Woodland voters to fill 2 council seats

Newcomer to political office, ex-fire chief say city needs to focus on budget, livability

By Kathie Durbin, Columbian staff writer

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Woodland voters will fill two open city council seats along with choosing a new mayor on Nov. 8.

Two 70-year-olds, retired repairman Robert Ripp and retired real estate broker Scott Perry, will face off for Seat 7, relinquished by former Councilman Darwin Rounds, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor.

They finished in the top two in a field of three in the August primary; Ripp won 55.5 percent of the vote and Perry captured 33.45 percent.

At a glance

Woodland City Council Seat 4

• Anthony Brentin

Occupation: Financial services product distributor

Age : 51

Background: Former Woodland fire chief

• Marshall Allen

Occupation: Retired aircraft maintenance worker

Age: 76

Background: Retired from military, active in Clover Valley Community Church

Woodland City Council Seat 7

• Robert Ripp

Occupation: Retired repairman

Age: 70

Background: None provided

• Scott Perry

Occupation: Retired real estate broker

Age: 70

Background: Vietnam War veteran, member Chamber of Commerce

Neither has run for public office before.

Perry says Woodland needs to focus on existing businesses and develop a new approach to downtown revitalization. He is concerned that the city has wasted money on attorneys and consultant studies for projects that the city’s residents do not want or support.

One project he supports is improvements to Horseshoe Lake Park, which he said is vital to the city’s livability and civic pride. Water quality must be protected, he said, and he’d like to see better access for the disabled, a jogging track and a path around the lake.

Ripp, a retired repairman, did not respond to a request from The Columbian for his views on city issues.

Tied in primary

In Woodland’s other council race, former Woodland Fire Chief Anthony Brentin, 51, and Marshall Allen, a 76-year-old retired aircraft repairman, tied with 205 votes each in early returns in August’s three-man primary race. In the final count, Allen edged Brentin by a single vote. They are competing to succeed Councilman Aaron Christopherson.

Brentin, also a first-time candidate for public office, is running a low-key campaign in which he is not accepting contributions or posting campaign signs.

He says Woodland lacks a vision of what it wants to look like decades into the future, and as a result, decision-making is piecemeal and the city suffers from the consequences of past decisions. Stakeholders in Woodland need to develop the art of compromise, Brentin said. Failure to achieve solutions wastes time and leaves too many important issues unresolved. When decisions are made, the city needs to move on, he said.

Shortfalls the norm

Woodland elected officials must accept that funding shortfalls are now the norm, identify the city’s basic service level and be able to fully fund services at that level before expanding or adding new services, he said.

Allen, who retired from the military in 1972, is running to get Woodland residents involved in more activities. He wants to make the city more business-friendly by reviewing and simplifying the permitting process and determining whether city operations can be improved and offered at a reduced cost.

Candidates Ripp and Allen did not provide The Columbian with photographs for this story.

Kathie Durbin: 360-735-4523; kathie.durbin@columbian.com.