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Troutdale City Council 'watchdog' Paul Wilcox tosses hat into ring for Position 5.

Paul Wilcox, a 12-year resident of Troutdale, is competing for City Council Position 5 to ensure there is more than one name listed on the ballot for the seat.

The 70-year-old retired commercial truck driver has attended nearly every Troutdale council meeting since he's lived in Troutdale.

Wilcox is running against Deb Reuter and Nick Moon for the seat. The position will be vacated by Rich Allen.

Wilcox has served as the Chairman for the Parks Advisory Committee and volunteered as a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee.

Wilcox holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from Beloit College in Wisconsin.

THE OUTLOOK: Why are you seeking election?

PAUL WILCOX: I'm not so much seeking election as providing Troutdale voters with an alternative to the other candidates. I've been promoting an alternative method of electing Troutdale City Councilors for nearly three years so as to minimize the possibility of the exact situation we have this election cycle of two candidates running unopposed. Councilor (Rich) Allen did not announce that he would not be seeking re-election until after the deadline for filing, so there was a potential void in Position 5. As it turned out, there are more than enough candidates for his position, while the other two (races in Troutdale) are uncontested. That is a disservice to the voters. One choice is no choice.

OUTLOOK: What would your focus be on Troutdale City Council?

WILCOX: I purchased a book from local author (Sharon Nesbit) awhile ago, and the inscription described me as Troutdale's "watchdog." I have been following the council since at least 2014, and don't hesitate to speak up when I think the council is headed in the wrong direction. Sometimes it's more important to prevent something from happening rather than allowing it to happen.

OUTLOOK: What sets you apart as a candidate?

WILCOX: As I said, I have been following the council closely for four-plus years, and have attended nearly every council meeting during that period, more in fact than three of the current council members, since they were elected in 2016. I've also served on the Parks Advisory Committee and Citizens Advisory Committee since January 2016, where I'm chairperson and vice-chairperson respectively. I also make it a practice to attend the annual Budget Committee meetings, and have attended numerous Planning Commission hearings as well. Citizens generally don't attend council meetings unless they have a complaint, or want something from the city.

OUTLOOK: What are the three biggest issues facing Troutdale?

WILCOX: I'd say the biggest issue by far is what will be developed in the 20-acre Urban Renewal Area between the Outlet Mall and the Sandy River. The city is on the hook for a $5 million loan that was required to purchase Eastwinds' portion of the site, and get the entire property "shovel-ready." It is being cleaned up to a standard that will allow any possible use, including perhaps some residential. A recurring issue is what to do with the old City Hall building on Kibling, which was abandoned in 2011, and has sat vacant ever since. With the influx of jobs at the Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park, and Gresham's Vista Industrial Park right across the border, there's an opportunity to both live and work in Troutdale and other East (Multnomah) County cities if suitable housing options are made available.

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