Ballots are on the Way

Clark County Elections Office has prepared 318,158 ballots for voters. This morning, 309,111 ballots were delivered to the Portland USPS Distribution Center. An additional 9,047 ballots have been mailed directly from the Elections Office.

If you don’t receive your ballot by Wednesday, Oct. 21, please call 564-397-2345.

If you are concerned about the delivery of your voted ballot to the Elections Office, please consider voting early. You can then check the status of your ballot at If there are any issues with your ballot there will be more time for the elections office to assist you in resolving those issues so your ballot can be counted.

There are three ballot drop boxes convenient for Ridgefield residents:

Pioneer Street exit, east of I-5 at the end of North 1st Circle; in the middle of the cul-de-sac

RACC – 510 Pioneer St, Ridgefield, WA 98642; (walk-up only)

WSU entrance road from NE Salmon Creek Avenue, turn right at the first street into the south parking lot

If you prefer finding a box near your work, the locations of others can be found here:…

News about the Proposed Fuel Station

Over 100 neighbors gathered at the RACC tonight to hear a presentation by the proposed developers of the commercial property at Sevier and Hillhurst. The overwhelming views were to not put a fuel station at that location. People had few complaints with a mini-mart and other small businesses, but were against having a fuel station because of the traffic, noise, detrimental air quality, and other factors.

Did you know that FHA will not loan money on properties within 350 feet of a gas tank larger than 1000 gallons?

Tonight at the City Council meeting (6:30 at the RACC)  there will a public hearing on the previous action taken regarding the emergency moratorium on gasoline stations in CNB Zones.

The meeting last night was sponsored by the HOA Council.


New Community Development Department Director

After an extensive nationwide search process, the City of Ridgefield has hired Louisa Garbo to serve as the City’s Community Development Department Director. Ms. Garbo fills a position which was previously held for 4 years by Jeff Niten, who in January, 2019, was hired to serve as the City of Shelton’s City Manager.

Ms. Garbo is a certified planner, a certified mediator, and an accredited LEED green associate. Ms. Garbo holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master’s Degree in City Planning, Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Arts in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution & Peacebuilding. Ms. Garbo has extensive experience in local government administration, policy, and land use planning. She most recently served as the Community Development Director for Kitsap County, WA, with prior work as a Director of Planning in the City of Brandon, Manitoba, Canada, and as a City planner in Arizona for over a decade.

“I enjoy living in the West Coast and want to work in a smaller community where I can make a greater impact in help building a sustainable community. I looked up and down the West Coast for a growing community with a commitment to sustainability and a clear vision, where I felt my experience and commitment to innovative planning would be valued and valuable. I learned a lot through the interview process; after meeting with the community and the dedicated and talented people working for the City, I felt Ridgefield checked all the boxes for me,” said Ms. Garbo.

City Manager Steve Stuart said of Ms. Garbo, “We are really excited that Louisa is joining our team. She is widely recognized as a visionary at strategic planning and has a proven track record of success creating innovative ways to connect people with place.” Beyond her planning and management skills, Stuart noted that “Louisa’s Fine Arts background offers a unique opportunity to enhance our partnerships with Ridgefield organizations like Ridgefield Main Street and Ridgefield Arts Association who are working to beautify and revitalize our Arts Quarter and historic Destination Downtown.”

Ms. Garbo will begin work at the City of Ridgefield on May 1.

City Says Goodbye to Jeff Niten

Jeff Niten

Jeff Niten was feted at the Sportsman’s last night. He is leaving Ridgefield for a job as City Manager in Shelton. Several people talked about how Jeff had helped them, or mentored them.

We will miss you Jeff.


Jeff Niten Resigns

Ridgefield Community Development Director Jeff Niten is resigning his position effective January 4, 2019. He has accepted a position as the City Manager in the City of Shelton. “I’ve really enjoyed working with the City staff and community over the last four years and helping to meet the challenges we’ve all faced in this unique and fast-growing community,” Jeff said. “The work is incredibly important to the people that call this place home and I’m very proud of what we have been able to accomplish to make Ridgefield the best it can be.” In his four years with the City, Jeff has helped to create and implement plans to shape development. With his leadership, the City has seen changes that meet local needs such as new quality neighborhoods with parks, open spaces, and heritage trees that preserve our environmental quality.

Jeff has helped support the historic downtown through his work with Ridgefield Main Street and helping create a designated Arts Quarter. Jeff also led planning processes including a new Comprehensive Growth Plan and subarea plans to assure Ridgefield grows in a thoughtful, high quality way that retains the City’s small town charm and connection to the natural environment. And, he leaves a fully staffed, professional Community Development Department that will make a transition successful.

City Manager Steve Stuart thanked Jeff for his work with the City. “On behalf of the City and the Ridgefield community, I want to express my appreciation to Jeff for his exceptional service. The results of his dedication to the City and the community will be seen and experienced now and in the future by people living, working, and playing in Ridgefield. We wish him luck in his professional career and his next adventure.”

