Letters to the Editor: Oct. 26, 2023

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category icon Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Check facts on Crown Park pool, North Shore, PFAS in water; be wary of ‘promises tossed out to gain your votes’

The Crown Park pool was closed five years ago, but it keeps coming up in social media and being twisted in political ads. For those who didn’t live in Camas when these events unfolded, here is some context: 

  • The Clark County Health Department mandated in 2018 that major equipment replacements and repairs needed to be made before the pool could be opened for the season. 
  • The pool, built in 1954, would eventually need even more major and costly upgrades to it. 
  • The parking was street only – there were zero spots dedicated for the facility. Our town outgrew the space for rebuilding a pool at Crown Park. 
  • For the pool to be open 10 weeks a year, it simply wasn’t cost-effective to keep it open or replace it at Crown Park. 

The facts surrounding the $78 million failed pool bond from 2019 are also being misrepresented by some candidates. 

  • The overwhelming feedback from citizens to the city (via surveys, emails, etc.) was in favor of an indoor pool and recreation center, but the cost (which included major renovations to local sports fields) was way higher than we wanted to pay. 
  • From reading the city council meeting notes, councilors did not approve the bond per se, but voted to have it put to the public to vote on. In other words, they voted against letting the then-mayor build it without any citizens’ approval, which would’ve saddled us with the taxes. With no choice.  

Other issues have been oversimplified, like the algae blooms in our lakes (in a nutshell: most of the pollutants come from upstream vs. Lacamas Shores residents). The city of Camas does have a plan to make our lakes healthier, both long- and short-term, but to hear several of the same complainers, this isn’t true.  

Regarding the North Shore project, as much as I hate to see our town expanding and the trees being cut down, I know that growth is inevitable, and if we don’t plan for growth, we don’t control what would otherwise be a helter-skelter sprawl. The North Shore project lets us plan for a better flow of traffic, walkability, bike and pedestrian trails – overall, the look and feel of what Camas is.    

Regarding PFAS chemicals found in the one water well, this forever chemical isn’t easy to get rid of with “cutting-edge technology and infrastructure.” It’s not easy to get rid of or prevent its existence, period. And the city has been transparent about its presence in one of its wells. I even got an answer back within an hour when I posed a question to the contact, the Camas utilities manager, listed on the letter we received. 

Overall, please be wary of promises tossed out to gain your votes. If you have any questions about our beloved town, I urge you to ask our sitting councilors and mayor directly. I find them very open to meeting or a phone call. Seeking first to understand – directly from the source and not from social media – is crucial now, when politicking by candidates against the incumbents is far from factual. 

Patty Barnard,


Camas City Council candidate John Svilarich will make ‘balanced, careful decisions’ 

I’ve read the online posting of the many candidates for Camas mayor and the Camas City Council, and they seem to overlook the city’s essential services in favor of community “wants.” 

I liked the Camas swimming pool that used to exist in Crown Park. I would have liked to see it repaired or replaced. Where would the funds needed for that come from? Should the city have just raised our taxes to cover the cost? Should the city have floated a separate bond to the community? Describe waste versus essential. It’s a hard job. Each of us would probably have a different opinion. I would never call anyone’s want a waste. I’d need to listen to them describe their wants, find out what their needs are, and find a plan to fund a solution. For me, a waste is money spent on a solution that does not address the problem nor satisfy the want.

What do we expect from local government anyway? Generally: education, physical safety and emergency help and infrastructure. How do we pay for these governmental services? Taxes and fees. 

The unseen service government must always provide is administration. All of these essential services vie with each other for their share of the city income. The mayor and the city council are responsible for deciding how each will be properly funded and that no money is wasted. They are also the public face of the administration. Someone who would answer the phone if you called. 

Based on the online posts from the various candidates, I believe John Svilarich is clearly the best candidate for our Camas City Council. 

Please vote for John. I believe that he would listen to you and make balanced, careful decisions.

Richard Arnold IV,


Vote John Svilarich for the Camas City Council

Over the past 20 years, I have witnessed John Svilarich’s steadfast commitment to serving the city of Camas and its residents. He demonstrates an unwavering resolve with challenging fiscal management decisions, creating outcomes that meet current needs and that stabilize future budgets. Always practical and pragmatic. He provides a strategic vision for sustainable growth. John is passionate about solving problems, researching applicable information, and developing a comprehensive understanding and plan. John demonstrates the sensible stewardship the city of Camas needs.

 J. Reed,


Keep Camas School Board intact — stop ‘one agenda’ write-in candidates

Camas peeps – the school board ballots are in your mailbox and we REALLY need you to vote. It might seem silly because there is only one name per slot; however, did you know there are candidates doing last-minute write-in campaigning?

