Camas mayor pinpoints May 31 for resignation

Paul Dennis plans to lead the Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association

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Paul Dennis

Paul Dennis announced last night that his last day as Camas mayor will be May 31, as he resigns to accept the position of director of the newly formed Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association.

It was announced by the Port of Camas-Washougal last week that after a process that involved interviews with three finalists, Dennis was the top choice to lead the organization. At that time Dennis — principal of Cascade Planning Group — said he planned to leave the mayor’s seat.

During his announcement last night Dennis, 42, thanked his friends and family who have supported him during his nearly eight years as mayor and six years on city council, and the City Councilors and city employees with whom he has worked.

“I look forward to serving the city [of Camas] and Washougal in my new role,” Dennis said, visibly emotional. “I know I leave the city in good hands.”

City procedures dictate that as of June 1 Mayor Pro-tem Scott Higgins will take on the administrative duties of running the city until the City Council officially appoints a replacement to serve the remainder of Dennis’ term, which expires on Dec. 31. The appointment will occur following a formal public application and interview process.

Higgins announced Thursday that he intends to run for the mayor’s seat during the upcoming election.

The Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association will have a strictly local focus, aimed at expanding existing businesses and bringing new businesses and jobs to the east Clark County area. It will exist independently, have a board of directors, and be governed by three entities — the cities of Camas and Washougal, and the Port of Camas-Washougal.

A draft inter-local agreement between the three agencies to officially create the CWEDA will be discussed during a joint meeting on Monday, at 4 p.m., at the Camas-Washougal Municipal Court building, located at 89 “C” St., in Washougal. The final document is then scheduled to be presented for approval during separate meetings of the Camas and Washougal City Councils on Monday, June 6, and by the Port of Camas-Washougal Commission on Tuesday, June 7. A contract between the Port, as the lead agency in the endeavor, and Dennis would then be drawn up and subsequently approved by the Port Commission.

As part of the 2011 budgets, the Port has earmarked $100,000 toward the effort, while Camas and Washougal will contribute $50,000 each.