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DID YOU KNOW? LAKE FACTS #2

The Current Situation and Urgent Actions Required Now


We started this journey yesterday by diving into the history of Lacamas Lake and the crucial role of its biofilter. Armed with this knowledge, we are ready to move forward and examine the current situation, the ongoing legal battles, and the escalating costs tied to past decisions.


Despite some strange omissions from the city's study, it's clear to me that immediate action is crucial. It's equally clear that we each have a role to play in protecting our lake.


In this second installment, I will share with you what I gathered on our current predicament and how it may affect us in the future. Together, we can gain a deeper understanding of our shared responsibility to the health and vibrancy of Lacamas. Let's continue to unravel this together.


6. The Legal Showdown - HOA versus The Law

Remember those classic Western showdowns? But instead of gun-slinging cowboys, imagine a courtroom, lawyers, and a Homeowners Association in the hot seat. Years ago a Lacamas Shores resident named Steve Bang brought a lawsuit against the HOA—essentially suing himself—for violating their CC&Rs by failing to maintain the Biofilter.



After years of abuse and intimidation, being called antagonistic or even crazy, a dramatic turning point occurred for the plaintiff (and the entire community) earlier this month: On July 3rd a judge issued a court order declaring the HOA guilty as charged.



This wasn't a Hollywood script–this was reality unfolding, with Lacamas Lake at the heart of the drama.


7. The Price Tag of Neglect - The Financial Consequences

Neglecting an issue doesn't make it vanish, it just defers the inevitable and often at a much steeper price. This rings true for Lacamas Shores HOA members who are now facing the brunt of their oversight. Saddled with potential six-figure legal fees and special assessments, they are grappling with the possibility of reimbursing the plaintiff for his legal costs, a severe penalty for the HOA's failure to fulfill its duties.



But that might only be the beginning of the financial fallout. There is also an impending lawsuit under the Federal Clean Water Act that is awaiting judgment by the Ninth Circuit Court. Should the court find violations and impose hefty fines, it won't be just the homeowners who bear the brunt, but potentially all of the City's taxpayers.


It's a stark reminder that the cost of negligence can escalate far beyond the initial problem.


8. Ripple Effects - The Ongoing Damages

But the consequences aren't just legal and financial, they're ecological. With each passing day, the untreated water runoff continues to flow into Lacamas Lake, pushing its ecosystem to the brink. These toxic algae blooms aren’t going away. Now that the toxic Cyanobacteria has killed and outcompeted its predators, it owns the lake.



We just had our first of the summer and we know more are coming. But that's just one visible sign of the invisible damage happening beneath the surface.


9. The Time is Now - We Need Immediate Action

As with any environmental crisis, time is of the essence. The longer we wait, the harder it will be to restore the lake to its former glory. There's an urgent need for extensive testing of the lake and the area surrounding the Biofilter.



While it was noticeably omitted from the consultant’s testing but we can start now. And the sooner we understand the extent of the damage, the sooner we can start the healing process.


10. Be a Lake Champion - Your Role in Protecting Lacamas

So, you might be asking, "What can I do?" Well, tons! If you live in Lacamas Shores attend your next HOA meeting. And if you live in Camas attend our city council meetings. It’s easy to be negligent when the people don’t bother to show up.


Demand transparency and accountability. Be a voice for Lacamas Lake in your community and online. And be sure to read through and bookmark the incredible wiki-like resource on the Lacamas Shores Biofilter maintained by environmentalist, legal scholar, and founding member of the Lacamas Watershed Council, Marie Tabata.



The situation might look dire, but remember, every great environmental recovery story started with a group of committed citizens who cared enough to show up and act.

Many of you inspired me to get involved and now you can join the diverse group of folks committed to saving Lacamas. Let's be the change we seek, one ripple at a time.


Next Steps

As we conclude this deep-dive into the state of Lacamas, I hope these Lake Facts shed some light on the importance of the issue at hand and move you–all of us, really–to action.


Because it's clear to me that we all have a part to play in protecting and restoring our beautiful lake so that future generations can continue to enjoy its natural beauty.


So let's keep learning, keep questioning, and keep pushing for better. The more we know, the more power we have to bring about change.


If you've found this info helpful, please share it with your friends, neighbors, and fellow lake lovers. After all, nothing changes if nothing changes.


Lacamas Lake needs us. Let's not let her down.

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