Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Get to know your new City Council Members

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LEAVENWORTH – Shane Thayer, Travis McMaster and Rhona Baron are the newest additions to Leavenworth’s City Council, attending their first meeting on Jan. 9, 2024.

Shane Thayer 

Thayer is a life-long resident of Leavenworth, which he sees as an advantage for his new role on City Council.

“I feel like my biggest strength is being a lifelong resident of Leavenworth for 40 years, and just having really strong ties with a lot of community members, especially local business owners here in town and having been employed by some of them,” said Thayer.

As newly elected Vice Chair of Upper Valley Park and  Recreation Service Area (PRSA, Thayer’s biggest priority for this year is securing the future of the city pool.  

“The six-year levy is up this year, and so that levy is going to be put to a vote for the community to pass again, and without that levy in the future, the pool is kind of in dire straits,” said Thayer. 

His other priorities include ensuring utilities are expanded and available for the community’s future growth and exploring innovative ways to secure more affordable housing. 

“I'd like the community to know that I'm really passionate about working and collaborating with the City Council, the Mayor and City Staff to make Leavenworth a better place for everyone,” said Thayer. 

In his free time, Thayer enjoys hiking in the Enchantments and mountain biking in town, specifically local bike trail Rosie Boa. 

Travis McMaster

Living in the heart of downtown, McMaster spends everyday interacting with tourists, residents, and business owners. McMaster also has experience launching and running brands, which he says helps him better understand Leavenworth’s use of Bavarian marketing to promote commerce and tourism.

One of McMaster’s goals is to make Front Street a complete pedestrian area by removing government signs, properly designating pedestrian areas, raising curbing, and removing the orange barricades for aesthetic purposes.

“Tourism is the lifeblood of our town. This is a fact, no one’s debating that. So, it's time to put some of those monies back into making it look like the original vision of this Bavarian town,” said McMaster.

McMaster’s other priorities include utilizing more options for affordable workforce housing and improving the town’s pickleball courts, which are currently taped onto tennis courts.

“I'm not saying we need to remove all the tennis courts, but I think that we need to start walking down that path to this sport that's good for every age group that lives in our community, kids, older people, so the rec side is important,” said McMaster.

McMaster is on the Festhalle Oversight Committee and PRSA. McMaster enjoys spending his free time at Leavenworth’s downtown shops, restaurants and breweries, especially Icicle Brewing.

Rhona Baron

Baron has been an active member of the Leavenworth community over the past 40 years. She’s the Creative Director of a nonprofit group called Dangerous Women and is the author of “The Whistle'' column in the Leavenworth Echo.

“Over the past 40 years living in Leavenworth, I have innovated, served, volunteered and worked in many capacities to educate, enlighten, entertain and facilitate the health of our community,” said Baron. 

Baron hopes to be involved with parking, regional solid waste, and housing. She has a special interest in careful recreation of local waterways.

“My first priority is to become familiar with the nature of the work so that I can use my position most effectively,” said Baron. “My second priority is to represent the citizens, to listen carefully to their ideas and concerns, and to partner with them on finding solutions.”

Baron appreciates Leavenworth for the ability to live in the midst of nature, hike in the mountains, and enjoy the surrounding rivers and lakes. 

“Strolling the village to take in our many wonderful amenities, maintaining the warm relationships I have with my neighbors, the easy flow of conversation at the produce section at Dan’s, opportunities in the arts, and finally, relishing in my organic yard that’s right in town, all these things make me happy,” said Baron.

Taylor Caldwell: 509-433-7276 or taylor@ward.media

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