In recognition of her exceptional contributions in guiding and inspiring students, Margaret Rice of Washougal School District is one of two educators nationwide to earn the YouScience Innovative Educator Award this year. Rice serves as the Career & Technical Education (CTE) director at Washougal School District.

Rice inspires students to build job readiness skills in elementary, middle, and high school. She develops innovative programs that equip students with tools to be successful in the world of work, and champions new ideas to adjust to the evolving workforce.

“Margaret connects students with business and industry leaders, and she supports all of our students in developing the job readiness skills they need to succeed in the skilled trades, business, military, or college,” said Mary Templeton, Washougal School District Superintendent. “She is a phenomenal asset to our district, and we are so proud of her and the amazing work she leads.”

The YouScience Innovative Educator Award celebrates educators who have implemented innovative approaches to empower the next generation of professionals through academic and career exploration. Rice is recognized alongside Kathy Peres of Blue Valley Schools in Kansas. This honor celebrates their outstanding contributions in leading students towards successful career exploration and readiness for the ever-evolving professional landscape.  


About YouScience

YouScience® is the leading technology provider dedicated to solving the skills and exposure gap crisis for students and employers. Its end-to-end platform, YouScience® Brightpath, connects education with career applications designed to help students unlock their potential for future pathways. YouScience leverages proven research, artificial intelligence, and industry input to help individuals identify their aptitudes, validate their skills and knowledge, and get matched with real-world educational and career pathways in high-demand occupations. YouScience is the preferred choice of individuals, parents, educators, and counselors to guide and support educational and career pathways, currently serving more than 7,000 educational institutions and millions of users nationwide. To learn more about YouScience, please visit

About Washougal School District

Washougal School District is a public school district serving over 2,800 students in Washougal, Washington. Dedicated staff teams, supportive community and innovative job-readiness programs create an educational experience that prepares Washougal youth for success.

Camas Mayor Steve Hogan handily won re-election Tuesday night, and incumbents in Camas city government, as well as school board members had a good night.

Here are the results from the Clark County Elections Office, updated on November 8.


Randal Friedman1,32425.7%
Steven C. Hogan3,81173.99%


John Svilarich2,93158.33%
Stephen R. Dabasinskas2,07841.35%


John Nohr2,76255.03%
Gary Perman2,24844.79%


Ry Luikens1,86937.02%
Bonnie Carter3,16562.69%


Jennifer Senescu3,33093.88%


Connie Hennessey4,21597.25%


Bamini Pathmanathan3,99988.32%


Tracey Malone4,04490.31%


David Stuebe2,45088.83%
Gabriel Stone28710.41%


Tia Robertson1,90196.89%


David M. Fritz1,92297.56%


Michelle Wagner1,94997.89%


Molly L. Coston1,96797.71%


Ernie Suggs1,90697.44%


im Cooper2,13897.54%


Angela Hancock2,13997.45%


Ida Royer2,10397.86%

Bamini Pathmanathan is running for Camas School Board, District 4 position. She was appointed by the School Board earlier this year to fill the vacancy of Doug Quinn, who resigned to work as Camas City Administrator. She is running for a full four-year term. Pathmanathan answered several Lacamas Magazine questions, and here are her answers.

Why are you running for school board? 

Quality education is the cornerstone of a strong community, and why many of us chose Camas as the place we call home. I am a dedicated advocate for high-quality education and am passionate about our Camas community, as demonstrated by my work on the Camas School Board, the Camas Educational Foundation, the Prune Hill PTA, and the hours I have spent in my children’s classrooms. I am committed to supporting positive impacts for students in our schools, ensuring an exceptional learning environment and enhancing the experience for all students. 