Here’s what I know: typically, write-in candidates run because they are furious with one issue. I’m not against that. Here’s what I’m against: they’re typically not as invested in the role itself, just their one agenda. 

I’d like to note there are definitely topics in the schools that I do not agree with. That is no secret. I also understand that much of what I don’t agree with requires state-level changes, not district changes. Their hands are tied. 

I also know the dedication our current school board has for our children is unmatched. They too want state level changes and need our support. They are actively putting together communities to help get our voices heard in Olympia. Watch for those invites if you haven’t seen them already.

Please help keep our current board intact and vote: Connie Hennessey, Bamini Pathmanathan and  Tracey Malone to help stop the one-agenda write-ins.

Nichole Usher,



Vote Dabasinskas for Camas City Council

I write in enthusiastic support of Stephen Dabasinskas for the Camas City Council at-large position. Stephen’s comprehensive vision, grounded in collaboration, community engagement and fiscal responsibility, is exactly what Camas needs in these times.

His commitment to crafting and refining ordinances and resolutions truly showcases his dedication to safeguarding the best interests of the electorate. Furthermore, his promise to exercise rigorous fiscal oversight will ensure that our taxpayer dollars are spent judiciously and in alignment with our community’s aspirations. Stephen’s emphasis on constituent services not only signifies that he will be our voice, but also that he will be our ears, always ready to listen and respond to our concerns. 

With his proactive approach to working hand-in-hand with city officials, and his pledge to remain engaged with the community, Stephen Dabasinskas stands out as a candidate who will make a tangible difference. 

I urge my fellow citizens to peruse Stephen’s qualifications and vision in detail at And, more importantly, I remind everyone to make their voices heard.   Please vote and ensure your ballots are turned in by Nov. 7. Together, let’s make Camas the very best it can be.

Dedre Browne,



Vote John Svilarich for Camas Council

I am urging my Camas neighbors to support John Svilarich in his bid for the Camas City Council at-large seat. 

I have had the privilege of getting to know John wholly due to John’s generosity with his time, expertise and experience as our neighborhood faced similar decision-points to his own. 

John has volunteered his time and effort all over our community in roles that highlight his care for sound decision making, careful research and the greater good. 

Leading an HOA is the most thankless gig around, and he has done it in a very large community for two decades with fiscal care and creative solutions to difficult problems. When he says something, it’s because he has the data to back it up. 

Don’t be fooled by splashy signs and nebulous promises to “fix” our town. We are facing a lot of big decisions in this community and we need to make sure we have people at the table who are representing us with the care we deserve.

Holly Jacobs, 


Vote Steve Hogan for Camas mayor; Carter, Nohr, Svilarich for Council

I used to think that anyone could and should run for political office. It’s the place where decisions are being made, after all, anyone interested should have a seat at that table, right? Maybe not.

 After moving to Camas just three years ago, I decided to jump right in and volunteer on the Planning Commission. Based on my experience, I now realize that while getting involved takes time and energy, it is critical to capable, conscientious leadership. For this reason I believe that candidates who have put in the time to volunteer, give back, and get to know their local government through community service are best equipped to serve as local leaders.

Please join me in voting for the Camas candidates who have done just this: current mayor, Steve Hogan, and city council candidates John Nohr, Bonnie Carter, and John Svilarich. They have stepped up and served within the community before running for office and will continue to serve us well.

Marlo Maroon,


Svilarich has leadership, stability needed for Camas City Council

This is a letter in support of  John Svilarich who is running for Camas City Council. John has the leadership experience and the dedication to serve our community.  

He is invested in Camas, he raised his family in Camas. He is stable and our city needs stability and cohesiveness in order to attract more industry. 

We urge you to vote for John Svilarich for Camas City Council.

John and Marian Neumann,



Vote Dabasinskas, Luikens, Perman for Camas City Council 

Regarding the Camas City Council election in Camas, citizens have a vote on (four) city council positions and the mayor in the Tuesday, Nov. 7 general election. Camas needs more fiscally responsible city councilors like Stephen Dabasinskas, Ry Luikens and Gary Perman. Examples of Camas’ financial excess are given below.

The highly paid interim city administrator Jeff Swanson agreed to work for the city for approximately 25 hours a week at a rate of $200 an hour while city leaders searched for a long-term city administrator. Swanson worked from July 9, 2021, through at least early January 2023, and was paid about $615,000.

At a Jan. 3, 2023 Camas City Council meeting, Swanson’s last meeting, he strongly urged the city council to approve a contract to hire a PR consultant from Snohomish County for up to $140,000, plus expenses, to prepare messaging, strategy and materials for a public vote on a capital bond (to replace the Camas-Washougal Fire Department headquarters and prepare for a regional fire authority vote). The proposed consultant contract specified that the consultant would “hold in strict confidence any information received in furtherance of the Consultant’s obligations under this contract related to confidential, financial or business affairs of the Client and will not reveal the confidential information provided the Consultant to any other persons, firms or organizations.”

