Letter to the Editor: Ridgefield leadership must evolve to reflect new growth



In seven years as a resident of Ridgefield, I’ve witnessed our city’s ongoing remarkable transformation from a close-knit farm community to a vibrant extension of Portland and Vancouver. Our shift from 6,000 to 18,000 residents in just a few years signifies the exciting potential and challenges that lie before us.

I commend and sincerely thank the dedication of our current and previous City Council members in steering Ridgefield through this period of rapid growth. What they have created is remarkable. I am retired from the software industry and am a gay woman. My wife and I love the city you have created, and that’s why we are here.

However, with this demographic shift, it is crucial that our leadership evolves to reflect the diversity and aspirations of our expanding community. In other words: “What got us here won’t get us there.”

Our heritage and commitment to environmental best practices remain crucial elements that define Ridgefield’s character. Yet, we must recognize the power in embracing change and engaging newcomers in the decision-making processes of our local government. To navigate these transformative times successfully, our City Council should actively seek and empower the perspectives of both longtime residents and newcomers. This means listening to people who do not look like you and who do not have your wealth of experience.

Indeed, it is their new ideas and perspectives that are necessary to move us into the next phase.

Inclusivity must be at the forefront of your decision-making process, especially now that you are appointing a replacement for recently resigned Rob Aichele, which will ensure that the richness of our history blends harmoniously with the dynamism brought by those who have recently made Ridgefield their home. By fostering collaboration and dialog, we can build a Ridgefield that honors its roots, cherishes its environment, and engages all residents into the fold of governance.

Charisa Martin Cairn