A positive, outstanding, and quality educational experience teaches our students to enjoy learning and empowers them to achieve their goals. It is said that “it takes a village” to raise and educate our children. I understand, first hand, the importance of education, experience of caring teachers and a system that wants every child to succeed. Excitement and apprehension intertwined as I embarked on a new chapter in my life as a young immigrant child, starting in a fifth grade classroom filled with children speaking a language I could not comprehend. I came to this country knowing “Hello, my name is Bamini” and the entire alphabet with the letter “Z” pronounced as “zat.” I was assigned a classmate to be my “guide,” to be my voice. Both my sister and I were provided an educator over the summer and extra help with reading and writing to get us to grade level. We required more and they saw our needs. We were also children of immigrant parents, who were trying to navigate life in this foreign land and provide for their children. The system did not fail us because of the dedicated teachers and the kindness of the community. I have experienced the struggles and isolation that children should not have to experience. In our household, we uphold the value of contributing to the community. When the community gives to you, paying it forward is not just a choice but a heartfelt obligation. It was due to the support from the school and the community that led to our success. 

I understand the importance of a collaboration between the citizens of our community, the school board and district is integral to every student’s success. I believe in being a part of collaborative decision-making processes, with input from our community, our teachers, our students, and outside experts, as needed, to support a positive and successful direction for our district. I want to be a part of a team that helps every student find their success. 

What are your priorities, should voters elect you, over the next four years? 

Adequate funding for our schools is required to ensure quality education and to ensure all students are successful and have their needs met. The goal is to have a sustainable financial foundation that supports the diverse needs of all students and educators. School districts and board members need to advocate for sufficient and equitable funding, particularly at the state level, where over 80 percent of our funding comes from. Working with our legislators is vital to the Camas district’s financial stability and success. The state funding formula aims to ensure a basic standard of education for all districts; however, it is not enough to provide the level of support and teaching on which Camas prides itself and desires for its students in the future. Overall health, including social, emotional, and mental health, of each student will always remain a priority. 

The school board is ultimately responsible for approving budgets. Why do we keep running deficits, and how would you approach the budget should you be re-elected? 

The last few years have been a perfect storm – a worldwide pandemic, slower enrollment growth, and a state funding model change, which negatively affected the money we receive per student compared to previous years and was inadequate to support the structure of the existing Camas educational system. While the school board is responsible for approving the final budget, the school budget goes through various phases before it lands in the hands of the board. As assessments of educational needs and priorities of the district are evaluated, revenue projections are established using state and federal funding, local taxes, and other sources of revenue. Transparency and effective communication with stakeholders are also established to ensure that the budget reflects the priorities of the school community. As a member of the Camas School Board, I intend to continue to work cooperatively with the Camas community, Superintendent, and staff to find creative solutions and commit to advocating on behalf of the District with state legislators. I will continue this important work with the support of this community. 

Many voters blame the school board for the tone of the recent labor negotiations. They say you set a negative tone and drove a wedge between teachers and parents. How do you respond to that? 

Negotiations can take a toll on the community and can cause disharmony. Finding a balance that satisfies both parties, with consideration of their respective needs and concerns can be emotionally taxing. However, through this arduous process, neither of the bargaining teams lost focus on what matters most to all of us, the students. There were lessons learned from this experience by both parties, particularly around proper communication with the community and each other. The district and CEA bargaining teams are currently engaging in an after-action review process, and I support their goal of reflecting on what went right and wrong in order to learn from this experience. It’s this collaboration that will help us return to a negotiating process in two years that more resembles the tone of previous rounds of bargaining. I believe continuing to have open communication, addressing concerns proactively, and analyzing the impact are essential to mending broken relationships and trust. Our community and our kids are watching, and we have shown we can learn and grow as one unified school district. 

Regarding school safety, would you support more School Resource Officers in our schools? If not, what other things should we do to protect our students? 

Schools must be safe and feel safe for students and teachers to achieve their full potential. Promoting school safety and protecting Camas’ schools is a priority. School Resource Officers can help prevent school-based violence, possibly identify and connect at-risk students to needed services, and create safe, secure, and peaceful school environments. Continuing a strong relationship between the schools, its students, and our local law enforcement agency is important to the school safety system. 

How do you address the growing mental health issues affecting students? 

