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St. Helens city councilor dies

Patrick Martyn will be missed, says mayor


by: CITY OF ST. HELENS - Patrick MartynSt. Helens City Councilor Patrick Martyn died Dec. 18 after a struggle with cancer, said city officials.

He was 59 years old.

Martyn had decided in the summer not to run for re-election and, due to his illness, was excused from attending city council meetings beginning in October. St. Helens resident Ginny Carlson was elected to replace him in the November election and will take her seat on the council in January.

His passing marks the second death experienced recently by the City Council. Councilor Phil Barlow died unexpectedly in September 2011 and Councilor Susan Conn was appointed to finish out his term.

“It's always really hard to lose people like that,” said St. Helens Mayor Randy Peterson, who had worked with Martyn for over a decade when both men were firefighters with Columbia River Fire and Rescue. He considered Martyn a friend.

“He was really one of those detail guys,” Peterson continued, discussing Martyn's four years on the City Council. “When he came to the meetings you could always tell he'd read everything and understood what we were discussing or voting on.”

He was an intensely private person, who didn't want to make it widely known he was ill, said Peterson and St. Helens City Administrator John Walsh.

“He's the kind of person who didn't want to make a fuss about it,” Walsh said. “He was going to fight his own battle.”

Martyn was elected to the City Council in 2009 and his term would have expired at the end of December. As a councilor, he oversaw the city’s Community Development Department, Planning Commission, Historic Landmarks Commission, Tourism Committee and Builders Review Board. He also represented the City in the Columbia-Pacific Economic Development District (Col-Pac) and St. Helens Economic Development Corp (SHEDCO).

In his free time, Martyn participated in the Columbia County Safe Kids Chapter, educating parents to correctly install child seats at monthly clinics in Columbia County. He was also vice president of the Columbia County Master Gardener’s Association.

During his time as a firefighter, he replaced Peterson as the CRFR union president and was well respected around the state in fire fighting circles, Peterson said.

"Whatever he did, he always kind of rose to the top,” Peterson said. “He was just willing to take on responsibility, and he always did a good job. ... He's going to be really missed."

A ceremony is expected to take place during the Christmas week.