While Camas Mayor Scott Higgins was addressing the audience at a special city council workshop Monday night, his younger daughter was performing in Seattle.
At the start of the workshop, Higgins, 46, announced that he will step down as mayor effective Sept. 30, as first reported by the Camas-Washougal Post-Record. Chloe Higgins, 16, was performing with other students from Camas High School at the 5th Avenue Awards, which honor high school theater around the state.
It was a familiar disappointment for the mayor, who has missed or been distracted from plenty of performances and family events since he was appointed to the position in 2011 after being elected to the city council in 2002. That’s why Higgins knew a year ago he wouldn’t seek re-election when his term ends in November 2019. A monthlong visit in May from his older daughter, Rachel Higgins, 18, who just finished her first year at Pepperdine University, made him rethink waiting until November 2019 to step down.
“Last year, we had our oldest graduate and leave home,” Higgins said. “It really rips your heart out. You just can’t believe that period of your life is over.”
Higgins said he’s been reflective the last year and said it was hard for him to have his daughter home for college for a month but still have to attend meetings and deal with city issues.
“I came to the conclusion that when she left, I wasn’t going to miss any more of this stuff,” he said.
Higgins said the city is in a good spot and will continue to thrive without him.
“The city of Camas is strong and will continue to be strong,” Higgins said at the workshop. “We have a good city administrator, good department heads and a very strong and experienced city council. The city will go on being a great place to live, work and play. I have no doubt about that.”
Mayor Pro Tem Don Chaney, who is serving his third term on the council, will start as acting mayor on Oct. 1. He will oversee the council’s process to appoint a new mayor, and that person will serve until November 2019, when the city will hold an election to fill the position.
While he hasn’t fully processed his time as mayor, Higgins said he was most proud of the city building Lacamas Lake Lodge, the city and Camas School District working closely together and helping transform the downtown into a destination.
Higgins, who has spent most of his life in Camas and is a graduate of Camas High School, said he was also proud the city continues to feel like a close community despite its growth.
Besides spending time with his wife, Allison Higgins, and their daughters, Higgins said he will continue his part-time work as a real estate broker with Eric Fuller & Associates after stepping down. He also previously worked as a minister for Hockinson Church of Christ, and said he’s still active in the church.
He was also excited to go to “a lot of Papermaker football games,” which is not a shock to anyone who has been in his office, which can double as a shrine to Papermaker history.
Former Camas Mayor Paul Dennis, Higgins’ predecessor, said Higgins was a great advocate for Camas.
“He was a champion for the community,” said Dennis, who is now CEO of the Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association. “He was always promoting the community and was a champion for Camas throughout the rest of Clark County.”