Vancouver, WA — Clark County Public Health issued a statement today recommending the use of face masks in indoor settings, in conjunction with today’s guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Here is the health department statement:

Today, the CDC issued updated guidance on face coverings as more is learned about the highly infectious delta variant driving increases in virus activity across the country.

The COVID-19 vaccines continue to be highly effective at preventing severe illness that can lead to hospitalization and death, even among those infected with the delta variant. A small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated may still get COVID-19, but infections in fully vaccinated people tend to be mild. 

Most COVID-19 cases continue to be among people who are unvaccinated. However, some people who are fully vaccinated and get infected with the delta variant may be able to spread the virus to others. 

As a result of increased virus activity and new information about the delta variant, the CDC is recommending that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear face coverings indoors when in areas with substantial or high virus activity. Clark County is currently categorized as having substantial virus activity.

Given the current virus activity in Clark County, Public Health is recommending face coverings for everyone in indoor settings, in alignment with CDC guidance.

The Washington State Department of Health is reviewing the CDC guidance and may make updates to state guidance on face coverings. 

The CDC is also recommending everyone wear masks in K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status and community virus activity. The state Department of Health establishes the guidance for schools in our state. Public Health is awaiting updated school guidance from the state.

Getting vaccinated continues to be the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against COVID-19 and slow the spread of the virus in our community. Public Health strongly recommends everyone 12 years and older get vaccinated.

Camas, WA Members of the Camas City Council decided unanimously to appoint Ellen Burton as the Interim Mayor of Camas.  Burton will serve in this role until the general elections in November. The City attorney will swear-in Burton at the council’s regular meeting at 7 p.m., Monday, Aug. 2. 

Burton, formerly serving as Camas’ Mayor Pro Tem, was one of two candidates that applied for the Mayoral position, Camas resident Jack Derington was the other. Both applicants were interviewed live during a special public meeting that allowed both in-person and virtual viewing.  This was the first opportunity for the public to attend a council meeting in-person since the COVID pandemic restricted open public meetings to remote-only.  

Each applicant was asked the same seven questions and was provided three minutes each to respond. Following the interviews, Council Members recessed to an Executive Session for discussion, after which they voted publicly, resulting in the decision to retain Burton in the role.

“I appreciate Mr. Derington for throwing his hat in the ring, he is a certainly a qualified individual and I certainly hope he volunteers in the community” Burton said.  “I’m also excited that I was selected to fulfill this position.”

Burton is no stranger to the City and has represented Ward 3 as a Camas City Council Member since 2019. Burton retired from a career in global technology and has been actively volunteering in the Camas community for almost 25 years. 

The City of Camas Finance Department is looking to provide residents with a little help in the form of the Camas Assistance Program, or CAP as it’s better known.

CAP can provide financial support for eligible customers that are delinquent on a City of Camas utility bill. Qualifying households may receive one credit per twelve months towards a delinquent utility balance, up to a maximum of $250. Senior citizens may qualify and receive utility assistance twice in twelve months.

“We understand that times have been tough for many,” said City of Camas Finance Director, Cathy Huber-Nickerson. “And we also understand that for many, a little help even with one bill, can go a long way.”

Many residents may soon see a flier along with their utility bill that provides information on the program, including a quick check list to determine qualifications.  Some of those qualifications may include living in a household where income is limited or limited access to subsidized housing assistance.

Interested residents are encouraged to visit https://www.cityofcamas.us/community/page/camas-assistance-program-cap for more information.  While there, be sure to include your information in the benefit estimator to see what you may qualify for.

Vancouver, WA — In their latest COVID-19 report, Clark County Public Health said the number of new cases doubled over the previous seven days (July 7-14). The July 15 update included 151 total new cases in a one-week period; this week, we have 302 new cases.

Cases

• 302 additional cases (confirmed and probable) since last update

• 24,931 confirmed cases to date (+251 since last update)

• 1,626 antigen probable cases to date (+51 since last update) 

• 301 active cases (in isolation period)

• 5.3% of hospital beds are occupied by COVID cases and persons under investigation for COVID-19 (awaiting test results)

Deaths

• 292 total deaths to date (260 confirmed, 32 suspect)

• No new deaths since last update 

Rates

• COVID-19 activity rate is 50.1 cases per 100,000 over 14 days (down slightly from 53.3 cases per 100,000 last week). 

