“Build it, and they will come,” is the theme from the movie, “Field of Dreams.” And it also seems like it could be a mantra of what’s happening in Camas recently. I’m not talking about building a baseball field in the middle of our hiking trails, I am referring to the different landscape taking place in our own little Shangri-la.
I’ve always thought of Camas as a little bit of a Shangri-la: A wonderful community, a landscape where beautiful nature and trails abound, and a school system that strives to produce successful human beings.
Mind you, I am aware that Camas has its issues with crime and controversies. But not everyone in Camas is happy. Turn the corner and I’m sure you’ve noticed the trees and hillsides that have been cleared to create new neighborhoods. Walking my dog through a park the other day, I overheard some people talking about displacing the deer, coyotes, and other wildlife. I wanted to reply that wildlife now qualify for first time low interest home loans, but my rational side prevailed.
Strolling through Camas Days, I thought of what a person who has never been to Camas would think. A picturesque and charming “Main Street.” People with their strollers and dogs. A fun area for kids. People throwing rolls of toilet paper in the parade. T-shirt vendors with all sorts of marijuana slogans. It shows a real slice of Americana. Is that what they would think?
There was a booth for “Camas 2035, What’s your vision of Camas in 20 years?” where people could write what they most like in our community. (I’m no math major but technically that’s 21 years). The board was filled with dozens of statements with dozens more to come. I told that enthusiastic young gal I was already living the last 20 year plan and looking forward to the next 20. Did I dare tell her that 20 years ago I was her age and we did have paved roads and computers then? Modern plumbing was all the rage.
In order to achieve the massive task of new neighborhoods, major impacts are made to the small two way streets we drive every day.
A friend who commutes to Portland every day for work, was ecstatic to find his commute during rush hour with minimal delay and smooth. Up until the last one-eighth mile to his driveway in Camas, he was trapped in a delay for 21 minutes while heavy construction equipment made its clumsy way in and out of a new site. Trapped he was, trying to go to his “happy and patient” place, to no avail.
If I ran the business that controls the orange vested road traffic controllers, I would: 1) Make sure an alternative escape route is given before one reaches the “trapped” position; 2) Make sure these workers are stand-up comedians or can sing and dance because those who are “trapped” are the best captive audience anyone could have.
I admit it. I have animosity toward all of this growth. Those wonderful trees are being cut down. The lot that has stayed empty for decades, now is being built and the view is different. Our landscape is being changed. Many of you may feel the same.
But, how can I be opposed to such growth where I was a very part of that growth almost 20 years ago? That’s when we and thousands of others moved to Camas. They built, we came, and we still love to live here. It’s a process that keeps evolving. Change is inevitable. Camas even has its very first Starbucks in the city limits. But as my son says: “Mom, it doesn’t count because it’s in a Safeway.” I guess the younger may find drive-thru a necessity. But I enjoy going into a coffee establishment and mingling in our community. Double macchiato, please.
In the July 8 issue of the Post-Record, Heather Acheson wrote about how Camas made the list of the top 10 cities for raising a family in the USA, (August issue of Family Circle Magazine). Movoto.com recently released a report that states of all cities in Washington State, Camas tied for seventh lowest in crime. These are some awesome kudos given to our community and you have to admit, it does give us Camasonians a sense of pride.
We could make dozens of top lists, I guess. But it’s no secret. We have been this good all along, and it is just now that more of the rest of the world is noticing. There is no need to try to be better, be greater, or be the absolute best. I hope as more people move to Camas, we, as a community, can convey this. I want the rest of the world to know that because that’s what Camas is all about. Where soon, the deer and coyotes will even have modern plumbing.
Margaret Svilar is a 20 year resident of Camas and a professional volunteer. She is in the process of starting a blog with her staff of dogs, deer, coyotes and squirrels.