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Indianola Port District 2 position is now contested

INDIANOLA — Matthew Smith has filed as a write-in candidate for the Indianola Port Commission District 2 position.

The position is being vacated by Judith Frank. Smith filed July 9.

Eric B. Cookson was previously the only candidate for the District 2 position.

Smith’s filing follows controversy around the closure of the Indianola dock. Smith created a petition to open the dock to the public. As of July 11, 217 people signed the online petition. According to Smith, more than 200 have signed a physical petition.

Smith intends to publicly announce his candidacy during the July 23 port meeting. The special meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Indianola Community Center. Port commissioners voted to close the dock June 27.

“The timing sucks,” Port Commissioner Jeff Henderson said after the closure. “It’s the first week of July, the weather’s going to be gorgeous and we just rained on everybody’s parade.”

Port officials placed a barrier across the dock entrance. The closure was a week before the Fourth of July holiday, when the beach and dock is crowded with people enjoying summer weather and watching Seattle’s fireworks display. In addition, a local fireworks display is planned for July 6, according to Dave Haley of the Indianola Beach Improvement Club.

About 80 of the historic dock’s pilings may need to be replaced, according to the commission, and Coast & Harbors Engineering has been contracted to do a short- and long-term assessment of work that needs to be done.

During a recent site visit, when engineers walked the dock, “it swayed,” Commissioner Joan Wald said. “There’s more than that. We know there are issues and we need to know how safe it is. I totally support the vote.”

Since the closure, Smith wrote a letter to commissioners urging the reopening of the dock; along with the petition, and posting flyers.

According to a press release issued by Smith, “the dock represents a rare example of public architecture that needs to be kept open as it preserved fir future generations. When I moved here, the dock seemed like a plaza in an old village when public spaces were an integral part of the built environment.

“The dock is the heart and soul of the town, with its meandering, even feminine, curvature. For our small town this is a very pivotal moment, as well as valuable lesson in civic participation. I consider myself a friend of the Port, and I would be proud to serve Indianola in this important way.”

 

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