Port of C-W Commissioner takes a substantial early lead

By Aaron Corvin and Andrea Damewood

Published:

 

In the Nov. 8 general election, incumbent Camas-Washougal Port Commissioner Bill Ward will face off against pilot Neil Cahoon.

In early returns, Ward took 62.08 percent of the vote, while Cahoon claimed 26.80 percent. A third challenger, David Luse, received 9.79 percent of the votes cast.

Controversy over the future of Grove Field Airport looms large in the campaign for the No. 2 position on the port’s board of commissioners.

Incumbent Commissioner Bill Ward defended his vote against pursuing funding from the Federal Aviation Administration to improve the port-owned airport, which handles small aircraft such as single-engine Cessnas.

His opponents, Cahoon and Luse — both of whom are pilots — argued the unanimous decision by Ward and commissioners Mark Lampton and Bill Macrae-Smith was a bad call.

In July, the board voted unanimously against pursuing federal funding for a proposed $10 million plan to improve the airport. Commissioners argued that general aviation is in decline and that accepting FAA funds would result in a loss of local control over the airport.

Backers argued the proposed airport improvements would create construction jobs, increase airport safety and preserve airport operations into the future.

Ward said Tuesday night that he doesn’t expect a close fight in the general election. He owns an engineering consulting firm in Camas. His educational background includes a master’s degree in business.

“I have continued to be amazed that candidates with only their self-interests in mind think they can expect to get the support of an electorate that’s as intelligent as the people out here in Camas and Washougal,” Ward said. “I just have a lot of confidence in the ability of our voters to recognize candidates who are looking after them.”

Cahoon, who has a master’s degree in engineering, is a flight officer for Delta Air Lines.

He said he wasn’t worried about the wide margin of votes in the primary.

“I’m very much encouraged by the outcome of the election tonight,” Cahoon said. “I’m looking forward to the next couple of months, getting out and talking to the voters and hopefully becoming a port commissioner next year.”