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But it is not only time consuming to decommission mills and tear them down; environmental hazards can linger.

For example, the Port of Ridgefield spent years reclaiming 41 acres of riverfront property from the contamination of an old wood-processing plant.

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Sold Listings Real Estate Glossary Facing Foreclosure?

CAMAS — It was only a generation ago that life in Camas seemed to revolve around its paper mill.

I sure didn’t,” said Barry Cain, president of Gramor Development, the Tualatin, Ore., company overseeing the waterfront redevelopment. “It’s too ingrained in our culture,” said Higgins, a Camas High School graduate whose office in City Hall doubles as a shrine to Papermaker history.

But, he added, it’s worth fighting for riverfront property. “It’s been fun as someone who grew up here to watch new people who have no connection to the mill embrace the concept of a papermaker.” The mill is so embedded in Camas that residents have been known to take old mill parts home for display.

But he said those properties’ futures will come up sooner or later.

“It’s kind of a crystal ball question,” Higgins said.

Those properties could eventually be available for the first time since 1883.

Mayor Scott Higgins said the mill’s future has been fodder for conversation for years, but most energy now is going to be spent on dealing with the loss of jobs.

She added she hoped to honor the mill and its roots in the city.

“I’ll always remember how much they gave to education,” she said. This is the end of an era.” It could be an entirely new city for the senses, too.

Some of the most popular items at Camas Antiques are wooden molds used to make mill machine parts, which people have repurposed into clocks, lamps and tabletops.

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