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The Daily Journal of Commerce has announced its Women of Vision award winners for 2020, and McKean Smith’s co-owning attorney Annelisa Smith has made the list. The awards honor women who strive to shape the communities of Oregon and Southwest Washington through their leadership, mentoring efforts, community involvement, and promotion of industry diversity.

Smith’s efforts extend beyond her own practice with comprehensive, hands-on attorney mentoring to attorneys both in her own firm and also in the broader Oregon legal community. She serves on the board of several legal committees, including acting President of the Oregon Academy of Family Law Practitioners, Chair-Elect of the OSB Family Law Section and she previously served on the Family Court Enhancement Project Committee and acted as conference chair for the annual OSB Family Law Conference.

These organizations and activities all strive to improve the quality of legal representation and professionalism in Oregon. With her background as a juvenile public defender representing parents and children in child abuse and neglect cases, Smith also serves the community by participating as a Director on non-profit boards like Allies In Change and as one of the founding directors of BRAVO Youth Orchestras.

Smith’s firm also has an office in Washington at the Vancouver’s Waterfront.

To learn more, visit www.mckeansmithlaw.com

Washougal, WA — The second annual Camas Washougal Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament, held at Orchard Hills in Washougal in early September was the first major event the organization has had this year — due to COVID-19 restrictions — and it was a social and commercial success.

“Sponsorship support was very generous as local businesses know that not having Camas Days, due to COVID-19 restrictions, was a major financial hit to the Chamber,” said Jennifer Senescu, the CW Chamber’s Executive Director. “We had 26 sponsorships in total to support the event, and it was such a gorgeous September day.”

Affordable Exterior Solutions was the title sponsor.

Eighty-four players comprising 21 teams participated were unable to have a shotgun start, but were able to have individual tee times.

The event netted $13,000, which is $3,000 less than last year, but given virus restrictions, Senescu feels this was a success.

“I was on the True Insurance team,” Hung Tran, a CW Chamber Board member, player and sponsor. “It was great that everyone got together to be able to help the chamber out in a pandemic.”

Senescu said there were games on the course at sponsored holes, putting contests, straight drives, and two KPs. Boxed lunches were served with tasty black and blue burgers.

“We know so many businesses have been hit hard this year,” said Senescu. “We continue to work with companies to network and find solutions as we navigate the pandemic. We do see many hopeful signs.”

To learn more about the Chamber, visit www.cwchamber.com

Chamber
www.lilyatelier.com
Chamber
Golf fun.

Adventure Dental lands double title in 2020 Best of Clark County. Despite COVID closures, Adventure Dental was announced last month as both the best dental office and runner up for the best orthodontics office of 2020. 

Every year The Columbian nominates businesses in various categories as “The Best of Clark County.” The nominees are voted for by friends, family, and residents of Clark County. All winners can be found on bestofclarkcounty.com

This island adventure-themed pediatric dental office is located in Salmon Creek in the Vancouver, WA area and creates a fun and carefree experience for both kids, teens and adults needing orthodontics. Doctors Todd, Neil, Justin, and Wolfgramm are big kids themselves whose goal is to help each and every patient feel happy and comfortable while at their office. 

The office is thrilled to be welcoming patients back after COVID closures earlier this year. Safety precautions are in full effect but the energy at Adventure Dental remains the same. Here are a few comments some recent patients have left;

“Our first visit to Adventure Dental was during covid. Still a fabulous experience for my three and five year old” – Jenny K

Greta Laurine also leaves a five star Google review saying, “Great experience during this crazy COVID time. Took extra precautions with safety: mask wearing, temperature checks, individual waiting area and dividers separating client rooms. Kids enjoyed the fun atmosphere and warm personalities of the hygienists and dentist.”

Dr. Justin Heaton of Adventure Dental said: “We are extremely excited and humbled to be awarded Best Dental Office in Clark County! We are committed to serving those in our community and to providing the best dental care possible to each and every patient.”

Up to $10,000 is available for businesses with 10 to 20 employees to support COVID-related response and recovery

VANCOUVER, WA – The Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) is accepting applications for the Clark County Main Street Support Program (CCMSSP), which will provide new emergency grants of up to $10,000 each for businesses with 10 to 20 employees in Clark County. Grant money can be used to reimburse rent expenses related to the impact from COVID-19.

A pool of approximately $432,000 is available only to businesses in Clark County until funds are exhausted. Applications will be accepted through end of day on September 12, 2020To learn more and apply, visit credc.org/ccmssp.

