Three WashCo commissioners take a final bow
It was mostly smiles — but also a little bit of controversy — for three Washington County commissioners at their final public meeting.
Board Chairman Andy Duyck and Commissioners Greg Malinowski and Bob Terry received plaques from the two remaining members, Roy Rogers and Dick Schouten, at the Dec. 18 business meeting.
Each plaque duplicates the front page of the Dec. 18 agenda with their photos — "one thing I like about those pictures is that none of us look any older," Terry said — and their signatures.
"You will be sorely missed," Rogers said.
Duyck, 58, chose not to seek re-election after eight years as the chairman elected countywide. He defeated Schouten for that position in 2010; Duyck had been the District 4 (west) commissioner for 16 years beforehand.
Terry, 72, succeeded Duyck in the District 4 seat in 2010. He lost his own bid for board chair Nov. 6 to Kathryn Harrington of Beaverton, a three-term Metro councilor. Former Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey was elected to Terry's old seat on May 15.
Malinowski, 61, was elected District 2 (northeast) commissioner in 2010. He lost a third-term bid to Pam Treece, executive director of the Westside Economic Alliance, in the May 15 primary.
The terms of all three end on Jan. 7. Their successors will be sworn in at the board's next business meeting on Jan. 8.
"It's the end of an era, when we've had a lot of stability on this board," Schouten said.
"There have been occasions when we have had disagreements and we have split votes. But that's democracy. I have learned from all three of you."
Rogers said their departures will result in a cumulative loss of 40 years of experience on the board — although Rogers has 34 years and Schouten 18 years. Their terms are up in 2020.
Point of debate
But their final meeting wasn't without controversy.
One of the agenda items proposed the appointment of Duyck, plus reappointment of three others, to the Washington County Fair Board. Duyck would be a public member; all sitting commissioners are members.
All the terms are for three years.
Tom Black and Jim Clute, both involved in the Washington County Fair Boosters, urged the board to defer the appointments to the incoming commissioners. Both have criticized how the county has managed the fair and fairgrounds in Hillsboro.
Duyck said he took up the matter with Harrington during one of their sessions to discuss the transition.
"I expressed my wish to serve on this board," he said. "I cannot say that she said (anything) one way or the other. But she is well aware of it and did not say she opposed it."
Harrington was not at the Dec. 18 meeting, but Treece and Willey sat in the audience.
"I don't have a sense this is a problem with them," Schouten said.
"I think it is really helpful bringing in a former (county board) chair with a lot of background and history, and who played a major role in bringing in a major new building that is really going to promote the fair and fairgrounds in wonderful directions."
The board approved the appointments unanimously.
Event Center redux
Later, Black — a vocal critic of the $46 million Event Center for which ground was broken Sept. 25 — again took issue with how the building is being financed. Voters rejected a 2008 measure, but money for the building is coming from Washington County's Gain Share funds — state payments that partly offset property tax breaks granted by the county for major investments by Intel and Genentech — plus other county funds, $8 million from Hillsboro in lodging taxes, and $1 million from the Washington County Visitors Association.
Black said the two-year state budget proposed by Gov. Kate Brown includes no money for Gain Share payments.
"We do not embark on projects we cannot sustain," Duyck replied.
Schouten spoke up for the building and the county's use of Gain Share money for it.
"It's going to be a great asset for the county, the public and the fair itself," he said.
An agreement ratified by the Legislature in 2015 â€“ when Brown was in her first year as governor after the sudden resignation of John Kitzhaber â€“ sets future maximums of $10 million from Gain Share for qualifying projects for counties.
"I'm going to work on the premise that I expect the state to be a good partner in our business ventures and will work on that basis. We came to a deal with them," Schouten said. "While every Legislature brings a new playing field, in the final analysis, this state and this county will be best served by deals that were struck and not reneged on."