Awardee: Downtown Camas Association
Award: Outstanding Special Project
For over a decade, a committee of Downtown Camas Association (DCA) volunteers called the Light Brigade have installed and maintained roofline lighting on downtown buildings, now lining 21 buildings and serving 39 businesses. If you’ve spent an evening in downtown Camas, you know personally how this lighting contributes to their charming downtown aesthetic. It has the added bonus of increasing downtown safety at night, helping residents and visitors feel safer enjoying an evening downtown.
In July 2020, due to new code compliance issues, the fire marshal told DCA that they had ninety days to either upgrade their existing downtown lighting or have it removed. It came as quite the surprise, especially considering they had just upgraded their incandescent bulbs into energy-efficient LED bulbs in 2019 contributing to a more sustainable lighting plan – thanks to a grant from Clark Public Utilities.
The DCA Board and Light Brigade worked together with the fire marshal’s office to come up with a temporary solution and formulate a longer term plan. Still, they only had two years to find the funding, determine the best upgrade methods, choose a contractor, coordinate with property owners, and facilitate the upgrades.
The funding came first: With available funds through the Main Street Tax Credit Program increased in 2021, DCA saw unexpected donations at the end of the year – enough to fund this $50,000 project. They chose an electrical contractor and, for the first time, made formal access agreements with property owners for lighting upgrades and continued maintenance.
With Light Brigade volunteers on hand for support, the electricians upgraded all 21 buildings in only 3 days. With the City, DCA staff and volunteers, and property and business owners all working together, alongside the hired contractor, the project was an incredible success.
With a waiting list of new businesses requesting ridgeline lighting, DCA was thrilled to come in far under budget and now has funding for phase 2: lighting 5 new buildings in downtown, enhancing the façade of 11 businesses, and extending this charming lighting off of their main street to activate more of their downtown.