A Blooming Town

In Southwest Washington, Camas is a former mill town that has transformed into one of the best places to live, work and play in the Portland-Metropolitan area.

Over the last two decades, Camas, Washington has transformed from a former mill town to a thriving city attracting young families and small and large businesses alike.

Dawn Stanchfield, the owner of Lily Atelier, a boutique located in the historic downtown, has been both an initiator and a witness to the revitalization of this 23,000 person city in Southwest Washington. In 2003, she bought a historic colonial home and moved from a neighborhood on Prune Hill to the outskirts of downtown Camas and opened her boutique. “Downtown was charming and on the verge of revitalization,” she said. “I’ve loved living and working here.”

Today, Camas is home to a host of locally owned small businesses as well as larger investment and tech companies, including Fisher Investments and Hewlett Packard. Its proximity to Portland and the Portland International Airport has been a draw for commuters, who have the advantage of being able to live on the income-tax-free side of the Columbia River.

The Columbia River Gorge, nationally renowned for its recreation opportunities, is also a draw. Within Camas, named for a lily native to the area, the Lacamas and Round lakes attract boaters, and there are miles of connected walking trails around the lakes which are popular year-round.

Heather De Ford, a broker with Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty, said that Camas is a perfect place for those looking for the “live, work, play” lifestyle. In 2018 and 2019, Camas is the host of the Clark County Parade of Homes, a similar event to the popular Street of Dreams tour of contemporary luxury homes.

Single-family homes make up the majority of the residential real estate market, though apartment complexes and high-rises are in the long-term plans for the town’s future to accommodate for the expected growth of the Portland-Metropolitan area. Much of the real estate is new construction that has been built within the last decade. Portland-Metropolitan area. Much of the real estate is new construction that has been built within the last decade.

Population 23,331
Average home sale price $473,000
Home value increased 6.4% in the last year
Median income $84,643
30 minutes from downtown Portland

Young families are drawn to the town for the school district, which has regularly been recognized as one of the top in the state of Washington as well as the country by the U.S. News and World Report.

“Over the years, so many people are moving to this area from other parts of the country,” said Stanchfield. “They’re really looking for the sense of community and a great place to raise kids. We’ve watched it grow and develop as people have moved here and invested here.”

Even with the changes, the town has not lost its sense of community or its friendliness and charm. “There’s a big sense of community and support from families,” said Stanchfield. “It seems like the entire town shows up for the Friday night football games.”

Written by Bronte Dod