The two candidates for the only contested position on the Ridgefield City Council this year have deep roots in the community, one that is rapidly being transformed from a sleepy small town to a metropolitan suburb.
Jennifer Lindsay and Ken Spurlock both pledge to work in a nonpartisan way to guide the city’s growth. Meanwhile, incumbents Ron Onslow and Don Stose are running unopposed for reelection to their seats.
Lindsay has lived in Ridgefield for 12 years and served on the city council since 2018. In response to a questionnaire sent to her by The Columbian, she wrote, “One of the best ways to understand what is important to the people that live in Ridgefield, is to be involved in Ridgefield.”
Lindsay cites her three years on the council and two years on the city’s planning commission, as well as volunteering with groups such as the Union Ridge PTO, Ridgefield Boosters, Ridgefield Fourth of July Committee and Ridgefield Lions.
She said her top reasons for running revolve around the city’s unique character and charming natural setting.
“A top priority for me is maintaining the rural feel of Ridgefield as we grow by developing an integrated trail network, a diverse variety of parks and acquiring land for additional parks and nature space as it is available,” Lindsay wrote.
Spurlock has lived in the area for decades. He has a background in education but has been a real estate broker for the last 26 years, he wrote.
He has been involved with the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce, the Ridgefield Lions and the Ridgefield Arts Association and been a hospice volunteer for Kaiser Permanente.
Spurlock writes that, if elected, he would “strive to find the delicate balance between the environment and housing developments” and work to have the city provide parks and recreational opportunities for citizens of all ages.
The city lacks a good arterial east/west connection. What can be done to solve this?
Lindsay: Commercial and residential development has strained Pioneer Street’s capacity; however, numerous projects have already occurred to increase vehicular mobility and pedestrian safety. The final projects to finish the length of Pioneer Street are already mostly designed with funding secured for much of the work. The final improvements include extending Pioneer Street to the east to incorporate the future Clark College at Boschma Farms, where an additional roundabout will be installed. The Pioneer Street East Extension is currently underway and is funded through a $5.8 million federal BUILD grant. Increasing the number of lanes from Rosauers to Interstate 5 is currently under design and is projected to begin in 2022.
One of my top priorities as a city councilor has been securing the funding for the design and construction of a safe pedestrian trail from Interstate 5 to downtown. I am pleased to announce that the path has been designed, and construction is scheduled in 2022. All projects will improve traffic flow and allow pedestrians and cyclists to travel safely on either trails or sidewalks.
Spurlock: I support the long-term infrastructure plans, which include:
- widening Pioneer Street from the freeway to Reiman Road.
- adding a roundabout at Pioneer Street and Reiman Road.
- widening South Royle Road and adding roundabouts.
- widening the southbound exit from Interstate 5 to Pioneer Street.
- create freeway access at Northeast 219th Street (the Battle Ground exit).
- consider an east-west parallel artery alongside Pioneer Street.
- expand on residential, industrial and commercial on the east side of Interstate 5.
- use other alternatives to enter Ridgefield, such as the La Center I-5 exit north of Ridgefield.
What is your vision for the Ridgefield waterfront development?
Lindsay: Miller’s Landing has the potential to be an exciting combination of natural open space and amenities for the people of Ridgefield. The recent completion of the Pioneer Street Overpass is a key component in the Port of Ridgefield’s development of Miller’s Landing. It is important to recognize that the Port of Ridgefield and the city of Ridgefield are partners in the development of this property.
My vision for the waterfront includes making sure that the people of Ridgefield have unfettered access to the natural resources that public funds helped clean up. I would also advocate for improving the amenities, such as increasing the number of boat launches, adding boat slips and improving the kayak launch area, and establishing reduced rates for Ridgefield residents to access the boating amenities.
Finally, my vision includes zoning that creates flexibility and adaptability to economic fluctuations. Miller’s Landing should incorporate a variety of mixed uses; residential, restaurants and commercial uses so that the development can create a vibrant, interconnected combination of uses.
SPURLOCK: The Ridgefield waterfront is a prime opportunity for business development, as well a nature preserve. We have an opportunity for Ridgefield to become a destination that stands apart from other local communities. The waterfront should become a natural setting, as well as a cultural center that ties together history, the arts and an outdoor school experience.
It should include open spaces for walking, access for fishing and boating, kayaks and an area that provides some live-work options, as well as dining venues. The city should also provide incentives for downtown revitalization to attract a diverse business community, with historical preservation, as well as live-work options.
Hope Martinez of The Columbian provided research assistance on this story.