November Cheers & Jeers

In the spirit of giving thanks and feeling grateful this week, we’re taking a break from bad news and focusing on good-news-only in this month’s Cheers & Jeers column.

Our first Cheers goes to the Camas-Washougal Community Chest. This hyperlocal, volunteer-run, grant-funding organization has been helping Camas-Washougal individuals and families in need for 75 years. In 2021, 97 percent of all Community Chest donations went directly back to the Camas-Washougal community. The Community Chest is seeking grant applicants through Dec. 15, and continues to raise funds for its 2022 grants. For more information, visit camaswashougalcommunitychest.org.

The second Cheers goes out to the Camas girls soccer team. The new Washington state 4A champions remain undefeated, having not lost a game since the spring of 2019. Likewise, the Camas football team deserves a Cheers for its accomplishments this month. Having lost the first four games of the season to Oregon powerhouses, the Papermakers came back to win their next seven games, clinching the 4A Greater St. Helens League title on Oct. 29, and advancing to the state playoffs after a Nov. 5 win against Mount Rainier. Camas fell to the Kamiakin Braves on Nov. 20, ending the Papermakers’ state title dreams, but we’re looking forward to seeing the team on the gridiron in 2022.

The next Cheers goes to Port of Camas-Washougal for its economic impacts on the region. According to a recent study, the local Port’s industrial park, marina and airport are responsible for the creation of more than 2,000 jobs, $457.6 million in direct business revenue and $11.7 million in state and local taxes. The Port also helps create a better community by providing jobs for Clark County residents. Of the 1,190 direct jobs created by Port properties, nearly 90 percent of them are held by people who call this county home.

Up next on our Cheers list: the new mayors of Camas and Washougal, Steve Hogan and Rochelle Ramos. Voters elected both by wide margins earlier this month. Both mayors ran respectful campaigns and promised to take citizens’ concerns to heart during their tenure. Contacted on election night, Hogan, who has been a member of the Camas City Council for several years, said he was looking forward to moving away from the campaign trail and into the nuts and bolts of running the city: “”I don’t have a lot of political ambition — I just want to get in there and do the work,” Hogan told The Post-Record. That sounds like exactly what the city of Camas, which has had its fair share of political instability over the past couple years, needs going into the new year.

In that same vein, we need to give a Cheers to the re-elected members of the Camas School Board, Erika Cox and Corey McEnry, who both won their seats by wide margins in the Nov. 2 election. Cox and McEnry, along with the rest of the Camas School Board, have been besieged over the past few months by community members threatening to replace board members with candidates who might buck the state’s careful COVID-19 precautions and overturn equity and diversity programs. The Nov. 2 election proved that Camas School District voters were not the ones upset by masking mandates or equity policies. “I’m very excited. I feel that this is a message of support to keep going in the directions that we’re going — for keeping student success at the top of our decision-making, keeping students and staff healthy,” Cox told The Post-Record on election night. “I’m excited that this is the message our community has sent. They’ve said, ‘Yes, keep doing what you’re doing. Keep questioning and asking and working with the community.'”

Our final Cheers of the month goes out to the shoppers who regularly support small, locally owned businesses during the holiday shopping season and throughout the rest of the year. Figures vary depending on which study you read, but most experts agree that dollars spent in local businesses circulate locally far more than dollars spent at national chains or “big box” retailers. “Shopping small” also contributes to jobs in our own communities. According to the Small Business Administration, while big businesses shed nearly 4 million jobs between 1990 and 2015, small businesses added 8 million jobs during that same time period. The Downtown Camas Association is sponsoring several events that encourage shopping small and supporting local businesses this weekend, including a Little Box Friday event on Nov. 26 and a Shop Small Saturday event on Nov. 27. For more information, visit downtowncamas.com, or head to Camas’ downtown shopping district this weekend.

We hope you enjoyed this cheers-heavy column, and would like to wish all our readers an equally positive and gratitude-filled Thanksgiving holiday week.