Acknowledging the fact that we have these important issues affecting our students is a great start. Promoting awareness about mental health issues to reduce the stigma will create a safe space for this student community. Providing access to counseling services at each school, training educators and staff to recognize signs of mental health issues, and encouraging empathy and understanding among educators are a few steps to addressing the issues affecting our student’s mental health. In order to provide these services, advocating for funding for school mental health providers/counselors at each school would be the ideal place to start. 

The school board pushes for equity across the school district. How does equity differ from equality? 

Equity recognizes that each child is unique in their own way and students have different needs that may require an individualized approach. Treating everyone exactly the same may produce different results. Equity acknowledges there are differences and therefore aims to ensure that everyone has access to what they need to be successful. 

Equality ensures that everyone has the same resources, and opportunities and assumes the “one size fits all” approach. 

What three things do you want to fix in the Camas School District? 

Funding is crucial to all aspects of school. We have amazing educators, support staff, and administration who can produce a top-tier educational experience for each student with the proper resources. Unfortunately, changes to the state funding model in 2018 caused Camas to experience declining state revenue that outpaced our expenses. Financial constraints can limit resources and opportunities for students and teachers. Therefore, advocating for changes to how Camas receives state funding, which accounts for 80 percent of our budget, would make an impactful difference in our student’s lives and experiences. Continuous advocacy efforts are required in this area of securing funds for our schools that align with our expectations for a fair and excellent public education. 

Continuity of care: It is important to continue to focus on seeing and serving each student, from the time they enter our schools to the day they graduate. We need to continue to look at how students and families access learning, resources, and experiences in our district and ensure that a student’s circumstances in life are not a hindrance to their level of success in our schools. Early detection of concerns, timely interventions, and coordinated management become more feasible when there’s continuity in the care of the student. This proactive approach to a student’s educational journey can lead to better outcomes and greater success. Consistent and connected care, attention, and support can profoundly impact every child’s experience and growth in our schools. It is vital to continue our efforts in seeing and serving our students. 

Recent negotiations have shown us the importance of relationships and how easily trust can be eroded. It has shown us all that open communication is key. It is important to listen to the community’s concerns and work collaboratively to rebuild our connections and trust. So improving on transparency and willingness to work out differences for the greater good of the students and teachers is paramount. 

What three things is CSD doing correctly? 

Creating a community within a community: Camas School District’s staff and teachers aim to foster a sense of community within each of our schools. Organized events such as the Track Meet for all 5th graders and Twilight Meet for all middle schoolers, are examples of bringing schools together. DECA and robotics programs, for example, invite and encourage parent and community involvement in learning opportunities for the students. These examples are just a few of the many opportunities for the schools to come together as one. 

Opportunities to learn: Investing in modern teaching tools and technology, finding innovative ways to teach, and providing extraordinary experiences for their students, are all part of the educational experience at CSD. Camas Education Foundation grants opportunities for all schools to further enhance the educational experiences for their students and teachers. There are different school options, various academic program pathways, and the number of clubs and strong athletic programs are all made available here at CSD. 

Community Involvement: Strong community involvement and support also add to the success of this school district. Camas School District can provide a robust educational experience for students with the help of community members, businesses, and parents’ engagement with the school. Connections create a strong bond with a strong foundation for learning and growing. 

What are CSD’s strengths? 

In 2008, we embarked on a cross-country move for a job in Vancouver, WA. With three young kids in the family, where we would reside was solely based on schools. Education in Camas was described as “quality” and “extraordinary.” Camas School District is well known for its excellence in education with possibilities for all students. A key component is the highly qualified and dedicated teachers who provide a positive, impactful learning environment to their students. A place that aims to provide students with a well-rounded education. CSD has a successful system; a system that is intricately woven into the dedication, expertise, and collaborative spirit of its people. It is the collective efforts, skills, and commitment of these individuals that breathe life into the school’s functionality and overall effectiveness. 

Tracey Malone joined the Camas School Board in 2017, and is seeking re-election this November in District 5. Lacamas Magazine asked her, along with the other incumbent school board members, several questions. Here are her answers.

Why are you running for school board?

