CAMAS — In the 1980s, the Lacamas Shores biofilter was among the first of its kind in the nation. The system filters stormwater at the existing wetland before it enters Lacamas Lake using a system of French drains known as “bubblers,” filters and herbaceous grasses that collect any remaining toxins.
“It was a good design for that era,” said Camas City Administrator Pete Capell. “Unfortunately, little to no maintenance was done, and then things have overgrown. Where there was initially intended to be some grasses, trees have come up and it’s clearly not functioning the way it was intended.”
Some in the neighborhood want to clear out the trees that have grown in the wetland to restore views and, in theory, raise property values. Homes in the Lacamas Shores neighborhood list for $1 million or more.
Capell said improving a view and increasing home values can’t be used as justification to alter the wetland’s landscape.
“I understand why they are concerned about that, but that’s not a basis for just going in and cutting down trees,” he said. “If they’d been doing routine maintenance, we probably wouldn’t be in the dilemma today.”