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CAMAS, WA — Based on Gov. Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy proclamation, as well as guidance from the Office of the Attorney General, all City of Camas public meetings, now until April 23, 2020, will occur remotely through an interactive online event tool, Zoom video webinar.

Public comment will be accepted at the start and close of the online public meeting, as usual, and may also be submitted in writing to PublicComments@cityofcamas.us.

Camas City Council convenes on the first and third Monday of the month. For April 6, the workshop meeting has been canceled, and the regular meeting will take place via Zoom at 7 p.m. The agenda will only address items that are necessary and routine or which are necessary to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. All other matters will be deferred until the public has its normal methods to attend.

In the upcoming weeks, Council and Staff will revisit whether the April 20 regular meeting is needed.

The public can watch the events live or view them afterward as a recording. Agendas, Zoom web links and Zoom phone numbers will be shared in advance of the meeting on the City website, social media, CamasConnect app and meeting portal, www.cityofcamas.us/yourgovernment/minuteagendavideo.

To view or participate in the live Zoom webinar, individuals will need to download the ZOOM Cloud Meetings software on their computer or download the app to their mobile device. Alternatively, individuals may call in to the event using the Zoom phone number provided.

The City is aware of issues regarding unwarranted access to Zoom and has taken additional precautions to secure the platform for trouble-free viewing and participation.

The City will continue to monitor newly released information to determine additional modifications as needed. For up-to-date programming and operations changes, the public is encouraged to visit www.cityofcamas.us/ourcommunity/covid-19.


CAMAS, WA – In order to focus all efforts on fighting COVID-19, the City of Camas has put construction of the Lake-Everett Roundabout on hold. In two weeks, on April 15, the City will revisit the construction stoppage and decide how to proceed.

Four additional public construction projects currently underway are also being halted: improvements to Brady Road, construction of the 18th Avenue Reservoir, construction of the Lacamas Creek Pump Station and improvements at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The City will immediately begin working with contractors to ensure the construction sites are safe and secure during the stoppage.

“As you know, we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation frequently. Things change very quickly,” said Mayor Barry McDonnell. “Governor Inslee is continuing to call for additional protective measures across the state. These important projects will ultimately move forward, but I believe that stopping all construction in Camas at this time is the right decision for everyone’s health and safety.”

For full project details and ongoing construction updates, the public is invited to visit
www.cityofcamas.us/lakeroadconstruction.

Parks
www.lilyatelier.com

CAMAS, WA – In compliance with Gov. Jay Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy proclamation, which allows essential public construction projects to continue, the City of Camas will move forward with planned construction of the Lake-Everett roundabout in the coming days.

As communicated with the public through open houses and outreach, several trees will be removed at the start of the roundabout project. For full project details and ongoing construction updates, the public is invited to visit www.cityofcamas.us/lakeroadconstruction.

Why is this considered an essential project?

The City of Camas says the project is considered essential because without it, the intersection, which includes both City- (Lake Road) and State-regulated (Everett Street/SR 500) roadways, will soon reach failure. This means backups will reach a level where getting through the area will take considerable time and compromise motorist, pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

“We know these are difficult times, and we are continuously monitoring the COVID-19 situation and requirements, but we are also confident things will get better,” said City of Camas Public Works Director Steve Wall. “When that happens, the Lake-Everett intersection will once again be heavily used by the community, making this a necessary infrastructure improvement.”

Is funding for the project secure?

Yes, the City has confirmed that funding is still available and set aside specifically for this project by two programs administered by the State of Washington: a Transportation Improvement Board grant and a Public Works Board low-interest loan.

What if the City needs the money for something else?

The City cannot use these funds for anything else, including emergency aid, other projects or support services such as police, fire, parks or utilities. Likewise, the money that will pay back the low-interest loan can only be used for capital projects. It cannot be used for emergency aid, other projects or support services.

How was this decision made?

The City made this decision based on guidance from state and local agencies. Although most residential and commercial construction projects are on hold, the city said this public roundabout project is in line with similar essential construction projects proceeding throughout the county and state during the COVID-19 emergency. The Washington Department of Transportation will continue providing inspection support and oversight.

