Image credit: Barron Photography

Did you hear the good news from the Downtown Camas Association? 

Out of more than 12,000 entries, Camas has been named one of the Top 20 towns in the running for Season 4 of Small Business Revolution “Main Street.” 

Small Business Revolution tells stories of America’s most inspiring towns, and each season, awards a winner with a $500,000 revitalization and features the transformation in an eight-episode web series.

Top 10 finalists will be announced on Dec. 11 so now is the time for you to tell the SBR team what makes Camas special and why we have so much community pride! 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

1. Go to Small Business Revolution's Facebook page. 
2. Like their Facebook page
3. Post an image of Camas to their timeline with a comment about why you love Camas
4. Use the hashtag #MyCamas

Image source: Canva 

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT #MYCAMAS 

Camas is situated 10 miles east of Portland with a population of close to 23,000. We have plenty of natural resources nearby like the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, Lacamas Lake, 14 parks and 22 miles of trails. 

Camas offers an excellent school system that draws families to the community and our charming downtown is walkable and an attractive place to shop, dine, and gather for community events like the upcoming Hometown Holidays on Friday Dec. 7.

This year, Camas ranked sixth in an annual list of Washington’s 20 safest cities put together by Safewise.com, a home safety and security website, and Family Circle’s August 2014 issue named Camas one of the 10 best U.S. towns for Families. 

Early on, our sense of pride and wellbeing was tied to the paper mill, but Camas leaders have done a good job of diversifying our city and we now support many global technology and manufacturing businesses like Sharp Corporation and WaferTech. 

Image Credit: Hidden River Roasters

Downtown is the historic heart of the city, and in recent years, we’ve seen Fuel Medical thrive in the converted Ford Dealership and Grains of Wrath attract microbrew lovers in what used to be an auto shop. New businesses like Hidden River Roasters and the Artful Attic give us more reasons to visit downtown, too. 

And we love the effort of downtown businesses to truly embrace the concept of “community not competition,” by partnering together to offer discounts and shopping incentives. Whether it’s a movie and after-viewing event hosted by The Liberty Theatre and Camas Antiques, a fashion show held by Arktana and Lily Atelier, or a stay and play package from the Camas Hotel and a local restaurant. 

If you missed it, be sure to read this inspiring article about what downtown shops did in preparation for 'Little Box Friday' and 'Shop Small Saturday.' 

Image credit: C/W Post Record 

HOW REVITALIZATION FUNDING CAN HELP

I feel blessed to live and work in a close-knit community like Camas, and it’s hard to say what I’d change, but here are a few ideas for how revitalization funding could help.   

  1. Maintain and repair the historic buildings and features of downtown. 
  2. Camas is expected to grow to around 34,098 in 2035 and we need help managing our growth so that we maintain livability and quality of life. 
  3. We need to retain the quality of pristine natural areas that are associated with the PNW, protect and plant more trees, and encourage residents and tourists visiting for recreation to also shop and dine. We recently met a shop owner from Portland who visited Lacamas Lake but didn’t stay to dine because she didn’t know where to go or what was available. How can we use marketing to get those people downtown? 
  4. We’d like to see Fifth and Sixth Avenue offer the same walkability and economic opportunities as Fourth Avenue. 
  5. As a brokerage that cares about community history and who feels tied to our roots, we’d like to see more historical signage and art that honors our past and those who made our city what it is today. 
  6. What about a large, central gathering place like Washougal’s Reflection Plaza where our office is located? A place where we can have events without shutting down the streets. Add more seating that encourages people to stay longer and support local businesses. 
  7. One of our clients lives in neighboring Evergreen Terrace, and during a recent conversation, she said that downtown Camas is her go-to dining destination, but she does almost all of her shopping in Portland and Vancouver. How can we attract new businesses and add more diverse offerings?  

Thanks for reading and remember to share what you love about Camas on the SBR Facebook page using #MyCamas!