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Long-time resident, retired educator Peter McHugh has participated in city committees in recent years

PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - Peter McHugh was sworn into office by Columbia County Clerk Betty Huser at the Scappoose City Council's Oct. 14 meeting.

Scappoose welcomed a new city councilor last week.

Peter McHugh was appointed to the Scappoose City Council after the council interviewed candidates at their Oct. 14 meeting.

McHugh was one of four candidates who interviewed for the position. He won with votes from Councilors Patrick Kessi, Megan Greisen, Joel Haugen and Josh Poling.

"As a City Council member, I want to help the city to be the best it can be," McHugh said.

McHugh has lived in the community for more than 40 years, spending 20 years in administrative roles within the Scappoose School District. He served as principal of Grant Watts Elementary, Otto Petersen Elementary, and Scappoose High School before retiring from education in 1997.

"My knowledge of the community is helpful," McHugh explained. "Because of my background, I could hit the ground running."

More recently, McHugh has served on boards and committees in Scappoose. He is currently a member of the parks and recreation committee and previously served on the technical urban renewal advisory committee.

"I think the issue most important to me is quality of life — how to maintain the quality of life and improve it," McHugh said.

Infrastructure, managing population growth, traffic and attracting desirable businesses to the community all fall under quality of life, McHugh explained.

Parks are an important issue for McHugh, "and that really goes back to since I've been in the community."

McHugh has been in Scappoose since the school district was the only parks program, but the city has increased its parks inventory in recent years.

"I have an interest in the swimming pool fund that still exists," McHugh added.

As the city moves forward on a likely urban renewal program, McHugh's experience on the urban renewal technical advisory committee is helping him get up to speed quickly. Urban renewal "is a great concept, but it's complicated, and it took a while to really understanding how money gets brought back to the city to make improvements," McHugh said.

"One of the things I think I'm pretty good at is asking questions when I don't understand something. I won't just float around in the dark," he added, explaining that the advisory committee spent a lot of time trying to understand the urban renewal process.

McHugh fills the seat vacated by Natalie Sanders, who resigned in early September because she was moving to The Dalles with her family.


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