I was born and raised in Camas and graduated from Camas High School along with my two sisters. My parents chose Camas for the schools, and I have chosen the same for my family. My daughter graduated from CHS in 2022 and my son is currently a Junior at CHS. I purposely chose to live here and have my own children attend Camas Schools to receive the same outstanding education that I did. I deeply care about Camas, the Camas School District and the education provided to all of our students. I am a champion for programs that prepare our graduates for whatever path they chose after high school.

What are your priorities, should voters elect you, over the next four years?

  • Financial stability 
  • State and local advocacy
  • Student well-being and mental health 

The School Board is ultimately responsible for approving budgets.  Why do we keep running deficits, and how would you approach the budget should you be re-elected?

With my background as a business owner, and positions on other boards including a local credit union, I am deep into the work of budgets and understanding complex funding models. Our current funding model is not sustainable, and we know we can’t keep running a deficit. We have been losing a portion of our regionalization funding from the State each year, while expenses and cost of living keep going up.  We have a plan to bring our expenditures and revenues in line and are committed to doing so. One of the many things that affect our funding is enrollment.  Although our enrollment has been increasing almost back to pre-pandemic numbers, birth rates in our area are projected to remain low. Top that off with the high cost of housing in our area making it not ideal for young families to move to our district.  We must maintain a balanced budget, without compromising student experiences, while being fiscally responsible with taxpayer money. 

Many voters blame the school board for the tone of the recent labor negotiations.  They say you set a negative tone and drove a wedge between teachers and parents.  How do you respond to that?

The district administration, teachers, and board share the same values and are committed to the same goal: putting students first. Neither side lost sight of that.  We learned many things from the recent negotiations, including the need to set some agreed upon guidelines as far as what and how we all are communicating with the community about what is being negotiated. The district and the bargaining groups have already planned meetings to help repair and build better relationships so that moving forward, we can work together on common ground.  Our next labor negotiations are only two years away, but the work to get there starts now.

Regarding school safety, would you support more School Resource Officers in our schools?  If not, what other things should we do to protect students?

School Safety is a top priority for the district, including our two SRO’s. When we were talking budget cuts last year, I heard loud and clear from many community members the importance of our SRO’s and the need to keep them in our schools.  Camas is unique in our relationship we have with the City of Camas.  They have stepped up to help ensure we were able to keep both of our SRO’s, understanding the value they bring to our students, staff, and community. SRO’s are certainly an important piece to school safety alongside the many other programs and efforts we currently have in place. One of those is a program called Zero Eyes, which is gun detection software.  We are the first district in our area to implement this software.  Recently Dr Anzalone shared this with other superintendents and districts in our area and we now have the attention of ESD, who is working on funding and grants to help all schools in our region have access to this type of security measure.  

How do you address the growing mental health issues affecting students?

Students across the state are experiencing increased social-emotional and mental health challenges.  We know that when students have their mental health and basic needs met, they are better equipped to grow and learn.  We must budget our resources and have adequate school counselors and psychologists to provide the mental health supports our students needs. 

The school board pushes for equity across the school district.  How does equity differ from equality?

Equality means providing the same to all.

Equity means recognizing that we all do not start from the same place and must acknowledge and make adjustments so that all students have what they need to succeed.

What three things do you want to fix in the Camas School District?

Because it is so important to all aspects of our district and affects all areas of our students education experience – State funding needs advocacy and fixing.  Camas was a winner in the pre-McCleary funding model.  The new prototypical school funding model has created many challenges for us and the supports and academic programs our community is used to having. In addition, the state caps the amount school districts can levy. One of the things we have done recently is create a Legislative Advocacy Committee made up of community members, staff and board members that will work alongside us as we continue to advocate for a funding model that works for Camas students.

What three things is CSD doing correctly?

Our students continue to test well above average compared to the Washington State average and are among the highest in our region.  

Attracting and retaining teachers and staff.  We are a destination district for employment, and our staff often stay with us for most of their career, which is a benefit to our students.

We work hard to provide ample opportunities and varying committees for our citizens and community members to actively engage in and participate in student experiences.   

