Camas, WA — I’ve been bothered by a trend over the past few years to shorten the Camas High School mascot name from Papermakers to “Makers” so I’ve spent some time researching its root cause.

There are three scenarios in play:

1) Design: It’s easier to design a uniform, practice jersey or sports memorabilia because it requires fewer letters. As a designer, writer and someone with the last name “Geigenmilller” I get that, but I would never shorten my name to “Miller” as 1) that disrespects my history — Geigenmiller means Violinmaker or “one who owns or operates a mill” in German; 2) Doing so dishonors my family; and 3) Shortening to “Miller” or “Maker” takes away the history. Maker of what? Some suggest that using the term “maker” implies an inherent authority. Plus, it feels like part of history is being erased, and it’s not a good idea to erase history. The history of the mill in Camas isn’t perfect, but it’s the history. We can certainly discuss the environmental concerns the mill brings, but that doesn’t mean we re-write the past. Being a “Papermaker” isn’t political. Even though the mill will likely close in a few years, we are still a mill town. It’s OK to say that. Solution: If you want to shorten the jersey name, then just imprint “Camas.” Pretty simple.

2) Language: It’s just easier to say. I’ve heard announcers tell me it’s easier to say “Makers” over “Papermakers.” This is simply nonsense. “Roll Papermakers” requires two more syllables. Solution: Let’s just say “Papermakers” or “Papermaker Pride.” #PapermakerPride is a good hashtag. It honors the history and the moment.

3) Attitude: There is a concerted movement to erase the history. Yes, this is true. There are many newer residents that love Camas, its beauty, its schools, its people — but they’re embarrassed that it’s a mill town. I think for some it’s concern about the environmental issues associated with the mill, or for others it’s simply an attitude. Why? Are you ashamed thousands of workers made their living at the mill since the late 1800s? These thousands of people provided a good living for their families. Did they live in the elegant houses so many of us live in (myself included). No. But, they spent money at Runyan Jewelers (which still stands), paid a few cents to watch a movie at the Liberty Theater (which we all love) and swam at Sandy Swimming Hole (a favorite contemporary summer fun place). Those who argue in favor of the shortened name say it still implies mill work, but again I ask “maker of what?” You can’t erase the history. If you’re making a political statement given the environmental issues at the mill, spare us. We all know that. In time, those issues will be fixed. Solution: We’re a mill town, and that’s OK. Let’s celebrate it. Use Papermakers.


Isaiah Sampson led the Papermakers with 18 points. The boys basketball jerseys simply say “Camas.”

History of the Papermakers

Let’s take a quick look at local history.

In 1883, LaCamas Colony Company selected the current townsite for their new paper mill. Mr. Henry L. Pittock, the owner of the Oregonian newspaper of Portland needed plenty of water to power paper-making machines for his newspaper and found it in the lakes behind the LaCamas region. The name “LaCamas” originated from the “camas roots used by the Indians for food.”

  • 1883: Aeneas MacMaster opens the first store in town.
  • 1884: First school and post office was established in town.
  • 1906: Camas was incorporated as a town.
  • 1907: Northbank Highway opened from Vancouver, through Camas and Washougal, to Stevenson.
  • 1908: The LaCamas Post, forerunner of the Post-Record newspaper, was created.
  • 1928: The Crown Willamette Paper Company merged with the San Francisco-based Zellerbach Paper Mill Company forming Crown-Zellerbach Corporation.
  • In WWII the Camas plant produced ship rudders in the machine shop. The rudders were being installed on the Liberty ships under construction in Vancouver and Portland. After the war, the plant’s management became more interested in technical and research problems.
  • 1960: Crown Zellerbach Corporations changes ownership and name several times – currently being merged, but known as James River Corporation. It is now known as Georgia Pacific.
  • 2006: The city celebrated its 100th year as an incorporated city.

The mill in the 1950s.


Also see: Camas History

That’s a tiny piece of history. Today, we create our own story, our own history. And, I love being at all these events to record your history.


From, who did an in-depth documentary about the history of Camas.


Camas is progressing, and that’s OK, too. When the mill finally closes, there will surely be environmental cleanup tasks. And, we’ll get those done. It’s good to build a new pool, build new schools, and upgrade our parks, but it’s not cool to alter the history by changing the mascot name. I ask you to keep saying “Papermaker” and say it with pride. It’s part of who your kids are. My oldest son is a Papermaker graduate, and we have two middle sons who are current Papermakers. They’re not makers.

