Camas has a new mayor

City Councilors appoint Councilwoman Shannon Turk to interim position

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Camas City Councilor Shannon Turk (left) chats with Kristen Danis at Camas Antiques on Oct. 16.

The city of Camas has a new mayor. On Wednesday night, city councilors unanimously appointed Camas City Councilwoman Shannon Turk to lead the city through Dec. 2, 2019, when a mayor elected by voters in November 2019 will take office for four years.

Turk replaces longtime Camas Mayor Scott Higgins, who resigned earlier this year, and left office at the end of September. Councilman Don Chaney served as the city’s mayor pro tem in the interim, but did not seek mayoral appointment by the council.

Turk, now in her third term on council, said she knew she was going to apply the moment Higgins told councilors he was resigning.

The new mayor has been a resident of Camas since 2002, grew up in Portland and Tacoma, Washington, and now works in Vancouver Public Works as a management analyst.

During her interview with councilors on Wednesday Nov. 14, Turk discussed what she saw as looming challenges for the city, including funding services and growth management. She noted her level of familiarity with city government as a strength.

“I’m good at what I do because I love what I do. I would love to be the mayor because I see so much opportunity,” Turk said.

The councilors’ options for mayor included two sitting city councilors — Turk and Melissa Smith — as well as two citizens who currently hold no public office, former Camas Mayor Dean Dossett and Pastor Geoerl Niles, founder of The Calling Church in Vancouver.

Councilors asked each of the four candidates the same questions during interviews on Wednesday. Turk and Smith were recused from the vote.

Councilors then went into a closed executive session to make their final decision, and came back to a public session to announce their mayoral appointment.

“I’m just really excited to continue the work of the city,” Turk said after councilmembers made the announcement.