• COVID-19 new hospital admission rate is 2.8 per 100,000 people over 7 days (up from 2.2 per 100,000 last week)

To learn more, visit the Clark County Public Health webpage: https://clark.wa.gov/public-health/covid-19-data 

Camas, WA — A little more than a month since taking ownership of the Camas Hotel, co-owners Prashant Gupta and Bobby Sachdeva continue to make improvements at the iconic property.

They’ve purchased new linens, replaced mattresses, painted, cleaned, pressure washed, polished windows and doors, upgraded lighting, and are replacing air conditioning units.

“Hospitality is the focus of what we do,” said Gupta. “We focus on the guest. People are giving us great reviews, and they like to see the owners involved. And, we’re very impressed by the welcome we received when we first arrived. Carrie at DCA has been very positive. It’s been a great experience. We enjoy our neighbors at Arktana and Juxtaposition. I see here the warmth is unparalleled. It makes things very, very good.” 

Gupta enjoys the commitment he sees from fellow merchants, the DCA and the Chamber of Commerce. Gupta and Sachdeva said their investments in the hotel are designed to take care of the customer, and continue to make improvement plans.

They will be making a fourth quarter investment in RFID technology which is a radio frequency card for each hotel room. This is part of an effort to make the hotel more secure, Sachdeva said.

Hotel linens have been upgraded throughout the hotel; all of which are high end. And, they are looking into a brand-new phone system for the hotel. And, they pay very close attention to cleanliness.

“The housekeeping manager Fatima Debrizuela does amazing work,” said Sachdeva. “She’s very thorough. She knows what’s happening in each room.” 

Background

Both owners have experience running businesses. Sachdeva’s father owned hotels and bars in India, so that was part of his upbringing. He then managed JCPenney stores for 20 years, and then got into the liquor store business with two locations in Oregon. Sachdeva saw the Camas Hotel opportunity, so he approached Gupta about purchasing it.

“If he had not approached me I wouldn’t have made this investment,” said Gupta. “I have never owned another hotel, but I have managed hotels for 20 years. Right now, I’m still with the Best Western brand, which is a very unique hotel chain. It’s the largest hotel chain in the world (4,500 locations) and they are all operator-owned.” 

They continue to work with local businesses. Learn more at www.camashotel.com

Camas
Many rooms have been upgraded with new mattresses.
Camas
Luxury linens have been added to the Camas Hotel.

Camas, WA — Marilyn Boerke, who is currently employed as Director of Talent Development for Camas School District, is running for Camas City Council, Ward 1, Position 2. She is currently in a four-person primary race for this seat.

She answered several Lacamas Magazine questions about her campaign.

1) What are the top three reasons you’re running?

I’m running for City Council because I believe citizen voices are crucial to having a successful, healthy city environment. I have lent my leadership voice to many institutions, including our school district for the past 20 years (10 years as principal of Liberty Middle School), and as a regional, state, and national representative and board member of multiple organizations. As a community member, I have a strong commitment to service, and have served as a volunteer for the Camas Education Foundation, a partner in service with the Camas-Washougal Rotary, and have led Girl Scout troops for years, as well as served as a community sports coach. I’ve also served as a board member and officer for the Camas-Washougal Community Chest and currently serve on the Downtown Camas Association board of directors.

I’m running for City Council because I stand alongside planned, monitored, and measured growth as our population continues to grow rapidly. I believe in being part of the solution to challenges organizations face, and having raised my three children from birth to adulthood in Camas, appreciate the trials and tribulations growth can bring to a community. When I was considering entering the race for City Council, I began to research our history and strategic plans. This mission of our city resonates loudly with me: The City of Camas commits to preserving its heritage, sustaining and enhancing a high quality of life for all its citizens and developing the community to meet the challenges of the future. This mission is more poignant now than ever, as we face and embrace challenges together as a community.

Finally, I’m running for City Council because I was approached by many stakeholders to share my leadership and negotiation skills to our City. My experience, my citizenship, my service to our community, and my passion for our city to be successful financially and societally has been reflected back to me through the outreach from constituents, and I hope to serve them well and would do so with diligence and pride in our municipal government.

It’s all about service, I have a sphere of influence. I’ve lived here a long time. 

2) How does your professional work experience make you a good fit for City Council? 

