Ry Luikens is running for the Camas City Council Ward 2, Position 1 seat, which is currently held by Bonnie Carter, who has been in office since 2015. Lacamas Magazine asked Luikens several questions, and here are his answers.
1. Why do you want to be on council?
After living in cities around the world, my family chose Camas as our forever home. This city’s beauty, tight-knit community, and untapped potential captivated us. As parents of young children and active members of this community, we are very deeply vested in our futures here. But Camas stands at a pivotal crossroads and we shouldn’t settle for the status quo.
I’ve put my life on pause to step up, bringing a blend of global insights, relentless energy, and professional experience. With my background in sustainable urban development and helping startups grow and entrepreneurs succeed, I’m passionate about cleaning our lake, safeguarding our drinking water, resurrecting our community pool, and ensuring our small businesses thrive amidst progress. I’m here to serve. Not for a title, but to champion our shared dreams.
My candidacy isn’t about my vision for what’s best. It’s about my commitment to amplify your voice and what you want to see. I believe the people of Camas should lead, and I’m here to ensure your insights ring clear in council chambers. I’m running not as a politician, but as your neighbor and servant leader. My hope, which we’ll turn into a reality, is that my time in service to you inspires a whole new generation of visionary leaders to steer our municipal journey.
2. What are the top issues of your campaign?
Vision for Camas
Safety and well-being are at the forefront of my considerations. This encompasses support for our police and fire departments, dedicated attention to road maintenance, and an unwavering commitment to clean drinking water for every Camasonian. As I contemplate the road ahead for Camas, I’m guided by the Growth Management Act, our 2035 comprehensive plan, the forthcoming 2045 strategy, and emerging pieces of legislation like HB1110.
We stand at a pivotal moment where proactive planning for our downtown corridor is essential. It demands innovative and visionary solutions for the Mill, harmonizing our rich indigenous and industrial heritage with the promise of our bright, holistic future.
By enhancing density in areas already developed, the aim is to safeguard our cherished greenspace and majestic tree canopy. My mission is to shape a Camas where measured growth aligns with our core values, ensuring every single resident feels safe, cherished, and an integral part of our shared journey.
Cleaning Up Lacamas Lake
Our lakes are more than just bodies of water. They pulse with the heart and soul of Camas, reflecting the peace and tranquility we desire for our community. Ensuring their preservation is absolutely fundamental. As I look ahead, my commitment is steadfast: halt any further environmental harm and enhance accessibility for all.
As Camas grows, so do the pressures on our lake ecosystems. Collaborative, community-led plans paired with decisive action-oriented strategies are imperative to protect their vitality for future generations. I envision a Camas where our lakes benefit from sustainable practices, efficient waste and stormwater management, and partnership between residents and experts.
Recognizing the role we all play in safeguarding our lakes means elevating awareness of their ecological significance, fostering local guardianship, and expanding sustainable recreational opportunities. In unity, we can set our lakes on a trajectory toward pristine conditions, letting them remain treasured reflections of Camas’s soul and splendor.
Bringing Back Your Pool
The legacy of Camas’s Crown Park community pool, a generous gift from the Lion’s Club, is a poignant reminder of our town’s history of communal spirit and service. Its absence over the past four and a half years has left more than just a physical void – it signifies a gap in our community’s recreational and social fabric.
It’s imperative to revive this legacy, but with a transparent and fiscally-judicious approach that involves the community every step of the way. The lessons from the past, including the city’s failed $78M proposal, offer a roadmap of both caution and opportunity. My vision is not just about constructing a new pool. It’s about rebuilding trust, rekindling community spirit, and ensuring that any new facility reflects the desires, needs, and our financial realities.
Restoring our lost pool represents a pledge to health, wellness, and community bonding. With open dialogue, careful planning, and the combined passion of our residents, we can bring to life a new legacy that honors our past while swimming confidently into the future.
Making Your Voice Heard
If you feel you don’t have a voice, nothing else matters. And that is why your voice, and making sure it’s heard is such a crucial pillar of my campaign. Because the role of a representative is fundamentally about listening. And I’m really good at it. So to deeply connect with the essence of Camas, I pledge genuine dialogue with you.
It’s a simple but powerful process: I listen, relay what I’ve heard, prioritize based on collective insights, and then formulate a strategy. But the dialogue doesn’t end there. I’ll circle back, ensuring that what’s been crafted resonates with the voice of the people. This cyclical engagement ensures no voice goes unheard.
Remembering past issues like the utility tax, it’s clear there were times when voices felt overshadowed. I stand for unwavering transparency. If a proposal requires your financial commitment, you deserve a direct say. My stance? Repeal the utility tax until such decisions are made democratically. This method reaffirms that Camas functions for its people, by its people.
But beyond policies and taxes, it’s about cultivating a culture of mutual respect, responsibility, and trust. Relationships are our cornerstone. Together, we will forge a Camas where every perspective influences our collective direction.
3. What three things is the city doing correctly?
Partnership with Downtown Camas Association
The city’s collaboration with the Downtown Camas Association has worked wonders for our downtown, turning it into a bustling center of life and business. We see the city’s dedication to our local businesses, both the beloved staples like Natalia’s and Piccolo, and the fresh faces like Poppy & Hawk and Bookish. Through events, showcases, and the daily hustle and bustle, we come together, celebrating every moment. It’s a fun hub of activity that makes me proud.
Camas Community Garden
The Camas Community Garden is a slice of green paradise in our city. It’s where green thumbs and community spirits come alive, all thanks to our hard-working volunteers. It’s where we learn to nurture, to grow, and to share. Every seed planted is a testament to what we can achieve together. It’s Camas in a microcosm: hard work, community, and a touch of nature’s magic.
Camas Public Library
Celebrating 100 years, our Library is truly something special. It’s where young minds embark on adventures, where the curious find answers, and where our community meets. Thanks to our dedicated staff and volunteers, it’s a space of continuous learning, sharing, and growth. With every story read, question answered, or event hosted, the library reinforces its place in our hearts, reminding us of the threads that bind us together.
4. What’s your vision for Camas in the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years?
In 5 years…
Camas shines brightly in the Pacific Northwest. Picture our lake, restored to a forgotten glory, families enjoying a brand-new affordable community pool, and a safe, economically thriving city that grows sustainably, rooted in your voice and vision.
In 10 years…
We’ll be the talk of Southwest Washington. Our flourishing lake, bustling pool, and an exciting Mill redevelopment project will be testaments to our dedication to rejuvenate Camas, not just build anew. Sustainable growth and financial prudence will be our hallmarks, and cities will look to Camas as the new gold standard.
In 15 years…
Camas will be known far and wide as the “Gateway to the Gorge”. We’ll strike that perfect balance, where growth does not come at nature’s expense. With every step we take, our city’s beauty is preserved, and property values rise, setting the stage for a prosperous future for all residents.
In 20 years…
The world will see Camas as a masterclass in city development. Where our natural and built amenities serve as symbols of our deep bond with the environment and our community. We won’t just be another city. We’ll be an inspiration. A beacon of what cities can achieve when they put their people first.
Let us view our shared vision for Camas as a journey, one where every resident–old and new– has a real say. This is about creating a Camas that’s financially robust, true to its roots, and where every voice echoes in the decisions we make.
This vision is achievable, and together, we’ll bring it to life.
To learn more about his candidacy, go to Ry4Camas.com