Issues in Camas

​​Improvements needed on Camas City Council

 

  • Prioritized spending of resources on necessary services for the majority of residents, maintaining roads, fire, police, water quality     Some city streets are in need of repair, others are well maintained.

  • New Roundabout planned for intersection of Lake Road and Everett 

  •  At the Oct. 7 City Council workshop, a plan for artwork in the new middle of the road sections created by the roundabout was presented. It was suggested that pedestrians crossing the road might want to take a selfie next to some artistic feature as cars whizzed by. Click the link to see the plan for the traffic roundabout and pedestrian crossing.

  • City Hall and lobby remodel are top priority in Camas. Recently, the former Mayor and Council approved spending over $ 2.6 Million to purchase and renovate a City Hall annex downtown. Funds are also allocated for another city Hall lobby remodel. Is that top priority for residents?

  • Competitive bids for consultants helps insure we get the best services for our limited funds.Camas has approved no-bid contracts for professional services consultant work for many years. Competitive bids are considered best practices, so this is an area for possible improvement. For an explanation of how some city contracts are awarded, see the city contracts page.

  • Flouride Free city drinking water. The city has added flouride to our drinking water based on a decision made decades ago.  Washougal, North Clark County, Portland, Clackamas County, OR and cities across America do not add flouride to the water . Recent research has shown that flouride can be harmful, especially to infants and children. Let residents choose for themselves. 

    • At the Oct. 7, City Council meeting, The water system plan was also presented to the City Council, and comments were made about the addition of flouride to Camas water. At the Nov. 18 meeting, former Mayor Turk and the council awarded the water contract for the city, and flouride will continue to be added. To watch the Oct. 7 meeting, Click Here. See articles below in News and Views

  • Modify the street tree requirement  in the planter strips between the sidewalk and road. When the trees grow, the sidewalks pop up as a serious tripping hazard, and residents have to pay for the repairs. If a vehicle is parked on the street next to a tree, vehicle doors are blocked.

  • Planter strips and street trees are mentioned in Chapter 17.19 - DESIGN AND IMPROVEMENT STANDARDS  

  • Table 17.19.040-1 Minimum Private Street Standards       Table 17.19.040-2 Minimum Public Street Standards

  • This is the landscape requirement    Section F. Landscaping. 1.

  • "Each dwelling unit within a new development shall be landscaped with at least one tree in the planting strip of the right-of-way, or similar location in the front yard of each dwelling unit, with the exception of flag lots and lots accessed by tracts. Required trees shall be a minimum two-inch diameter at breast height (dbh) to create a uniform streetscape (dbh is four and one-half feet above the ground as measured from upside of tree)."     See also  12.02.25 - Street tree permit required for removal.

  • Transparent and accountable government. Open Public Records readily available on a timely basis. Open Public Meetings Act followed.

  • City ethics policy should apply to the mayor and council. Former Camas Mayor Paul Dennis helped to  budget $50,000 from Camas City funds for a Camas-Washougal Economic Development group, (CWEDA) and worked to form the new group. The Post-Record reported, "Paul Dennis announced last night that his last day as Camas mayor will be May 31, as he resigns to accept the position of director of the newly formed Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association."   He was hired to lead CWEDA on June 22, 2011.

 

  •  "Dennis and his consulting company — Cascade Planning Group — were selected last week to head the proposed Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association, which will work with Camas, Washougal and the Port of Camas-Washougal to retain and attract business to the area. The port will use $100,000 from its 2011 budget toward the economic development group. Camas and Washougal will each kick in $50,000 apiece.  Camas’ policies forbid city employees from doing business with the city within a year of leaving their employment. No such policy exists for elected officials." full story link

  • The CWEDA  budget initally allowed for a maximum salary of $132,000, plus travel expenses.   The CWEDA website explains, "CWEDA is your business “concierge,” providing assistance in whatever area is necessary for you to flourish here. We will put to use our partnerships and understanding of the area to move your business plans forward."  Cascade Planning Group contracted with CWEDA. As for other Cascade Planning contracts, that is not listed at the CWEDA website.

 

  • According to the April and May 2019 CWEDA board minutes, Paul Dennis announced his resignation from CWEDA in April 2019, and it was effective May 31, 2019. Nevertheless, the official CWEDA website, www.cweda.org,  still shows Paul Dennis, President/CEO  "Paul worked 12 years as an economic planning consultant with E.D. Hovee & Company. There he earned the opportunity to take on a wide range of responsibilities including, economic research and analysis, forecasting, market and financial feasibility evaluations, impact assessments, strategic planning, policy analysis, development programming, transportation planning, master planning, industrial and commercial site selection and project management. In 2003, Paul founded Cascade Planning Group and proceeded to successfully complete a number of complex assignments for a variety of large-scale clients." 