What are CSD’s strengths?

Camas students, families and community are our biggest strengths.  We are a destination not only for our schools but for our community. We have robust education programs, athletics, music, arts, robotics, multiple clubs and three choice high schools for our students.  Our state test scores continue to be well ahead of the State averages as well as above our other local districts.  I attribute that directly to our teachers, staff, and systems we have in place.

To learn more, visit

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

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is hosting an interfaith event this Saturday, October 28 as part of National Make a Difference Day. Event organizers are seeking volunteers between 2-5 pm this Saturday (any amount of time is appreciated). 

Their goal is to complete the following projects:

  • Sorting 32,000 pounds of hygiene commodities for families in the Evergreen School District (an entire semi-truck load)
  • Tying 75 fleece blankets for Project Linus providing blankets for children seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need.
  • 3,000 meal kits that will each feed a family of 6.
  • 500 Valentine’s Cards to bring love to those in assisted living.
  • 1,000 family gathering and educational kits and school support projects for schools in our community.
  • Collect unwrapped toys for the Camas/Washougal Salvation Army.

All projects will directly benefit our local community including;  Evergreen, Camas and Washougal Schools, Clark County Food Bank, Camas/Washougal Salvation Army, Camas/Washougal Interfaith Treasure House, Project Linus, and Local Senior Living Centers.

The event is for women 18+.

Easy project directions, materials and refreshments will be provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Please review the available slots below and click on the button to sign up. 

Sign up here:!/showSignUp/10C0A49ABAB2CA1FF2-interfaith

Saturday, October 28, 2023  2 pm – 5 pm

East Vancouver Stake Center   

18214 NE 18th St. Vancouver WA

If you have any questions please contact:

Caryn Dewey 360.909.3745, Amanda Houston 360.624.4168, or Laurie Kinsey 360.433.7847

Camas City Council member Bonnie Carter, Ward 2 Position 1, was appointed to council in 2015, and was elected to a full term in 2019. She is now running for re-election, and explains what she has learned and why voters should retain her. Lacamas Magazine asked her several questions, and here are her answers.

What are your campaign priorities?

First, clean water for Lacamas Lake, and improving its overall health, specifically in areas we can affect. In November 2019, I suggested we use Fallen Leaf Lake as a pilot project to see if it would clean up the bigger lakes. Steve Hogan decided to lead that effort. Then we had COVID, and now we have tools and items to start treating the lakes. We have some things to reduce algae blooms in Lacamas Lake. 

Second, we are alsoo dealing with PFAS in Camas water well 13, and when it’s above the recommendation we take it offline and then we work on it. It has detectable levels of PFAS, and we were told by Ecology to notify people that it’s not safe. It’s offline and we’re looking at options to remove the PFAS so we can use it again. Well 13 goes into a collective with all the other wells. We are looking at options on how we can remove the PFAS. We have to hire an expert who specliazes in this clean up so they can monitor this. We do test all the wells. We should also be looking at other entry points into the system.

Third, public safety. Coming up soon we will need to take fire issues to citizens and talking to them about a replacement fire station headquarters as the current one does not meet code. If there’s an earthquake it might be the one to fall down first. It means a capital bond to build a new HQ, and we are looking at sites and how it will work for the community. We have about a year to educate the public on this issue.

We also need to address the agreement with Washougal with the governance of the fire department, and we will launch an RFA Exploration Committee to determine what governance looks like so it doesn’t compete with library or police. It will be funded on a separate tax. That is another year-long education process.

It would be great if we could just finance everything with existing funds, but the reality is we’re having a hard time keeping up with inflation, as 85 percent of City of Camas expenses are salaries. A public entity is forever in the service business. Garbage pickup services, clean water, good roads, public safety, etc. 

We’re not flush in cash. We also have a lot of expenses, and the state issues a lot of unfunded mandates. 


I still see Camas being an amazing, charming little city it always has been. Enjoying our parks and doing events that bring people together. I see them drawing in families. 

What has surprised you the most being on Council?

