Camas mayor resigns

Scott Higgins wants more family time, will stay to deliver ‘State of Community’ address

Camas Mayor Scott Higgins admires Camas High School memorabilia on display in his office. (Post-Record files)

Camas Mayor Scott Higgins (right), wearing his Camas High letterman's jacket and holding his trademark Camas Papermakers water bottle, shakes hands with well-wishers after the Monday, June 11 city council work session, in which he announced his unexpected resignation, effective Sept. 30. Also pictured: Camas City Council members Shannon Turk (left) and Melissa Smith (center).

Effective Sept. 30, Camas Mayor Scott Higgins will no longer lead the city he has championed and served for more than 15 years.

The mayor announced his surprise resignation at a Camas City Council workshop Monday evening, later citing a strong desire to spend more time with his family.

“The reason is super easy,” Higgins, 46, said after the meeting, when a reporter asked why he chose to resign 18 months before his term ends on Dec. 31, 2019. “I have an 18-year-old and a 16-year-old and … I have spent much of my public life at meetings. In fact, my sophomore is performing at the Fifth Avenue (musical theater) awards in Seattle tonight, and I’m here. I’m missing it.”

Higgins said the amount of time he has spent in public meetings instead of at home with his children and family really hit home over the past month, when he had a chance to spend time with his 18-year-old daughter in between her college terms.

“She was only home for one month … and I was busy during much of that time,” Higgins said. “That’s when I started thinking about this.”

The mayor added that he had already decided he would not run again in 2019, despite an obvious affinity for his hometown and its Camas High Papermakers teams — the mayor was wearing his Camas High letterman’s jacket and drinking from his red and black Papermakers water bottle during the Monday work session to discuss city service needs.

“The city of Camas is strong and will continue to be strong. We have a very good city administrator, good department heads and a very strong and experienced city council. The city will go on being a great place to live, work and play. I have no doubt about that,” Higgins said at the Monday meeting.

Higgins, a Camas High graduate and well-known supporter of the award-winning Camas Papermaker football team, started his public service in 2002, when he was elected to the Camas City Council.

When former Camas Mayor Paul Dennis resigned in June 2011 to head the Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association, the Camas City Council unanimously appointed Higgins, then mayor pro tem, to lead Camas. Voters elected him to his first full term as mayor in November 2011 and then again in November 2015.

The mayor said he wanted to stay on for a few more months and deliver the annual State of the Community address in September.

After Higgins’ departure on Sept. 30, Mayor Pro Tem Don Chaney will serve as the city’s mayor until the council appoints a new Camas leader. That person will serve as mayor until the results of the November 2019 general election have been finalized.

In his resignation announcement Monday, Higgins said he believes his hometown will continue to thrive after he leaves public office.

“I believe Camas is better today than it was when I started my service,” Higgins said. “I am proud to have played a small role in making that happen.”

After announcing his resignation to the city’s department heads and city council members, Higgins said he was looking forward to spending more time with his family.

“And now I’ll say what I would normally say, and that’s ‘Go, Papermakers,'” Higgins said.