In Office Since January 2010


Increase employment and retail
  • Control taxes and fees to attract and keep employers and residents
  • Partner with the Port to bring clean industry & family wage jobs
  • Support growth of existing local businesses
  • Improve infrastructure and plan future City growth

Develop local workforce

  • Partner with businesses/schools to add work experience opportunities
  • Continue to improve school safety with a full-time school resource officer
  • Partner with schools on joint use facilities

Preserve the unique character of Washougal

  • Continue improving City communication with residents
  • Clean up poorly maintained properties
  • Support public safety efforts
  • Improve City Government effectiveness & efficiency
  • Review development proposals using four criteria:
  1. How does it benefit Washougal residents?
  2. Does it preserve the rural character of Washougal?
  3. Does it enhance the beauty of our Columbia riverfront?
  4. Will it be a boon or a burden to City finances?


I (1) don’t believe in the use of eminent domain for this purpose, (2) consider putting bicycles next to cars and trucks on a busy thoroughfare suicidal, (3) am concerned about restricting traffic volume on our major outlet to the outside world in case Hwy 14 is shut down by a bridge problem in an emergency, (4) don’t support so called “smart growth” policies like Road Diets that restrict needed auto use, and (5) have trouble accepting that reducing a four lane road to two lanes and reducing the speed limit by five miles per hour will result in (A) increased throughput on the road, and (B) improved safety.  I do like having an improved school crossing at Hathaway School and curbs and sidewalks along E Street.  In order to get these improvements however, the grant funding agencies paying for this project require the Road Diet.  That is my primary objection.

CRITICISMS of WASHOUGAL 2009 BUDGET VISION STATEMENT:  The Sellers administration’s vision was to restructure the city using a problematic land use and transportation planning concept (Smart Growth) that legislates higher population densities and discourages driving.  Smart Growth policies:

  • Fail to recognize the automobile as the mode of transportation needed and desired by residents for essential travel to major employment and shopping centers.
  • Raise the cost of housing and reduce its availability by coercive over-regulation that tries to predict the housing market.  (e.g.  Cottage housing regulations.)
  • Introduce congestion on streets to discourage automobile use.  (e.g.  Use of curb extensions and the E Street Road Diet.)
  • Use theories about the dangers of carbon dioxide to the environment for which there is:
    • An unraveling scientific consensus.
    • Significant evidence that suggests man has little effect on carbon dioxide levels, and less ability to influence them.
  • Raise the cost of City government.  (e.g. by requiring hybrid vehicles.)
  • Focus on bicycle and pedestrian traffic thoroughfares used primarily for recreation at the expense of vital motor vehicle lifelines to employment and shopping centers.


At the 3 August Washougal City Council meeting, the Council made a difficult but beneficial decision to avoid delaying the opening of a new daycare business.  This decision brings into existence a new business that will provide service to the community and add welcome revenue to lagging City tax collections.  The Council’s deliberations on the issue, however, revealed the need to streamline City permitting processes.

Business owners have noted the difficulty of navigating the City’s permitting process.  While large businesses usually hire experts to seek permits, small business owners often take on this challenge themselves.  Many of them find the process to be lengthy, complex, and hard to understand.

Washougal is enduring the national economic downturn.  Revenues are declining but basic municipal services must still be provided.  Streamlining the permitting process for new businesses and helping applicants understand how to meet requirements is necessary to attract and retain employers for our area.  These businesses will bring services, jobs, and tax revenues.  We need to ensure that our bureaucratic processes do not discourage them from coming here.


1.  I disagree with the use of eminent domain to acquire property for the project.

2.  The proposed bicycle lanes will put cyclists in close proximity to cars and trucks travelling at 30 mph or greater speeds (85 percent of motorists on E Street travel at speeds in excess of 33 mph).  As a cyclist, I consider that situation unsafe.

3.  If Highway 14 is closed because of an emergency, bridge closure for example, E Street becomes the major evacuation route.  Restricting traffic volume by reducing travel lanes from four to two increases the time required to evacuate Washougal.  My experience with civilian evacuation plans in Asia and Europe suggests that life-threatening problems could result in an emergency.

4.  The Road Diet imposed by grant funding agencies supporting this project is an expression of the so called “Smart Growth” philosophy that seeks to limit automobile use and increase the housing density of our city to urban proportions.  The scientific basis and track record for “Smart Growth” are increasingly being called into question and disproven.  “Smart Growth” should not serve as the basis of our housing and transportation planning.

5.  Businesses along E Street will suffer loss of customers during construction.  Many businesses are already feeling the effects of the current economic downturn.  This may not be the best time to add this burden to our struggling E Street businesses.

6.  Email responses to my request for public input have been five to one against the project.


This ordinance requires:

(1)  More paperwork and dedicated employer time and expense than its minimal benefits justify.

(2)  Considerable city staff time and effort.

This ordinance is based upon:

(1)  A state mandate (RCW 70.94.521 et. seq.) that interferes in the business of the City of Washougal.

(2)  Politically driven hysteria aided and abetted by faulty science.

The results of this ordinance will include:

(1)  Businesses refusing to relocate to Washougal.

(2)  Unnecessary burdens on existing employers.

(3)  Decisions by current employers not to expand operations in Washougal.

(4)  Lost job growth opportunities.

(5)  Lost tax revenues.

Recommendation:  That the City of Washougal Administration and Council conduct a major lobbying effort with state legislators to:

(1)  Inform them of the unnecessary burden they are imposing on the city.

(2)  Seek the revocation of this ill-conceived state legislation.

The Significance of Washougal’s LED Project (Posted 2JUN10)

On page A5 of the 18 May 2010 edition of the C-WPR was a story entitled “Washougal Approves LED Agreement.”  The LED (Light Emitting Diode) project would install LED light bulbs in street, building, and other lighting fixtures in Washougal.  The story mentioned one of five objections I have to this project, pointing out that although I like the project, when the city’s needs are prioritized, it does not rise to the top of the project stack.  My other objections are:

  1. This project was not included in the 2010 city budget, which began the year with a 1.8 million dollar deficit.  The project requires $45,000 in unbudgeted city matching funds.
  2. It is funded primarily with federal stimulus monies.  These borrowed monies are an unwise addition to the national debt.  Using them is detrimental to the long-term financial stability of the country.  There is rising resistance to the use of federal stimulus funds at the municipal level across the country.  Basic economic principles suggest that a nation cannot spend its way to prosperity using monies borrowed from foreign investors.
  3. No technology that still relies upon government subsidies is ready for adoption by municipal governments, even on a limited basis.  Municipal governments have limited financial resources that should not be put at risk unnecessarily.  Taking financial risks is a function best reserved for the private sector.
  4. Project supporters predict (1) savings far in excess of the $45,000 in matching city funds to be invested, and (2) the possibility of new jobs if the LED production company moves its headquarters and production facility to Washougal.  Although I would be thrilled if Washougal were to benefit from both of these possibilities, there is no guarantee that these benefits will be realized.
  5. The significance of the LED Project is greater than that of the project itself because it raises the question “What is the role of municipal government?”  Until that role is defined, deciding priorities among competing projects is difficult.

The basic role of municipal government is to provide a limited number of important services.  The city needs a mission statement that identifies these services.  The mission statement can then be consulted when projects are brought forward by ardent proponents to judge whether the project would contribute to the mission, and how much it would contribute.

At some point, Washougal City Government must recognize its limitations, concentrate its limited resources on mission essential priorities, and get back to basics.  Given the current and projected economic climate, now would be a good time to start.  A succinct mission statement would be a good first step.