Is that a transparent way for the city to conduct public business? City councilors Bonnie Carter and John Nohr urged the council to approve the contract that night. Councilors Cheney, Lewallen and Hein had questions about the contract, and Mayor Hogan suggested further review at a Jan. 17 city council meeting, where I urged the council NOT to use city funds to promote a bond via a highly paid consultant. The council majority did not approve that contract, yet Councilors Nohr and Carter are now actively pushing other contracts.

At the Oct. 16, 2023 City Council workshop, a consultant presented the plan to remake Crown Park for over $6 million, emphasizing an expensive new summer splash pad play area for kids. The year-round playground features were not clear in the drawings.  To save money key planned features like a sports court to replace the former basketball court, which was used nearly daily before it was removed a few years ago, may be canceled. Also on the chopping block, a picnic shelter and amphitheater to serve kids, teens and adults all year long. Costly extra wide concrete pathways are shown, paving over now open grassy areas available to throw a frisbee, or play tag. For details, See the workshop agenda packet at The Parks Department director asked for a head nod from the council to signify their approval of the plan, instead of a formal vote. It was unclear watching via Zoom whether any heads nodded or not.

Some council incumbents have not stewarded natural resources like Lacamas Lake and Round Lake as they should have.  As a result, the lakes are not as clean or accessible to residents and visitors as they were. Years of neglect make the restoration of the lake more difficult and costly. 

It’s time for new leaders on the council who will better preserve the generous outdoor areas in Camas in a fiscally responsible manner.

Margaret Tweet, 


Vote Ry Luikens for Camas City Council

I support Ry Luikens as a Camas city councilor for the following reasons:

  1. The voices of Camas residents have often been overlooked for many years. As a resident of Camas, I have felt frustrated with Camas officials not reflecting what the residents truly value. With Ry serving on the council, I have great confidence that our opinions, worries and aspirations for Camas will take center stage in every decision-making process. His genuine dedication is focused on crafting a future that includes us and aligns with our collective vision. 
  2. One of Ry’s exceptional qualities is his readiness to engage in meaningful discussions and actively listen. He prioritizes collective problem-solving and public learning, tapping into the wisdom and talents present within our community. His dedication to meeting with Camas residents and hearing their concerns was evident long before he even entered the candidacy. We require a leader who possesses the ability to truly listen and collectively solve problems in our community. 
  3. After residing in Camas for an extended period and having two little children in our family, my greatest source of comfort stems from our strong dedication to public safety. Ry’s unwavering commitment to allocating resources and providing training for our police force, as well as their support for emergency responders, instills confidence in me about a safer future.
  4. The lake holds a crucial role in our community. It’s heartening to witness Ry addressing the lake’s concerns with the necessary urgency. We require a leader who will not merely recognize these issues but vigorously take action to safeguard this valuable asset.

Sung Jun Yoon, 


Vote Luikens for Camas Council

Camas is growing, and we need a servant leader who understands the nuances of this growth. 

Ry Luiken’s background in sustainable development and common-sense approach will help ensure we grow sustainably, without losing its core values and unique charm. 

I believe he can lead us into the future in a fiscally responsible way.

Helene Meyers,



Ry Luikens for Camas City Council

I am encouraged to learn of the plans and vision that Ry Luikens, running for Camas City Council, has for our charming city. 

To create this vision, he actively listens to his neighbors, small businesses and other community members to learn what they care about most. 

He is eager to work with other council members to review the budget and determine the best use of our tax dollars to fulfill Camas citizens’ essential needs and ambitious dreams. 

Among the concerns and objectives he has heard from us and supports vigorously are:

  • cleaning up our water system, lakes and waterways intelligently, for now and the decades to come
  • preserving the charm and distinct personality of Camas while making space for thoughtful progress
  • ensuring that our tax dollars are not wasted, rather spent wisely on well-designed projects, such as the community pool
  • encouraging transparency, clarity and openness, in government and community engagement with City Hall

I believe that Ry will lead us into a brighter, more productive and more inclusive future and I hope you will join me in voting for him.

Alexandra Huff, 


Camas suffers from bad leadership

I moved to Camas from Portland, Oregon, in order to get away from bureaucrats who impose their whims and taxes on the citizenry like feudal lords upon their serfs. 

Much to my disappointment, it seems that all of the bureaucrats who lord over Portland had not only moved here ahead of me but had also nestled themselves neatly inside of Camas City Hall. The same arrogant disregard for the people’s voice, much less for our pocketbooks, seems to be an overarching trait of many who are engaged in civic government, no matter if it’s in Portland or Camas. 

