C-W officials look to form economic development commission

Community encouraged to attend Monday meeting

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Elected officials from the cities of Camas and Washougal, and the Port of Camas-Washougal are hoping local residents and business leaders will turn out for the next joint economic development meeting.

The event, set for Monday, Sept. 20, at 4:30 p.m., at the Camas Public Library, will be highlighted by an announcement regarding the formation of a locally focused economic development commission.

According to Washougal Mayor Sean Guard, the commission would work specifically on expanding existing businesses and bringing new businesses and jobs to the East Clark County area. It would exist independently, and would be governed by all three entities.

“It’s an effort that should be a part of what we do,” he said.

Port of C-W Commissioner Mark Lampton said from an economic development standpoint, East County needs to prepare for the future.

“The time is now, and I don’t see anything that’s negative in our approach to economic development,” Lampton remarked. “If you invest today, you’ll get the rewards tomorrow.”

January marked the first official economic development focused meeting that brought leaders from the three jurisdictions together. Since that time, representatives have met a handful of times to discuss economic development topics.

Currently, Camas and the Port of C-W contribute annually to the coffers of the Columbia River Economic Development Council, which markets the Clark County area on a broad scale with the aim of attracting new business.

This new proposed local entity would be much more focused on Camas and Washougal, but would still work with and contribute to the CREDC, Lampton said.

“We think by bringing the three entities together, we can more efficiently support our efforts via the CREDC,” Lampton said. “But we have to have focus.”

According to Camas Mayor Paul Dennis, discussion and additional details about the proposed commission will be part of Monday’s meeting. He said the goal will be to lay a “blueprint” for moving forward.

The library is located at 625 N.E. Fourth Ave.