City of Dayton council and mayoral candidates

Joann Patras and Devin Greenup are running for Position No. 4 on the Dayton City Council. Roger Trump is unopposed for City of Dayton Mayor

 

September 28, 2023

Aeryelle Gleason, Mike Ferrians

Joann Patras and Devin Green are running for Dayton City Council Position 4.

DAYTON-When Dain Nysoe retires on Dec. 31, after twelve years on the Dayton City Council, a new city council member, Joann Patras or Devin Greenup, will take his place.

"I have enjoyed serving on the city council, but at the same time, I look forward to the end of my term in office," said Nysoe, who is grateful to have served along with other dedicated public servants.

Nysoe said he appreciates the recent uptick in attendance by the public at council meetings and hopes more people will attend in the future and become better informed about city issues.

Recent attempts by a small number of people who want to "take Dayton back in time" through ways Nysoe characterized as "very conservative, racist, homophobic, white supremacist leaning, and in many cases religious" is concerning to him.

"For whatever reason, they have managed to change the cultural composition of Dayton, much to our detriment," he said.

Nysoe has a word of advice for new incoming council members cautioning them about the need to sometimes to make unpopular decisions. That was the case when the city pool was closed in 2017 due to infrastructure problems. While many in the community were unhappy with that decision Nysoe said it was the fiscally responsible thing to do.

The following are questions Nysoe said he would ask the two candidates running for his position.

What are the top priorities for the city?

Name the best and worst attributes of the city.

What can the city do to attract business and encourage community growth?

Should code compliance be more vigorously enforced?

Nysoe also thinks the new council member should learnmore about the interlocal agreement (ILA) between the county and the city for law enforcement services.

He would like the city council members to consider whether the ILA is the best deal for the city. The ILA, with a sticker price of over $700,000, will expire in 2025, and Nysoe hopes the council will look into what other similarly sized communities pay to support a city police force.

Nysoe said the biggest challenges facing the City of Dayton and Columbia County are the deteriorating tax base, lack of affordable housing, and living wage jobs.

He would like both candidates to talk about what they think about that and consider whether annexation of some county residential areas into the city is a viable option for helping to solve the problem.

The following interviews include the responses of the candidates, Devin Greenup and Joann Patros.

Dayton City Council Position 4 candidate Devin Greenup

"I plan to be a voice of reason in a community that has a minority of loud voices with radical opinions," Greenup said, citing his fresh view of the world, his ability to work well with others, and his desire to be a bridge between the older and younger generations.

The city's most pressing problems are; a lack of housing, a lack of growth, and a community that has become divided.

"Some members of the community seem to want Dayton to stay the way it is, but that is a naïve possibility."

Greenup believes the city needs a vision for business that encourages new services, along with entertainment opportunities lacking in southeast Washington. He also thinks advertising for events already taking place could be better.

Local businesses should be held to a high standard of quality, and health and safety codes should be enforced.

Greenup was unsure of the need for annexation. He thinks the city's footprint is large enough to support development within current city limits.

He does not support the creation of a city police force and thinks the ILA for law enforcement services should remain in place. He said addressing poverty and drug addiction through better programs including building a new jail' will relieve some of the financial burden on the county and, in turn, on the city.

Why vote for him?

Greenup said, "As a young person who has lived in many different cities and experienced many different cultures, I am adaptable and understanding of others who think differently from me, and I value hearing perspectives that are not my own. I believe in the concept of truth, that truth is not subjective and individual, but is unchanging and universal."

Greenup is a home care provider working in Walla Walla and Dayton. His wife, Erika, is the theater manager for Whitman College. When not at work, they are renovating their home in Dayton, and plan to become foster parents. He and Erika are codirecting "The Little Mermaid" for the Liberty Theater's Fall Musical.

Dayton City Council Position 4 candidate Joann Patras

"I believe with my broad business experience, paired with my knowledge of the town and surrounding areas, I can put forward practical and responsible ideas that will enhance our community. Citizens can count on me to respectfully listen, care, and respond to their concerns and criticisms. I will bring their ideas forward and work toward resolving the issues at hand."

Patras said the top priorities for the city are the timely completion of the Wastewater Treatment Plant Project, affordable housing, childcare that is accessible to every worker, cleaning up Main Street storefronts, and better advertising for events like All Wheels Weekend. She is also in favor of creating new events.

Patras had this to say about increasing the tax base.

"By developing available land, whether it be through the county or private individuals, we will add to our tax revenue and attract people that will bring new businesses and shoppers to Main Street."

Patras said, "The problem with annexation is that there are people with farm animals that would not be allowed in the city limits. Perhaps a grandfather clause should be considered for them to keep their animals. "

She would prefer annexation "only if it doesn't lead to a big fight."

Petras went on to say municipal codes are in place for a good reason. However, exceptions and alternatives to city codes may be needed should enforcement cause hardship for owners with age or health-related issues.

"But in other cases, where the situation is clearly dangerous to people, natural surroundings, or the environment, the code should be enforced."

In answer to Nysoe's question about the ILA, Patras said the city does not currently have the means to provide adequate staff or jail services to support a city police force.

She said, "We are a small community with limited resources, but in due time the reliance on the county will be curtailed."

Patras has lived in Dayton for thirteen years. She has a master's degree in education. She has worked as Director of Religious Education for several parishes in the Archdioceses of Minneapolis and as a youth minister, there, and in northern Minnesota. Patras was a Longville, Minnesota, Chamber of Commerce member owning and operating two motels with her husband, Bob. She has been a manager, board member, and secretary in Dayton for All Saints Thrift Store. She has two sons, Matt and Chad, and a daughter, Melissa, who writes for the Dayton Chronicle.

Why vote for Patras?

"I can see both sides of an issue and can then determine through logic and research which way to go with it. My agenda is to do what is right for the city in partnership with the county," she said.

Mayoral candidate Roger Trump

Roger Trump is running unopposed for Mayor of the City of Dayton and took a run at Nysoe's questions.

Trump said the city's top priority is getting the Wastewater Treatment Plant operational and in compliance with the Department of Ecology rules.

He said the city does not appear to have enough money in the budget to support everything that is needed or wanted.

He will need to familiarize himself with the city budget before he can discuss the Interlocal Agreement for law enforcement services. However, he said the county got a "sweet deal" the last time the ILA was negotiated.

Trump said Dayton is an attractive and safe place for people to live, and he would like to see young people raising families here. But finding people with the right skills to fill highly skilled positions is a problem. Though the Port and Chamber work diligently to attract people to the area, retaining local people is difficult.

He thinks growth is necessary, and because Dayton's current footprint is inadequate, annexation will need to occur at some point. Growth is needed to keep utility and garbage collection fees from being a financial burden for householders.

Trump wants to look at the current municipal codes before deciding whether code enforcement should be more vigorously enforced.

The future mayor has worn many hats in Columbia County, thirty-seven years' worth. He has worked for the county in the Planning and Building department, Solid Waste Management, and Emergency Management, where he was the E911 Director. He has also been the coordinator and road superintendent for county roads.

For the City of Dayton, Trump has served as an engineering technician and he served on the Dayton City Council for two years, in 1987 and 1988.

He said he can work well with state and federal Emergency Management officials and the Department of Ecology.

When he takes office in January, Trump promises to make himself available and hold regular office hours.

 

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