The community room at the Camas-Washougal Municipal Court building will no longer be available to the public.
According to Camas Police Chief Mitch Lackey, the facility was deemed by Municipal Court staff as being incompatible with courtroom use.
He explained that some of the issues that led to this decision included renters not properly cleaning the room after use.
“Over, and over and over again, those types of things have delayed court from starting on time,” Lackey said.
There was also concern about whether original court files and other documents were truly safe.
“It was worrisome about the security of the building, since it was open to the public,” Lackey said.
Once it was decided that the community room should be closed, a series of steps needed to be taken.
The Port of Camas-Washougal purchased the building and property from Clark Public Utilities about 14 years ago. At the time, the purchase agreement stated that the community room was to remain available to the public for at least 25 years, unless a significant amount of additional public meeting space became available in the community or a fee was paid.
About a week ago, Lackey said Port officials approached the Clark Public Utilities Commission about being released from the stipulation it was bound to in the original agreement. With the knowledge that several new meeting rooms have since opened in the area, the Commission agreed.
“We now have something like 30,000 square feet of community room space that was not originally available,” Lackey said.
Use of the room had been in steady decline over the years with a current average of about three to four rentals per month, mostly for small events including birthday parties, wedding receptions, soccer parties and other family gatherings.
Other meeting room options in the community now include Camas Fire Station 42, 4321 N.W. Parker St.; the Camas Police Department, 2100 N.E. Third Ave.; Camas Public Library, 625 N.E. Fourth Ave.; Camas Community Center, 1718 S.E. Seventh Ave.; Washburn Performing Arts Center at Washougal High School, 1201 39th St.; Washougal Community Center, 1701 “C” St.; and the AWPPW Union Hall, 514 N.E. Dallas St., in Camas.
Through a contract with the cities of Camas and Washougal, Clark County operated the Camas-Washougal Municipal Court up until January when Camas and Washougal took over the operation. Camas now leases the building from the Port.