On August 30, 2020 Mark Bunker Jr. tragically lost his life while fishing at Martins Bar. Through a generous grant from PeaceHealth St. John, the effort to provide life vests for all those who visit and recreate on the Columbia River, provides hope that such a tragedy will not be repeated.

Partnering between the Port of Woodland, Woodland Police Department, numerous companies and PeaceHealth St. John, a loan board life jacket station will be commemorated on May 15, 2021 down at the beach of Martin Bar at 10 AM. As part of the unveiling of the loaner board, we will recognize Mark Bunker Jr. and dedicate this loaner board to his memory.

“The Port offers its deepest condolences to the Bunker family. I personally know the Bunker family and they are good friends and a strong Woodland family. The Port’s ability to provide a space for a loaner board, possibly preventing future tragedies of occurring is a small token we can do in Mark’s name,” stated Commission President Bob Wile.

“The mission and purpose of the Life Jacket Loaner Program is to prevent open water drowning deaths and near deaths to children, teens and adults by providing life jackets as strategically placed locations near rivers, lakes and oceans. Through the support and resources of its members, partners and sponsors, Safe Kids Lower Columbia can educate our communities, provide resources and life jackets and reduce drowning fatalities while increasing safety in and around water,” stated Daniela “Donny” Conner with Woodland Police Department who oversees and manages the program.

A second loaner board will be constructed at Austin Point in the near future by the public access area. We ask, in respect of other uses, to return the life jackets to the proper station for others to use.