The race for Woodland City Council Position 5 will see a newcomer join next year, though it isn’t the first attempt at getting on the governing body for either candidate.
The race to replace outgoing councilor Susan Humbyrd, who did not seek another term this year, features DeeAnna Holland, manager of a screen printing and embroidery business, against Scott Peabody, a safety director for an electrical construction company.
Holland previously ran for council Position 2 in 2017, losing to Carol Rounds. She recalled getting asked if she would attempt to run again shortly after, though it wasn’t until this year’s filing week in May when she made the decision.
“The same things that we saw in 2017 are the same issues that we have in 2019. Nothing has changed,” Holland said.
She said understaffing for Woodland police continues to be a problem, noting a ballot measure in November that would raise property taxes to increase staffing at the department.
Holland said she’s heard from people wary of supporting the effort as they question whether or not the money will fund what they are being told it will, or if those funds would be used for other things.
That sentiment has been pervasive in the relationship between citizens and the council, she feels.
“I think people have lost trust in our city government. I don’t think they feel that their voices are heard,” Holland said, adding that some residents see themselves as the city’s “cash cow” for funding.
In some cases, she said the council has bypassed the people’s will, giving examples of the now-defunct Lucky 21 casino and the creation of the city administrator position she said were initially turned down by the public yet brought in through council action.
“There’s this vision, but the average person isn’t part of this vision, whatever it is,” Holland said.
As a regular attendee of council meetings, she feels that just because the council chambers aren’t filled every meeting that doesn’t equate to a lack of interest, but more a lack of time.
Holland’s family moved to Woodland when she was 2, moving away after graduating high school before returning to the city close to two decades ago. Though she has a long history in the city, she said a vote for her would be a vote against more of the same of what council has been like.
“I’m not going to keep my mouth shut if I think something’s wrong, I’m going to tell you it’s wrong,” Holland said.
Growing up in Vancouver, Peabody and his family moved to Woodland in 1993. He previously applied to fill a vacancy on the council last year, but lost to Michael Benjamin, himself a former council appointee. Peabody said he was approached and encouraged by some council members to seek office.
Peabody said traffic problems are paramount for council to address, pointing to a past project that would bring in hundreds of acres of land into the city’s urban growth area as premature given infrastructure needs before any development could occur.
“I think the city did the right thing by backing off,” Peabody said, noting that this year WSDOT had commissioned a traffic study of Interstate 5 Exit 21, the major traffic choke point for traffic in and out of the city.
Peabody stressed having a full understanding of government processes as important to serving on the council. He addressed potential concerns by citizens over a protracted process in getting any real traffic relief at the intersection, noting that the study is necessary as part of the overall process and is a required step.
Outside of infrastructure, Peabody also wants to push for attracting new businesses to the city, mentioning the upcoming B Young RV complex as an example of that direction.
Overall, Peabody pointed to his love and strong connection to the city as reasons to support his council bid.
“I’ve only been (in Woodland) for 26 years, but I’ve got a lot of friendships and a lot of relationships,” Peabody said.