Camas City Council plans interviews for vacant Ward 1 seat

Council expects to make official appointment before Oct. 24

The Camas City Council has selected six applicants to interview for the Council’s Ward 1, Position 1 seat left vacant when Councilwoman Shannon Roberts unexpectedly resigned on July 27.

The Council went into a closed executive session following its regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 19, to discuss which of the nine applicants Council members wanted to send through the interview process.

Following the executive session, the Council took a roll call, with each Council member stating which of the nine applicants — with the exception of Hawk Rolewicz, a former commercial airlines pilot and flight instructor who currently owns Smokie River Smoked Meats in Camas, who dropped out of the running for the Council seat appointment prior to the Council’s Monday night meeting — they wanted to interview for the position.

Councilwoman Marilyn Boerke went first and selected Deanna Rusch, a former Camas City Council member who lost her Ward 1, Position 1 seat to Roberts during the November 2019 general election.

Councilman Greg Anderson went next and selected John Nohr, a longtime resident of Camas’ Ward 1, and a 35-year firefighter who now serves as the fire chief for Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue in northwest Clark County and southwest Cowlitz County.

Councilman Tim Hein named Camas Planning Commissioner Geoerl Niles, the executive director of Ascend International Ministries and lead pastor of The Calling Church, who ran in the 2021 primary election for the Camas City Council’s Ward 1, Position 2 seat.

Councilman Don Chaney then named Shawn High, another member of the Camas Planning Commission who ran for the city council’s Ward 1, Position 2 seat in 2021.

Councilwoman Leslie Lewallen selected Gary Perman, a lifelong Camas resident and businessman who also ran for Council in 2021, and advanced to the general election in November 2021, where lost the Ward 1, Position 2 seat to Boerke by a margin of 220 votes.

Councilwoman Bonnie Carter selected Samantha Horner, a native of the East Vancouver-Camas area, who moved back to Camas in 2016 and helped her sister run the Cake Happy business in downtown Camas for seven years before going to work for the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce as an administrative assistant in 2021.

The Council was set to interview the applicants on Monday, Sept. 26, but opted to change the interview date to accommodate Councilman Hein, who could not attend the interviews either in person or online, via Zoom.

The Council will announce the new interview time and date once city staff have coordinated the best date for city officials, the city attorney and the six applicants.

The selected Council member will begin their duties at the next regularly scheduled Council meeting and will serve the remainder of Roberts’ elected term, which ends on Nov. 28, 2023.

The Council had set a goal of Oct. 3, for deciding the new Council member. If the Council does not appoint someone to the vacant seat by Oct. 24, the Clark County Council will select a new council member.

Editor’s Note: This article was edited on Sept. 28, 2022, to correct inaccurate information regarding Council applicant Samantha Horner. Horner helped her sister run Cake Happy in downtown Camas. The business closed its storefront in December 2021, but still does custom orders and sells its baked goods at Cedar Street Bagels in Camas. The Post-Record strives for accuracy and regrets the error.