CHELAN – The city council interviewed eight prospective candidates for the District 2 position vacated by Mayor-elect Erin McCardle during its regular bi-monthly meeting on Jan. 9. Following an executive session all but one council member selected former mayor Bob Goedde, whose term ended on Dec. 31, to fill the seat.
While Goedde brought the most administrative experience to the interview having served 12 years – including the last four – as mayor, the field of candidates who offered their services to a community they care about was both encouraging and appreciated by council members. Each candidate framed the decision to seek the council position through the lens of personal observation and business operation in the city.
Goedde stressed the need for the city to secure the most current institutional experience available to help the council meet the many challenges facing the modern tourist mecca it has become. Of those challenges, he named the Eastside Reservoir, housing, and traffic as priorities.
Goedde said the reservoir would provide added water to Apple Blossom Center, the airport, and a second line to Chelan Hills for both fires and water supply.
Regarding housing, Goedde referenced a meeting with the Chelan County Commissioners concerning 20 acres of property given to the county (“by Fish and Wildlife, I believe”) that Goedde would like to see the city acquire for building purposes.
As for traffic, “You all know what I’m going to say,” said Goedde, “That bridge (Woodin Avenue) needed to be two-way.” referring to the high numbers of cars coming one way into downtown and none able to use it outbound.
The other prospective candidates included:
A 2013 Chelan High School graduate and fourth generation resident, Allen manages operations and risk management for the Kelly Allen Agency. Allen said she wants to see more of the city’s younger generation return to live and work here.
“I want to focus on bringing Chelan locals back to Chelan,” said Allen. “Very few of my graduating class has come back.”
Allen identified the most pressing issues facing the city as jobs, the airport, and infrastructure.
The need for improved infrastructure is a topic Allen addressed with firsthand knowledge.
“We rent a city building down here,” said Allen, “and I can’t tell you how many times that sewer has backed into our bathroom.”
A fourth-generation farmer Collins is head winemaker for Fielding Hills Winery and operates a vineyard and consulting business.
“I want to be an active voice lor the continued growth and success of Chelan for all businesses and community members with a specific perspective on agriculture and agritourism, its constituents. and business needs,” said Collins, “I have two boys…and I want them to come back here and raise their families here.”
He identified affordable housing, airport expansion, and growth and expansion in the community as three urgent issues ahead.
A construction business owner who moved to Chelan in 2006, Dillon’s reason for running was a simple but familiar phrase.
“You hear people discussing (complaining) and saying, ‘Someone should do something,’” said Dillon. “I want to do my part.”
Dillon singled out the number of developments being built, infrastructure, and the airport as the three most important pressing issues facing the city.
A five-year Chelan resident, Gogal and her husband own Deep Water Inn & Brunch Box and Chelan Valley Construction.
Gogal named affordable housing, support of small businesses, and tourism as the three principal issues facing Chelan.
Higley owns a skydiving and paragliding school at the airport and has been a Chelan resident since 2012. He has a five-year-old son and is a member of the Parks and Recreation Board for the past two years. He cited infrastructure, the aging park system, and better communications as his three hot-button city issues. Asked about the role the city plays in affordable housing, Higley cited his own experience.
“I had to buy property and then build campsites and put trailers on it so I could have affordable housing for my employees,” Higley said.
An unsuccessful mayoral candidate last fall, former council member Olson cited his experience as an asset to a council with three new members having no prior experience on that body.
“I have gained a wealth of experience and knowledge over the last eight years, and I would like to assist as the city continues to address its infrastructure shortcomings,” said Olson.
Olsen said housing and city utilities are two of the city’s most pressing issues. Olsen recalled when Mike Cooney was mayor (2015-2019) an informal survey taken at that time reflected a shortage of more than 300 homes.
“The previous four years before this last summer we had either a water or sewer failure every single year,” Olsen said.
Signorelli, a Chelan real estate broker and former hospital commissioner, identified water (East Side Reservoir), the airport, and affordable housing as key issues ahead. She also named a fourth, partnering, a term she heard Mayor Erin McCardle mention during her campaign,
“That’s what we need to do,” said Signorelli. “We need to partner with more of our organizations and more of our community and broader community.”
Mike Maltais: 360-333-8483 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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