Our name is unique. We’re don’t have generic names like Panthers (no offense, Washougal), or Tigers, or Falcons, or Beavers.

As the city progresses, longtime residents are losing the things most dear to them (open spaces, Crown Park Pool, and likely the closure of the mill). We have to respect their time here. They’re losing things precious to them. Please don’t disrespect them by taking away or shortening their name.

As we drive around with our overpriced SUVs and BMWs (I’m guilty of that, too) take a moment and walk down 4th Avenue, look at the smokestacks at the mill, and talk to someone who’s lived here their whole life. They have pride in their work. Listen to their story. Buy them a pastry at Caffe Piccolo. I think you’d enjoy it, and learn a few things.

I’d love to hear your feedback.


Ernie Geigenmiller



Liberty Theater.


Straub’s Funeral Home, as pictured in the 1940s. Wilmer Swank opened Swank’s Funeral Home in 1911. It was eventually renamed Camas Funeral Chapel, and then Straub’s.

Camas, WA — Fourteen scholar-athletes took part in National Letter of Intent Day today at Camas High School.

Here’s what they’re all doing:

PAYTON BATES will be signing to play softball for the College of Idaho Yotes in Caldwell Idaho. Payton will finish her high school career earning seven varsity letters from Camas High School. Payton lettered three years in slow pitch softball, and will be a four-year letter award winner in fast pitch softball. In the fall during slow pitch, Payton has led her team to three straight league championships, a district championship in 2016 and 2017, and to the Papermakers first ever state birth in 2017. She was GSHL first-team all-league and voted Papermaker MVP for all three years and was capped by being recognized as the GSHL Player of the Year during her senior year in 2017. In the spring, Payton has been recognized as GSHL first-team all-league in 2016 and 2017. She has been a big part of the Papermaker fast pitch success that has earned league titles in 2015, 2017 and two 4th place in state finishes. Payton is a three-time GSHL scholar-athlete award winner and while in Caldwell will study Marketing.

Parents Jay and Brenda Bates – All three State Championship Tournament appearances. She wants one more this spring!

PERRIN BELZER will be traveling South to join former teammates with the Grand Canyon University Women’s Soccer program. Perrin has played the past four years on the girls soccer team which has been the most dominant run in the programs history at Camas High School. In those four years, her Papermakers have won four league titles, three district titles, two 3rd place state trophies, one state championship in 2016 along with a Maxpreps National Championship in 2016. Like her team, Perrin has also racked up numerous accolades over the past four years that include: 2014 and 2016 GSHL All-League 2nd team, GSHL All-League 1st team in 2015, and capped by a senior season that saw her awarded GSHL defensive player of the year, Columbian All-Region team, and 4A 1st team All-State. Perrin has been a GSHL all-academic team member all four years. While playing for the Lopes, Perrin will be pursuing a degree in sports management.

Parents Michael and Kathy Belzer – Memorable moment was winning the 2016 Washington State Championship.
TREVOR BENTLEY is headed across the river to play baseball for Mt. Hood Community College. Trevor has lettered in football and baseball for three years and has been an active participant in Camas High School Unified Basketball. Trevor has been the starting center fielder for the Papermakers for three straight years and helped lead his team to the playoffs in 2016. Trevor was a part of the first ever Papermakers football state championship in 2016, and was recognized as GSHL All-League 2nd team defensive back in 2017. Trevor is undecided on what he will focus his studies on while playing for the Saints.


Fourteen scholar-athletes gathered Wednesday for National Letter of Intent Day at CHS. Photo by Dan Trujillo.

Parents Brian and Rachel Bentley – Memorable moment winning the football state championship in 2016.

COURTNEY CLEMMER will be a part of the Fighting Owls women’s basketball team at Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls Oregon. Courtney has lettered in basketball for four years, along with one year in volleyball. Courtney has been a four-year starter on the hardwood for the Papermakers and has led them to two straight league titles in 2017 and 2018, and to the programs first ever trip to the Tacoma Dome to compete in the state tournament. Courtney has been recognized as GSHL All-League 2nd team in 2016, GSHL All-League 1st team in 2017 along with the All-Region 2nd team, and has already added the GSHL Player of the Year award in 2018. Courtney is a four-time scholar athlete award winner and plans to focus on studying communications in Klamath Falls.