I’m prepared to tackle challenges, and I embrace problem solving. Through energetic community and school service I’ve navigated our city’s growth. I’ve experienced our community’s path from unity and shared identity to recently being at odds. Broad leadership and educational experiences have honed my focus on respectful and productive conversation and a strong commitment to asking sometimes uncomfortable questions, which will benefit our town. As a life-long learner, educator, principal, and now as the Director of Talent Development of the Camas School District, I have over 30 years of experience navigating through and mediating unrest. I have been the chief negotiator for all labor contracts in our district, and we have sound agreements in place that were born through collaborative inquiry and interest-based bargaining. I have strong relationships with all of our labor groups, which I cultivate with care, because together we are educating our students and preparing them for life, whether in our town or wherever their strengths and desires take them.

3) Have you held elective office before? 

Yes, multiple times. I have always sought leadership roles in organizations with which I’m affiliated. I am a learner at heart, and I have learned the most effective way to overcome steep learning curves is through becoming involved at the institutional level, learning from those with more experience, and then leading the way for those who join us next. I am proud of my elected service, and hope to extend that service to the Camas City Council.

Elected offices in private organizations:

Association of Washington School Principals: Regional Leader, NASSP Liaison
Camas Washougal Community Chest: Vice President, President, Past President
National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP): Western USA (nine states) Lead Coordinator, National Board Member
Washington Association of Career and Technical Education (WA-ACTE): Guidance Team President
Washington School Personnel Association (WSPA): Regional Leader

4) What’s your vision of downtown Camas urban development and north shore over the next 5-10 years?

As a resident for more than three decades, I have enjoyed watching our downtown area become a gem of a gathering spot. I have been able to serve our community through the Downtown Camas Association as a board member and volunteer to participate in the careful orchestration of building a vibrant commercial core that is recognized statewide and beyond. I’ve participated in lobbying for Camas initiatives, and my vision for downtown includes the repurposing of waterfront property to provide recreation, dining, and play places. Being mindful of recruiting differing businesses to serve our community has been an important piece of that puzzle, and I’m proud of my service. My vision for downtown would be to continue to cultivate businesses that contribute to the economic stability of our city as well as bringing community members and families together regularly to enjoy, participate, and be a part of our community. To feel we all have a place we call home, that everyone is seen, heard, and celebrated.

The north shore question is excellent. I favor careful and measured growth that maintains the integrity and beauty of our lake and the surrounding area. Having development that is mindful of protected areas while providing our citizens quality recreation and living spaces, that is planned rather than reactionary, is my vision. I am ready for those tough conversations and decisions, and have passion and experience around negotiations that leave all parties feeling satisfied and heard. I feel my experience working with thousands of community members and family over the years, along with my active community service, will serve our city well.  

Vancouver, Wash. — A 2018 Camas High School graduate and her team are taking an east Vancouver car wash to a whole new level of service, quality and performance.

Flash Wash, adjacent to Sinclair gas station at 164th and Cascade Park Drive in Vancouver, is nearly a year old now, and Alexa McCallum, a proud Papermaker alumnus, is pretty excited about the work they’re doing.

“We’re building out Flash Wash, will start building out in Washington and Oregon, then California, then all over the country,” said McCallum, who runs the car wash. “It’s fun, it can be stressful at times. It is a career, and most people don’t know that. The money is there. The car wash industry is booming. A lot of people are building car washes and we don’t see it a lot on the west coast side. On the east coast they are very professional, very customer service oriented, and memberships are a huge thing. We’re following the east coast model and our customers love it!”

Flash Wash offers three washes, which can be purchased as monthly memberships with unlimited visits:

  1. Flash Wash ($29.99/month) is a premium wash with ceramics that add an extra coating on your vehicle along with a longer lasting shine and protection. The ceramics help bead off the rain.
  2. Bolt Wash ($23.99/month) comes with wax and clear coat protectant, which adds an extra protectant on your vehicle.
  3. Spark Wash ($14.99/month) is a basic service that cleans your vehicle without wax and wheel cleaning.

Flash Wash offers a special $5 memberships for the first month, which then goes into a recurring charge. 

“It’s a really good deal,” said McCallum. “And we want the public to know that a part of our tunnel recycles some of our car wash water. Most of our tunnel runs off fresh water but some of it is recycled water. And we feel like we offer the best car wash in the area.”

