New energy can invigorate the Troutdale City Council at a time when it is dealing with the crucial issues of riverfront renewal and redevelopment of the Alcoa industrial site.
Council candidates Marianne Vier, Norm Thomas and Matthew Wand offer promise of a council that can strike the correct balance of experience and fresh perspectives. All three of those candidates are running against quality opponents who've also proven their community dedication. But while lengthy résumés can offer comfort and predictability, voters in this case ought to opt for the power of new ideas.
Council Position 1: Marianne Vier
The 40-year-old Vier is a member of the Troutdale Planning Commission and served on the citizen task force that helped develop the urban renewal plan that won voter support this year. She believes in building consensus among city leaders and citizens to accomplish shared goals. Her collaborative style ought to be welcome on a council that has seen its share of disharmony. Her professional experience in human resources also is an asset, and she certainly comes into this race with ample knowledge of the key issue of urban renewal.
Vier's opponent is Jim Kight, who previously served 10 years on the council before losing a mayoral bid two years ago. Kight has much to commend him, including boundless energy, but he already had a decade-long opportunity to shape Troutdale. It's time to give someone else a chance.
Position 3: Norm Thomas
Thomas, the 53-year-old incumbent, has served already for four years and has shown an ability to consider all points of view. He has been a leader in seeking regional cooperation while at the same time keeping Troutdale clearly as his top priority. Thomas is opposed by former Councilor Pat Smith, who decided not to run for re-election after eight years on the council because of a hearing problem, and then lost in 2004 by 79 votes in her last bid for election.
Thomas is beginning to come into his own as a councilor and deserves one more term.
Position 5: Matthew Wand
The 31-year-old Wand has deep roots in Troutdale and a well-developed ability to articulate his views. As an attorney who specializes in construction and business litigation, his professional experience will be invaluable as the city's urban renewal agency negotiates with contractors and landowners. Wand, who is challenging incumbent Barbara Kyle, has a clear understanding of the city's priorities around public safety, livability and economic development.
Voters should give him the nod for position 5.