Parents Casey and Traci Clemmer – Memorable moment playing in the state tournament at the Tacoma Dome.

ALEXA DIETZ is off to soak up some sunshine at San Diego State University as a member of the Aztec Rowing team. Alexa lettered two years in the Papermaker track and field program and one year in gymnastics before focusing on rowing. Alexa was part of a women’s track and field team that won two league and district titles and was a large part of the 2017 Papermaker gymnastics record-setting team that won a league title, district title and a state championship runner-up finish. Alexa is scholar-athlete award winner and is planning on studying environmental sciences and nature conservation in San Diego.

Parents David and Nancy Dietz – Memorable moment winning 2nd place at the State gymnastics meet in 2017.

KENNEDY FERGUSON will also be headed south. She will join the Lobos of New Mexico University softball program. Kennedy will letter three years in fast pitch at Camas High School. Kennedy was voted as GSHL All-League 1st team in 2016, GSHL Pitcher of the Year in 2017, All-Region Player of the Year in 2017, and will be looking for more awards this spring. Kennedy led her team to the league championship in 2017 and a Washington state 4A 4th place state finish in 2017. Kennedy will be focusing on physical therapy in New Mexico.

Parents David and DeAnn Ferguson – Memorable moment creating memories with a group of girls that have come up and gone through the program with me.

DOMINIC FEWEL will attend Oregon State University next fall to play soccer for the Beavers. Dominic will be a four-year letterman for the Papermaker soccer team, and has been a three- time scholar athlete award winner. Dominic has anchored a team that has compiled three league and district titles and have been a state participant all three years. Dominic has been chosen as a team captain in 2016 and 2017 along with receiving accolades as GSHL All-League 2nd team in 2015, GSHL All-League 1st team in 2016, 2017, All-Region team in 2017, and All-State honorable mention in 2017. While in Corvallis, Dominic will be studying Mechanical Engineering.

Parents Heath and Jennifer Fewel – Memorable moment scoring diving header goal against Skyview to win the game.

MADISON FREEMON is signing to play basketball with California State Fullerton University. She is a four-year letterman in basketball for the Papermakers. Madison has started for the Papermakers for three years before suffering a season ending injury her senior year early in the season. She was recognized as GSHL All- League Honorable Mention in 2017 along with the team captain honor. Madison helped guide the Papermakers to the first ever state championship tournament appearance her Junior year, and has been recognized on the All-League academic list for four straight years. Madison will be studying education while playing for the Titans.

Parents Gary and Sandy Freemon – Memorable moment scoring the winning buzzer beater basket against Prairie her sophomore year.

MARK KIM will be taking his talents to swim for the United States Military Academy at West Point. Mark is the most decorated swimmer in Papermaker history as he has won two state championships in both the 500 and 200 freestyle events, with one more state meet to go later this month. He has numerous district championships and guided his team to four straight league titles, a 2015 2nd place state finish, 2016 4th place state finish and the Papermakers first ever state championship in 2017, and he still has his senior season to finish. Mark was recognized as the 2016 February Camas High School student-athlete of the month, and is equally as impressive in the classroom with a near perfect GPA. While swimming for the Black Knights, Mark will study Mechanical Engineering.

Parents Mark and Dannelle Kim – Memorable moment winning the 4A team state championship trophy for a school south of Tacoma for the first time in 50 years.


State Champion swimmer, Mark Kim.

HAILEY OSTER will be playing golf for the Bobcats of Montana State University. Hailey has been a Papermaker varsity golfer all four years and has anchored her team to two straight league and district titles heading into her senior season this spring. Hailey has finished in the top 10 at the past two Washington State tournaments which has helped her team secure a 2nd place team finish in state her sophomore and junior year. Hailey has been recognized as the 2017 GSHL Player of the Year, All-Region 1st team, and received the Camas High School student-athlete of the month award and the WIAA player of the week award her Junior year. Hailey will study elementary education while in Bozeman.

Parents Ernie and Debbie Oster – Memorable moment taking 2nd in state the past two years with my team.

MADISON PFAFF will take her skills to Salem to play volleyball for Corban University. She has lettered in the Papermaker volleyball program for three years and received GSHL All-League 1st team honors her senior season. Madison also received the following CHS volleyball awards: coaches award in 2016, defensive award in 2017 and team captain in 2016 and 2017. Madison helped her team earn league championship titles all three years, and has been recognized with the scholar-athlete award for three years. While playing for the Warriors, Madison will be studying education.

