As I produced the 2019 Year in Review video, it caused me to think about the major events that defined us, made our eyes pop, or just simply made one grateful to live in this community. So, I compiled a list of Top 6 stories that stirred up those reactions in my heart.
Mayor’s Race + Prop 2
Without a doubt, the Fall election results were both stunning and eye opening. Never in all my years have I seen a proposition go down in such flames (90-10) or have a sitting mayor (Shannon Turk) get voted out by a write-in candidate (Barry McDonnell) with zero political or public service experience.
Proposition 2 was doomed to fail for several reasons, the first of which was the price tag, but it also didn’t go through the proper processes. Voters saw it as rushed and ill-conceived, and didn’t reflect the findings of a months-long pool committee. City workers did their best to come up with a plan under very rushed conditions, and ultimately a series of options were presented to council that allowed voters to make the ultimate decision.
The price tag ($78 million) presented by former City Administrator Pete Capell was something that City Councilor Ellen Burton warned “is all the voters will hear.“ Her words were prophetic.
It’s telling because it shows me that in a society riddled with partisanship we CAN agree on something 90-10. The anti-Prop 2 movement shows us that people of all political persuasions can rally and work together. The synergy created by that movement was enough to generate a wave that upended Camas leadership.
The Camas 2019 Fall election stories are akin to a 100-year storm. You probably won’t see this again in our lifetime.
Small Business Revolution
When the Small Business Revolution (SBR) team visited Camas in January, Mill Town rolled out the red carpet. When we made Top 6, a town united. It was refreshing to see so many people work to get out the vote. Merchants, students, teachers, civic leaders and athletes all rallied to help Camas become the SBR focus of season 4 of their Hulu show, “Main Street.”
We fell short of the goal, but it was beautiful to see people working together for a common cause. It was fun to cover all the SBR stories.
Camas Produce Accident
I remember sitting in my office when I got the alert that a vehicle had plowed into Camas Produce. I remember thinking this is the kind of thing that happens in OTHER towns — certainly not here. Arriving at the scene I saw the significant damage done to the quaint and popular store.
The driver was cited with DUI and reckless endangerment, and it took the majority of the year to get the store back online. Each week for months, people inquired about when the store would open, and what they could do to help. We did our best to keep pushing out stories related to this accident, and it’s nice to have the store back.
Love for the Lintons
When Camden Linton was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, the owners at Natalia’s Cafe were asked to help raise money for their family. Erica Slothower, owner of the cafe, along with Wendy Delbosque, worked with Kristen Gardiner, to organize a carnival and silent auction. In a single day, they raised tens of thousands of dollars!
Many hours were spent organizing the event, and it’s a tribute to Natalia’s Cafe and the entire town to see so much love pour into one family in need. I broke down in tears when I witnessed Erica present a can filled with cash. It was one of the stories that define a town.
Stuff The Bus
For the first time, I saw firsthand the behind-the-scenes work of the annual Stuff The Bus campaign. I met with organizers, traveled with students and volunteers to witness the donations be collected and ultimately delivered — and those were reflected in our stories. I also saw the promotions that went into it, and was moved by the video we produced featuring Washougal and Camas School District Superintendents Mary Templeton and Jeff Snell. Seeing two Ph.D’s running through Safeway with carts was both hilarious and priceless. The entire Stuff The Bus campaign shows the generosity of two towns dedicated to lifting up their neighbors.
Here is a Stuff The Bus video report: https://youtu.be/-_bFtCNJpXY and
Camas High School Football Wins State Championship
It was a surreal and special moment when I stood next to the young Papermakers as they clinched the 2019 State Title! I’d watched for months (really years) as these boys dedicated themselves to winning — and representing a grateful town.
The boys aren’t perfect, but they’re also unlike any other football team I’ve ever covered. They have character and focus. They have love and respect. They have discipline and drive. They will go down in history as one of the greatest teams to ever represent Camas. The victory is forever theirs.
I can’t wait to release the Revenge Tour documentary later this month.
We look forward to covering the stories of 2020. Stay tuned.