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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. 

Camas, WA  –  The City of Camas Parks & Recreation’s free Movies in the Park series returns to Crown Park!  Two movies will be shown this year with the voted top-pick movie “Onward” kicking off this year’s short series and the live version of the Lion King ending the season.  

On Friday, July 30, “Onward,” a Disney/Pixar collaboration, tells the story of two teenage elf brothers, Ian and Barley, who get an unexpected opportunity to spend one more day with their late dad and embark on an extraordinary quest aboard Barley’s epic van Guinevere.  The movie will begin at 9 pm at the Crown Park shelter (NE Everett & NE 17th Ave.).

On Friday, August 20, the 2019 Disney live re-make of the movie favorite the “Lion King” will show at 8:30 pm, and will include pre-movie activities starting at 7:30 pm.  This 2019 live-action remake of the original animated version tells the same story of the young lion prince who, after the murder of his father, flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.  The well-known original songs are featured in the movie, making this new version a new favorite! 

Movies in the Park is in its 14th year (after a hiatus in 2020) and shows movies that are rated G or PG, to adhere to our family-friendly events criteria.  At the beginning of 2019, selected K-8 classrooms in the Camas School District were able to cast their votes for their favorite movies.  The top two winning movies from that vote are the ones we are sharing with our community this year. 

The Movies in the Park series is sponsored by Camas United Methodist Church.  At this time, movies will not feature a food vendor, so plan to bring your favorite dinner, movie snacks and drinks to the park.  Food can also be purchased at Top Burger, located across the street from the park, or from a variety of restaurants in downtown Camas, four blocks away.   Bring chairs or blankets for seating and note that, to allow fair viewing, chairs are placed in one-half of the park viewing area and blankets in the other half.  This is a free event.  No registration is required.  And, please note that alcohol and animals are not allowed in Crown Park. 

Movies in the Park is coordinated by Camas Parks and Recreation. 

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.

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.  

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.

CAMAS, WA – Officials with the cities of Camas and Washougal have announced that due to the high fire risk, the discharge of fireworks has been banned under emergency order. Sales will still be allowed.

Camas-Washougal Fire Department Fire Chief, Nick Swinhart, consulted with Washougal officials and issued the ban in that city, as provided in Washougal Municipal Code.  Camas Mayor Pro-Tem Ellen Burton, in consultation with the Fire Chief and Fire Marshal, has implemented the ban in Camas.

“This was a very difficult decision to make, but in consideration of the elevated fire danger, it was deemed the only decision possible to ensure the safety of our neighborhoods, communities, and green spaces,” said Chief Swinhart. “The threat of fireworks causing a fire in these extreme conditions is too high to allow the use of fireworks this July 4th.”

Officials with the CWFD and the cities of Camas and Washougal, noted that the fine for illegally discharging fireworks is $250 for the first incident, with escalating fines for recurring violations. The police and fire departments will have extra patrols in response. For illegal fireworks complaints, residents are encouraged to call 3-1-1.   

Officials also acknowledged the strain this may put on vendors and non-profits that rely on this income; however, safety is paramount in this situation. With this in mind, residents are encouraged to celebrate Independence Day this year with friends and family, however, please do so without the use of fireworks. 

Camas, WA — Universal Martial Arts, with its focus on jiu jitsu self-defense training, is fully reopen now for business. 

“Jiu Jitsu is martial arts, and is based on leverage techniques versus strength. It’s technically a grappling martial art, but the sport side is very appealing to people,” said co-owner Mel Locke. “Jiu Jitsu means ‘gentle way’ in Japanese. You win by making the opponent surrender or by points. Our new theme is self-defense, competition, lifestyle. It becomes an exercise to stay fit.” 

The downtown Camas self-defense program lasts for eight weeks, and is contract free. They are located at 217 NE 4th Avenue in downtown Camas.

So how does it work?

Adults may take up to 15 classes a month, which are offered six days a week — Monday through Saturday.

Class times are as follows:

  • 6 am 
  • 11 am Monday, Wednesday, Friday
  • 6:30 pm Monday through Thursday
  • Saturdays 10 am

Classes last 1 or 1.5 hours apiece.