The City will begin a recruitment process for a new Community Development Director in late December.

City has Openings

The City of Ridgefield announces openings on several commissions: Planning Commission, Parks Board, Civil Service Commission, Safety Commission, and the Arts Commissions. If you are interested in volunteering in one of these groups, there’s more information on the city website, here.

Applications may be obtained by contacting City Clerk at 360-887-3557, or City Website

Job Opportunity

The City of Ridgefield, a rapidly growing community in Southwest Washington, seeks a dynamic and self-motivated individual for the following position:



The Facilities Maintenance Worker is a full-time, temporary, non-exempt position with a work schedule of 40 hours per week. This position may remain filled from July-October depending on available work.

Successful applicants will be responsible for performing a variety of streets, stormwater and park labor duties to maintain roadways, outside grounds, park properties and stormwater facilities. Duties may include but are not limited to operating motorized and non-motorized equipment to perform mowing, weed removal, planting, garbage removal, and other projects as assigned. Applicants must be 18 years of age, have a valid driver’s license, be able to work in a variety of extreme weather conditions, and be able to lift a minimum of 60 pounds.


Interested candidates must submit a completed Employment Application to:

Or send/deliver to: City of Ridgefield, ATTN: Lee Knottnerus, P.O. Box 608, Ridgefield, WA 98642

Employment Application form is available on the City’s website at or by calling 360-887-3557. The final candidate will be required to successfully complete a drug screen.

Get Permits Online

City of Ridgefield logo

The City of Ridgefield is pleased to offer our citizens, businesses and visitors access to online permitting for all residential plumbing, mechanical, and irrigation permits, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The new on-line permitting systems require you to have a unique – free and private – account. You can set up an account at https://ci-ridgefield-wa.smartgovcommuni….

Permit services are also available at the City’s Community Development Department Monday through Friday from 8:00AM to 4:30PM.

On-line Permitting

The City of Ridgefield is pleased to offer our citizens, businesses and visitors access to online permitting for all residential plumbing, mechanical, and irrigation permits, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The new on-line permitting systems require you to have a unique – free and private – account. You can set up an account at https://ci-ridgefield-wa.smartgovcommuni….

Permit services are also available at the City’s Community Development Department Monday through Friday from 8:00AM to 4:30PM.

Planning Commission Meeting Time Change

The City of Ridgefield Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for 7:30 pm, November 4 at the Ridgefield Community Center

The agenda includes: Floating Structure Code for Marinas, Parks Capital Facilities Plan and Urban Downs Comprehensive Plan Amendment. For more information, see….

This meeting was originally advertised for 6:30PM and has been rescheduled to 7:30PM. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused

The Four Stormwater Facilities of the Apocalypse (Part 2 of 2)

This is the second of two articles about storm water by Paul Snoey. Thanks Paul, for all your hard work in preparing this information.


The City of Ridgefield accepted the four stormwater facilities for Bellwood Heights in 2004. From that time, until late 2009, no one ever went into them, not even once. From the summer of 2005 until March 2009 no catch basins in the city were cleaned either. I brought this to the attention of the Gee Creek Committee and we began to confront the city in the fall of 2008. Because of neglect and not cleaning catch basins, they were loaded with sediment and weeds. A contractor was hired to refurbish these units at a cost of $110,000. The sediment was removed and new sod put down. One facility, at Riemann Road, began to have problems of sediment from the hillslope to the west of it and a hole opened up on the slope above.

Snoey 2a

In mid-December 2010, sediment began appearing in the Riemann Rd. facility. The cause was a drain line from the park above was not reconnected and it gouged a hole mid-slope. In late winter, the drain line to the facility was reconnected, but the hole on the slope was left alone through summer and fall of 2011.

Snoey 2b

On November 22 of 2011, the hillslope began to dissolve from a heavy rain, loading the pond with sediment and sending a plume of bright yellow discharge down Riemann road. To my astonished disbelief, facilities supervisor Tad Arends drove by without stopping. Even after repeated phone calls and e-mails to city hall no one came for over a week. Ignoring damage to city property and damage to the environment is against state law. It was an emergency demanding at least erosion control.

Snoey 2c

In early December of 2011 the city hired a consultant and then a contractor to clean the facility and make a road into the back. Rip-rap was dumped and community corrections crews from Battleground and city employees carried rock up the hill and threw it into the hole. There was no erosion control done at the site of erosion and rip rap was the wrong material.   I sent an e-mail to the city manager that the effort reminded me of Sisyphus from Greek mythology. (A king, punished by the gods, doomed to roll a rock up a hill only to have it roll back down forever)

snoey 2f

January of 2012: After a heavy rain the repair once again blew apart and undid everything. Rip-rap this size has large voids so water flowing through it easily carried sediments on down and into the pond. If at any time the void on the hillslope had been filled with soil, compacted, and then new sod laid of top, it would have solved the problem. You don’t need a consultant or contractor for that. If catch basins had been cleaned and proper care had been given this facility perhaps none of this would have been necessary.   A geo-consultant was hired and then a bid awarded, and in October of 2012 the entire slope was redone with terracing and hydro-seeding. The sediment was removed and the remaining sod was replaced with Carex, a very water tolerant plant. The contractor told me he was getting $100,000 for the work.  All in all, there were two consultants used and two contractors. It’s possible that with all that was done the total costs were over $250,000. Something I truly believe was unnecessary.

