Both contenders for the Washougal City Council Position 7 seat are confident their backgrounds make them suitable to serve.
Molly Coston was on the council from June 2005 through December 2011.
She previously worked as a senior project manager in the telecommunications industry. Coston has owned small businesses including a restaurant/bar and provider of home repairs in Arizona. She was also an owner/operator of a small trucking company.
Dan Coursey is a computer systems engineer who has been in the information technology industry for about 20 years. He previously worked in the banking industry.
Issues of interest to Coston include transportation, economic development and public safety.
She suggests a review of city policies for permitting and sign code.
“How do we make it easier for a business to come into Washougal and open its doors?” Coston said.
“Washougal supports the Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association, in enticing businesses to look at the area,” she added. “I would be responsible to make sure our enticement goes into the permitting process.”
Coursey, 61, is interested in attracting new, small businesses to the area, particularly ones that offer things for children to do.
“I am interested in having more restaurants that are kid friendly and [provide] family type entertainment,” he said. “That comes up quite a bit — things you can take your family to without having to drive to Vancouver.”
Coston, 67, wants to attract more businesses to the area so that people who live in Washougal will shop and be able to work in Washougal.
She believes in a mixed-use philosophy and said adding residential spaces in the downtown area would result in those occupants wanting additional retail shops and small businesses.
Coston would like to see a more diversified downtown core.
“It would have a lot more retail and places where people can meet, socialize, drink coffee and wine and go to an event together,” she said.
Coston referred to 1887 Main, a Lone Wolf Investments project, as a success story.
The two-story office and retail “incubator” building offered leases as short as 12 months for smaller and/or start-up companies as well larger, established businesses.
“It has been fully occupied almost since its conception,” Coston said. “We need to do more of that, building a relationship with the property owners so they see financial benefits. Our benefit is intangible and conducive to a better city.”
Wes Hickey is the owner of Lone Wolf.
Coursey said he wants to make sure Washougal is promoted as a business-friendly community.
“I’m very appreciative of people like Wes Hickey, and the efforts that have gone into that [downtown development],” he said. “I just want to make sure that the downtown area and the rest of Washougal will be vehicle friendly, easy to get in and out.”
Coston, a Washougal resident for 16 years, said being a council member means more than just determining the budget and making policy decisions.
“It’s about being engaged in the community and partnering with other community organizations,” she said.
Coston is the chairman of the Camas-Washougal Rotary Foundation and a former president of the League of Women Voters of Clark County. She serves on the city’s Civil Service Commission.
Coston is a member of UNITE! Washougal Community Coalition and the Washougal School District Bond Campaign 2015.
Coursey, a Washougal resident for 11 years, volunteers for the Alzheimer’s Association and the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society, in Washougal.
He describes himself as a person who is a pro-business conservative and an advocate of small government.
Coursey said he is committed to keeping a lid on new taxes and fees as much as possible.
“I believe in a government that is fiscally responsible and accountable to the citizens we represent here in Washougal,” he said.
“I look to encourage citizens to get involved locally and let their needs and concerns be known to city council and the mayor’s office,” Coursey added. “That’s largely why I’m running.”
He said Washougal has a very good website, but people want a personal contact.
“There’s a lot of people who have questions,” Coursey said. “They would rather sit down and talk to somebody about it. A lot of people I talk to are intimidated by talking with someone in government.”
While door belling potential supporters, he said many of them showed him their water bills.
“I know there’s been lots of effort to corral that and reduce it,” Coursey said. “It’s still the number one thing that someone will bring to your attention.”
Coston would like more officers added to the police department.
“There is a tight budget,” she said. “We should make it a priority to staff our police department adequately. Some people feel there is not adequate police protection.”