McCallum also emphasizes the importance of the ceramics at Flash Wash. Citing concerns about chemical staining from naturally acidic contaminants in the environment, she said the ceramics help reduce those contaminants from bonding to a vehicle’s paint.

“Ceramics are more durable, and they will produce a deeper gloss and shine than traditional wax,” McCallum added. “I also want people to know that Flash Wash is a great place to work, that we have a great team, and that Flash Wash wants to give back to the community. You can contact us via our website: https://flashwashcarwash.com/contact-us/

After graduation from CHS, McCallum ventured off to Southern California, but soon realized her heart was in the Pacific Northwest, and chose to return and help expand her family’s business.

“We have plans to build more Flash Wash’s here in the Pacific Northwest, and we continue to grow our memberships every day,” McCallum said. “I just thrive off what we do. I love my team and staff. I love waking up every day and coming here. I’m around positive people who have an outlook on business, as well.”

Hours: 8 am – 8 pm seven days a week.

Closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day only.

If you wish to apply to work at Flash Wash, click here: https://flashwashcarwash.com/careers-2/

The Clark County Health Department is now issuing weekly COVID-19 reports. The last update was issued Thursday, July 1. Here is the latest data:

  • 138 additional cases (confirmed and probable) since last update
  • 24,540 confirmed cases to date (+111 since last update)
  • 1,564 antigen probable cases to date (+27 since last update) 
  • 155 active cases (in isolation period)
  • 2.6% of hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 cases and persons under investigation for COVID-19 (awaiting test results)

Deaths

  • 288 total deaths to date (254 confirmed, 34 suspect)
  • 1 new confirmed death since last update: a woman 80+ years old with underlying health conditions

Rates

  • COVID-19 activity rate is 67.5 cases per 100,000 over 14 days (down from 95.4 cases per 100,000 last week)
  • COVID-19 new hospital admission rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people over 7 days (down from 2.2 per 100,000 last week)

Learn more at the Clark County COVID-19 data webpage: https://clark.wa.gov/public-health/covid-19-data 

CAMAS, Wash. – Camas City Council voted unanimously this week to approve the contract for Interim City Administrator Jeff Swanson.

Swanson will serve in the position until a new mayor is elected, and a search can be conducted for a new City Administrator. The position will replace current City Administrator Jamal Fox who will be leaving Camas effective today, July 9.

The approved contract will have Swanson working in a part-time capacity and he will be required to attend all City Council meetings.  The Contract will run from July 7 – Dec. 2022, if necessary.  According to the contract, Swanson will make $200 an hour and will have a 30-day notice of termination.

“I’m so excited to have someone with experience and expertise like Jeff, to come in and help keep the ship steady during this transition,” said Camas Mayor Pro Tem, Ellen Burton. “Jeff is highly regarded in Washington and has connections that will be beneficial to the city.  Additionally, this decision was fully supported by the City’s leadership team.”

Swanson was highly recommended and comes to the City of Camas with over 20 years of management experience, and currently serves as the Managing Director of EXIGY LLC.  As a consultant, he is currently providing services to other municipalities including the City of La Center.  In addition, Swanson is no stranger to being a city’s top official, having served as the City Manager of Battle Ground from 2016-2018.

Olympia, WA — Gov. Jay Inslee today declared a statewide state of emergency relating to the growing risk of wildfires, including a statewide prohibition on most outdoor and agricultural burning through September 30, 2021.

“Washington is facing a historic drought and we have already experienced record-breaking heat. We must be vigilant in our efforts to prevent wildfires, and the loss of life and destruction of land and property that comes with them,” Inslee said. “We don’t want a repeat of recent years with dangerous wildfires across the state that have destroyed towns, killed livestock and resulted in weeks of unhealthy air quality. I urge everyone to do their part to help protect our beautiful state and all our communities.”

“We have seen a record-breaking number of fires for this early in the summer,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “Extreme drought conditions leave communities across our state at risk as fire danger continues to climb. I’m asking everyone to do their part to and take precautions to prevent wildfires. Our firefighters on the frontlines depend on us to help keep them safe.”

Although this order includes some burn ban exceptions (for example, the use of gas-fueled stoves in some circumstances and also small, recreational campfires in contained structures on a person’s private property) nothing in the order supersedes more restrictive provisions by a lawful authority, like city or county governments. The proclamation also activates the Washington National Guard to assist in wildfire suppression efforts.