Parks
www.lilyatelier.com

The roundabout contractor, Clark and Sons Excavating of Battle Ground, Wash., is ready to begin work and understands its crew must follow all COVID-19 guidance provided by the Dept. of Labor and Industry and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Additionally, suppliers are ready and able to provide the needed equipment and materials.

Three additional City of Camas public projects are continuing as scheduled: improvements to Brady Road, construction of the 18th Avenue Reservoir and construction of the Lacamas Creek Pump Station. Each project provides vital infrastructure for Camas residents and has dedicated funding. For details, see www.cityofcamas.us/projectsalerts.

Public Outrage on Inslee’s Order

When Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared most residential construction projects “non-essential” in his emergency order last week it sent shockwaves across the state, especially because other states (like California and Oregon) designated the construction industry as “essential.”

Local legislators and the local building industry advocates disagree with the order, and have made clear their opinions.

“Washington is the only western state to not include residential building as essential,” said Washington State Senator Ann Rivers. “Our governor’s order is puzzling, something just doesn’t add up. It’s safe for a crew to work on a low-income government supported housing project but not a private home site across the street or even next door? These are difficult decisions, but we must take into account the ramifications of our decisions and do the things that make the most sense. As leaders we must look out for everyone’s health and well being. But, it is also essential that we look out for the people we represent and at the same time empower them to take the steps to assure their own wellness.”

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) pressed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to make a determination about whether residential construction is deemed “essential” in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

On March 28, DHS designated residential construction as “essential infrastructure business.”

“Americans depend on a functioning residential construction sector to provide safe, affordable housing for our citizens, and this need is especially acute during this pandemic,” said NAHB Chairman Dean Mon. “Moreover, a healthy housing market is critical to maintain a sound economy. I commend DHS for heeding the urgent concerns of the housing community and taking this decisive action to assure the men and women of the industry will be able to stay on the job and serve the needs of the American people at this critical time.”

Effective immediately, the City of Camas has closed the parking lots at all Camas parks and trailheads until further notice to reduce crowds, limit group interaction and encourage social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis.

Trails, open grass areas and green spaces remain open but may only be accessed by foot, bike or other means not requiring parking in the lot.

“I appreciate the many benefits of being outside, enjoying our trails and green spaces,” said Mayor Barry McDonnell, “but we must continue to social distance to slow the spread of the coronavirus.”

Individuals should not call 911 to report others in noncompliance and should avoid confrontations over enforcement.

The City is closely monitoring all COVID-19-related guidance from local and state agencies and has enacted several changes as a result. Last week, the City closed all parks facilities, including play structures, sports fields, sports courts, picnic shelters and restrooms.

Parks
www.lilyatelier.com

Earlier this month, Camas City Hall, Camas Public Library and all other municipal buildings have also been closed to the public.

“I know we will get through this,” stated McDonnell. “And if everyone does their part, we’ll get through it even faster.”

The City will continue to monitor newly released information to determine additional modifications as needed.

  • To access to city services, patrons can visit www.cityofcamas.us, call 360-834-6864 or use the CamasConnect app.

In order to meet public health recommendations for protecting citizens and employees, parks
maintenance crews have been split and are working every-other-week shifts. During this time, the
City’s park lawns will continue to be mowed, though potentially less frequently, and garbage will
still be collected to uphold the health and safety of public spaces. Other routine tasks will be
deferred.

In his Friday update, Camas School District Superintendent, Dr. Jeff Snell, said the following:

Dear Camas Community,

It may be overstated, but we are in the midst of extraordinary times. Our staff is committed to supporting students and families as we work through the state-wide school closures.

Our school system is built on human interactions. Relationships that staff members form with students are critical to the learning process.  It’s not just about technology access, but access to staff members in the moments of learning to monitor and adjust instruction. It’s a new world with a new context for learning. We cannot replicate the experience in the classroom, but we can provide content and learning experiences in different ways.  Shifting to a remote learning system in two weeks while in the midst of a public health crisis is a great challenge for all of us. For the class of 2020, our focus is ensuring they graduate. For all other students, the focus is on making the most of the opportunity we have.

