Election 2007: Weber, Parbs face-off for Port seat

Benye Weber is up for reelection to her spot on the Port of Coupeville board of commissioners and her neighbor, Dennis Parbs, is trying to unseat her.

Weber, who is the former director of the Whidbey Conservation District, decided to seek another six-year term because she wants to complete some major projects.

One of the most significant upcoming projects is developing a master site plan for the Greenbank Farm. The port already has the ball rolling on that project and has hired Donna Keeler to coordinate the effort. Focus groups should be forming soon to start looking at various aspects of the plan.

Weber said the port should also work to expand the marine facility at the Coupeville Wharf. That will include a marine education center, which is also currently being developed. Weber said the port also has to work to increase boater awareness.

In addition, she wants to see the port partner with Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve and the Chamber of Commerce to enhance the attractiveness and accessibility of Front Street.

“The big thing is having these things up and running,” Weber said.

She is proud of her accomplishments serving as port commissioner. Since being elected as commissioner the port has increased its visibility on Front Street by operating out of an office, which also has all of the port’s documentation.

The port also improved community input by allowing a public comment time during the port’s monthly meetings.

Weber is also proud of the completion of the comprehensive plan. She said the last one was developed in the 1960s. The new plan will make the port eligible for money to fund improvement projects.

The November election marks Dennis Parbs’ first foray into elective politics. He said he decided to run for Weber’s seat on the three-person board because it was a good way to get involved considering his love for fishing and boating.

One of his first goals is to study the possibility of expanding the moorage at the Coupeville Wharf. He said that pleasure craft often take up all the space at the wharf, while leaving no space for local boaters.

He said he would also like to see if it’s possible to put a safe harbor somewhere on the west side of Whidbey Island. Something like that could be beneficial to local boaters should the weather suddenly change in Admiralty Inlet.

Parbs, who is a territorial manager for a large private investigation firm, said there are a lot of good ideas in the master site plan for the Greenbank Farm, but many of them are premature. Because the port is currently paying off bonds that funded the farm purchase, the port shouldn’t take any action that would change the farm’s property value.

Parbs did not attend a recent candidate night sponsored by the League of Women Voters. He said he had a business appointment that was scheduled months in advance. He also recently hired an assistant that will help minimize his travel. He hopes that it will help meet his commitments with the port if he’s elected.

The last day for voters to mail back ballots is Nov. 6.

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