Parents Jeremy and Heather Pfaff- Memorable moment beating Battle Ground in 5 sets my sophomore year.


Singing at National Letter of Intent Day. Photo by Dan Trujillo.

MADALYN SHERWINSKI will be traveling East to swim for the University of Mary in Bismark North Dakota. Madalyn lettered in Papermaker swim for three years and guided her team to a league championship in 2015 and 2016 as well as a district championship in 2015. Madalyn was a team captain in 2016 and 2017, and recognized as GSHL All-League 2nd team in the 500 freestyle in 2016. Madalyn is a perfect GPA scholar athlete and will study either chemical or mechanical engineering as a Marauder.

Parents Paul and L’Rae Scherwinski – Memorable moment winning district swim team title in 2015 at Kelso.

JOSHUA SCHNEIDER will attend Willamette University to play soccer for the Bearcats. Josh will be a three-year letterman for the Papermakers and has helped his team accomplish league and district titles his sophomore and junior season with his senior season coming up. The Papermakers have also been state tournament participants his sophomore and junior year that was capped with a state quarterfinal appearance in 2017. Josh was recognized as a GSHL All-League 1st team player as a junior, and will be a four time GSHL scholar-athlete award winner. While in Salem, Josh will be studying physical therapy.

Parents Joe and Lisa Schneider – Memorable moment when I crossed the ball for an assist for a double overtime win.
ABBIGAIL WONG will be attending University of Puget Sound in Tacoma to play softball for the Loggers. Abbi will letter in fast pitch four years for the Papermakers and has been a part of two league championship teams so far. Her Papermakers have two 4th place state championship tournament trophies, and she is looking to add another one this spring. In 2017 Abbi was recognized as GSHL All-League 2nd team, and received the 2017 defensive player of the year award for the Camas High School fast pitch program. While playing for the Loggers, Abbi will be focusing her studies on Exercise Science.

Parents Wade and Kim Wong – Memorable moment placing 4th at state tournament freshman and junior years.

Washougal, WA — It took 20 years of grueling travel in his sales job until penny artist, Matt Gibson, found his passion and artistic talents. Every other week he traveled to Canada as a sales executive for Metapower — and that got old.

“It was a drag being gone so much,” said Gibson. “And I always knew I wanted to do something for myself. I’ve always enjoyed art.”

He started playing around with pennies several years ago, and a gift for a friend slowly turned into a fun side business, which turned into a full-time business venture 18 months ago.

He had a few pieces of art, and spoke with Marquita Call, of Camas Gallery. He brought in a few pieces, and within three days she sold the first one. That opened up more opportunity, and Gibson started making more.

“He has a lot of talent,” said Call. “We’re happy to have him here in our gallery.”

He said it’s been a big learning curve, but that he makes enough money to live off his art — and is seeking to expand the enterprise. In addition to Camas Gallery, Gibon’s penny fish can be found at Pacific House and Vito Veritas, which is a wine bar in Portland.

His produces large, six-foot penny fish art, as well as a 12-inch fish version, which are designed as wall art.

“I like working with pennies,” he said. “They’re colorful and easy to work with.”

Gibson easily spends a week putting together a new design, which he calls the prototype. After the prototype phase, the large fish take about 20 hours to produce, and require about 1,900 pennies. The smaller ones take two to three hours and require 150 pennies, which are applied using high strength hot glue. To date, he’s create 150 pieces of art — 135 of which have been created in the last 18 months.

Pennyfish art is available at Camas Gallery, where Gibson was recently the featured artist of the month. Camas Gallery is located in downtown Camas, on 4th Avenue.

To learn more, visit or you can visit his brand-new Facebook Page: Pennyfish Design

Penny Artist Matt Gibson at the Camas Gallery.


Camas, WA — Awarding-winning downtown Camas footwear retailer, Arktana Shoes, known for selling high-quality women’s shoes is getting ready to launch a new advertising and marketing campaign to spotlight their men’s footwear offerings.

“The styles we select for our men’s category are intended for all day wear, lots of walking and even trade shows,” said Ann Matthews, owner and operator of Arktana. “For the guys we have everything from everyday casual to dressy styles for suits.”

Men’s footwear offerings include high-quality brands, such as Rockport, NAOT, Pikolinos, and Toms.