We want to help students grow in meaningful ways and be ready for whatever the next stage of learning looks like. Our staff is creatively embracing this challenge. Please be patient with them as they embark on this journey with your students.  Please help us by supporting your students as they engage in remote learning opportunities safely, responsibly, and respectfully. We also greatly appreciate your support in helping students find some structured time at home. We are all learners in this together!

Below is our school year, organized into the different sections we’ve experienced and will be experiencing. In each section, there is a high-level description of the learning and assessment provided during that time.  On Monday, April 6, teachers will be starting the next section of our school year. They will be connecting with you and your student(s). Our goal is to use the three weeks for meaningful learning and then transition back to school on April 27.  We are doing our best to lead through this challenge with flexibility, grace, and heart. As we have all seen over the past month circumstances can change quickly, requiring us to adjust plans, and making those leadership qualities essential. 

Please take care of yourself and each other.  We will continue to regularly provide you with updates.

Sincerely,

Jeff Snell, Superintendent

2019-20 School Year: Learning Activities & Assessment

9/3/19 – 3/13/20: Traditional learning engagement and assessment/grading practices

3/16/20 – 3/27/20: Transition time with the announcement of state school closures; staff members exploring and learning more about remote learning options; continuing the learning that was planned prior to the closure; making connections with families to assess student needs.

3/30/20 – 4/3/20: Spring break

4/6/20 – 4/24/20: Staff members will deliver learning designed to continue student growth in all subject areas. The primary focus will be on providing learning opportunities and meaningful feedback for students rather than grading. Staff members will document the level in which each student is involved with the learning to monitor progress, not in a way that negatively impacts grades.

While technology will be a key resource used in this phase of learning, other options will be available to accommodate students who have limited access to the internet. Staff members will continue to develop opportunities for students to engage with learning and demonstrate their understanding.

Staff members may enter scores into Skyward for tracking and communication purposes. Those scores will not negatively affect a student’s grade.

4/27/20 – 6/19/20: If we are able to return to school, staff members will help transition students back to school with opportunities for students to re-engage with learning considering their ability to access instruction during the closure.  In order to assess student learning, staff members will blend pre-closure and closure learning experiences to determine proficiency and/or grades. Students will have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning.

IF THERE ARE CONTINUED SCHOOL CLOSURES BEYOND APRIL 24: Staff members will continue to provide learning experiences, and will begin to shift to a proficiency-based assessment system of prioritized learning standards for students through remote instruction.  Students will be given multiple ways to demonstrate their proficiency.

High School:  Teachers will consider overall assessment in two phases: prior to closure and during closure in determining credit.  For classes that require a grade, we will determine a process that accounts for the extraordinary circumstances. We will also develop a process for students to recover credit and learning opportunities if they were unable to access learning during the closure.

CAMAS, WA – Following the guidance of local and state agencies and in line with Governor Inslee’s recent Stay Home, Stay Healthy announcement, the City of Camas is closing all parks facilities effective immediately until further notice to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The closure applies to play structures, sports fields, sports courts, picnic shelters and restrooms. Trails, open grass areas and greenspaces remain open, though patrons are urged to maintain social distancing, limit group interaction and adhere to public health recommendations at all times.

“I’m asking all Camas residents and those who visit our parks to please refrain from coming out to use the facilities at this time,” urged Mayor Barry McDonnell. “As a parent of four kids, I understand that you’re looking for things to do, but I’m asking you to help us stop this virus.”

Individuals should not call 911 to report others in noncompliance and should avoid confrontations over enforcement. Instead, the city is asking the community to come together and to abide by the rules.

“We recognize that time outdoors has many benefits, both mental and physical, and that our parks and
open space provide a critical support to our community during this difficult time,” said Camas Parks and
Recreation Manager Jerry Acheson. “Our parks and trails are still open for activities where social
distancing can be maintained, such as walking, jogging, cycling and nature viewing. Please enjoy these
activities alone or with your family, but do not congregate and be sure to follow social distancing
guidelines.”

The city’s parks will continue to be maintained during the closure, but to a lesser extent than usual due to reduced staffing levels enacted to meet CDC recommendations for protecting citizens and employees.

The city will continue to monitor newly released information to determine closures and cancellations going forward. For an up-to-date listing of modifications to city programming and operations, the public is encouraged to visit www.cityofcamas.us/ourcommunity/covid-19.