 

  • At it's inception CWEDA was scrutinized  for being outside of established controls for local government. CWEDA was not considered  subject to regular state audits. However, the December 2018 CWEDA minutes note about the state audit, "Back in 2016, the Board was asked how was CWEDA classified. This was part of a State audit of the Port. There were discussions with the auditor and, at that time, the Board had strong feelings that CWEDA was a private intently, acting like a public entity. We were later advised by a Seattle attorney that we ARE a public entity and subject to state audit.". A state mini audit on CWEDA was  reviewed at the February 2019 CWEDA Board meeting.

      The audit-lite is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.

  

  • Prior to CWEDA the City of Camas Community Development department responded to inquiries from prospective companies considering locating in Camas. Prior to CWEDA,  the City of Camas  funded the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC), and will fund CREDC in 2020.(CREDC funding may have been continuous.) CREDC   hired a Vice President of Business Development in 2019. The Port of Camas Washougal hired a business development manager in September 2019 at a salary of $100,000. The City of Camas is now considering hiring an economic development position starting at $ 125,000 plus local benefits and state retirement. The CWEDA board will meet Wednesday, Dec 11 at 3:30 at the Port of Camas Washougal administrative center, and will likely discuss whether to continue CWEDA or not.

  • in February 2019, " Builders, parade sponsors, local officials and members of the Building Industry Association of Clark County (BIA) gathered at the 2019 Parade of Homes site, the new Dawson’s Ridge development in southwest Camas, for a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 28...Paul Dennis, the president of the Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association and project planner behind The Parklands at Camas Meadows mixed-use development, said The Parklands was “a stellar Parade of Homes site” in 2018 and drew record-breaking crowds. Dennis said he expects a similar outcome from the 2019 Parade of Homes at Dawson’s Ridge." Post-Record full story link

  •  December 2018 CWEDA board minutes,

  • "Financial Statement This statement focuses on 2017 and 2018. Paul is still working on 14, 15, 16, but should have it completed this month.Going forward, the statement will be produced on a quarterly basis and show actual vs budget figures. It will track the starting fund balance and the ending reserves. This will allow the Board to know where we are financially, so the budget can be amended if an opportunity comes up. This is all a part of the effort to be more formal and improve our functionality. The Board agreed to this Financial Statement format."

  • March 2019 CWEDA board minute

  • "Financial report The financial report is similar to the one presented last month. Paul has added the beginning bank balance for each year. As directed by the Exec Committee the Board will be receiving monthly statements. Paul provided January, February and March 2019. As of 2pm Tuesday, March28, the bank balance is $189,201.84. This total does not account for outstanding invoices for Camas and Washougal partnership. ...Paul indicated he will provide the executive committee with annual financial statements that show beginning fund and ending fund balances for years 2012 -2016. Monthly payable reports–Paul presented the monthly payable report. The only regular payable is for standard web and email related services. This is an approximate $80 per month expense. The bulk of expenses are Paul and Rene and any other contractors. Cascade Planning Group currently has outstanding invoices of $19,400. This is $9,700 each for February and March 2019.There is a partial amount still owed for January, but the bookkeeper was providing Paul the estimate for next month’s payables. Paul described the new invoice payment process. He will submit the invoices well in advance of meetings. They will go to Larry (Secretary/Treasurer) and then to Jen (CFO) to double check. Then to executive committee for review before coming to the board for approval. If Board approves, Larry will write a check and submit it. Jen will be new CFO and help watch payables. As money flows out of CWEDA we have multiple layers of eyes on the financials...

  • PSA(Professional Services Agreement) with CWEDA and Cascade Planning Group- The new PSA between CWEDA and Cascade Planning Group was emailed to executive committee by Pete. He pointed out that this version has a notice for CPG to discontinue services on May 31, 2019. Under compensation it states the remaining two months of the contract will be paid at $11k per month,"

 

  • Exorbitant $78Million Pools Bond Proposition 2 on Nov. 5 ballot did not pass.

    • Expanded 2-Pool Aquatic-Events Center with gymnasium, community rooms, parking lot, and sports fields improvements-

 

  • Cost to build. ~$1 per $1000 APV, so a $500,000 house would pay ~$500 more per year in property taxes. 20 year bond, rates vary.

  • Cost to use facility. Entrance is not free. An annual family membership fee is estimated to cost ~$800 per year. Rental & use fees apply.

  • Cost to operate. The City has projected a loss of ~$850,000 per year,  The addition of a new Metro Parks Tax has been reviewed by city committees to help pay for  Aquatic Center operating losses from 2011-2019. In the past 2  1/2 years, a consultant has been meeting with a committee on when and how to introduce a Metro Parks Tax in the Camas area. At the Oct. 2 Open House, the city administrator confirmed that a Metro Parks Tax could legally be used to help pay for projected losses from an Aquatic Center.  Former Mayor Turk also said a future Metro Parks tax was possible. Turk was on the Committee reviewing the MPD tax in 2012 and stated she would support a MPD tax when she ran for  city council in 2011.

