The city of Camas’ Louis Bloch Park, home to one of the oldest baseball diamonds in Washington state, will soon have a new set of bleachers.
“The bleachers in this area were overused and at the end of their life,” Camas Parks and Recreation Director Trang Lam told members of the Camas Parks and Recreation Commission on May 24. “They were unsafe. So, we took them out.”
Ever since, Lam said, city staffers have been carrying picnic tables over to the historic, 3.85-acre park at 160 N.E. Joy St., which has been the home of the Camas-Washougal Babe Ruth League since 1958.
“We’ve been carrying over the picnic tables for families, and then we take them back in,” Lam said. “It’s a lot of work.”
The city has been working on upgrading the park’s facilities — improving access to the park’s restrooms and, most recently, beginning the installation of the new aluminum bleachers.
Lam told the Commission on May 24 that the bleachers would be installed in the coming weeks.
The bleacher area will be closed for a couple weeks, but the field will still be usable and families can bring lawn chairs to sit during practices or games, Lam said.
“By mid-June, we should have the new bleachers there,” she said.
The historic Louis Bloch Park is named after Louis Bloch, the former chairman of the Crown Zellerbach Corporation, which owned the Camas paper mill when it gifted the land to the city of Camas in 1940.
In July 2018, the park accommodated thousands of fans for the Pacific Northwest Babe Ruth Regional Tournament featuring 10 Babe Ruth all-star teams from the Northwestern United States and Canada. Many of the tournament-goers commented on the park’s luxurious fir trees, which provided some much-needed shade during a summertime heatwave that coincided with the baseball tournament.
“Man, this place has character,” one tournament fan told The Post-Record in 2018. “(It’s) such a cool design — the big hill in the back, the trees, the lights. Louis Bloch Park is just beautiful.”
Lam said the City was careful to protect the root system of about five trees near one set of bleachers.
“We designed a different system to fit over the trees,” Lam told Commission members on May 24. “It will impact the root system less … that doesn’t mean the trees will live forever. Someday, we’ll have to do replacements. But we were thinking about shade and that’s the one area that has shade.”