.

Seeming to follow a two-year periodicity, the Skagit ran rampant again in 1896, and the Skagit County Times reported that

The largest flood on record up to that time came in 1909, and it was said that "it was possible to row a boat all the way from Mt. Vernon to LaConner across the fields . " (Bourasaw, Skagit River Journal). Residential development in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries tended to move from the lowlands to the eastern hillsides, safe from the river's reach, but much of the downtown commercial area remained at risk. Not every Skagit flood hit Mount Vernon, but the city has carried on a running battle with the river for at least 140 years (2010).

Other serious floods came in 1917, 1921, 1951, 1975, 1990, 2003, and 2006, with less severe but still serious flooding occurring in many of the years in between. The city has steadily refined its efforts to hold back the waters, including the purchase in 2007 of a 1,500-foot portable flood wall that could be erected by fewer than a dozen people in about four hours and is hoped to be a vast improvement over labor-intensive sandbags.

The city recently has become more proactive, and began a major flood-control project in 2010 with the goal of permanently protecting the urban core from Skagit's rampant waters. Plans include revitalization of the city's urban center and a riverwalk urban trail that will run the length of downtown.

A New Century

Today (2010) Mount Vernon continues as the center of government, education, and commerce for Skagit County. Major employers and economic drivers are the food processing industry, retail trade, education, and health care. Unlike many cities, Mount Vernon has kept a great number of its historical buildings intact, and the venerable Lincoln Theater, first opened in 1926 as a vaudeville and silent movie house, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The population has grown 22.5 percent since 2000, and in 2010 stood at a little more than 32,000, with Caucasians making up 60.5 percent of the population and Hispanics 32.8 percent. Although the city is currently (2010) weathering difficult times and high unemployment, it has survived far worse, and its prospects as the leading city in the Skagit Basin remain bright.

Washington State Department of Commerce

Official logo, Upper Skagit Tribe

Courtesy Upper Skagit Tribe

Skagit River logjams near present-day Mount Vernon, 1873

Courtesy U.S. Bureau of Land Management

David E. Kimble (1828-1908) and Minerva Bozarth Kimble (1841-1926), Mount Vernon, ca. 1870

Men in traditional cedar dugout canoe, Skagit River, 1880s

Courtesy Skagit River Journal (

Skagit River waterfront, Mount Vernon, ca. 1880

Courtesy Skagit River Journal (

Shack on David Kimble's land used as Mount Vernon's first school in 1870s, Mount Vernon, ca. 1900

Courtesy Skagit Valley Journal (

Harrison Clothier (1840-1906), Mount Vernon, ca. 1880

Courtesy Skagit River Journal (

Waterfront on Skagit River, Mount Vernon, 1884

Courtesy Skagit River History (

Mount Vernon on Skagit River, ferry in foreground, Mount Vernon, ca. 1890

Courtesy Skagit County Historical Museum

Myrtle Street, looking east, Mount Vernon, 1890

Courtesy Skagit River Journal (

Skagit County Courthouse, Mount Vernon, ca. 1908

Photo by Asahel Curtis, Courtesy UW Special Collections (CUR479)

Matheson Building, former Skagit County Courthouse, Mount Vernon, 2009

Flood aftermath, First Street, Mount Vernon, 1890s

Courtesy Skagit River History (

Steamship Black Prince (center) and others on Skagit River, Mount Vernon, ca. 1905

Mount Vernon, looking east from Skagit River, 1908

Photo by Asahel Curtis, Courtesy UW Special Collections (CUR478)

Mount Vernon, looking west, 1908

Photo by Asahel Curtis, Courtesy UW Special Collections (CUR481)

Mount Vernon, looking west, 1908

Photo by Asahel Curtis, Courtesy UW Special Collections (CUR482)

Loggers, English Logging Company, Mount Vernon, ca. 1917

Photo by Kinsey Clark, Courtesy UW Special Collections (PH Coll 516.1140)

Flood-damaged railroad tracks, Skagit River, Mount Vernon, 1917

Courtesy Skagit River History (

Second Street, Mount Vernon, 1924

Photo by J. A. Juleen, Courtesy UW Special Collections (UW23117)

Lincoln Theatre (1926), Mount Vernon, ca. 1926

Courtesy Lincoln Theatre Foundation

Mount Vernon, 1930s

Lincoln Theatre (1926), Mount Vernon, 1960s

Lincoln Theater (1926), Mount Vernon, 2007

Skagit River in flood, Mount Vernon looking north to Burlington, October 22, 2003

Courtesy U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Volunteers install sandbags against flooding Skagit River, Mount Vernon, 2003

Courtesy U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Planned riverwalk, artists conception, Mount Vernon, 2010


Northern Region Edit

Southern Region Edit

Eastern Region Edit

Western Region Edit

1946: WSJCAC is Born
Although athletic competition between junior colleges existed in the 1930s, the first structured league and championship events in men's sports came in 1946 when the Washington State Junior College Athletic Conference (WSJCAC) was formed. Following the nine charter members, Columbia Basin College joined in 1955.