Government is slow. Everything has to be a public process and that takes time. We only meet twice a month as a council. We don’t have a huge staff. We have to wait for staff to take the time to do all that. It’s frustrating. An easy fix takes a long time. 

We went fast in 2019 with the pool bond. We set the vote before we had all the information from city staff, and we didn’t have enough time.  Former Camas Mayor Shannon Turk paid the price. All the hate mail, the threats. You can disagree but do you have to be vicious? We all live here together. We’re on the same team. 

We moved here before downtown Camas was fixed. We moved here for the schools, the parks and the location. To be near the airport. Look how our community improved downtown. It took time to do that. But the results are amazing.

Pool bond debacle: what happened?

In retrospect, staff came to us and told us the health department wouldn’t reopen the Crown Park pool and that leaving it as is in Crown Park it was a liability. So we opened up ourselves to kids jumping over the fence. Staff should have come and said let’s come up with a replacement, and we should have done that. We didn’t.

We heard what staff said about the pool, it was beyond its life expectancy and everyone was angry. They told us to leave the park alone. We were told to get away from the park so we left it quiet for a couple of years, and then we went back and did more planning for Crown Park.

The old Crown Park pool wasn’t inclusive. It wasn’t ADA compliant. There were a lot of concerns.

We could have done it differently. We should have had a replacement pool plan in place before we tore it down. We regret that.

Understanding the public process

It’s a tricky process. People want things done quickly, but sometimes I think they’re missing information. People are busy. They don’t want to take the time to understand the public process. To clarify, we have to apply for grants to make all the improvements we want. We plan for 20 years out and update that every 10 years. We make plans to be able to adapt. We wait often for grant money from the state and the feds. The city isn’t flush in cash.

Council members have to learn how these things happen so we can be the voice for the people. We are elected to make budget priorities for the people, because we’re one of the people.

I want to run again because I know the process. Ramp up is hard. It’s never gonna be a good time to leave. When you see all the steps and you have this opportunity to make a vision change. You want to see things come through. That’s what is important to us. Not running again you worry if someone else will have the passion for a project to see it through. A change in council can change how staff does their work.

We are here for streets, clean water, keeping the lights on, public safety, roads, The fun stuff is trails, a new pool, splash pad, those are the fun parts, and we live in a great town.

To learn more about Carter, visit

Educator Leanne Williams is running as a write-in candidate for Camas School Board, District 5 position against incumbent Tracey Malone. Lacamas Magazine asked Williams several questions aobut her candidacy. 

Williams has a Masters degree in Education, and taught Kindergarten at Mt. Pleasant and in the Evergreen School District. She is married to Camas High School history teacher, Bronk Williams, and has two teenage Camas students. 

Why are you running?

First let me say, I appreciate everyone who serves on our School Board. It is a voluntary position and I value civic minded people. I am running because I feel that I can make a difference as a School Board Director. I was very dissatisfied with the strike. I feel the district created a contentious tone during the bargaining and strike. I found it to be very negative. I am concerned about disturbances in our small town school community that feel negative and new. We are packing our classrooms with students and offering less in support and services to our students and teachers. Finally, I am capable and I am willing to serve our community.

We need to do a better job of addressing mental health issues in our students, which correlates to school safety. Camas High School is a great place if you run the line, but if you have anything divert you, if you need extra support, it’s a hard place to be. The surroudning support services are severely lacking now.

If elected, what are your priorities?

  • Help build an optimal educational experience for our students.
  • A system that better addresses and supports mental health issues that affect our students.
  • Analyze budgets and reserves.
  • Work to help improve our funding from the state.
  • Value conference period and creative supports for students.
  • Model an ability to disagree or negotiate with an opposing side with respect and professionalism.

Is the public system broken? 

No, but we have been degrading our educational experience, I believe for multiple reasons. COVID and budget constraints from the state have created a situation where we have defaulted to a less than adequate educational experience. I believe working together to navigate these rough waters is essential for our district. Modeling problem solving, collaboration, asking for help and respect for all, even in tough times, teaches our students many lessons. We are trying to prepare them for life after school as well as educate them in core content.

