The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Two candidates seek town council seat--Bill Wainwright

One seat on the Cathlamet town council has drawn two candidates, Janis Dodrill and Bill Wainwright.


October 17, 2019

Diana Zimmerman

Bill Wainwright--Town council candidate

Bill Wainwright is one of two candidates vying for the Town of Cathlamet Councilman #2 position. Here is what he had to say:

"I've been here for 10 years, retired here full time three years ago. I want to make this my home," Wainwright said. "I'm concerned about the lack of growth and management in the town. I see a lot of ineptitude at the council, in the mayor's position there is no direction, no growth. You have to say, even though you love it here, is this the way you want to see things go? We have an aging population, we need tourism, we need to make some things happen. Nothing is happening, short of Laurel Waller's efforts. She's done a good job working with the county on behalf of the town.

"I want to live here, I want to see my neighbors survive, I want to see the town grow," Wainwright continued. "I want people to say, 'Oh yeah, Cathlamet. That's the new spot to go.' I think with the new council we can do it. We've got some assets that the town is under-utilizing, being real estate or forest lands. You go to town meetings, the person in charge of forestry doesn't even know what is going on. That is an asset of the town that could kick in a significant six digit income for the town. We don't even have a business plan for it. We have a mayor that appointed someone to a finance position that for 18 months didn't do anything, but said 'I'd like to give that back because I don't understand finance, and math, or numbers.' Well, shame on both of them. We have to kind of sanitize all that and get back on track. I think I'm able to be part of that, I have a different view and dimension of things than maybe David Olsen or Laurel, or Robert Stowe, or Paige Lake.

"My professional background has been in trading, as a lumber trader," Wainwright said. "I'm far from being a certified general accountant, but I understand a balance sheet and I understand what has to happen to make things grow. I was on the planning commission. A lot of ideas were shot down there, but I think I can understand what has to happen there.

"First and foremost we need to do something about affordable housing," he said. "There are acreages around that are being sold, there are tax credits available for low income and multi-use family housing that could be qualified for. We need to track some business, and broadband will help, but we need a vibrant downtown. We need people to want to come and stay here and live here and invest here because there is something here.

"We have to tell our story, and enhance our story to make it even better," Wainwright added. "We need to reach out to the county. We have to reach out to Puget Island in particular. They don't understand that they are as much a part of Cathlamet as the town. If the town doesn't survive, it impacts them. Where do they get their water from? We are $6 million in debt and we need to pay for that and we have an aging population.

"I've got the time," Wainwright said. "I think I've got the perspective on it to do it."

Finally, he wants to restore confidence in the community that they have a council who will take the time to listen to them, but also just be a "good base of people looking after our tax dollars, our future."

If readers have any questions, they are welcome to contact Wainwright at


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