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Patson appointed to Buckley City Council

The Buckley City Council welcomed a new councilmember May 5, as Melissa Patson was appointed from a trio of potential candidates that included Marvin Sundstrom and Bryan R. Howard.

Patson, who likes to refer to herself as a “transplanted native” of Buckley, was born in Portland, Ore., and was raised in San Francisco and Las Vegas She has lived in Buckley with her husband Perry for almost 30 years and professes to love Buckley and the country life. She was elected by a clear majority in the second round of voting.

The initial nomination was made by councilmember James Montgomery, who offered Sundstrom’s name, but only Montgomery and fellow councilman Randy Reed cast votes for the retired engineer, longtime Buckley resident and fixture at city council meetings.

The next name pulled out of the hat to nominate one of the three candidates was that of Sandy Ramsey, who without hesitation put forth Patson’s name and four hands immediately shot up, consequently designating Patson as the newest member of the Buckley City Council.

“It was a tough decision, because all three choices were more than qualified,” observed Ramsey, “but as far as dedication to the city of Buckley was concerned, I thought Melissa, with all of the devotion she showed working behind the scenes to make the White River Senior Housing project become a reality, just seemed like the clear-cut choice to me.”

No vote was cast for Howard, whose name did not emerge as a nominee.

“I can’t imagine a more fair or objective way to have run those proceedings,” said Howard, who is currently serving as the police and fire chief at Boeing Field. “I can certainly understand why I wasn’t nominated, being the relative newcomer of the three candidates.

“Following the process, I had several councilmembers approach me and ask me if I was going to remain interested in serving the City of Buckley in some capacity in the near future or perhaps trying again when several of the other city council seats open up for re-election this fall,” Howard said.

One of those chairs opening up on the city council will be Patson’s, as she is serving an interim role, finishing the term of Ron Wiegelt, who has moved from the Buckley area.

During the interview process, which featured members of the council asking diverse questions, Patson appeared undaunted and calmly answered a half dozen queries to the councilmembers’ satisfaction.

“Some people get nervous speaking in front of large groups of people, but in my 30 years of working as an administrator for the Rainier State School and as secretary and examiner for the Civil Service Commission, I have become a good speaker,” she said. “However, I have also become a good listener and I think that sometimes people just want to talk and have their opinions heard.”

Asked to explain the best and worst things about Buckley by Councilman Mark McNally, Patson said she likes walking down Main Street and exchanging greetings with her fellow citizens, but added that she was concerned about future developments popping up in the vicinity.

“I am concerned about the fire safety and privacy issues involved with the houses being built so close together,” noted Patson. “The way things are getting in Buckley you can borrow a cup of sugar from your neighbor without even leaving your home – just reach out the window.”

Reach John Leggett at jleggett@courierherald.com or 360-802-8207.

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