What are we doing right?  

  • We have hired quality teachers and staff, many club, port and extra curricular activities.
  • Asked for parent or staff perspectives through Thought exchanges. 
  • Parent Square communication is good, for the most part.
  • Legislative committee and good listening opportunities. 

Are parents paying enough attention?

I believe most parents are trying to pay attention to what is happening with their students, teachers and the district, which is why many were unhappy with the strike and the tone set by the district. 

How does a write-in candidate succeed?

When enough families and voters in our community send a message, on November 7th, that they want change. We need board members with a student focused agenda, strong problem solving skills, and an ability to differ or negotiate with opposing sides with respect and transparency. I agree with George McCoy that having three unopposed school board positions is not great for our democracy and can make our directors complacent. We, the voters, can make change. Voting is a positive and productive way for our community to signal to the Camas School District that we need change on the school board.

I’ve knocked 500 doors so far, and put up 100 signs. And, we’re putting up two big banners. We have people out there helping out. I do have close friends helping me. 

You may learn more at

Local attorney, George McCoy, is running as a write-in candidate for Camas School Board, District 4 position against Bamini Pathmanathan, who was appointed to the position earlier this year when Doug Quinn stepped down to serve as Camas City Administrator. Lacamas Magazine asked McCoy several questions about his candidacy. 

Why are you running?

I decided to run for school board because of the way the school board handled the recent labor stoppage. The messaging from the board and our Camas School District Superintendent put a wedge between teachers and the community. I don’t think they are transparent in the way they handled the process. I think they could do better.

There was a number of emails sent to parents and the community after the strike were sent to all of our students, as well. 

They sent an email about their last final offer and that wasn’t true. They sent emails about union representatives not meeting in a timely manner.  All of those communications were very divisive in their nature, and it never really felt like the School Board and Superintendent valued the community. They didn’t understand the value of teachers in our community. So many teachers and parents felt this way during the entire process.

I think the current Superintendent is trying to run the district more like a business than a school district. We should treat teachers like people. Now, we have this irreperable rift between teachers and parents. The danger is the lack of trust between parents and the school district and it’s created a lack of trust between voters and the teachers. 

I also feel we’ve gotten a little complacent in Camas about our School Board. We’ve had great schools for a long time, and we have three school board members running unopposed, and that’s not healthy for democracy. Nobody on the school board seems to be comfortable with conflict; they don’t engage in debate. They’ve been given budgets that don’t make sense, so they need to question what’s in them. They don’t do that.

If elected, what are your priorities?

Transparency to the public. Transparency in communications is so vital; it’s about respecting hard-earned tax dollars. If we have contested labor negotiations we need to start those early. There’s no reason why the teachers should have been forced to go on strike. 

We also need to keep all the current high schools open. The alternatives for the community work for them because we have a very diverse community.  There are kids that live very different lives with very different needs. Having Odyssey, Discovery and Hayes gives them the opportunity to learn and thrive.

I think we do need a baseline of equity where everyone has the opportunity to learn and thrive. We need the alternatives and options for those who are highly capable. We’ve seen an erosion of that in Camas schools. 

Class size has to be prioritized. You can’t give attention to the kids when there are so many kids in a classroom. We need to ensure we are able to set up a a diverse curriculum. We are able to do both of those things if we have 1:1 time. I think the adjustments with McCleary have been difficult for Camas and we can’t use levy money for that. On the flip size, we aren’t pushing back on the state. We need to prioritize that. Just accepting that isn’t the right answer, either. The state has too many unfunded mandates and we need to push back on that, and fight for what’s right. We have to fund PE and special education. 

We are in this perpetual situation, and this is not good enough.

Is the public school system broken?

I think the best education is in a public education setting. I don’t think it’s an optimal situation right now, but I think it’s better than the alternatives out there. I think it’s better than a home school setting. I think the social interactions in school are important. 

I think learning from folks with different perspectives is important. Not everything in our schools is academic. One of them in the social-emotional piece. 

