Temple Lentz joins Clark County Council

Lentz will be the sole Democrat on the five-member council

CLARK COUNTY — On election night, after it became clear that she was going to easily unseat Clark County Council District 1 Councilor Jeanne Stewart, Temple Lentz said preparing for the job would be like “drinking from a fire hose.”

Leading up to her taking the oath of office on Monday, Lentz said she’d been drinking from that fire hose as much as possible.

Temple Lentz speaks to a crowd gathered to watch her be sworn in as the District 1 representative to the Clark County Council. Photo by Chris Brown
Temple Lentz speaks to a crowd gathered to watch her be sworn in as the District 1 representative to the Clark County Council. Photo by Chris Brown

“Been having a number of meetings with department heads, with the county manager, starting to get up to speed on some of the issues that are coming before the council immediately,” Lentz says. “And also starting to really get an order for what I’d like to accomplish as we’re moving into the new year.”

With District 4 Councilor Eileen Quiring moving over to the council chair seat, the Clark County GOP will be nominating three individuals, one of whom will serve during the rest of Quiring’s term. While no names have been announced, it’s very likely the candidates will each be Republican. That will leave Lentz as the sole registered Democrat on the council.

“What I want to see is people who are invested in good governance, and in doing the right thing for Clark County,” says Lentz. “And that is often a nonpartisan issue.

“There will be times when we differ,” she continues, “but I’m looking forward to it. And in some things, like in funding the roads, dealing with the jail, these can be nonpartisan issues. So I think there are going to be a lot of places where we find agreement, and I’m looking forward to finding those so we can get work done.”

Newly sworn-in Clark County Councilor Temple Lentz chats with outgoing Council Chair Marc Boldt at her swearing-in ceremony on Monday. Photo by Chris Brown
Newly sworn-in Clark County Councilor Temple Lentz chats with outgoing Council Chair Marc Boldt at her swearing-in ceremony on Monday. Photo by Chris Brown

The election of Lentz, along with the reelection of Julie Olson for District 2, means that, for the first time, every current councilor has been elected under the Home Rule Charter, approved in 2014. It also marks a slight shift, as Lentz becomes the first Democrat on the five-member council. Despite the letter marking her political affiliation, Lentz says she doesn’t believe the council is a place for partisan politics.

“I don’t think that a personal agenda is necessarily the way to come into a county council,” says Lentz. “This is a team of, right now, four, and then it will be five, and so rather than things that I personally want to get done, what I want to make sure is that we’re representing the voters as effectively as possible.”

Lentz served on the Board of Freeholders that helped craft the Home Rule Charter that voters approved. Also on that board was Marc Boldt, who was elected a year later to be county chair. The pair spent some time chatting after Lentz took her oath of office.

“Assuming he takes my calls, I look forward to staying in touch with him,” Lentz says of Boldt. “I think his long service as the council chair, as a county commissioner in the past, and his state legislature service, Marc knows and understands this county. I’ve had a lot of great fortune during the campaign of having a lot of long-time public servants supporting me and offering me advice and mentorship. And I definitely plan to call them when I need them.”

With County Manager Shawn Henessee in place, and working to get a better handle on the county’s finances, the new council will face some tough decisions in its first year. That includes a hefty financial lift when it comes to deciding what to do with the out-of-date county jail, further infrastructure needs, and the possibility of a freight-rail dependent zoning overlay along part of the Chelatchie Prairie rail line.

“At this point, I know that we’ve got a county to run,” Lentz says. “And I think we all want to do that, even if we come from partisan places.”

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About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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