Funding for the program is from the state’s Working Washington Small Business program and federal Coronavirus Assistance, Recovery and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to help with COVID-19 response and recovery efforts across Washington State.

“As CREDC continues to support businesses through COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, we are pleased to be able to bring a second round of emergency grants to Clark County,” said CREDC President Jennifer Baker. “Our focus on rent support is responsive to feedback we received from businesses hit particularly hard by the pandemic.”

CREDC and other local economic development organizations statewide partnered with the Washington State Department of Commerce to make a new tranche of $10 million in Working Washington Small Business Emergency grants available. As the state-designated Associate Development Organization for Clark County, CREDC is running point on the applications and administration of the new funds locally as other ADO’s that serve all 39 counties are doing within their municipalities. The Washington State Department of Commerce is not accepting or reviewing applications.

“The length and depth of the pandemic have hit small, main street businesses hard,” said Washington State Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “In particular, restaurants, hotels and other service industries have not seen the expected number of customers. Small businesses need these resources to stay open as we respond to the public health crisis and help get people back to work.”

CREDC will contact grant finalists the week of September 28, 2020.

About CREDC
Since 1982, the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) has served as Clark County’s leading economic development organization, connecting companies to the resources they need to expand or locate in the region. As a private-public partnership, we leverage the expertise and collaboration of over 140 investors and strategic partners to advance the economic vitality of Clark County while maintaining our exceptional quality of life. www.credc.org

This past month, Washington state revenue collections came in $260 million higher than the June forecast, according to a Economic and Revenue Forecast Council report.  The higher collections are not due to deferred payments being paid back (as those came in on target), but show greater economic activity, primarily in retail trade.  

A key part of the economic report says:

Non-retail trade payments were down about 20%, similar to the forecasted decline in total collections for the period. During May, a majority of counties reached Phase 2 of the state’s pandemic reopening plan, which allowed non-essential retail establishments to open on a limited basis. In June, most of the remaining counties reached Phase 2 and several reached Phase 3, so next month’s retail trade activity could also be higher than forecasted. It remains to be seen, however, if the higher activity is sustainable or if it represents a one-time response to several months of pent-up demand.   

  • U.S. employment increased by 4.8 million jobs in June; the unemployment rate declined to 11.1%.
  • Light vehicle sales improved for a second straight month but remain 24.1% below June 2019 levels.
  • Housing units authorized by building permits and housing starts both increased in May but were below May 2019 levels.
  • Washington employment continued to recover in June following the historic decline in April.
  • Washington manufacturing activity improved in June for the first time since February.
  • Major General Fund-State (GF-S) revenue collections for the June 11 – July 10, 2020 collection period came in $260.7 million (14.8%) higher than the June forecast.
  • Revenue Act tax collections were $247.0 million (19.7%) higher than forecasted and other tracked revenue came in $13.6 million (2.7%) higher than forecasted.
  • Most of this month’s surplus was from higher-than-expected taxable economic activity in retail trade, the result of the allowed May opening of non-essential retail establishments in a majority of counties. While increased June openings may bring another month of stronger-than-expected activity, it remains to be seen if the activity is sustainable or merely a temporary release of pent-up demand.

“I see people in our district working hard everyday to bring their businesses back to pre-COVID-19 levels, and this report shows the results of so many efforts,” said Senator Ann Rivers, 18th Legislative District. “I support them, and we need to keep a balance in our state as we continue to recover from the effects of this pandemic.”

Employment Outlook

The council has just one month of new Washington employment data since the June forecast was released. The report says employment continued to recover in June following the historic decline in April. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose 86,500 (seasonally adjusted) in June, which was 34,600 more than expected in the June forecast. Private services-providing sectors added 74,600 jobs in June. Construction employment increased by 10,100 jobs and manufacturing added 1,700 jobs despite the loss of 3,000 aerospace jobs. Government payrolls were unchanged in June. Washington’s unemployment rate declined to 9.8% in June from 15.1% in May and 16.3% in April. The April rate was an all-time high in the series that dates back to 1976.