“We have some talented young men who have completed our first round of product photo and video shoots,” said Matthews. “We look forward to this campaign so come on down and see what we have to offer.”

Going into its fourth year, the store has received many accolades for their service and community spirit.

The store received the Entrepreneur of the Year award at Washington Main Street’s Excellence on Main Awards Ceremony on April 25, 2016 in Ellensburg, Washington. The ceremony was held in conjunction with RevitalizeWA, Washington State’s Preservation and Main Street Conference.

About Arktana

Ann Matthews opened the store, which is affectionately named after her family’s two states of origin – Arkansas and Montana, at 415 NE 4th Avenue, Camas’s main street, in 2014. With an entrepreneurial background and a robust business plan in place, Ann was able to hit the ground running to quickly develop her business into a shopping staple in the region.

Ann’s passion for her business benefits customers, employees, and the community at large. By working closely with vendors to ensure only the highest quality products and by providing creative opportunities for customers to engage with the shop through private parties, appreciation nights, and extended business hours, Arktana emphasizes customer care.

To learn more, visit


Arktana recruited two talented young men to help promote men’s shoes.


Camas, WA —  100+ Women Who Care Clark County will hold its first meeting Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at Salud! Wine Bar in Camas.

The idea behind the “giving circle” is to bring together women who are committed to donating $100 every three months. Those funds are then distributed directly to one nonprofit group nominated and voted upon by the members at the quarterly meeting.

“I’ve heard from so many inspired women that they want to do something and be involved in some way in giving back to their community, yet their time and funds are limited,” says 100+ Women Who Care founder Christie Ribary.

“We now have a simple mechanism to make a huge impact, but it requires very little in terms of time and dollar commitment. My goal in our first year is 100 members donating $100 four times a year, giving $40,000 to nonprofit organizations in Clark County.”

The group is open to all women. Teams are also welcome to split the cost. Members who attend and contribute at the gatherings are eligible to nominate local nonprofits to be considered for the quarterly donation.

Ribary’s mother, Cheryl Craig, will be speaking at Wednesday’s kickoff event. Craig started a 100+ Women Who Care in Boulder, Colorado, which has raised more than $100,000 for charitable causes. According to Ribary, there are 500 chapters around the nation.

The meeting takes place Wednesday, February 7 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Salud! Wine Bar in Camas. There is an optional social hour before the meeting from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. More information is available at



This new group kicks off on February 7.

Everyone loves a wedding so we are especially excited to announce that for the First Friday in February, 2018, we will be hosting a wedding in Downtown Camas where everyone gets to be a part!!

It will be a “Wedding Affair to Remember”! Nick Calais and Tami Weidert—who are big First Friday attenders and ambassadors—will say “I do” in front of friends and family and the community is invited as well! Nick and Tami have been to each First Friday since April 2015 and have made so many friends and connections over the years. They have a true heart for our community and what First Fridays bring and they want to share the First Friday experience with all their friends and family—and want you to come, too!

The theme each February traditionally has been “A Chocolate Affair to Remember” so for Feb 2018 it will be “A Wedding Affair to Remember!”

It will be a giant downtown wide wedding celebration! The ceremony will be held at the Liberty Theatre at 2pm (community is invited!). Our Camas Mayor Scott Higgins will marry them. Tami will carry a paper bouquet (including toilet paper of course!) in honor of our town’s heritage. Cake Happy will provide the wedding cake and food from all the downtown restaurants will be served at an outside celebration with lighted tents, music, dancing, games and more! Your Party & Event Center is generously sponsoring the event. There will be wedding themed specials and activities all through town.


Photo courtesy of Downtown Camas Association.

A Wedding Show with local vendors will be set up in Journey Church, 304 NE 4th, from 5-8pm as part of the theme including Your Big Day (wedding dresses, tuxedos, honeymoon travel planning), truly scrumptious (wedding cakes and treats), blu box art (photography), Whispering Waters Farm (wedding event venue), Chickabloom Floral Studio (wedding bouquets and flowers), Whimsy Chocolates, Mandi MOON artistry (certified makeup artist), Your Party & Event Center (wedding rentals), Formal Flush (luxury portable restrooms) and more.