Initially, the conference offered football, basketball, baseball, tennis, track and golf. In 1963 wrestling was added, followed by cross country in 1965 and soccer in 1974.

The WSJCAC existed without bylaws until the spring of 1948, when Executive Secretary Jim Ennis of Everett JC, Dave DuVall of Skagit Valley and Maury Phipps of Grays Harbor, wrote the conference's original constitution. The document set forth the overall philosophy of the conference's athletic program, and prescribed scholarship limits and grade eligibility requirements.

1963: Birth of Oregon's Conference
In 1963, five Oregon schools joined to form the Oregon Community College Athletic Association (OCCAA). Charter members were Blue Mountain, Central Oregon, Clatsop, Southwestern Oregon and Treasure Valley community colleges. The conference more than doubled in size in the 1968-69 school year, when Chemeketa, Clackamas, Lane, Linn-Benton, Mt. Hood, Portland and Umpqua community colleges joined the circuit.

1970s: The NWAACC and the Rise of Women's Athletics
During the 1970s, the newly renamed NWAACC saw the growth of women's sports at its member institutions. Women's athletics were governed by the Northwest College Women's Sports Association (NCWSA) until 1978, when the NCWSA was absorbed by the NWAACC.

Volunteer athletic directors had overseen conference functions and activities until the addition of women's athletics. The subsequent increased workload caused the NWAACC to convene a five-member hiring committee, which in 1979 appointed Frank Bosone as the conference's first executive director. Bosone retired in 1992 and was succeeded by Dick McClain, a longtime baseball coach in Corvallis, Oregon.

1983: Merger
Community college athletics in the Pacific Northwest changed dramatically in 1983, when seven OCCAA members joined the NWAACC. The merger between the Washington and Oregon colleges has helped the NWAACC become a strong organization. Since 1984, nine other colleges have added intercollegiate athletics and/or became NWAACC members.

The NWAACC was renamed the Northwest Athletic Conference on July 1, 2014 [2] and has 36 member schools.

The NWAC sponsors intercollegiate athletic competition in the following sports:

We Are the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe

The main campuses of the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe are east of Sedro-Woolley, WA just off Highway 20 on Helmick Road. Administration, Health Services, Membership Services, Elder Services, Housing, Education, Natural Resources and other departments are located at the main campuses. The Hometown Highway 20 Pharmacy is located west of Sedro-Woolley off Highway 20 and Cook Road. The Tribe’s Skagit Valley Casino Resort – The Skagit, The Skagit Ridge Hotel, Encore restaurant, the Market Buffet, and Bow Hill Gas and Food Mart are located north of Burlington at I-5 exit 236.

The Upper Skagit people are descendants of aboriginal bands that inhabited 11 villages from the foothills of the Cascades to the Puget Sound. The Upper Skagit Reservation lies in the uplands of the Skagit River Valley, east of Sedro-Woolley in Skagit County and near Exit 236 along Interstate 5 just north of Burlington near Alger.

Flowing more than 125 miles from glaciers in the Canadian Cascade Mountains, through old-growth forests and farmlands to Skagit Bay in the Puget Sound, the Skagit River is one of western Washington’s largest rivers. It is one of the few rivers that sustain its entire original wild salmon species: Chinook, Chum, Coho, Pink, and Sockeye.

What is now known as north west Washington state was home to a number of Native American tribes known as Coast Salish, which comprised two linguistic groups: the Straits, including the Clallam, Lummi, Samish, and Semiahmoo tribes and the Lushootseed, including the Tulalip Tribes, Lummi, Swinomish and Upper Skagit. The rivers and the sound sustained the culture that inhabited the area and the tribes flourished, thanks to the bounty of such natural resources as salmon, shellfish, sea mammals, upland game, camas root, and cedar trees.

Watch the video: Skagit Valley College Summer 2020 (February 2023).

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