Tax Payments

The report also says total tax payments as of July 2 from electronic filers who also filed returns for May activity in the June 11 – July 10, 2019 period were down 9.0% year over year (payments are mainly Revenue Act taxes but include some non-Revenue Act taxes as well). Last month payments were down 14.4% year over year. Some details of the payments:

  • Total payments in the retail trade sector increased 6.3% year over year. Last month, payments were down 7.1% year over year.
  • Payments from the motor vehicles and parts sector were down 4.1% year over year. Last month, payments in the sector dropped 54.3% year over year.
  • Retail trade sectors showing strong year-over- year growth were miscellaneous retailers (+77.8%), electronics and appliances (+32.2%), nonstore retailers (+28.9%) and building materials and garden supplies (+12.4%).
Economic
www.electlarryhoff.com

Everyone has had to adjust to life during the COVID-19 pandemic. For some it’s been incredibly challenging, and for others it hasn’t, but everyone’s had to make changes.

Meet Dave Sobolik, a local real estate investor with Homevisor (website: www.homevisor.pro) whose work life was turned upside down when Governor Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order went into effect in March. The order halted all residential construction, and limited how real estate brokers conduct business.

“In Washington, we can show houses, but we have to call a few hours in advance, because they don’t want people crossing paths,” he said. “I can show clients of a party of two, but one at a time. I can take one through the property practicing social distancing. There are notes saying ‘don’t touch anything, leave shoes at doorways, wear masks,’ etc.”

And, like so many others, Sobolik just stayed home during the quarantine.

“A big part of my time was spent connecting with people in my sphere to check in and see how everyone is doing,” Sobolik said. “I like to do whatever I can to help with their needs. I have offered to do grocery shopping for people. Anybody who needs something I pair them up. I did a lot of research for clients.”

Creatively, as a small business owner, he worried about tenants who weren’t able to pay rent so he reached out to local business owners and community members to record their experiences. It became a fascinating video series — available on his personal Facebook page.

“I call it the SOB Experience. I don’t want to offend anybody I just want to draw attention to what they’re doing. I’m doing 5-15 interviews with each of these people. I released an interview with Jeff Snell, Superintendent of Camas Schools. And, the whole purpose was to get behind the scenes. I’ve interviewed local fitness instructors and therapists. There are many people being creative on how to keep their doors opens. I hope to create awareness.”

The experience, and temporary change of pace, taught Sobolik a lot.

“I’ve learned lots of things,” he said. “Namely, the strength of the human spirit. I’ve had 175 people that I reached out to over three to four weeks.”

And, he found that people are in three buckets:

  1. People who are financially secure that are enjoying their home time, and enjoying this increased focus on family time.
  2. People with short-term income loss, or permanent income loss, who are determined to use this time to improve themselves and are very positive thinking. 
  3. People who lost their job who have no savings and don’t know what to do next, and are in a fear and retreat space. 

“Technology helps us cope,” said Sobolik. “Thank goodness for that. We have to help people, lift them up. Let me know we care.”

Sobolik
www.vixoncabinets.com

What came about as an idea to expand their business, Arktana is bringing product to the people— quarantine style.

“We’ve worked through this pandemic as best we can but we needed to do something different before we get to Phase 2,” said Ann Matthews, owner of Arktana.

So, what is it?

The party requires an enthusiastic leader who lets Arktana deliver their products to their driveway or backyard.

Once the store’s live event begins, these quarantine pods can touch and feel product while team Arktana livestreams the event at their store.

“It gives our customers the opportunity to touch and feel product during the live feed and order on the spot through the website: www.arktana.com and if the item happens to be on the rack at that time they can take it home.”

It’s an idea that is starting off with a bang. The next watch party is scheduled for Friday at 5:30.

Tune in a their Facebook page to watch!

If you’d like to host your own watch party, contact Ann at [email protected]

Notably we are in uncharted times — and economically speaking — very uncertain times. Statistically, the housing market in February 2020 over last year was even, however, sales will be noticeably be down during the months of April and May, which is due to the government-imposed lockdown, and not the normal economic cycle. With the economy shut down we will get negative figures on some of the activity.

Local home prices have still been rising — the economy was very strong before the COVID-19 — and unemployment has spiked, but this is temporary. Once everything is open again, you will see most businesses back at full speed and see people going back to work therefore unemployment will drop and people will get back to work.

The bigger hit like the cruise lines and the airlines will be the hardest and slowest to recover from this pandemic. People fear we are going to have a housing market crash again, and it is very easy to presume, however, when you look at the2008 situation it was completely different then.

WHY?

