Woodland council hopefuls: Let’s heal

Candidates eager to change dysfunctional city leadership

By Ray Legendre, Columbian staff writer

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After four years of terminal chill between the city’s mayor and council, six candidates in the city of Woodland’s two council races are hoping to work with a newly elected mayor to heal the city government’s wounds.

Three candidates apiece will vie to replace Aaron Christopherson, who was 19 when elected in 2007, and Darwin Rounds, who was appointed to the council this year and is running for the mayor’s seat.

Woodland, a town of around 5,500 residents, has a seven-seat city council. Four council members’ terms run until 2013. A fifth member, Susan Humbyrd, is unopposed this year.

The city has four candidates battling to replace Mayor Chuck Blum, who decided not to seek reelection due to health concerns and a desire to spend more time with his grandchildren. An audit paid for by the city criticized Blum this year for failing to adequately work with council members.

Unless one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote in the Aug. 16 primary elections, the top two candidates in each race will square off Nov. 8 in the general election.

Position 4

Woodland Fire Chief Tony Brentin, retired aircraft maintenance man Marshall Allen and city resident Brian Ellis are vying to replace Christopherson, who was Clark County’s youngest elected official when he won a council seat in 2007.

Brentin, 51, has worked in Woodland’s fire department for 30 years; he has never held public office.

The city needs a long-term vision, leaders need to compromise and available resources need to be maximized to best serve residents, were the top three issues Brentin identified.

Allen, 76, retired from his career in aircraft modification/maintenance in 1993. He previously served in the military.

He proposed the city get residents more involved in its activities, reduce permit fees to attract more business and review the cost of city operations to determine how best to improve services and reduce costs.

Ellis did not respond to emails or phone calls seeking comment for this story.

Position 7

Facing off for Rounds’ seat are a trio of septuagenarians — retired real estate broker Scott Perry, retired repair man Robert Ripp and retired construction materials salesman Gene Silvey.

Perry, 70, is a believer in having local business and residents invest money into downtown revitalization, using financial discretion when it comes to employing consultants on studies and bolstering Horseshoe Lake Park with a jogging track and walking path, more handicapped parking access and increased water quality.

Ripp, 70, believes the city should address its traffic problems, provide a friendlier atmosphere to prospective businesses and work on developing better relationships between governmental leaders.

Silvey, 77, said he signed up only because it appeared nobody else would, and “wouldn’t have run” if he had known otherwise. He listed traffic congestion, an increased focus on landing high-paying jobs in the city’s industrial area and strategic planning for the future as three issues that are key to Woodland this year and beyond.

Ray Legendre: 360-735-4517; www.twitter.com/col_smallcities; www.facebook.com/raylegend; ray.legendre@columbian.com.