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  • Writer's pictureLeslie Lewallen

Contract With Camas- Zoning and Use Codes

Hey Camas. Leslie Lewallen here and I’m working hard to become your next CIty Councilor.

Last month, I told you about my first 100 day legislative agenda for the Camas City Council called my Contract With Camas. 3 major initiatives before April 15th.

Today, I want to dive down on my second priority: OVERHAULING CAMAS CITY ZONING AND USE CODES.

If elected, I will write and offer to the City Council, legislative action to initiate the immediate overhaul of our outdated zoning and conditional use codes, to modernize language governing specialty use categories like detox and rehab facilities, and ensure these operations are kept far away from our city’s most sensitive populations - like schools, day cares, senior living homes, parks and churches. And, adequately prepare us for smart, sustainable growth in the years ahead.

As you know, a brave group of Camasonians, backed by more than 1500 citizens, filed a lawsuit against the City of Camas earlier this summer, in an attempt to reverse the decision of an unelected, out-of-town Hearings Examiner to locate an in-patient detox center next to an elementary school, public park and church.

These neighbors created the Dorothy Fox Safety Alliance, a group of volunteers dedicated to fighting back against an unfair process that literally ignored the safety concerns of a majority of Camas citizens in favor of an out-of-town developer and its powerhouse law firm.

These same developers worked behind the scenes with Camas planning staff to circumvent the City Council and open records process to get their Camas detox location approved. Two city employees potentially implicated by this manipulation are no longer employed by the City of Camas.

Unfortunately, the Alliance has been blocked at every turn by an uncooperative City Attorney, who actually tried to get the citizen suit dismissed before it was ever heard by the judge and asked the court to disregard evidence showing that the City withheld vital internal emails and correspondence that showed how the applicant bypassed the Planning Board, City Council, and the citizens of Camas in what is now known as the “Six Weeks of Darkness.”


Clear, comprehensive municipal codes are the foundation upon which smart, sustainable cities are built. They provide the rules and framework by which real estate developers and other citizens use to improve communities.

Codes that are outdated or deficient can, among other things, frustrate community efforts to protect the safety of its citizens. These codes often prioritize the development of residential sub-areas that make little sense from a smart, sustainable growth perspective. And, sometimes, they simply fly in the face of what citizens have clearly said they do not want developed at this time.

My experience as an attorney with a focus in land use and zoning gives me clear insight as to what happened, why it happened, and more importantly what changes we must make to our codes to prepare Camas for the challenges of tomorrow.

As your Councilperson, I will demand those changes be made in the first 100 days of me taking office. This is part of my Contract With Camas, but I need your vote. Camas deserves better and I’m already working with communities around Washington to make that happen.

Join me at, and together let’s make Camas the very best it can be.

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