Bill Ward’s 2007 election as Port of Camas-Washougal commissioner was a clear message from voters: Stabilize the controversial port management after a misguided detour toward waterfront development. Ward defeated his opponent by 18 percentage points.
Four years later, the port’s management is on solid ground and Ward has helped increase transparency in the decision-making process. His challenger on the Nov. 8 ballot — professional pilot Neil Cahoon — possesses a wealth of knowledge about the port’s airport operations. Cahoon seeks new direction for the port, and this is one of those races where voters benefit from candidates who are genuinely motivated and highly motivated on multiple issues.
Because Ward’s track record in all three phases of the port (waterfront, economic development and Grove Field aviation) is solid and productive, he draws The Columbian’s endorsement.
The issue that most divides these candidates pertains to Grove Field. Cahoon disagrees with port commissioners’ unanimous decision not to apply for a $10 million federal grant to improve Grove Field. Ward cited three reasons: Commissioners wanted to maintain local control of the small airport, access to the Federal Aviation Administration funds was uncertain and the port has bigger projects on its plate (planning a different approach to waterfront development, focusing on the Steigerwald Commerce Center, and working with the new Camas Washougal Economic Development Association.)
Cahoon argues that the upgrades to Grove Field are needed, but he concedes the unanimous verdict of three commissioners would be difficult to reverse, and no increase in air traffic or number of airplanes is anticipated at Grove Field. Ward has served well for four years and we expect that will continue. Our recommendation is Bill Ward for C-W port commissioner.