Camas continues to maximize the maintenance with the resources
available, aiming for the high standard the community values. The
cuts in service and staffing through the great recession have resulted
in middling levels of maintenance across all parks. The current
maintenance level focuses on keeping the parks clean and safe to use
but does not allow for enhanced or preventative maintenance. These
tasks, which protect the long-term investment the community has
made in park lands and facilities, are especially important in the most
popular and intensively used park sites.
Park Space in a Growing City
A core focus of the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Comprehensive Plan Update from 2014 was ensuring that every resident had access to parks within 1/2 mile of their home, and ensuring 35 acres of park or open space per 1000 residents--a goal currently being met.
As the City's population continues to climb through periods of growth, however, additional parks must be added accordingly to continue to meet this ratio of parks to residents. The problem, seen in the graphs below, is that staffing levels have not kept pace with growth over the years, leaving existing staff struggling to keep parks maintained.
Levels of Service
The table below shows an example of three basic levels of service for parks, trails, and facility maintenance and the associated costs per acre or mile. Current service levels are highlighted in yellow.
With the park system reaching maturity, several additional skill sets will be needed to preserve and maintain the many diverse assets in the system. One such position has recently been created: Facilities Specialist. This position could be responsible for evaluating the condition of park structures (picnic shelters, restrooms, and buildings). A specialized staff position could also help to coordinate interns to monitor the condition of the City-maintained trail system.
The specialized skills required for resource management could be further developed in an existing employee, a contractor could be hired or if necessary, a new position could be created. In any case, natural resource management responsibilities might include, but would not be limited to, oversight of forest and natural area maintenance, volunteer management, wildlife management, trails development and management, and potentially managing mitigation banking. An urban forester or arborist would also be helpful in managing the extensive woodlands within the open space network, shade and decorative trees planted in parks, and street trees such as the downtown canopy on 4th Avenue.