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Pete Capell to retire as Camas city administrator

He’ll leave post effective Jan. 1; search for replacement to begin soon

By Adam Littman, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: December 13, 2019, 7:43pm

Camas Administrator Pete Capell announced his retirement on Friday, effective Jan. 1.

Capell, 63, has held the position since 2014, and will be available through March 31 to help with the transition and complete work on projects currently underway. The city will start a search for a new city administrator in the coming weeks.

“There’s a lot of change going on in the city,” Capell said. “I was just looking at all of my options. My wife and I have some plans. I’m going to still be doing some things for the city for a little while.”

The biggest recent change in the city is the election of Barry McDonnell as the new mayor. McDonnell rode a wave of anger in the city over a proposed bond for up to $78 million to build a new community center, winning a write-in campaign over then-Mayor Shannon Turk. The bond itself failed with nearly 90 percent opposition.

“Obviously, I believe the outcome of the mayor’s election was a result of Proposition 2,” Capell said. “We need to do some rebuilding. Because I was a spokesperson for the council on many things — I really was just doing my job — I ended up getting a target on my back some of the time. It has not been the most fun last quarter I’ve had.”

Prior to coming to Camas, he served as the public works director of Clark County for 17 years. In his time with the county, Capell said he was most proud of boosting morale and getting the department on track to complete projects at a more efficient rate.

With Camas, Capell said he was most proud of his work with the Lacamas Legacy Lands program, in which the city has worked to acquire and preserve lands in the North Shore area.

“We acquired the Leadbetter House with intention of restoring to its prior days of glory,” he said. “That’s going to serve this community for generations and generations. That’s pretty cool.”

Capell and Kris Capell, his wife of 41 years, plan to travel, spend more time at their house on the Long Beach Peninsula and visit their children and grandchildren.

He also said that since word has gotten out about his retirement, he’s had some offers for other opportunities. He’s going to talk about them with his wife before deciding. One thing he is sure of, though, is that he’s not going to spend his retirement in Camas.

“When I’m truly totally retired, not doing any work, I’ll sell my Camas home,” he said. “If I never have to go through a Northwest winter again, I’ll be happy. I come from a family of snowbirds. It’s always been my intention to spend my winters in Arizona or Palm Springs.”

Columbian Staff Writer