  • Terrible location near Lacamas and Fallen Leaf Lakes, with daily traffic jams and student drivers. Let’s preserve this natural area with 3 beautiful lakes, waterfalls, and trails that residents and visitors treasure. 

  • Government unfairly competing with established local businesses. Where will the memberships come from to fund a new Aquatics Center?  From existing fitness clubs, pools, martial arts gyms, yoga /dance studios, etc, all of which could be pushed out.

  • Our Mayor and Council approved  a contract that  with a company to inform residents about the bond.  The work done seems to promote the $78 Million bond , AKA Proposition 2 on the Nov. 5 ballot.  Dubious  claims at the dedicated Aquatics Center website suggest that property taxes could decrease, even if voters approve Prop 2.   A formal complaint against the City regarding the use of public facilities to promote  a ballot measure has been filed with the WA State PDC. The city response is filed by the firm that acted as bond counsel for the city and would make money on work related to the $78 Million bond  if Prop 2 passed. The contact for the firm is listed on the Camas Ordinance on the $78 Million Bond on the ballot

  • Camas already has meeting spaces, plus gyms in every school, available for rent. Camas already has 2 community centers. See  article in News and Views

  • Prop 2 includes artificial turf and lighting for several parks, which should be considered separately.

 

NEWS & VIEWS

Communities that Have Rejected Fluoridation Since 2010

"Most developed nations, including the vast majority of western Europe, do not fluoridate their drinking water. Cities that do not fluoridate their water include: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Basel, Berlin, Copenhagen, Florence, Frankfurt, Geneva, Glasgow, Helsinki, London, Montreal, Oslo, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Tokyo, Vancouver, Venice, Vienna, and Zurich.

Since health authorities in North America have refused to let go of the fluoridation paradigm, local communities are doing the work for them. Since 2010, over 240 communities have rejected the practice, including large communities like  Calgary, Alberta (pop. 1.3 million), Windsor, Ontario (pop. 279,000), Portland, Oregon (pop. 900,000), Wichita, Kansas (pop. 385,000), and Bucks County, Pennsylvania (385,000)."

Federal Lawsuit Against Forced Water Fluoridation Proceeds

"In 2015, the federal government finally admitted that Americans were overdosed on fluoride, mainly due to municipalities adding fluoride to tap water.

Fluoride has been implicated in neurological diseases such as Autism and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Over the past few years, several municipalities have voted to stop automatic fluoridation of municipal drinking water, as it basically amounts to forced drugging of an entire population against their will. Large cities like Portland and Dallas were among the first to take measures to stop the practice.

A list of cities that have acted to stop forced water fluoridation since 2009 can be found at the Fluoride Action Network here.

Today in 2018, the Fluoride Action Network (FAN) has a federal lawsuit in place against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) demanding a ban on forced water fluoridation nationwide. "

 

Incumbent City Councilor Ward 3, Position1 Supports $78 Million Aquatics-Events Center near Lakes

"...of the 12 options presented to council showing different configurations of community centers, field improvements and even a new sports field complex, he thought “the full meal deal” — building a larger community center with a recreation and competition pool as well as a gymnasium and several community spaces — made the most sense.

“It’s a big ask, but there’s a lot in this ask,” Anderson said.

The councilman added that, if voters approve the bond proposition in November, he would like to see the community center built on a 6.3-acre piece of city-owned property located on the south side of Lake Road, across from the entrance to Camas’ Heritage Park near Lacamas Lake.

“I’d like to see us work with the location we have now,” Anderson said. “That lake — both lakes — are part of (Camas).”

for full report by the Camas Post-Record, Click Here

 

Do We Really Need More Events and Meeting Space?

Proponents of the massive $78 million pool bond are quick to remind us that in addition to the giant two-pool complex, the bond will pay to construct new "meeting rooms" inside the proposed 78,000 sq.ft. aquatic center. But a quick review of the abundance of municipal and commercial event/meeting space already available in and around Camas, suggests that the current supply of mostly taxpayer funded facilities is generous. The question is, do we actually need to build more taxpayer-funded meeting space?

Below are some of the events centers and meeting spaces in the area.

The Black Pearl is a family-owned events center on the Columbia River that opened in 2018 and features panoramic views of the river and Mt. Hood on 2 levels, including outdoor decks and patios. The spectacular site is well suited for weddings and receptions, art and car auctions, retreats, fundraisers and other gatherings.  For full story  about Event centers and meeting space, Click Here