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Smith faces Thomas in council race

Former Troutdale councilor Pat Smith challenges incumbent Norm Thomas

TROUTDALE - Incumbent Norm Thomas and former City Councilor Pat Smith will be battling for City Council position 3.

'Urban renewal is the big-button issue right now,' Thomas said, adding that the development of the Alcoa property also will be important to the city's future.

The idea of a possible north-south connector is also a hot topic.

Thomas believes the council's decision not to vacate the 242nd right-of-way was the right decision.

'Eighty thousand more cars on 257th Avenue is not a good idea,' he said.

Thomas decided to run for council again so he could finish some of the things he started while in office.

One of his main goals is to get the city's neighborhood associations up and running.

In addition, Thomas hopes to build a second Imagination Station and a skateboard park within the city.

Thomas believes some of his most important contributions to the city thus far include his roles in laying the groundwork for the formation of the neighborhood associations and getting new payday loan regulations approved.

He is also proud of his involvement in the plans for a gateway into the city that will be funded through a public-private partnership and put it in place to celebrate the city's centennial next year.

Thomas has been working to improve the communication between the four small cities through informal breakfast meetings that allow participants to discuss common regional issues.

He believes his willingness to get out and meet people in the community and to listen to all sides of an argument will benefit the council and the citizens.

'I don't believe you should predetermine a vote until you hear both sides of the evidence,' Thomas said.

Thomas ran an unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2004.

Smith has some reservations about the city's riverfront renewal plans, and believes urban renewal was the wrong choice.

In general, she is concerned about the quality of development that is happening in Troutdale.

'They're trying to fit in condos on every available square inch of land,' she said. 'It's beginning to look like barracks.'

She believes the council needs to look closely at the city's development codes and implement some changes to make Troutdale more livable.

'If things are not right, you should be able to go before the council and state your problems, because that is what they are there for,' Smith said.

She would also like to take a close look at the way the city spends its money.

'Everything is going up, and I feel we have to start making some decisions about what is important,' Smith said.

For Smith, that means allocating more land for parks.

'I feel I represent the working class and senior citizens,' Smith said, adding that she believes her previous experience on the council will benefit the citizens of Troutdale.

Smith said the creation of Imagination Station and the development of the north side of downtown were her biggest accomplishments when she was previously on council.

Reporter Erin Shea can be reached by calling 503-492-5118.