In search of spooky ghosts

Last week, before a few things happened on the county beat, Clark County Assessor Peter Van Nortwick sent me one of the finer emails I’ve ever received.

He wanted to know if there are any ghost reports in the Columbian archives for the Phoenix Inn.

Now if Van Nortwick were doing this for his own interests, that would be both totally incredible and totally likely to produce a Photoshop image of him in a Ghostbusters suit. But he’s actually trying to help out a curious member of the public who sent in the query.

That right there is some fine public service, so I’ll leave Photoshop closed for now. And ya’ know what? I’m going to say it. You’re alright Van Nortwick.

I couldn’t find anything in the archives, but maybe some of our locally versed readers can shed some light on this one.

Here is the text of the email (names have been withheld to protect the public from hauntings):

“Hi, I am writing to ask if you can help me find information on the history of the Phoenix Inn, 12712 SE 2nd Cir, Vancouver 98684.  When was it built, and what was there before the hotel was built?  I am asking because my roommate has worked there for two years and she has told me about televisions turning on by themselves, objects moving on their own and things like that.  She says she has even seen a ghost there once. Since she has worked there, similar things have happened at my home too, which never happened before and we have lived here for eight years. I can’t seem to find any history about the Phoenix Inn on the internet.  Any advice would be very helpful.”

I think Van Nortwick sums this whole thing up rather aptly, saying, “we have to deal with serious issues in my office.”

Erik Hidle

Erik Hidle

Erik Hidle covers Clark County government for The Columbian. He can be followed on facebook at, on Twitter at @col_clarkgov or contacted by email at

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