Banks, City Council, Government

One applicant seeks to fill the open Banks city council seat, with April 3 deadline looming

City offices on Main Street. Photo: Brenda Schaffer

BANKS – There are a handful of local organizations that have a large impact on the day-to-day lives of citizens who live within the bounds of the city of Banks. The City of Banks, Banks Fire District 13, and the Banks School District are three such organizations, all distinct government entities.

That tripod of local governance is joined by a fourth, nongovernmental entity: the Arbor Village Homeowners Association.

The president of this organization, Gene Stout, seeks to join the Banks city council to fill the rest of recently departed councilor Teri Branstitre’s term.

As of Monday, April 1 at 11 a.m., his application was the sole submission, according to city staff, with a deadline for any others who wish to throw their hat in the ring approaching on Wednesday April 3 at 1 p.m.

With 340 lots to its name, according to the HOA’s 2019 budget, the Arbor Village development holds more than half of the housing units in the city, according to data from the 2010 U.S. Census.

The Arbor Village HOA follows the pattern of homeowners associations across the nation, serving as an association defining how lawns must be maintained, what color your fence may be, and how many vehicles a home may have parked outside a garage, among other things.

This isn’t the first time that Stout, a resident of Banks for at least seven years, has sought a council seat. He ran and lost to current councilor Stephanie Jones in 2016 in a three way race that was decided by 20 votes. Jones received 302 votes, Stout 282, and a third candidate, Dale Wiita, 55 votes, according to Washington County voting data.

He’s also served on and chaired the city’s planning commission, and served on the park, trees, and recreation board, and budget committee.

After his 2016 race, he ended up leaving most of the boards he was involved with after a doubly bypass heart surgery. Stout says he spent the next two years after the surgery recuperating, getting his general contracting business back up and running, and shepherding forward a new agreement between the city and the HOA regarding management of Greenville City Park.

“I was working almost full time getting that park agreement in place,” Stout said in a phone call to the Banks Post.

If appointed, Stout wouldn’t be the first to jump from HOA leadership to city leadership; current Mayor Pete Edison is a past president of the Arbor Village Homeowners Association.

Stout says he’s trying to step down from the position of president of the Arbor Village HOA and step into an advisory role to share his knowledge with a new president, so that the experience he has in serving as president isn’t lost.

But now, he believes he has much to offer the city.

“I feel like I’m back up and running again, I’ve got my business running where I want it, and stuff’s in line, and I feel like I’ve got a lot to offer,” he said.

“I really do care about the water in the city, and about the growth, and how things are being managed. I’ve got a lot of background, I’ve got years of experience and background and knowledge and information. I’m probably the only one out of the city councilors that’s there that ever walks the streets and talks to everybody and all the businesses.”

“I feel like the talents I have, the city needs.”

Those interested in applying for the open seat must be a “qualified elector (registered to vote),” and have lived in the city for 12 months prior to your appointment, according to the city of Banks. Applications are due by 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, 2019.  Contact city recorder Angie Lanter at 503-324-5112 or by email at [email protected] for more information.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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