Madore withdraws from Port of Vancouver contest
After meeting leaders, businessman decides port ‘in great shape’
Originally published June 14, 2011 at 4:38 p.m., updated June 14, 2011 at 7:08 p.m.
Five days after declaring his candidacy for a seat on the Port of Vancouver Board of Commissioners, David Madore said Tuesday he’s withdrawn from the race.
In an email to The Columbian, Madore, owner of US Digital in east Vancouver and founder of NoTolls.com, said he decided to pull out of the race after meeting individually with two of the port board’s three commissioners — Brian Wolfe and Jerry Oliver — “as well as learning from a number of port leaders that the port is in great shape.”
Madore had filed for the port’s District 1 position, challenging Wolfe, who currently serves as the board’s president and is running for a second six-year term.
In a phone interview Tuesday, Madore said he hadn’t planned on running for Wolfe’s position but did so at the last minute because he thought voters should have a choice.
Madore said he honestly didn’t know how well the port was doing when he filed paperwork June 10. However, he said that after he researched the port he concluded it was in excellent shape.
“They have been wisely investing in the kind of equipment to put the port in the position to bring many jobs to our area,” he said.
Madore said he requested the meetings with Wolfe and Oliver. “Brian would have welcomed the challenge,” Madore said. “He can hold his own just fine.”
Wolfe could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Based on his conversations with the commissioners, Madore said, he believes they “will be rethinking their resolution that gave their support” to the proposed Interstate 5 bridge known as the Columbia River Crossing project.
Madore is a staunch critic of the proposed bridge. He founded NoTolls.com, a political action group that opposes light rail and tolls.
Theresa Wagner, the port’s communications manager, said the port has no plans to drop its support of the Columbia River Crossing, including light rail. “At this point in time, the port is in support of the project,” she said.
Wagner said the port’s three-member board has voted on two separate resolutions concerning the Columbia River Crossing.
The board’s first vote, in January 2008, was in support of replacing the existing I-5 bridge and making interchange improvements, in part, to “ensure efficient freight access to and from the interstate system.”
The board’s second vote, in June 2008, gave the port’s blessing to light rail, in part, because that mode of mass transit “will likely be funded by the Federal Transit Administration” and will “offer the most significant congestion relief of potential transit modes on the highway system, providing more capacity for freight transportation.”
Commissioner Oliver said Tuesday he voted against the resolution that included language supporting light rail.
“We need a bridge, and we need to redo the interchanges,” he said, but he’s willing to put off the project until new federal leaders are in place who would withdraw support for funding light rail.
Oliver said he’s “unalterably opposed” to light rail, in part, because it’s “incredibly” costly and inefficient.
Madore’s decision to withdraw from the port commission race means Wolfe’s bid for a second term representing the port’s District 1 will go unchallenged. The district encompasses east Vancouver and the Orchards area. It’s the only position on the port’s board that is open for election this year.
In his news release announcing his withdrawal from the race, Madore said the Port of Vancouver is “very healthy” and “on track for a stellar future.”
The commissioners and the port’s staff should be congratulated, he said. “Rather than challenging the port leadership, I offer my thanks and appreciation for a job well done,” Madore said.
The Port of Vancouver, a governing and taxing district covering 111 square miles and encompassing 300,000 property owners, has a roughly $58 million budget covering everything from rail and marine operations to information technology and environmental cleanup projects.