Incumbents Smith and Hogan keep seats on Camas council

Challenger urges Smith to remember advisory votes




Melissa Smith

Steve Hogan

In Camas, the incumbents were winners during Tuesday’s general election.

Council members Melissa Smith and Steven Hogan won their contested races, while Shannon Turk, running unopposed, received 97.6 percent of the vote.

Smith defeated Vanessa Amundson for Camas’ Ward 1, Position 1. She received 66.6 percent to Amundson’s 32.3 percent after Tuesday’s first ballot totals.

For a while, there were questions as to whether Smith would even face a challenger in the general election. In September, Amundson said she’d bow out of the race. Then, on Oct. 6, she abruptly announced via email that she’d restarted the campaign to “safeguard Camas citizens’ sovereign rights.” Spurring her reentry was an Oct. 1 vote Smith cast as Camas’ representative on the Regional Transportation Council.

That vote approved a list of “regionally significant” transportation projects, including Bus Rapid Transit along Fourth Plain Boulevard.

Amundson congratulated Smith on her victory Tuesday, but also offered some advice.

“This election has given me the opportunity to have my eyes open to the issues in Clark County,” Amundson said. “I hope (Smith) pays attention to the advisory votes in the county.”

Transit issues were never a major part of Smith’s campaign.

A council veteran appointed in 2004, Smith ran on a platform of maintaining the city’s small-town feel, while at the same time pushing for more business development. Last month, she said she wanted to preserve parks and green spaces. That statement came after the Camas City Council approved a development agreement for 460 acres near Lacamas Lake.

Third term for Hogan

Meanwhile, Hogan soundly defeated Ken Kakuk, a former city employee with a contentious history with city officials, for Ward 2, Position 2. Hogan received 72.1 percent of the vote.

Hogan, a 61-year-old plant manager, will enter his third term on city council. During his campaign, he emphasized bringing more large-scale businesses to the city. But like Smith, he voiced a need to keep Camas quaint.

Although Kakuk didn’t mount a visible campaign, Hogan treated the election like any other.

“You’re not running against somebody,” Hogan mused Tuesday, after the election results were announced. “You’re running for a reason.”

That reason, he added, came down to underlining the city’s need for “smart growth.”

In order to achieve that goal, Hogan said, the city will have to work alongside the school district.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to work hard to improve Camas,” he said. “I appreciate the overwhelming support I had.”