“When I put out calls for volunteers, I never see him,” Onslow said. “If he’s running for a position on council, you would think he would involve himself on some things in the city.”
He questioned how Wilson could know what the city needs if he doesn’t show up for meetings or volunteer events.
Part of Wilson’s prior reluctance to get involved in Ridgefield’s political scene was because of his position as a sergeant for the Battle Ground Police Department, he said.
That changed last month.
The catalyst for Wilson’s campaign was a vote Onslow cast at the Sept. 26 C-Tran Board of Directors meeting, allowing TriMet to use C-Tran’s eminent domain authority to acquire land for a light-rail extension over the Columbia River Crossing, if the bridge is ever built. Onslow is an alternate on the 10-member board behind La Center Mayor Jim Irish, meaning he rarely votes. Irish did not attend the Sept. 26 meeting, so Onslow took his place.
The C-Tran board approved the controversial agreement with TriMet by one vote. Onslow said he and Irish discussed the vote before the meeting.
Wilson has said Onslow sold out Ridgefield residents to special interests from Portland.
Following the C-Tran meeting, opponents of the vote took aim at Onslow and his unopposed bid for re-election. Wilson’s campaign has the backing of several Clark County Republicans, including state Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, and state Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas. Benton has helped Wilson with door-to-door canvassing.
David Standal, a former Ridgefield city councilman currently running for freeholder, said he briefly contemplated a bid against Onslow and received the blessing of prominent Republicans to do so.
Standal chose not to proceed with a write-in campaign, saying Onslow brought “energy and charisma” to the council along with broad knowledge of city issues.
Although Standal said he was disappointed in Onslow’s C-Tran vote, he has no plan to throw his support behind either candidate.
Despite his newcomer status, Wilson’s campaign has a base backing it.
Christian Berrigan, the operations director for the Clark County Republican Party, is supporting the campaign by promoting sign-waving events and providing Wilson with information on registered voters.
He’s said he, too, would focus on issues related to the city’s sewer rates and business growth, if elected.
And while he has promised a coordinated effort on the campaign trail, Onslow’s supporters have vowed to match it.
On Oct. 17, Wilson’s campaign held a sign-waving event at a gas station off the Interstate 5 offramp. Onslow supporters countered Oct. 25, waving signs at intersections between the I-5 junction interchange and the Main Avenue and Pioneer Street intersection, covering roughly three miles.