Beginner classes last an hour, and more advanced classes are 1.5 hours.

Adult single membership costs $119 per month.

Ages 7-12 $109

Ages 5-6 $99

The Family Plan costs $219 per month for two people, and each additional member costs $60 per person.

They do offer a women’s only program.

Universal Martial Arts has been operating since 1998, has full air conditioning, and is regularly sanitized for participant safety. 

To learn more, call 360.210.4588 or visit http://universaljj.com

Instagram: 

@universal_bjj

Facebook:

Universal Martial Arts

Universal
One of the kids classes at Universal Martial Arts.

CAMAS, WA. – In accordance with guidance from the Governor’s Office and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), officials with the City of Camas have announced changes to COVID protocol in currently open buildings. Additionally, officials with the City of Camas announced their intention to reopen all City facilities, effective July 1.

COVID Protocols

Under the new City guidelines, masks will not be required for vaccinated individuals, unless other specific precautions are in place.

However, masks will still be required for unvaccinated citizens who intend to use City facilities. Additionally, social distancing and mask protocols may also be in place for certain City sponsored activities or in certain City buildings, regardless of the new guidelines.

Camas Library

Along those lines, the Camas Public Library has also announced that they will resume their pre-COVID hours starting Tuesday, July 6.  The hours of operation will be Monday – Wednesday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Thursday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Public Meeting Rooms and Reservations

Camas Library meeting rooms are available to reserve beginning June 1, at https://www.cityofcamas.us/library/page/book-room. The earliest date meeting rooms may be booked is July 1, and that date is subject to change based on announcements from Governor Inslee and the Washington State Department of Health.

Starting July 1, Camas Parks and Recreation will use the updated guidelines to open facilities to event/wedding rentals and to non-profits for meeting spaces. Users are requested to follow any updated guidelines that are issued. More information is available here: https://www.cityofcamas.us/parksrec/page/facility-reservations-general-info

The Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce will be honoring Marquita Call, owner of Camas Gallery, and Camas School Board Director, Doug Quinn, as 2021 Business Person and Citizen of the Year, respectively, at a special banquet Wednesday, June 2.

The Chamber, in partnership with Riverview Bank, made the announcement on May 3. Eight-four people purchased tickets for the event, which will be held at Camas Meadows Golf Club. 

The social hour will begin at 5:30 pm with dinner beginning at 6:30 pm. The CW Chamber Scholarship Winners and the Teachers of the Year from both the Camas and Washougal School districts will also be honored on June 2nd. For more information or for questions call 360. 834.2472.   

2021 Businessperson of the Year: Marquita Call, Camas Gallery  

Call was born and raised in Camas.  She opened the Camas Gallery 11 years ago and has received The Columbian’s Best of Clark County (Gallery) award the past 6 years.  Call’s personality is infectious.  She welcomes visitors, both local and visiting, with warmth, enthusiasm and shares many historic stories about the area.  She is also a member of the Clark County Mural Society and has secured murals in downtown Camas.  Recently, she commissioned an artist to do artwork commemoration Earth Day and her former classmate Denis Hayes, International Chairman of Earth Days.    

Visitors come into the gallery strangers and leave as friends. One visitor claimed that Call is to Camas, WA what Dolly Parton is to Pigeon Forge, TN.  She is genuine and cares for each and everyone she meets. 

2021 Citizen of the Year: Doug Quinn

Contributions to the Community:

Quinn has served on the Camas School Board for several years including one or more terms as chairman.  He is currently a member of the Downtown Camas Association Board of Directors and has also taken a lead role in the Light Brigade.  As a member of the Light Brigade, he acquired and coordinated a grant to DCA that paid for the upgrade to Camas’ downtown roofline lighting.  Quinn has also been a volunteer for Camas Days for several years, including as an announcer for the parade and bathtub races.  He has performed a Master of Ceremonies for many local events.

Positive Impact on the Community:

Quinn’slong commitment to the City of Camas, including his former role as Public Work’s Director has been invaluable to the organizations that he has served on.  He has a unique understanding of Camas programs and local government operations.  The Camas school system and downtown Camas have benefitted greatly by his work and volunteer spirit.