While giving his State of the City address Thursday, Ridgefield Mayor Ron Onslow is going to spend plenty of time looking back in addition to looking at the city’s future.
Onslow has been mayor for 10 years, and this will be his last State of the City. On Sunday, he’s stepping aside, and Councilor Don Stose will take over as mayor. Onslow will remain on as a city councilor.
“It’s a good run,” said Onslow, 79. “I loved it. I will miss it. I will miss especially going to the schools and having all the little kids run up and call me, ‘mayor.’ ”
Onslow said he felt like it was time to step back and focus on some of his other responsibilities. Starting this year, Onslow was named chairman of the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council. He also holds positions with Discovery Clean Water Alliance, Clark College Culinary Arts Advisory Committee and the Urban County Policy Board. He was appointed to the board of directors for the Association of Washington Cities this year.
“There’s a lot that I’m involved in,” he said. “I can’t always make every activity that’s (in the city).”
If You Go
What: Ridgefield’s State of the City address, which will be Ron Onslow’s last as mayor. Onslow, who has been mayor for 10 years, will step down on Sunday and Councilor Don Stose will take over. Both will speak at the address.
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Where: Performing arts center at Ridgefield High School, 2630 S. Hillhurst Road, Ridgefield.
Onslow said he first approached Stose about taking over as mayor two years ago. In Ridgefield, residents vote for city councilors, and the councilors select a mayor every two years.
In 2016, Onslow told Stose he had two more years as mayor in him. When both were re-elected to council positions in November, they talked about making the transition from Onslow to Stose. The city councilors voted at their Jan. 11 meeting to let Onslow stay on as mayor until Sunday.
Onslow wanted to stay on a few months into the year so he could make trips on behalf of the city to Olympia and Washington D.C., host his annual Mayor’s Ball and give one last State of the City address.
Stose, who has been on the city council since 2008, said he plans on continuing the standard set by Onslow.
“Our council members are heavily involved in everything, and not only in the city of Ridgefield, but around Clark County,” said Stose, 68. “Anything that happens within the county that would help the city — (Columbia River Economic Development Council) meetings, legislative breakfasts — we all make sure we attend those. We make sure our city is represented. In learning from Mayor Onslow, and shadowing him, he showed that it’s good to be out there.”
Stose said the challenge ahead for him and the city is providing residents with “superior services” while managing and planning for growth. During Onslow’s tenure, Ridgefield went from a population of fewer than 3,000 to almost 8,000.
“The council has surrounded ourselves with a great city manager in Steve Stuart,” Stose said. “Equally as important, Steve Stuart has surrounded himself with a team of professionals who are helping us plan and manage the growth we’re experiencing.”
Onslow said he felt Stose would make a good mayor because of Stose’s mantra: “Yes, we can do it.”
“He’s been supportive of me in my time as mayor, and I will try to give him as much support as he gave me,” Onslow said. “He’s an individual who’s got a zest to him that he contributes to the community. He’s very active. He’ll be a really good mayor.”