The Camas City Council has appointed longtime Camas resident John Nohr as its newest member.
Nohr, the current fire chief of the Clark-Cowlitz Fire and Rescue district, will fill the Council’s Ward 1, Position 1 seat, left vacant after Councilwoman Shannon Roberts quit unexpectedly on July 27.
The council interviewed its top six applicants during a special meeting held Tuesday. Each of the candidates — including former Councilwoman Deanna Rusch, who lost the Ward 1, Position 1 seat to Roberts during the November 2019 general election in the wake of the city’s controversial, $78 million “pool bond” initiative that garnered the support of just 10 percent of voters — had 20 minutes to answer questions presented by Camas Mayor Steve Hogan and members of the city council.
Nohr is a Portland native who has lived in the Camas area since 1989 and leads a fire district that serves 60,000 people in a 125-square-mile area of Clark and Cowlitz counties, including La Center, Ridgefield, Woodland and the Cowlitz Indian Reservation. He said his desire to serve the public prompted him to apply for the vacant city council seat.
“I’m looking for opportunities to serve the city and to help keep the city moving forward,” Nohr said Tuesday. “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”
Asked what he believes are the top issues facing the city over the next five years, Nohr said he wants to make sure the council is focused on planning for growth and looking at Camas’ infrastructure and transportation needs, while also addressing “the chronic revenue-to-spending mismatch” between the city’s needs and its revenues.
Councilmembers and Mayor Hogan went into a closed executive session for 20 minutes following the applicants’ interviews, and then took one of two roll-call votes.
In the first roll-call vote, three council members — Greg Anderson, Marilyn Boerke and Bonnie Carter — voted to appoint Rusch to her former council seat. Councilman Tim Hein voted to appoint Camas Planning Commission member Geoerl Niles; Councilman Don Chaney voted to appoint Nohr; and Councilwoman Leslie Lewallen voted to appoint Camas Planning Commission member Gary Perman.
With no majority winner in the first roll-call vote, the council went back into an executive session for an additional 10 minutes.
When they emerged, Nohr was victorious, with all but two members of the council agreeing to appoint him to the Ward 1 seat. Boerke stuck with her vote for Rusch, while Lewallen changed her vote to Niles.
Hogan said Nohr will be sworn in to his new position at 7 p.m. Monday. Nohr will serve through Nov. 28, 2023. Voters will choose a permanent Ward 1, Position 1 council member in November 2023.