Two incumbents, four newcomers run for Scappoose city council
Six candidates will compete on the Nov. 3 ballot for three positions on the Scappoose city council, while Mayor Scott Burge will run unopposed for reelection.
Councilors Pete McHugh and Megan Greisen have entered the running to retain their seats on the council, but Council President Patrick Kessi did not file for reelection. Kessi said he will soon move into a residence just outside city limits and thereforewouldn't be eligible to run for reelection.
Four new candidates have filed for city council: Marty Baldwin, Peter Williamson, Jeannet Santiago and Tyler Miller.
The positions are at-large, meaning city residents will cast votes for two out of the six candidates.
Baldwin has served on various committees during his 15 years in Scappoose, including the city's economic development committee, a Scappoose School District planning committee, and currently, the Port of Columbia County's budget committee.
Baldwin said he was concerned with some of the metrics from the city's annual survey. In the last two years, satisfaction with the quality of city streets and the city's planning services have declined, the survey showed.
Baldwin said he wanted to ensure that the funds raised by the fuel tax voters approved last year go toward the highest-priority sidewalk improvements in "those key areas that keep our community safe," such as those near schools, Baldwin said.
He also noted the safety and traffic flow concerns with Highway 30 running through the city. "Although we may not be able to ebb the traffic flow, I believe there are some things we can do," through partnerships with the Oregon Department of Transportation and local police, Baldwin said.
Baldwin said he spent three decades managing budgets for a nonprofit and another 10 years as a police officer.
Williamson owns a small business as a gardener and volunteers with emergency response teams, most recently assisting in disaster response out of the county with Team Rubicon.
"My background has more to do with solving problems and solving them with a team," Williamson said. "When the pandemic started, I couldn't really deploy to those places I used to go, so I started looking at what I could do locally."
He added that the two-pronged nature of the COVID-19 pandemic makes city leadership even more important.
"We're facing two disasters right now," he said. "We're facing an economic disaster and a medical disaster."
Williamson said he thinks Scappoose doesn't have enough sense of community for residents who aren't school-age children or seniors, and wants to see the city council more involved in fostering community.
Miller said the existing city council and staff have done a good job, and he hopes to "keep moving forward to ensure their work is maintained so that we don't become stagnant."
Miller said he wants to improve on the city's outreach efforts to inform the community about events and what's happening in city government, develop more community events, and look closely at how COVID-19 "has shaped our current climate and how it will likely reshape daily activities on a long-term basis."
Miller noted that stable internet access is a concern for residents working and attending school remotely.
As of press time, Santiago had not responded to questions from the Spotlight.
Greisen, a former teacher, was elected to city council in 2016. McHugh was appointed to the council last year to fill a spot vacated by Natalie Sanders, who resigned because her family was moving away from Scappoose. McHugh spent 20 years in administrative roles with the Scappoose School District.
The voter registration deadline for the Nov. 3 election is Oct. 13. Visit the Oregon Secretary of State's website to check voter registration, including address and party affiliation.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.