Even more amazing fun in the works for the Nick & Tami – The Wedding Affair to Remember!! Not only will there be the wedding, there will be treats too! truly scrumptious will provide an array of deliciousness throughout town. There will be four locations to choose from, the tent(which will be located on Cedar Street), Attic Gallery, Arktana and Journey Community Church – Brownies, cookies, rainbow krispy treats, marshmallow pops, Mini pies, Sea salt caramel apple pie, mini cupcakes and snack station and more! We can’t wait! #downtowncamaslove #hiphipcalais

For the passport activity in the evening from 5-8pm, merchants will have their wedding pictures in their shops and you get to guess the date of the wedding! There will be chocolates throughout town at merchants as well. The Liberty Theatre will show the classic film An Affair to Remember that weekend as part of the theme.

It is because of their heart and downtown engagement that we decided to do this for a First Friday event. An amazing way to celebrate two of our favorite downtown visitors and include the community in a big way! It’s going to be a First Friday to top all First Fridays and all are invited.

Information provided by Downtown Camas Association. Visit


Camas, WA — My sons looked at me funny when I told them I was attending Evening On Broadway instead of the hoops battle between Union and Camas Friday night. We’re a little short-staffed this week, so it was one or the other.

Sorry basketball players. We think you’re awesome, but we thought the choir needed some attention. We’ll get you all at the next game.

Watching these kids belt out some challenging songs, dance, act and entertain us was well worth the 2+ hours at Camas Theater. Led by Musical Director, Ethan Chessin, and accompanied by pianist Detelinka Dimitrova, “Evening On Broadway didn’t disappoint. Liz Borromeo was the choreographer.

Opening with the entire choir singing “The Circle of Life” as they walked among the audience onto the stage was dramatic, and it was introduced by actors Omar Shafiuzzaman and John Elder, who acted out a Muppet theme throughout the production — and it was their “Man or Muppet” performance mid-way that stole the show. They can sing, dance, and act.

See their entire performance on our YouTube page:

In total, the youth performed 26 songs from popular Broadway productions, such as “The Lion King,” “Newsies,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Funny Girl,” “Grease,” “La La Land,” and more.

It was refreshing to see the range of talent, and see kids who wrestle and swim for Camas sing a few tunes and dance their hearts out. It’s clear these kids have talents and gifts — and love to entertain.

We also have several clips from the performance at our Video Page.

We can hardly wait for the next Camas play!

To learn more, visit

Broadway Photo Gallery

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Camas, WA — After months of public debate, deliberation, and research, the Camas City Council moved to demolish the 64-year-old Crown Park Pool Friday during its annual planning workshop at Lacamas Lake Lodge.

After Parks and Recreation Manager, Jerry Acheson, made his department’s final presentation on the issue, each council member addressed their concerns and opinions, and the consensus was to demolish the pool this year — to start looking toward the future of Crown Park — and to actively start planning to build a new aquatics/community center that can be used year-round (likely at a new location).

The decision ended months, if not years, of speculation about the aging pool’s fate. In 2000, the city spent $275,000 in major pool renovations and has spent tens of thousands in recent years on major repairs.

Six of the seven councilors openly advocated for a new aquatics/community center that would serve the greater community.

The motion to demolish gives the city’s Park and Recreation Department the direction to pursue demolition procedures, which will require finding a contractor, developing a plan, and presenting that demolition plan for the council to officially vote and move forward. Legally, the pool’s fate needed to be decided by May 2019, given Clark County ordinances that require unused public facilities, such as the pool, to be demolished or renovated.

“My preference is to start demolishing it,” said City Councilor, Bonnie Carter. “I would be geared toward doing that this summer. Sixty-four years is a good life cycle.”

City Councilor Shannon Turk concurred — “I agreed with demo-ing it. I prefer a new pool that helps the students. And it does need a community center built with it.”


From left: Camas Schools Superintendent Jeff Snell; City Administrator Pete Capell; City Councilor Shannon Turk; City Councilor Bonnie Carter; and City Councilor Steve Hogan.

The councilors acknowledged they need to move swiftly on this project so that the fate of the Crown Park master plan isn’t left in limbo. Although planning specifics about a water feature or re-development of the park were discussed, concrete plans are far from being decided.

“I’m not ready to make a firm commitment today,” said City Councilor Don Chaney. “Based on citizen input, I still feel an obligation to add a new safe place for people to swim. I don’t feel comfort in any option without knowing how to pay for it. I’m very concerned about debt service.”

City Councilor Melissa Smith said timing is critical about future plans — both for the park and to build a new aquatics/community center. She mentioned public comments from Wednesday’s Parks and Rec Commission meeting about the city not meeting the needs of a stellar swimming community that continues to grow and progress.