Well, the facts are:

  • The mortgage industry structure of loans is now completely different, and housing lenders are not giving the subprime loans to anyone anymore. There are strict lending guidelines in place to prevent this.
  • This time people must really qualify now to get a loan.
  • Homebuilders overbuilt back then, too, and now there is an industry shortage of homes. In fact, there has been a shortage for some time for both new homes and resale.
  • During the pandemic, residential construction was halted, and fewer homes were listed, which has created even more of a shortage. We do not expect the mortgage interest rates to blow up, either.
  • The Federal Reserve went all in back in 2008/09, and it took them eight months to reduce the rate.
  • This time they went in all at once and they reduced the rates altogether.
  • Homeowners are sitting on wealth. There has been a great appreciation for homeowners over the last three years. Even if there is a five percent price correction in the housing market, most homeowners will absorb that. If there is a decline it will be very temporary, even as we are in an inventory shortage this is still healthy for homeowners.
  • Buyers and sellers are sitting waiting for the economy to be opened once that happens I see a surge in listing inventory and buyers will be back out shopping for a home, then it will even back out in the following months to a steady strong Clark County real estate housing market.
  • Even though home prices have risen, the interest rates are historically low, so still affordable for buyers.
  • Buyers will continue to move to affordability, benefiting mid-sized markets.

We came into this in a strong market and I believe there is great cause for optimism coming out. I hope this gives you an insight on the real estate market. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me anytime or visit www.clarkcountyrelocations.com

Written by Louise James

Housing
Louise James shows the new way finder signs in downtown Camas.

CAMAS, WA – Today, the City of Camas announced that after a two-week construction stoppage, it will proceed with the Lake-Everett Roundabout and four other essential public projects: improvements to Brady Road, construction of the 18th Avenue Reservoir, construction of the Lacamas Creek Pump Station and improvements at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. All are authorized under Governor Inslee’s original March 23, 2020, Stay Home, Stay Healthy proclamation.

All contractors, consultants and City employees are required to follow COVID-19 safety precautions and guidance provided by Labor & Industries (L&I) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) while on the construction site. Noncompliance may result in the temporary suspension of work. To meet the requirements, several changes have been made:

  • Contractors have expanded and improved their own COVID-19 Response Plans in accordance with CDC, OSHA and L&I guidance and recommendations for the type of work being performed.
  • Contractors’ plans are being reviewed by a certified industrial hygienist who not only has expertise in COVID-19 and illness prevention, but also in job-site safety planning and prevention. Contractors must submit final plans prior to starting work.
  • All staff inspectors, project managers, consultants and subconsultants have received training from the industrial hygienist on the contractor’s plan, their own protection and COVID-19 compliance.
  • The City has designated an experienced construction inspector to serve as a COVID-19 safety inspector who will visit job sites, monitor safety and check COVID-19-procedures daily.

The City of Camas will continue to track all COVID-19 news and updates and will react accordingly on all projects. For an up-to-date listing of changes to City programming and operations during the COVID-19 crisis, the public is encouraged to visit www.cityofcamas.us/ourcommunity/covid-19.

For full Lake-Everett Roundabout project details and ongoing construction updates, the public is invited to visit www.cityofcamas.us/lakeroadconstruction. Information on other capital projects is available at http://www.cityofcamas.us/projectsalerts.

Inspired by a Boston-based project, local photographer Lara Blair has decided to bring #TheFrontStepsProject to Camas.

“It is killing me to not be able to capture families during this historical time,” said Blair, who has a studio in downtown Camas. “The difficulties, goodness of humanity … all of it. I saw a really cool article about an East Coast photographer capturing people on their porches at a six-foot distance, and she’s encouraging photographers across the country to do the same. It’s called #TheFrontStepsProject.”

Blair said she needs to do this because she “misses taking pictures and misses seeing people’s faces.” She sees this as a chance to give back, and have this documented as part of our history.

“I live in the sticks and we are completely isolated, and I’ve been following all the distancing rules.”

Her plan is this:

  • Get in her car and drive to a neighborhood to a few houses in the same vicinity – stand more than six feet away from the families (hello zoom lens!) and capture them for a few minutes, wave goodbye 😊 and get in her car to go home.
  • Post and send a picture for them to see.
  • Have the family make a small (or big!) donation to a charity (we are currently talking to a local charity who benefits kids). Details will come soon.

“I would like to come to one neighborhood at a time and capture a few families all at once. DM me on Facebook (@Lara Blair Photography) or email me so I could set up a schedule— It would be great to have a point person for each and each ‘hood. [email protected]

Blair can also be reached via Instagram at @Braveandtruegirl

Lacamas Magazine will document the sessions on video, and will feature the completed #TheFrontPorchProject on the Lacamas Magazine YouTube Channel in the coming weeks.