YAY! Let’s hear it for Ilwaco!

Oct 12, 2022 | 3 comments

In my mother’s childhood — “Ilwaco as seen from Yellow Bluff, 1915.”

Now those are words I don’t get to say very often!  “Poor old Ilwaco” is a more likely commentary.  When I was a kid in the thirties and forties, Ilwaco was considered the only “real town” on the Peninsula.  It’s where you went to conduct business unless, of course, you were going into Portland for a few days.

But that was a long time ago.  By the time I began living here full time in the late 1970s, Ilwaco was already slip-slip-sliding away.  Since then, one-by-one, the old stalwarts have closed — Red’s Restaurant, Doupé Brothers, The Ilwaco Tribune — and although the Port has blossomed and re-blossomed, nothing seems to occur in “Greater Downtown Ilwaco.”

Red’s Restaurant – 1960s/1970s

But, according to today’s paper, it looks like the little old town is going to pull off something even better (to my way of thinking) than refurbishing the crumbling buildings and revitalizing the downtown core. Ilwaco is “this close” to finalizing the purchase of a watershed to preserve as a community forest and protect the city’s drinking water for posterity!  A Community Forest!!!  Wow!

I’m truly thankful I can’t count the times I’ve watched and worried and wondered about our forests.  How long will they last?  Are these skinny new growth “replacements” the best we can do?  What about the ecological benefits of the old growth forests — can they be replaced?  Surely this 1.62 million dollar deal will help.  And, according to Ilwaco’s mayor, it will make the town one of the few cities in the United States that owns “almost all the land that our water rights and our reservoir sits down on, including the forest all around (Bear Ridge) and up to the ridge itself.”

Cedar Grove, Long Island

I wish my mother were alive to see this happen.  She always lamented “the demise of Ilwaco” as she called it.  I know she would be pleased that a new possibility has now presented itself!  Hopefully for posterity.


  1. Caroline Miller

    I agree. That is a wonderful endy for a shrinking town!

  2. Deborah Wells

    Yes I read about the forest purchase with the water for Ilwaco!! Yes that is great news!!!

  3. mary garvey

    I think Ilwaco downtown would be a great place for some much needed housing units, right in the heart of the town there. I am thinking rehabbing current properties might not be feasible, so some might have to be torn down, but some new, basic, affordable small apartments could be built. This would also bring in a few vendors I would think.


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