Camas, WA — Adam’s Street Bar and Grill, a popular destination, has sustained $250,000 in financial losses stemming from the September 18 heavy rains and ensuing floods that wreaked havoc across town, said bar owner Greg Shelby.
“We’ve been down here most every day cleaning up trying to get things done,” said Shelby. “It’s such a big mess, we’ve had to move a lot of things, and at this time we haven’t had any help from any insurance or from the City of Camas, which I don’t think is right. I know there’s negligence on their part.”
He said the city cited a massive downpour and the streets were plugged up, and that there were no open drains on the streets the morning of the floods. The water poured in from the streets and flooded his 2,500 square foot business basement with nearly five feet of water, which damaged major appliances, ruined months of frozen food, equipment, and restaurant supplies.
He said there are many faults in the city’s plumbing system, which he said is ancient.
“I’ve had the city out here before with minor drainage issues before, which still haven’t been resolved,” he said. “This is all devastating. I stock up on stuff. Our freezers were full, our walk-in was full, my dry storage was full. We had a pallet of paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, everything was ruined. We threw away all our food. I just need to keep cleaning, we had just had the floors all done here. I had great cooking equipment, I had to throw away so much stuff.”
Shelby said his insurance company claim is still in process.
“The volume of water overwhelmed the capacity of the system with heavy downhill flows,” said claims adjuster Karen Tailman, of Sedgwick, representing the City of Camas in a letter to Adam’s. “This was not simply a matter of the catch basins overflowing, but of surface water cascading down the roadway and collecting to the lowest point.
“Accordingly, we find no evidence of negligence on the part of the City of Camas that caused or contributed to your loss, it was simply an act of nature.”
The adjuster said the city crew work was halted between September 7 and September 17 due to the unhealthy smoke conditions stemming from the Oregon wildfires.
Shelby is fighting back and has hired an attorney to handle the case. They are citing a May Downtown Camas Infrastructure Analysis by McKay Esposito that called out drainage and ponding issues throughout downtown Camas, particularly on 4th Avenue.
The report said “based on interviews with the City staff, several streets were identified as having ponding issues. One cause described was root intrusion into many sanitary sewer lines, especially along 4th Avenue. It is recommended that the lines be video inspected to gain a better understanding of repairs needed.”
The following areas were identified in the report:
- 6th and Adams ponding — usually due to clogged drains from leaves, etc.
- Dallas from 7th to 6th — bubble up issues
- 4th and Birth periodic street flooding
- 5th and Dallas floods frequently
- Lots of root encroachment into lines, particularly on 4th.
In addition, Council member Ellen Burton said just days before the floods Public Works Director Steve Wall addressed the many drainage problems in the downtown area.