Candidate’s use of Grove Field parking lot generates complaints

State Rep. Liz Pike held fundraiser at home near airport

State Rep. Liz Pike held fundraiser at home near airport

A board member of the Concerned Citizens in Action recently expressed frustration about supporters of State Rep. Liz Pike parking at the Grove Field Airport parking lot, during a political fundraiser.

The event was held Aug. 25, at the home of Pike and Neil Cahoon, located near Grove Field. The dinner also raised money for the campaigns of Ed Orcutt and Julie Olson.

During the Sept. 4 Port of Camas-Washougal Commission meeting, Richard Hamby referred to an email sent May 21 from Port Executive Director David Ripp to Pike. In it, Ripp requested that Pike make other arrangements for parking.

“I am concerned about the port providing free parking (akin to a service) for a political fundraiser,” he said. “Providing a service, including the right to use property at less than fair market value or on a discriminatory basis, is considered a contribution to a campaign under WAC 390-05-210.

“I don’t think that this one instance necessarily rises to the level of a campaign contribution, but I also don’t want the port to be put in a position of letting political campaigns use property on a discriminatory basis, such that it might become an issue in the future. I also don’t want the port to be in the position of defending a Public Disclosure Commission complaint that a public entity should be reporting the fair market value of parking as an in-kind contribution to a political campaign. (Unfortunately, I’ve seen PDC complaints on more trivial matters).”

Pike replied, “Ok.”

She was not available for comment by phone, prior to press deadlines. In an email sent Friday to the Post-Record, Pike said she had “rectified this situation to the satisfaction of all parties concerned.”

Ripp said Pike paid the port $50 for the use of the parking lot and apologized for not finding parking for her guests elsewhere. The payment occurred the Monday or Tuesday after the event, he said.

“It is the port’s concession that everything has been resolved on this issue,” Ripp added.

During the Sept. 4 port commission meeting, Cahoon called Hamby a “political watchdog.”

Hamby, of Washougal, said he “happened to be driving by the airport the evening of the event.”

“I was surprised to see Neil out in the front of the Grove Field parking lot, waving traffic in off of the highway and directing them to park,” he added. “I was also surprised to see an organized shuttle service, shuttling people from the Grove Field parking lot to their event.”

Pike, a Republican, was appointed on Aug. 23 to serve in the 18th Legislative District Position 1 State Representative seat. She is a candidate for the State Representative Position 2 seat against Democrat David Shehorn in the Nov. 6 General Election.

The CCIA was formed by local residents in 2007, to encourage greater accountability in government.