I have four kids in this system ages 13, 10, 8, and 6. I want them to thrive. I want all the kids to thrive, but our system needs a significant overhaul. 

I think one thing to fix is uniformed communication between parents and teachers. The communication level you get varies depending on the teacher. I get some communication weekly, some monthly, some never. Maybe once a week we could budget time for teachers to communicate more. It’s helpful for parents to know what their kids are doing.

Ms. Swan is great at communicating. That’s something we could improve upon. Let’s give them an extra 20 minutes a week. 

Second thing: We have to lean into different opportunities available for our children. We can’t talk about removing programs and schools. Students that might be struggling need programs and opportunities to lift them up.

What are we doing right?

We have hired incredible teachers over the years. We have great teachers. I think we’ve had a good job getting folks in the classroom that really care about students and the community.

I think we have great athletic programs. Not speaking to our Superintendent but others have done a good job promoting these programs. 

Pinpointing the wrong turn in our district is difficult. I think complacency has built up over time. It’s been a bunch of small things over the years that have taken us in the wrong direction. Like the frog in a pot of boiling water. 

Are parents paying enough attention?

They are paying attention to the information given them. 

How does a write-in candidate succeed?

I think people are fed up, and we’re getting the message out. I’m reaching out to people on Facebook. I put up campaign signs. We are walking neighborhoods. I have a small group getting the word out. We are trying to do everything we can in a short window to win this campaign. We need people showing up at school board meetings and talk about what they’re doing wrong. 

Camas, WA — Friends and family are paying tribute to Marquita Call, longtime Camas Gallery owner, resident, and friend to many, who passed away in late August, at two Saturday events.

Call, known for her infectious smile, listening ear, honest advice, and love of family and friends will be honored Saturday, October 7 at a 2 pm memorial at Journey Church in downtown Camas. The public is also invited to a celebration afterwards at Shangri-La Farm in Fern Prairie (details below).

Call was born on April 23, 1943, in Vancouver, WA to Art and Lenora Gaiani (Bennett). She graduated from Camas High School in 1962, and forever be a Papermaker. She frequently spoke of her love for Camas, and never hesitated to share that love to anyone who entered the gallery. Family and friends often referred to the talk as the “Camas Wellness Talk.”

“Camas has a sense of wellness,” she always said. “People here care for each other, and support one another. My heart will always be here. I will forever be a Papermaker.”

And, she loved to sing the Camas High School Fight song.

Call owned the Camas Gallery for the past 14 years. She welcomed visitors to her gallery, located on 4th Avenue, with warmth and enthusiasm and freely shared her historical knowledge of Camas. One visitor claimed Marquita is to Camas what Dolly Parton is to Pigeon Forge, TN.

Call’s first job was at the Ideal Corner Cafe at the age of 15. She also worked at Dairy Queen with classmate Denis Hayes, the International Chairman of Earth Day. She and her friends started the first recycling center in Camas in the late 60s. She taught Sunday School at Zion Lutheran Church for 20 years, where her mother Lenora Gaiani served as superintendent. Her dad, Art Gaiani, built more than 50 homes in Camas. Her grandmother Marie Eymer played piano at the Liberty Theatre when it opened in 1927.

This reporter will always hold a special place in his heart for the great friend that Marquita is. Although she has left mortality, she is not gone, but simply ahead in the journey. She taught people to be strong, resilient, and brave. She was honest and forthright, and I loved giving her the scoop on breaking stories. We will miss her greatly.

She is survived in death by her husband of 28 years, Dennis, her two children, Tom Johnston (Tracy), Jennifer Senescu (Jim), 2 stepchildren Darren Call (Tekla), Denise Hibbard (Joe), sister MelodyGood, and brother Art Gaiani (Karen), and several grandchildren.

Immediately following Call’s service at Journey Church, guests are invited to Shangri-La Farm to celebrate her life. Park at rented Grove Field Airport parking lot in Fern Prairie, 632 NE 267th Ave., Camas, WA. Walk or take a ride on the Sunflower Mobile on a short trail through the woods to Shangri-La.