According to Camas Post Record, Georgia-Pacific has proposed to demolish several buildings near the Camas center that the company is no longer using in its paper mill operations, including Camas Business Center, a development laboratory and manufacturing buildings of nonwovens.
The demolition will remove nearly 100,000 square feet of structures in a zoned site for heavy industrial use near the center of Camas.
GP planned a total of 11 buildings, nine of which were built between 1929 and 1970, in its demolition plan, including an 11,000-square-foot three-story office building; a two-story, 31,360 square foot development lab; a four-story, 31,000-square-foot non-woven fabric building; a two-story water treatment building; two warehouses; a 3,500 square foot library; and a one-story microscopy laboratory.
According to the GP proposal, the demolitions are expected to last between six and seven months, concluding in the first months of 2022.
The city of Camas determined last month that the plans meet the state’s Environmental Policy Act rules and will not have any significant adverse environmental impacts. The city’s SEPA determination of non-significance states that there are “very limited risks for toxic chemical exposure, fire, explosion, spill or hazardous waste as a result of this demolition,” adding that “no industrial chemicals are on site as industrial activities have ceased and any residuals were removed previously.”
According to The Columbian, the future of the factory and surrounding areas near the center of Camas are part of a debate over the years on how best to manage growth in Clark County’s second largest city.
The factory, founded in 1883, has already represented a large majority of the basis of the property tax in Camas and has become a defining element of the city, but in recent decades, the city has diversified its economy, attracting high-tech industries and annexing surrounding areas.
In 2017, GP announced a major restructuring that included 300 layoffs. The company closed the “Roaring 20” office paper line and pulp operations.
Amid questions about the future of the factory, the city sometimes discussed taking ownership of the Camas Business Center, says The Columbian news. City officials have already negotiated the acquisition of 190 acres previously owned by GP, including Mill Ditch and Lacamas Creek dams, which create Lacamas and round lakes.
Factory representatives in 2019 told the city that they had no plans to close the existing paper line, which makes paper towels, ending doubts about possible development at the main factory site. In February 2020, GP told its 150 Camas employees that it was investing $15 million in capital improvements, signaling that the company plans to continue operations at the plant soon.