Letters to the Editor for Jan. 20, 2022

Camas residents must speak out against alleged hatred, ‘despicable behavior’

There is a letter circulating on social media from Eric Knox, the girls basketball coach for Portland’s Benson High School. His letter is essentially a formal complaint about the atrocious and despicable behavior exhibited by some Camas High School students at the Dec. 10, girls basketball game at Camas High. Both Benson High players, parents and Coach Knox reported repeated verbal attacks from some students, in many cases using the “N” word.

This is not Camas. This is not the type of behavior any Camas resident should support. I call on the Camas School District Board and Camas High School leadership team to take immediate action to not only punish those responsible but to take real steps toward making sure this doesn’t happen again.

It’s unfortunate that the national political scene has “normalized” this type of behavior from our previous president and many of his followers still in Congress, but, locally, we can and we must take a stand against this type of behavior.

And before I get assailed with a bunch of nonsense from the local whack-a-do groups like “Washougal Moms” or the current Clark County Republican Party leaders, this type of behavior is not your “right to free speech,” but instead is denying fellow Americans’ right to expect to attend a public event without hatred and violence being encouraged.

Silence is approval, and I cannot believe that the majority of Camas residents in any way believe this type of behavior from our high school students is acceptable. Now is the time to let our voices be heard loudly.

Please contact the Camas School District and demand action. Please contact Camas High administrators as well and ask what they intend to do to prevent this from happening again.

Rich Rogers,

Camas

Camas should pursue Arbor Foundation’s Tree City USA designation

What distinguishes Camas from its big city neighbors in the region? A vibrant small town community with a school district that all can be proud of? A gorgeous setting at the entrance of the Columbia Gorge? A former humble mill town proudly marching into the 21st century?

How about this: Camas is the only one that does not hold the Arbor Foundation’s Tree City USA award.

Portland and Vancouver have both been Arbor Foundation Tree Cities for decades and many other communities in the area have joined them. In Washington state, half of all residents live in a Tree City USA community, but the residents of Camas do not.

The Tree City USA program “provides communities with a four-step framework to maintain and grow their tree cover. It also gives them an avenue to celebrate their work, showing residents, visitors and the entire country that they’re committed to the mission of environmental change.”

Who would argue with this quote: “Native, mature landscaping and trees contribute to the city’s ecological health, supply valuable animal habitat, and enhance the community’s natural beauty”? So states the city of Camas’ 2016 Comprehensive Plan. In other words, becoming a Tree City is entirely consistent with the values and goals the city has already set for itself.

Any community in the U.S. can become a Tree City by meeting four modest requirements:

1. Maintain a tree board or department

2. Have a community tree ordinance

3. Spend at least $2 per capita on urban forestry

4. Celebrate Arbor Day

By becoming a Tree City, a community shows that it is serious about nurturing its tree canopy, protecting the environment and demonstrating that it actually walks the talk.

It is time for Camas to join with its neighbors and earn this award from the Arbor Foundation and show the world that it truly is a Tree City in word and deed.

Ken Miles,

Camas