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By Roger Nichols
For the Sentinel 

Council votes Goodnoe over vets


March 29, 2017

Goldendale City Council met Monday night in a special session on a single issue—which of two competing applications would receive the go-ahead to redevelop the Mt. Adams Care Center in Goldendale. The center sits on a four and a half acre parcel on Simcoe Drive in Goldendale. Proposals were received from Veterans Recreation and Rehabilitation Center and from Goodnoe Station Development. One of the problems with the existing building complex is that it has asbestos, which would need to be either removed or encapsulated whatever is done with the facility.

Last week, councilors held a public hearing on the matter; last night's meeting was solely for deliberation and vote. Several council members expressed the difficulty of choosing between the two proposals.

“I've never had such a hard decision to make in my life,” said Carmen Knopes. “My dad is a veteran, and I know what he goes through.”

“If we were to base it on feelings, the veterans would have had it weeks ago,” said John Sullivan.

Mayor Mike Canon reminded them that when they had drawn up the criteria, deciding how to weigh various factors, they did not know who might apply or what kind of proposals they would receive. He stressed that 45 percent of the weight was given to economic benefits to the community, including job creation and/or retention of jobs, local tax base and water/sewer revenues with the remainder divided between experience of the proposer in projects of comparable size, project timing and esthetic benefits.

“Two hundred families will be positive to our school and to our stores,” said Mayor Canon. “I don't have a vote, so I kind of need to be quiet, but my background in Economic Development, makes it nearly impossible.”

He noted that, as it stands currently, the property pays no taxes but uses electricity and is an expense to the city.

As the discussion progressed, it became apparent that only councilor Guy Theriault was prepared to support the veteran's proposal. He expressed concern that the apartments would be filled with low-income families and that it would end up costing the city more than any economic benefit the city would receive.

The councilors used a specially constructed scoring matrix to record their responses. Ultimately, councilors read the comparative scores they gave to the two applications and gave their vote: Gary Hoctor – 84 points for Goodnoe, 40 for the veterans; John Sullivan - 76.5 for Goodnoe, 32.5 for the veterans; Andy Halm – 80 for Goodnoe, 70 for the veterans; Carmen Knopes – 91.5 for Goodnoe, 82 for the veterans; Lucille Bevins – 98 for Goodnoe, 72 for the veterans. Guy Theriault 34.5 for Goodnoe, 86.5 for the veterans. Shannon Middleton, who called in from Arkansas, did not have a copy of the scoring matrix with him, so did not read off a score; instead he just cast a vote in favor of Goodnoe. Final vote was six to one, with Theriault the only no vote.

Mayor Canon wound up the meeting by thanking the many people who had commented on the issue. “You have done very good work,” he said.


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