Four members of the current Camas City Council unilaterally decreed that our taxes should increase in order to pay for their spending habits. Don’t let these people gaslight you into thinking this isn’t a big deal. They’re already looking at increasing those taxes, by the way. Every decent, hard-working taxpayer knows that the modern tax environment represents death by a thousand cuts — federal, state, local, sales taxes, fines, fees, surcharges, inflation — these all add up and become 25 to 40% of your total income being taken from you.

We all are suffering from the consequences of bad leadership. We are paying more and more in order to get the same or less. We all tighten our financial belts and bear the burden — but half of the City Council thinks they are exempt from having to do the same. And why should they care? The developers need to be paid, and it’s not their money anyways — it’s yours.

We need a fresh voice on the council. We need a fresh set of eyes to look at the budget and give us some honest information about why the arrogant city leadership thinks they deserve the special privilege of taking our money without even bothering to ask us. 

Vote Ry Luikens for Camas City Council and let your voice be heard.

Colin Storz,


Vote Ry Luikens for Camas City Council

I’m tired of neglected streets and so much more. For the 19 years I’ve lived here, the hydrant and the street markers have deteriorated, making the street look bad. I finally took matters into my own hands with $40 in OSHA Safety paint and an hour of elbow grease and a wire brush to make things look presentable because I take pride in my street and got tired of waiting for the redundancy department to get around to it.

It took over 10 years to finally get the street repaved due to poor city planning and budgeting. The street was riddled with potholes and a bicyclist died riding his bike down that street. The mailbox was so full of green algae it was slimy and disgusting, and I had to clean that one last year since no one in the post office would do it. 

America used to get things done without spending hundreds of thousands on consultants using common sense, took care of what they owned, lived within their means so they did not have to borrow. 

We are expected to pay our taxes and follow the rules, but our government has not been good stewards of our money. My eyes were opened wide  after the $78 million pool fiasco made it clear we had major incompetence of our local Camas government and vowed to make sure no one with such poor judgment should ever be elected as a dog catcher yet alone re-elected mayor or city council.

I’m supporting Ry Luikens for Camas City Council because we need someone who is smart, who actually listens to the people and will bring fresh ideas, technology and energy. I’m confident that he will get things done on time and on budget and bring some accountability back to the position.  

It’s time our government officials remember who they work for.

Gary L Alin, 


Re-elect Tracey Malone to Camas School Board

I have known Tracey Malone her entire life. Both of our families are lifelong Camas community members and supporters. She graduated from Camas High School, her daughter graduated in 2022 and her son is the class of 2025.  

Over the years, I have seen Tracey grow as an individual and as a proven leader in our community. She is passionate about our students and the education they receive in the Camas School District. 

Tracey’s successful business experience and service on other boards helps her in understanding complex budgets and funding models all while being fiscally responsible with our taxpayers dollars. In her past six years serving on the board, she served as president in 2021 leading the district through the hiring of our new superintendent. She is committed to this work, our students, families and community. 

Serving in public office is not always easy, and Tracey does so with grace and kindness.  She is a true servant leader. 

I am thankful to have someone I trust on the board making sometimes difficult decisions in the best interest of the whole community. Tracey will ensure the Camas School District continues to thrive and be the reason families continue to be proud of our wonderful Camas community.

Please join me in re-electing Tracey Malone for Camas School Board, District 5.

Scott Higgins, 


Vote Ry Luikens for Camas Council

There is a saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. 

This saying can also be applied to politics and governing. On the ballot this year we see most of the same old names running again for the same elected office in Camas, but what have they done in the past and where has that gotten us now? Polluted drinking water with PFAS, an unusable lake, increasing homelessness incursion, declining public school standards and rising taxes.  

Re-electing the same people with the same ideas is going to get us the same results.  Why would we want that? Why would we vote for that, again? Camas needs some new leadership with new ideas for better results. One new name on the ballot is Ryan Luikens.  

I first met Ryan three years ago in my new neighborhood.  In Ryan you have an educated and energetic young guy, with a young family, who has chosen to make Camas his long-term home.  

He has good intentions, asks hard questions, offers fresh ideas and has a real passion for public service to make Camas a better place to live and raise his family, and a better place for all Camas residents.  

Ryan is worth taking a re-look for your vote to bring much needed fresh ideas, transparent communication and better results to Camas.

John Meiling,


Retain Bamini Pathmanathan on Camas School Board

As a 21-year Camas resident, I urge you to retain Bamini Pathmanathan on the Camas School Board. 

We need leaders like Bamini who understand our educational system and have an earnest desire to keep our school district strong and thriving for years to come.  

Raising three children in our schools, she is a tireless advocate for students and teachers alike and brings an open mind and heart with a clear vision to help shape our children’s future. 

She has a hands-on approach to effecting change within our community, volunteering countless hours over 15 years. 

Bamini is exactly who Camas needs.

Shawna Smith,


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