snoey 2d

In September of 2013 a plume of sediment was flowing from the hillslope into the pond.   It meant that something was still wrong and that the Riemann Road facility was no longer releasing clean water. This facility had over $200,000 in repairs and still wasn’t right. I sent this photo as an e-mail attachment to the city but nothing was done. Later, I noticed a new hole had appeared on the hillslope.   Earlier this year, I sent an e-mail to new public works director Tim Shell about the problem and in February some erosion control was done. My comment to Tim Shell was that these things should be noticed and taken care of without someone like me being involved. In fact, many problems should be taken care of without the city manager or public works director even knowing. Letting little things become big failures and then having consultants and contractors solve the problem is happening too often.

snoey 2e

Riemann Road Facility in March 2015: Cattails are displacing Carex and sediment build up below the sediment trap is due to catch basins not being cleaned and sediment not being removed from the trap. Because of this, this facility and the other three at Bellwood heights will fail again unless there are changes in how the Ridgefield Stormwater Utility is operated.

We will have a new Community Development Director!

City Manager Steve Stuart announced the hiring of Jeffrey Niten as the new Community Development Director for the City of Ridgefield. Jeff will join the City beginning March 3. “Jeff’s experience, enthusiasm, customer focus and excellent problem-solving skills make him a great addition to the Ridgefield team,” said Mr. Stuart.

Jeff has extensive experience managing and completing planning projects for economic and community development, as well as future infrastructure planning. He worked as a planner in Clark County for nearly ten years, after gaining broad-based experience in community development positions elsewhere around the region. As Ridgefield’s Community Development Director, Jeff will assume full management responsibility of the City’s long-range planning, development review and permitting, code enforcement, and building services.

From a family of fourth-generation Ridgefield residents, Jeff has strong ties to the community and is excited to provide leadership in preserving the quality of life that brings and keeps people in Ridgefield. He is equally committed to ensuring high-quality growth and development for one of the fastest growing cities in Washington State.

Two Positions at City of Ridgefield

The City of Ridgefield is accepting applications to fill two positions in its Community Development Department: A Director/Planner and a Permit Technician.

The Community Development Department consists of Planning and Building Divisions that work together to implement the community’s vision for the city, plan for the future and regulate development. The Department’s responsibilities include land use, long range and comprehensive planning, building services and developer support activities; development review, inspection and permitting and code enforcement.

The Community Development Director–Planner will assume full leadership and management responsibility for department services and activities. Competitive candidates will have at least five years of progressively responsible experience in planning; a bachelor’s degree in a job-related field and membership in a professional standards organization such as AICP.

The Permit Tech performs a wide variety of technical administrative responsibilities for the department including receiving, logging and distributing development plans; checking and reviewing permit applications for proper form and sufficiency of information; and issues permits as authorized. Qualified candidates should have an associate’s degree or equivalent and two years job related experience involving interaction with the general public.

Please contact City Hall or visit the City’s website at on the “Jobs” page for the complete job announcements and application information.

Growth in Clark County

Clark County is holding open houses about planning for development and studying potential impacts as the next step in updating the local Comprehensive Growth Management Plan. The meeting in Ridgefield will be August 27 from 7 to 8:30 pm at the Ridgefield Community Center.

The current focus is on determining what will be included in a formal analysis to supplement an environmental impact statement used to update the growth plan in 2007. The county is considering options that include not deviating from the 2007 plan, changing some land uses planned in existing urban growth areas and expanding urban growth areas around Battle Ground, La Center and Ridgefield at the request of city officials.

This is a chance for you to let County officials know your ideas about these subjects.


Kirk Johnson Becomes Finance Director

Kirk Johnson has accepted a promotion to Finance Director for the City of Ridgefield. Kirk began work with the City in August 2012 as an Accountant and is excited to continuing serving the community in his new position. “This is a great opportunity and I look forward to working with the employees and citizens of Ridgefield as we face the challenges of this growing community.”

Kirk graduated cum laude in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from Washington State University. He brings thirteen years of experience in the banking industry and has experience working for the State Auditor’s Office. As Finance Director Kirk will assume full management responsibility for all Finance Department services and activities including maintaining the City’s accounting systems, fiscal records and supervising the Finance Department staff.

City Manager Steve Stuart is enthusiastic about the promotion. “Kirk has strong accounting, systems and leadership skills, and has tremendous potential for successful growth and development, similar to the City that we serve.”