“I prefer some kind of a new pool, and I don’t believe Crown Park is the best location for a new community pool,” Smith said. “We need to support the swimming community. I like the idea of a splash pad for this park.”

City Councilor Greg Anderson said: “I like the recommendations made. I think we should choose a plan, do the proper funding, and then plan for a year-round aquatics center facility at a new location. I don’t want to spend any more money on the current pool. Let’s see where we want to go and then explore solutions.”

The council’s newest member, Deanna Rusch, said she learned a lot at Wednesday’s Parks and Rec meeting.

“The community wants a new pool,” said Rusch. “We have high-caliber swimmers and divers, and I would love to see a new pool here.”


Crown Park Pool.

City Councilor Steve Hogan advocated for the demolition, as well, but also said the city needs to move quickly to make sure the needs of the community are met without years of delay in new construction.

“As far as the fate of Crown Park,” said Hogan, “I could go either way with a leisure pool or a water feature. The Parks Board has done a lot of work, and we owe it to them to get something moving.”

His fellow councilors agreed about moving quickly to take care of community needs.

While the Parks and Rec Department moves forward with demolition planning, Peter Capell, the City Administrator said he will actively work with committees to plan for a new pool/community center, along with securing property, designs, partnerships and finance options.

Planning for the Crown Park, in general, is by no means set in stone. The council expressed interest in having more public forums and debates on how to proceed. Today’s actions simply allow the city to make demolition plans for the pool.

“We need to have many detailed discussions with Camas, Washougal and the Port of Camas-Washougal about an aquatics center resolution,” said Smith. “Let’s do this in the next six months.”

To learn more, visit

Photo Gallery

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CAMAS, WA — The Camas City Council is meeting today and Saturday for its annual planning conference at Lacamas Lake Lodge. The seven-member council and Camas Mayor, Scott Higgins, will meet today from 1-5 pm, and again Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm.

The workshop proceedings are open to the public, but there isn’t time set aside for public comment.

Today’s agenda:

Opening Statement (1 pm)

Crown Park Master Plan (1:30 pm)

Details: A presentation about the Crown Park Pool Assessment, as well as the preferred conceptual Master Plan for Crown Park.
Presenter: Jerry Acheson, Parks & Recreation Manager
Recommended Action: This item is for Council’s information and discussion.


Aerial view of Crown Park.

Citizen Relationship Management (CRM) System Overview (2:30 pm)

Details: A presentation about CRM, a tool for citizens and staff to place service requests and to track the work until it is completed. You will see how service requests can be made, the various types of service items and how the work can be monitored and tracked.
Presenter: Sherry Coulter, Information Technology Director
Recommended Action: This item is for Council’s information only.

Recordkeeping Refresher (2:45 pm)

Details: The City Clerk and Deputy City Clerk will be presenting some refreshers and reminders related to Open Public Meetings and Public Records. With ever-changing laws related to records management and governmental transparency, this will be a helpful reminder for both Council and Staff.
Presenter: Jennifer Gorsuch, City Clerk and Bernie Bacon, Deputy City Clerk Recommended Action: This item is for Council’s information only.

East County Fire & Rescue (ECFR) Functional Consolidation Discussion (3:30 pm)

Details: The Council and ECFR Commissioners have held workshops to discuss the possibility of a Functional Consolidation. The previous presentation material is attached for your review. Staff does not intend to discuss the presentation again, unless there are questions. This item will give the Council, ECFR Commissioners and Council Members from the City of Washougal the opportunity to discuss the proposal. Staff will provide a brief introduction, then turn it over to the elected officials.


Saturday’s Planning Agenda

The planning workshop will resume on Saturday.

Council Member Orientation (9:15 am)
Details: This is an orientation for new Council Members and a refresher for existing Council Members. The topics will include the role of a Council Member, Open Public Meetings, Public Records and a few other topics.
Presenter: Shawn MacPherson, City Attorney
Recommended Action: This item is for Council’s information only.

Community Survey Review (10:00 am)
Details: Staff will review the 2017 Community Survey results to assist Council in prioritizing needs from the Level of Service discussion.
Presenter: Pete Capell, City Administrator
Recommended Action: This item is for Council’s information only.

