Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Dec. 7, 2021

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Camas adds parking in crowded downtown

City leases space for about 40 spots from Georgia-Pacific mill

By , Columbian Staff Writer

Downtown Camas added some much-needed additional parking starting this week thanks to a new lease between the city and Georgia-Pacific.

The city leased space for about 40 spots from the mill, the city announced Monday. The free parking spots will be in the lot east of Northeast Adams Street and north of Northeast Sixth Avenue.

“Downtown parking is such a problem,” City Administrator Pete Capell said. “That was one of our primary desires, to help with some parking. They proposed this one, and we jumped on it.”

The city will lease the lot from Georgia-Pacific. The lease is a year-to-year one, with the city covering property taxes for the lot, which Capell said will be around $3,000 a year.

The lot has been mostly empty in recent years and is primarily used for parking and equipment by contractors who come to do maintenance work during the mill’s yearly shutdown, Capell said. The lot will still be used by contractors while they’re on-site for maintenance work.

The lease agreement is one of what is expected to be multiple new partnerships between the city and the mill.

Georgia-Pacific announced in November that it was going to shut down several operations at the Camas mill and cut up to 300 jobs, leaving between 120 and 140 employees. The layoffs are starting this month.

Capell said the city and Georgia-Pacific started discussing possible mill-owned properties in the city that the mill might want to get rid of. In November, Camas administrators provided records that showed Georgia-Pacific owns 923 acres in Camas made up of green spaces, buildings, a few ditches and a dam. The land is worth $25.1 million.

“They’ve got some property that can’t be used to build anything,” Capell said. “We’ve been in discussions with them about them donating properties like that to the city. That gets them off their tax rolls.”

The next pieces Capell and the city are looking at are some pieces along an aqueduct built from Round Lake to the mill site known as the “mill ditch.”

“We want to fill in the mill ditch and add it to our trail system,” Capell said, adding that the city plans on leaving any property it obtains along the ditch as open or green space.

Columbian Staff Writer