Candidates for Camas council Position No. 2 share their views

Balancing growth, resources key issue for city, they say

By Adam Littman, Columbian Staff Writer

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Construction started in May on a sewer expansion project that is intended to facilitate growth in the area north of Lacamas Lake in Camas.

It’s a project that has been in the works for years, and the additional 4.5 miles of new sewer pipeline is expected to bring more than 1,000 new residences to the city, along with areas set aside for industrial businesses and a new school.

The candidates for Camas City Council’s Position No. 2 know how important the project is for the future of the city’s growth, something multiple candidates highlighted as a major issue facing the city.

“The city of Camas will continue to grow as people from the larger metro areas move outward,” Amanda Stamness, one of three candidates for the position, wrote in an email. “All the city can do is attempt to anticipate the amount of growth, make sure the infrastructure can support future growth and design the city in a manner that maintains the existing quality of life, while minimizing the impact of said growth on crime rates.”

Councilor Melissa Smith, running for her fourth term, was part of the group that worked on the plan for development north of Lacamas Lake.

“The Lacamas Lake growth expansion has been on the books for years and citizens are now seeing some of the development starting now,” Smith, who was appointed the council in 2004, wrote in an email. “The area needs to be developed so as to enhance the city and be an extension of our core values, needs and vision.”

The third candidate for the position, Emilia Brasier, did not respond to requests to comment for the story. In the Clark County voters’ pamphlet, she wrote that the city needs a “solid plan for the continued development of our city as it grows. We need to focus on drawing in and retaining families, as well as people past their child-rearing years.”

When asked about the biggest issue facing Camas, both Stamness and Smith gave similar answers.

“It is my feeling the most challenging issue facing any governmental body is how to balance the services and amenities the citizens desire with the funds available,” Stamness wrote, adding that she would want to want to talk to citizens to see what city services are important to them and then see if the city is meeting those needs.

Smith wrote the city needs “to be able to meet the community needs with the resources we have, build financial sustainability for Camas, ensure core infrastructure to meet our needs and to proactively manage growth.”

Stamness, who is a project director for an institutional investment team, wants to assist in managing growth through “wise financial decisions.”

Smith wrote that as a native of Camas, she remembers when the city had 6,000 residents, and she has seen some changes that bothered her. Still, she knows that growth is often mandated, and it’s up to city officials to make sure to handle it in a way that works for residents.

“We have to be good stewards/leaders and understand that growth is inevitable at times,” Smith wrote. “We are in a prosperous time right now and housing is in demand. New trends in housing are very hot topics: Aging in Place (and) ADA units are a couple examples that have recently become more prominent in discussions. If we do grow, we have to make sure that we have the city resources to do this.”