News From Your Friends

Heritage Farm Update – March 2023

March 18, 2023 in Farmland & Forests, Parks, Trails, & Open Spaces

The “78th Street Heritage Farm” (“Farm”) as it is now known began its life as a settlement for unpaid property taxes by the Anderson Family (of Sara J. Anderson fame, school, etc.). A total of 100 acres turned over to Clark County by Mr. & Mrs. Anderson in 1871 was divided into the current ~80 for the poor farm and the remaining 20 for what would become Hazel Dell Neighborhood Park.  The actual county poor farm began operation in 1873 with the main, colonial style building, being built in 1898.  The building has been added to the county, state and national registers of historic places in 2012 and 2013.  Approximately 200 individuals lived on the poor farm and did what labor they could to maintain themselves and the farm.  Many of them are still on the site, buried in the cemetery on the hill.

This continued until Washington State College (now Washington State University, of course) began its use of the site for their Experimental Station in the mid-1940s.  This lasted until, under the terms of their agreement with Clark County, the college had no more ongoing experiments.  At that time, 2008, the site was returned to the County’s ownership and is still working with the university’s Extension Office at the Farm.

At the time of the 2019 master planning operation, rumbles were heard (faintly perhaps) that it might be better to sell the asset.  That thankfully was overruled by a far-sighted county council, and a master plan was developed which has been updated since then.  Several sites exist for information on the Farm and are well worth a visit.  The current effort regarding the Farm is the Sustainability Steering Committee’s work to create a plan to generate cash flow that will minimize the draw on the county’s general fund.  The committee is comprised of representatives from various groups involved in or for the Farm’s future.

The committee has been meeting since October 2022 and the end date for a proposal to the Board of County Councilors (“BOCC”) has been put at July 2023, although it may take slightly longer than that.  The BOCC would like to be able to begin putting the plan into action before year end.  The committee met on Monday, March 13th for a lengthy workshop to review suggestions received and to add more as a result of the December 2022 open house as well as the county-wide survey responses.  There is a lot of work to be done to produce a viable plan, but everyone involved is taking this responsibility very seriously.

Email Clark County park planner, Lynde Wallick, with questions or to receive project updates at

Public comments are still welcome. Please email comments to These will be shared with the Steering Committee as they make recommendations for the Plan.

Visit the plan development website to find more information. You can obtain meeting and open house information, including recordings and a plan for future meetings.

  Submitted by Jackie Lane, Board Treasurer