Maven (noun) — an expert or connoisseur.

Two new meeting mavens, Tyler Graf and Erik Hidle, started earlier this month. Now that they know that Ridgefield and Hockinson are not neighboring communities and that Camas is the Eagleton of Clark County (yes, it’s true, all reporters watch “Parks and Recreation”), it’s time to introduce them to loyal “APIL” readers.

Tyler Graf


Hello, blog readers! I’m the new reporter for The Columbian covering the all-important small cities beat. I come from The Daily Astorian, which you may remember from its not-so-accurate depiction in the film The Ring 2. (The level of spooky shenanigans were noticeably lacking when I was there, alas). At that paper, I covered courts, county government, state government and environmental issues. It’s great to be back covering small cities, where there’s no dearth of interesting stories and spirited folks who care deeply about their communities. In Clark County, where the smaller communities have seen significant growth, I hope to highlight the stories that resonate with people.

I originally hail from the Pacific Northwest (Ashland, Ore., to be precise) and attended the University of Oregon. So I’m a Duck, which, among non-Ducks, makes me a scorned heel during football season and the butt of jokes during basketball season. (Editor’s note: All mavens are Duck fans except Marissa, who doesn’t waste energy on college football and is a major Seahawks fan). It’s a weird, bipolar position to be placed in as a sports fan, but I accept it. If you ever want to kvetch about Chip Kelly’s “gimmick offense,” I’ll at the very least nod my head politely.

I look forward to learning more about the community, so feel free to contact me. My phone number is 360-735-4517 and my email address is News tips are always welcome. And if you ever want to sit down and grab a cup of coffee and gab, I’ll find some time to pull myself away from the computer screen. I’ll be out and about in the community. See a guy with a notebook in his hand, that’s probably me.

Erik Hidle


My name is Erik Hidle, and this is my abridged biography.

I’ve been a journalist for about five years now, mostly covering city councils and county commissions. Not counting internships, freelance gigs and part-time positions, my first stop as a reporter was in Port Townsend, Wash.

After two years up north, I took up a brief freelance career covering sports. I reported on speed skating at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, some handball in Singapore at the very first youth Olympics and I did a whole mess of sports writing at events in India and China.

The year in sports was fun (I learned about sepak takraw and kabaddi; seriously, it’s worth it to YouTube those) but I knew my true calling was to sit in public meetings, quietly in the back row, scribbling down the ins and outs of local government proceedings.

After two years doing just that with The Bulletin, in Bend, Ore., I was hired as the county reporter here at The Columbian. My first day was Oct. 8. So far, it’s been great.

As an aside, I should let everyone know that this was me.


I’m happy to report that I made the interview and I’m suffering no lingering injuries. My car, however, was totaled.

I should add that after the crash about a dozen folks who saw the collision stopped to help out. That was really awesome of them. Thank you.

That pretty much brings us up to today.

This is getting way too long already, so I’ll end it with some likes and dislikes.

Likes: salmon fishing, fun facts and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Dislikes: ranch dressing, cell phones and the San Francisco Giants.

If you’ve got any questions, ask away. I’m at 360-735-4547 or I might answer some of them, but no promises as I’m on a deadline here.

Stephanie Rice

Stephanie Rice

I cover Vancouver city government. Reach me at or 360-735-4508.

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