Some familiar names among planning commission candidates

Clark County’s search for volunteers to serve on the planning commission is bringing back some familiar names.

Following an executive session meeting on Wednesday, the county council voted to interview five candidates for three open seats.

“We had a great outpouring with a diversity of resumes – 26 in all applied for these vacancies,” Council Chair Gary Medvigy said.

The planning commission has seven seats in all, representing the county’s five council districts. One of the openings will fill a currently vacant seat, with the term effective immediately and ending Dec. 31, 2025. The two other commission seats are for full six-year terms.

The commission has two members, Bryan Halbert from District 2 and Matt Swindell from District 5, whose terms expired at the end of 2023.

Each county councilor was allowed to nominate a candidate to be interviewed. Vice Chair Michelle Belkot from District 2 nominated Bryan Halbert and Daniel Weaver.

Weaver will be familiar to those who follow the county’s railroad operations. Weaver is the current chair of the Railroad Advisory Board. Recent uproar over Portland-Vancouver Junction Railroad’s activities in the Chelatchie and Curtin Creek areas have shined a greater spotlight on the advisory board’s activities.

Councilor Karen Bowerman from District 3 nominated Peter Silliman to be interviewed. Bowerman’s nomination received three votes in favor with Councilor Sue Marshall voting against. Councilor Glen Yung was absent.

Silliman may be best remembered as a former Clark County freeholder and one-time Republican legislative candidate who, in 2014, was hired as a research assistant/policy analyst for the board of commissioners.

The hire was approved by then-commissioners David Madore, Tom Mielke and Ed Barnes. Barnes voiced concerns about the hire and possible “political cronyism.” Just two years later, Silliman was ousted in a countywide reorganization.

Medvigy, the District 4 representative, nominated Mark Berkhold and Jeremy Baker.

Clark County voters may remember Baker from his 2022 run for office. Baker, a Republican, unsuccessfully challenged 49th Legislative District Democrat Monica Stonier for her seat in the House.

Marshall, the District 5 representative, nominated Ron Barca to be interviewed. Marshall said Barca would be a good choice because he previously served on the planning commission and is familiar with the comprehensive growth plan update process. Barca also ran for a seat on the county council in 2012. However, Marshall’s nomination failed to get a second and wasn’t supported by the council.

To expedite the interviews, Bowerman suggested they be held virtually. The date and time for the interviews will be announced later.

— Shari Phiel

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