The Gresham Outlook’s endorsement of Doug Daoust for Troutdale mayor will hardly come as a surprise: We’ve already editorialized that his opponent, incumbent Mayor Jim Kight, should resign or at least drop out of the race.

Doug DaoustRemember, Kight is the mayor who built a structure on his Troutdale property that violates city codes and that should never have been approved by the town’s planning department. Kight has failed to accept responsibility. He still has not owned up to the notion that he, as mayor, should have known better — that he should have asked more questions and insisted that his building project meet the absolute letter of the law.

But here we are: Kight has not dropped out of the race, and Troutdale voters will have to choose between an embattled incumbent or a well-respected challenger.

Interestingly, this race really got started more than four years ago, even before the last election. It was then that Troutdale city councilors Dave Ripma and Daoust discussed which of them would challenge Kight to replace retiring Mayor Paul Thalhofer. Daoust bowed to Ripma, leading to an endorsement of Ripma by The Outlook. Obviously, Kight won that election.

For the record, The Outlook would have endorsed Daoust had he been the candidate in 2008.

Why? Because if you ignore for a moment all we have come to know about Mayor Kight, and focus only on Daoust, you quickly arrive at an obvious conclusion: Doug Daoust is a highly competent, experienced, personable and respected civic leader who had earned the right to serve as mayor four years ago. What was true then is still true today.

Business friendly

One of the first things Daoust would do as mayor is hang a metaphoric sign from the Troutdale arch. That sign would say, “Troutdale is open for business.”

Right now, he says, Troutdale has a poor reputation among developers and potential businesses, which all too often run up against bureaucracy and disinterested city employees. Daoust wants to lead the creation of a new culture of excellent customer service within the town’s planning and building departments. He understands that not every request can be satisfied, but he said the city’s employees at least should bend over backward to find a solution before saying no.

Troutdale has arrived at an important point in its history where a major power generating project is moving toward reality in the industrial area, and where development in the town’s urban renewal district is becoming more and more likely.

Given these possibilities, it’s all the more important that the city’s planning and building departments are working to meet the needs of new business and industry.

Team decisions

Daoust wants to end the practices of rogue decisions and hushed discussions that have emerged under the leadership of Mayor Kight. Instead, Daoust wants the City Council to arrive at joint decisions and speak with unity on behalf of Troutdale’s government, whether that involves business development or cooperation with nearby cities and regional government.

Past accomplishments

These are some of this things Daoust can claim on his résumé of accomplishments:

• He developed the Troutdale Business Incentive program with two other councilors, giving new and established businesses a break in city fees if they wanted to expand into empty storefronts.

• He supported and implemented the lifeguard program on the Sandy River at Glenn Otto Park.

• He supported the enterprise zone to bring FedEx into Troutdale’s industrial area, adding 750 jobs.

• He led the effort with a team of councilors that resulted in an agreement between Metro and Troutdale on Title 13, watershed and fish habitat protection issues.

His experience

Daoust has 16 years of experience on the Troutdale City Council, during that time serving on the Budget Committee, Centennial Celebration Committee, Troutdale Parks Advisory Committee, Planning Commission and Economic Development Subcommittee.

The Outlook isn’t alone

It’s sad to point out that incumbent Mayor Jim Kight has not gained the endorsement of any of his peers. It says something that Daoust has gained the endorsement of Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis, Fairview Mayor Mike Weatherby, Wood Village Mayor Patricia Smith and Multnomah County Commissioner Diane McKeel.

It doesn’t stop there. Daoust has been endorsed by every other member of the Troutdale City Council.

This should serve as a strong message to Troutdale’s residents that the people who work most closely with these candidates clearly put their full trust behind Daoust.

And that’s why the voters of Troutdale should elect Doug Daoust as their next mayor.

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