Strategic Plan – Level of Service (10:45 am)
Details: The presentation will begin with a demonstration of Open Performance, a tool that will demonstrate progress against measurable goals. Then each department will give a brief overview of its current level of service. Each department head will discuss the department’s level of service and measurements in more detailed presentation at future Workshops. It will take several months to complete all of the level of service presentations, so there will be a summary review after all of the presentations and staff will ask the Council Members to prioritize service levels in advance of developing the 2019-2020 City budget.
Presenters: Department Heads
Recommended Action: This item is for Council’s information only.

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A well attended Parks and Recreation Commission meeting Wednesday night at Lacamas Lake Lodge was filled with varied opinions, emotional pleas, and ideas that demonstrated a city torn between preserving the local landmark, Crown Park Pool, and looking toward the future.

At issue is the 64-year-old Crown Park Pool, which is shut down because it doesn’t meet current health codes. At minimum, it would cost $300,000 to meet code, but that would only be a short-term band-aid. To get the pool functioning properly would cost the city $2.2 million — and it would still remain a summer pool that’s operational three months a year.

Parks and Recreation Commission President, Randy Curtis, said he was pleased with the 25-person turnout to view the proceedings.

“We’re pleased to have this kind of turnout,” he said. “The social media folks got a lot information out and that’s a good thing. Now we’re dealing with specific recommendations, and there will be time for public comments.”

Camas Parks and Rec Manager, Jerry Acheson, then presented the attendees with the Crown Park Pool history and master plan. He said the pool has undergone maintenance over the years, and that the public has responded to surveys on prospective plans.

The one consensus: The public wants some kind of pool.


Twenty-five people attended the Parks and Rec meeting.

He reviewed specific plans calling for a leisure pool, a water feature, and simply renovating the existing pool. What would the impact on traffic be at Crown Park with a new leisure pool? Not good, he said.

“We asked is this the right location for a new pool?” He said. “The answer was no. We thought ‘where would we build a new pool?’ Then we thought we should just focus on Crown Park. So, we reviewed adding a water feature and modernizing the park.”

After extensive research, Acheson said in November the commission recommended to City Council an option that Crown Park have no pool, but rather a new look and water feature. The cost: $3.2 million.

They also urged the council to start a new process to build a new pool in Camas — at a location not yet determined.

Pool — Public Comments

After Acheson’s presentation, 13 residents commented — and their opinions varied from building a new, state-of-the-art facility to preserving the Crown Park Pool. One thing was clear — there wasn’t enthusiasm for a water feature at Crown Park.

Colleen Purwins said she represented her daughter, Jacqueline, who’s a diver for Camas.

“My daughter wants a new pool facility with a 1-meter diving board so kids who want to learn how to dive can do so without having to train in Beaverton. She’s even willing to help out,” said Purwins.

Wayne Patterson advocated for a new pool and recreation center, and said he experienced the positive side of building such a facility in an Alaska town, where he lived previously.

Shannon Larson expressed her love of teaching kids how to swim.

”We can build a facility that can be profitable — or at least break even,” said Shannon Larson. “But what’s closest to my heart is to make sure that kids know how to swim …”


A Camas resident expresses her opinion.

Anastasia McDonnell advocated for the pool to stay, and doesn’t want a water feature.

”I want to preserve the current feel,” McDonnell said. “It’s the crown jewel of our town.”

Charity Feb said: “We love Crown Park Pool. It’s great to be able to afford this — to have it for the kids.”

Several others expressed similar sentiments — wanting to keep the pool and preserve the current look of Crown Park. Nobody was in vocal support of a water feature.

Niki Cantrell made a very emotional plea for a new state-of-the-art aquatic center.

”I have a swimmer,” Cantrell said. “For some kids, swimming is their only sport — it’s what they can do. We have a whole slew of kids in this town who travel extensively to compete, and I think this town needs an indoor/outdoor facility. We need to have something year-round so the whole community can enjoy it.”

City councilor Bonnie Carter reemphasized that “even if we have the money to repair it, just to meet code, the Crown Park Pool would still be closed for repairs this summer.”

Curtis said the city administrators heard from 20 residents via email on Wednesday alone advocating “for a new state-of-art pool.”

What’s next?

Curtis said the City Council will hear all public input from the meeting, along with recommendations, and they will decide how to proceed. Three city councilors were present at Wednesday’s meeting.

The City Council will meet this weekend at Lacamas Lake Lodge for their annual planning meeting to discuss this issue. The public is invited to attend, however, there is no opportunity for public comment.

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