Onslow is stepping down as mayor; Council Member Don Stose to assume role as mayor
RIDGEFIELD — Mayor Ron Onslow, in perhaps his last official act as Mayor of Ridgefield. addressed a packed theater at Ridgefield High School Thursday at the annual State of the City Address.
Onslow shared the city’s recent accomplishments, praising many of the new businesses that have located in the city, sharing news of the progress of the upcoming Vancouver Medical Clinic and other construction projects, and talking about the successes of the city’s First Saturdays, Bird Fest, Big Paddle, Farm to Table, and Movies in the Park.
Additionally, Onslow described the success of last year’s Fourth of July celebration and revealed this year’s theme of “Over There, Over There” in honor of the 100th anniversary of World War I. Onslow also heralded the American Legion Post for posting dozens of flags all over town on all of the national holidays, and added praise for his wife Sandy Schill for her work on of several local projects including the popular Mayor’s Ball events whose proceeds were dedicated to the Parks and Trails project.
Onslow Described the planning and development of Pioneer Village on the corner of Pioneer and 45th, including Rosauers, the long-anticipated and anxiously-awaited grocery store, and he described the 10-acre park next door which will be home to an upscale 300-unit apartment/condo complex.
Onslow then added praise for the partnership, community support and job opportunities brought to Ridgefield by the $510 million-dollar ilani Casino and Resort.
Further describing what has happened in the city during his tenure, Mayor Onslow talked about his challenges for the Parks board to develop a Nature Park in Abrams Park, the Art Association to beautify the screening over the I-5 overpass, and he shared how the water rates
in the city have stayed the same for the past four years.
Talking about the Planning Commision and their challenge to come up with new building parameters, Onslow shared: “They came up with new codes that require actions by the builders to make better housing and a more attractive Ridgefield.’’ All new developments now require: HOA”s — no house the same within 5 houses, framed windows, covered patios, 25 percent open space granted to the city, a dark skies ordinance, commercial design standards, and a new ‘’green’’ building code.
On the financial front, Onslow proudly shared that the city now has a fund balance. “When I started the fund balance was about $360,000 and we were $450,000 in debt. We now have a fund balance of over $2 million dollars.”
Onslow described how, from 2004 to 2010 the city benefited from grants from the state ($29 million), from the federal government ($20 million) and has received over $500,000 from private sources.
More roundabouts are coming he said with a smile, and he also commented on the city’s “Grapes in the Roundabout” activities, including the bottling of “Roundabout Red,” which may well be bottled by Gouger Cellars Winery as soon as 2019.
Onslow finished his address by talking about the incredible growth of the schools, the upcoming community recreation center, the new opportunities created by the city’s growth, and the value of volunteers in the city.
“Volunteers are the vitality of Ridgefield,’’ he said. “We have planted trees, blazed trails, built parks, painted walls, and remodeled City Hall, which is now on the Historic Registry.’’
Onslow ended his presentation by introducing his wife and family, members of the city council, City Manager Steve Stuart, and his successor Don Stose, who talked about communicating with the city, local media and social outlets concerning Ridgefield, and encouraged residents to both come to city council meetings and call the city with questions, suggestions or comments.
“We’re in this as a team, together,” he said smiling.
Onslow has served as Ridgefield’s mayor for the past 10 years and will step down from that position on Sunday. “It’s been great,” he shared. “I will miss it, but will continue on the city council, and there’s still lots of work to be done.”
Replacing Onslow will be long-time City Councilman Don Stose who said he wants to continue the hard-working standard set by Onslow.
“Our Council is involved in all of Clark County, not just Ridgefield, and we get involved in many things that would help not only our city but the county as well,’’ Stose said.