Green
www.VixonCabinets.com

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. Larablairart@gmail.com

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.

Message From Camas Mayor Barry McDonnell:

My fellow Camasonians, thank you for watching. I want to emphasize a couple of things as far as actionable steps we can all take right now to keep ourselves and those around us in a positive mindset.

Firstly, I encourage you to get outside and take advantage of the beautiful spring weather we are having. Although we are trying to limit social exposure, we can and should continue to enjoy the parks and trails we have here in Camas. The sunshine and fresh air are good for our bodies and souls, and I hope you can find a little time each day to get outside with your family.

Secondly, I touched on it briefly in the video, but staying connected to our neighbors is both important to our community and beneficial to both you and the person you’re reaching out to. Check in on your elderly neighbors with a quick phone call to see if they need food, or help, or just an ear to listen as they express their concerns. This can be a scary time for those of us who are at risk and keeping the lines of communication going between friends and neighbors is a powerful way to remember what it is that really matters and that everything is going to be alright.

Lastly, I encourage you to support our local Camas businesses. So many of our independently owned restaurants and bakeries have switched over to takeout service, our mom-and-pop retail shops have been setting up online purchasing and curbside pickup for their wares, along with a multitude of service and care providers who are continuing to serve our community through alternative routes and venues. You can find a list of our local businesses on the Downtown Camas Association’s website: www.DowntownCamas.com

Let’s continue to focus on what matters and stay positive. I’ve lived a lot of places and if there’s any community that can come out stronger in the face of adversity, it’s this one. We got this, Camas.

Mayor Barry McDonnell

Camas Mayor Barry McDonnell
Green
www.VixonCabinets.com

Mayor Barry McDonnell returned early from his vacation in Spain, arriving late Tuesday night. According to Mayor Pro Tem, Greg Anderson, he will be under self-quarantine for at least two weeks, but he was able to issue this proclamation using a digital signature:

Whereas, Camas Municipal Code Section 2.48.020 provides that in the event an emergency occurs which causes or is tending to cause danger or injury to persons or damage to property to such an extent that extraordinary measures must be taken to protect the public health, safety and welfare then the Mayor may proclaim a civil emergency to exist; and

Whereas, in the interest of public safety and welfare, Washington state law under Chapter 38.52 RCW sets forth certain powers exercisable by municipalities in the event of emergencies; and

Whereas, Camas Municipal Code Chapter 8.56 sets forth additional procedures and powers related to Emergency Management; and

Whereas, on February 29, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency due to the public health emergency posed by the coronavirus 2019 (hereafter COVID-19); and

Whereas, on March 13, 2020, the Clark County Council announced a state of emergency resolution for Clark County regarding COVID-19. Similar emergency declarations have been issued in Washington, Multnomah, and Clackamas counties in the Portland metropolitan area; and

Whereas, on March 13, 2020, Governor Inslee ordered all K-12 public and private schools in Washington State to close by no later than March 17, 2020 and remained closed through April24, 2020, further ordering on March 16, 2020 a statewide emergency proclamation to temporarily shut down restaurants, bars and entertainment and recreational facilities and ban all gatherings with over 50 participants, with all gatherings under 50 participants to be prohibited unless previously announced criteria for public health and social distancing are met; and

Whereas, on March 13, 2020, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in the United States ofAmerica related to the COVID-19 outbreak; and

Whereas, as of March 14, 2020, the Washington State Department of Health reported a total of 642 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 40 resulting deaths. As of March 14, 2020, at least 3 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Clark County; and

Whereas, as reported by the Washington State Department of Health:

Public health experts agree that the true number of people who have been infected with COVID-19 in Washington greatly exceeds the number ofCOVID-19 infections that have been laboratory-confirmed. It is very difficult to know exactly how many people in Washington have been infected to date since most people with COVID-19 experience mild illness and the ability to get tested is still not widely available; and

Whereas, as Mayor ofthe City ofCamas I have determined that it is necessary to proclaim the existence ofa civil emergency and to take such actions as may be required to effectively utilize city resources in the protection ofthe public health, safety and welfare;

NOW, THEREFORE I, Barry McDonnell, Mayor of the City of Camas, Proclaim as follows:

