Candidates air views at forum

Development of Alcoa, treatment plant discussed

TROUTDALE - Development of the city's former sewage treatment plant site and the Alcoa property were common themes at a candidate forum held Monday, Oct. 16.

The candidates for City Council positions 1, 3 and 5 were asked about everything from their five- and 10-year plans for Troutdale to how councilors should interact with other entities, such as the Reynolds School District, Troutdale Historical Society and West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce.

They also answered questions on what they would do, if elected, to support the merchants in downtown Troutdale and gave their opinions on the Columbia Cascade River District plan for the former Reynolds Metals site.

Pat Smith, who is a candidate for Position 3, was not present at the forum.

Councilor Norm Thomas, who is running against Smith, said he would like to see the city move forward on the voter-approved urban renewal plan and begin development of the former sewage treatment plant site. He also hopes to see work begin on the Alcoa property and said the multi-faceted Columbia Cascade River District plan could bring a mix of positive industrial and tourism-related development to the area.

Councilor Barbara Kyle, who is up for re-election for Position 5, said she was 'very taken' with the Columbia Cascade River District Plan.

However, not all candidates were as enthusiastic.

'What I've learned is you should always strive for more innovation in planning,' said Marianne Vier, who is running for Position 1.

Although she said the plan provides a solid foundation for the future development at the former Reynolds Metals site, she believes the proposal could be more.

For most of the candidates, new development was thought of as positive because it means bringing in additional jobs.

'Jobs are essential to a community,' Vier said.

Thomas agreed.

'Let's bring in some nice jobs - family wage jobs,' he said.

Redeveloping the south side of downtown Troutdale is also a priority for most of the candidates, including Jim Kight, who is running for Position 1.

In the past, Kight has championed development in Troutdale and has worked to make the city more livable by helping to remove some unsightly waste from the city, he said.

Candidate Matthew Wand, who is running for Position 5, is concerned that larger entities, such as Metro, are affecting the city's livability by handing down density guidelines without regard to what those rules mean for the residents of Troutdale.

Housing density is also a serious concern for Kyle, who believes the city has exceeded its density requirements by allowing narrower lots.

Listening to citizens thoughts and concerns with an open mind was also a common theme at the forum.

'I think it's important that we hear from our citizens,' Kyle said.

Vier agreed.

'I would like to capture and draw upon the good ideas of the city of Troutdale,' Vier said.

For Wand, this means promoting what Troutdale has to offer and supporting community events.

'We should be shameless champions for the city in all areas of our lives,' Wand said.