Sister City Stories: Camas Library Highlights Art and Stories Inspired by Polish Sister Cities



When Lloyd Halverson, the longtime Camas city administrator who helped guide Camas through its transition from a sleepy mill town to a desirable suburban center in the 1990s and early 2000s, thinks back to the many trips that he and his wife, Ulrike Halverson, made Camas’ three Polish ‘sister cities’, he remembers personal stories of strength, determination and resilience.

“These are people who live in an area battered by the maelstrom of history… who have lived through enormous challenges,” Lloyd said of the residents of Krapkowice, Morawica and Zabierzow – the sister towns of Camas in Poland.

The Halversons were able to live in Poland with their then-teenage son in the late 1990s, when the sister cities of Camas were trying to restore democratic control after years of living under communist rule.

“The transition period has been energizing, inspiring, dramatic and popular,” Lloyd said. “I came back to Camas as a better manager and a better person having learned the incredible value of hope and the ability of people to transform their own lives…to believe that they could improve their lives after 45 years of communist oppression.”

In the years that followed, Camas and its Polish sister cities benefited from cultural and educational exchanges – sending students, teachers and government officials back and forth to deepen relations between the cities and promote greater understanding. culture and a better empathy towards the way of life of others.

“Something that really touched and moved me was when, less than a day and a half after September 11, 2001, we, the leaders of Camas, received letters of solidarity from the mayors of two towns who are become sister cities (in Poland),” Halverson said. “They are quality people.”

More recently, when Poland agreed to house more than two million Ukrainian refugees fleeing a Russian military invasion, the city of Camas, through its Camas Sister City organization and supporters like the Halversons, helped raise $15,000 to send to its three Polish sister cities to help feed, clothe and shelter refugees.

The Halversons also had the opportunity to visit the Polish Sister Cities recently and met several Ukrainian refugees.

“Poland and Ukraine have had their differences in history,” Lloyd said, “but now the Polish people are so generous with Ukrainian refugees.”

Residents and visitors of Camas will soon have the opportunity to learn more about the Polish sister cities of Camas.

The Camas Public Library will host a special event for authors at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 12, to discuss Lloyd’s new book, “Stories from Silesia: Tales of Resilience, History, and Connection to America,” and the The library’s Second Story gallery will launch on its October show, “Silesian Stories: Sister City Stories and Art,” featuring Ulrike Halverson’s Poland-inspired watercolors and memorabilia the Halversons collected during their frequent trips to “sister cities” in the Polish towns of Krapkowice, Morawica and Zabierzow.

The Second Story Gallery will host an opening reception for the show “Silesian Stories” from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, October 7, in conjunction with the Downtown Camas Association’s monthly First Friday event.

Both Ulrike and Lloyd said they hoped people who come to the Camas Library Art Exhibition and Authors’ Event would gain a better understanding of the people who inhabit the Polish sister cities of Camas. Camas.

Ulrike Halverson, from Vienna, Austria, said her father’s family hailed from Silesia, the historical central European region that is mostly in Poland.

Like her husband, Ulrike said she has always been moved by the resilient spirit of the Polish people.

“They overcame difficult times,” said Ulrike, adding that she is always struck by the “generosity, hospitality, kindness and ability to listen” of the Poles when she and her husband visit the sister cities of Camas.

“We saw it with our own eyes when we visited Ukrainian refugees this summer,” Lloyd added.

Second Story Gallery’s art opening this Friday and October 12 author’s event featuring Lloyd Halverson’s “Silesian Stories” book and Q&A is free and open to the public. The Camas Public Library is located at 625 NE Fourth Ave. in downtown Camas. The Second Story Gallery is located on the second floor of the library. For more information, visit For more information about the Camas Sister City organization, visit “Camas Sister City Organization on Facebook.

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