  1. I declare there is a civil emergency caused by COVID-19 in the City o f Camas.
  2. The civil emergency requires the implementation of those powers delineated in Chapter 2. 48
    and 8.56 of the Camas Municipal Code and Chapter 38.52 RCW.
  3. To the extent of such powers as granted by law, the City may enter into contracts and incur
    obligations, and take any other appropriate action necessary to address and respond to the emergency to protect the health and safety of persons and properties and to provide emergency assistance to persons affected by this emergency.
  4. These powers will be exercised in light of the exigencies of the situation without regard to the formalities prescribed by State statutes and rules, or by City ordinance (except for mandatory constitutional requirements). These include but are not limited to budget law limitations, requirements for competitive bidding, publication of notices related to the performance of public work, entering into contracts, incurring of obligations, employment of temporary workers, rental of equipment, purchase of supplies and equipment, and the appropriation and expenditure of funds.
  5. I delegate to the Department heads and their designees the authority to solicit quotes and estimates for contracts necessary to combat the emergency. Department heads may enter into contracts in an amount not to exceed Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars ($25,000). Contracts over this amount will be signed by the Mayor.
  6. Department heads are further authorized to reassign staff from their ordinary duties to work deemed necessary to address the emergency outside their normal job duties and to require work beyond normal working hours in the performance of duties deemed necessary to respond to the emergency.
  7. Pursuant to Camas Municipal Code sections 2.48.020 and 8.56.080 a copy of this Proclamation shall be filed with the City Clerk, a copy delivered to the Director of Emergency Management, State Emergency Management, and the Governor and the news media within the City shall be advised, with copies of this Proclamation posted at public places as may heretofore be designated.
  8. This Proclamation will take effect upon my signature and will remain in effect until modified or terminated pursuant to Camas Municipal Code Section 2.48.040.
    DATED AND SIGNED THIS 18th DAY OF MARCH, 2020. City of Camas — Mayor Barry McDonnell.

Camas School District Superintendent, Dr. Jeff Snell, sent out an update today regarding the following issues as the district deals with life during the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • Meals
  • Childcare
  • Graduation Requirements
  • Learning
  • Stories from Camas

Meals for children

We are providing free breakfast and lunch grab-and-go meals for all children, even if they are not yet school age, in our community. Here are the locations:

  • From 9-11 AM (it was 9-10 AM, but we’ve expanded it) at Liberty and Skyridge middle schools;
  • At our AM elementary school bus stops; and
  • Starting tomorrow morning, buses will be parked at Dorothy Fox, Prune Hill, Grass Valley, and Woodburn from 7:45 – 8:30 AM in order to provide service to students who live in walk zones and don’t have a bus stop. 

For more information about routes, please contact our Transportation Department at 360-833-5585 between 6 AM and noon.

Providing childcare, especially for families of healthcare workers or first responders

We are working to accommodate requests for emergency childcare in the questionnaire that went out Friday.  We are also trying to plan for additional requests as healthcare workers and first responders continue their vital services in our community.  

Graduation requirements

High school students, especially seniors, have the additional pressure of meeting graduation requirements and other related activities. OSPI and the State Board of Education are working to provide statewide guidance.  We’ll share information as soon as we receive it. We want to make sure we support high school students with their concerns throughout the closure and will be sending a message to them directly later this evening. High School Student Message, 3/17: (http://bit.ly/2UcEQRm

Learning

During these weeks prior to spring break, teachers will be communicating with students/families with the goal of assessing student access and needs.  That information will be helpful in our planning for learning after spring break. Teachers may also be continuing any learning that was going on prior to the closure when appropriate.  

Our Story

We are launching a site that I hope can become a place to connect called Stories from Camas (http://bit.ly/39XdAx2). Stories can create opportunities for us to come together.  They allow us to share experiences, discover common ground, be curious and interested in learning more about each other.  We are in the midst of a very unusual time where we don’t get to interact with each other in the typical ways. Perhaps coming together around stories can help us all.  During our school closure, this will be a hub for our collective stories. Check it out and send me any ideas at StoriesfromCamas@gmail.com.  

Jeff Snell, Superintendent
Camas School District