Guard says goodbye to Washougal

Area leaders honor the outgoing mayor, focus on his positive achievements

Washougal Mayor-elect Molly Coston, Camas Mayor Scott Higgins and Ridgefield Mayor Ron Onslow recently complimented outgoing Washougal Mayor Sean Guard for his eight years of public service.

The tributes occurred during the Monday, Dec. 11, Washougal City Council meeting.

After reading a proclamation, Coston presented the mayor with a clock from the city, inscribed with “2010-2017” and Guard’s name.

The proclamation mentioned road improvements and park acquisitions, as well as sidewalks, utility infrastructure and $1.1 million in facilities that have been added during Guard’s time as mayor.

Higgins gave Guard a red “Camas Pride” ornament with a “C” logo to represent Camas High School’s athletic teams.

“The relationship between the city of Camas and the city of Washougal is stronger than it has ever been,” Higgins said. “It is because of the effort you have placed in that. We have worked through some very difficult issues. We have always done it with humor, with courage, I hope, and you have brought passion to it every time.”

Higgins added that Guard has been integral in creating a really strong working dynamic between the cities.

“Our collective communities are better because you have served them,” he said.

Onslow said Guard has been very active in the Association of Washington cities.

“I appreciate all you’ve done for this area,” Onslow said.

Guard had originally intended to run for a third term as Washougal’s mayor, but dropped out of the running in May, after police said they were investigating him for possible harassment charges.

A three-month Washington State Patrol investigation said police found evidence that Guard had paid money for prostitution services during his second term in office, but no charges have yet been filed against the mayor. He remains in office until Coston is sworn in on Dec. 28.

Guard and his wife, Ann, plan to move to Clark County, outside the city limits of Vancouver, in January.

He said they wanted to be closer to their six grandchildren in Ridgefield.

“It will take 10 minutes versus 40 minutes,” he said after the council meeting.

During the City Council meeting, Guard presented Dave Shoemaker, an outgoing, two-term Washougal city councilman, with an inscribed clock and a certificate of appreciation.

Coston will be sworn in as Washougal mayor at 4 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 28, in the council chambers at City Hall, 1701 “C” St.

Though regional leaders emphasized the positive aspects of Guard’s time in office, this year’s sexual misconduct was not the first time the Washougal mayor has been in trouble with the law.

In 2010, state troopers responding to 911 reports of a person using emergency lights to move slower traffic out of the left lane, stopped Guard on Interstate 5 and charged him with impersonating an officer. Guard entered a “Newton” plea in that case, which he described at the time as “pleading guilty without agreeing to the facts entered, but acknowledging (the) possibility that a jury could possibly find me guilty.”