Chelan City Council Member John Olson is Running for Chelan Mayor
Current Chelan City Council member and Mayor Pro Tempore John Olson is running for Chelan Mayor.
Olson is a sixth-generation Chelan resident, who previously served in the U.S. Navy.
Before retiring, Olson was previously involved in an environmental research team in Alaska, was an Aquaculture researcher all across the U.S., Korea, and Japan, and then worked in real estate for nearly three decades.
Within the local community, Olson was involved with the Chelan Senior Center, Friends of Lake Chelan, Our Valley Our Future, and participated in Short Term Rental projects for both Chelan County and the City of Chelan.
Olson is joining the race alongside fellow city council member Erin McCardle, attorney Stan Morse, and current Chelan Mayor Bob Goedde.
Olson said this particularly election is somewhat sad, with the council potentially losing one of their own depending on who wins.
“Only one can win of course, and the others will be off council or out of the mayor's office if the mayor loses,” Olson said. “There will be a great loss of institutional knowledge and community leadership, so that's unfortunate, but I guess there's always time to come back.”
Olson said that he decided to run in order to address growth within the Chelan valley area.
“That uniqueness and that special quality that we have here is desired by many,” Olson said. “That's why we have this incredible growth issue that we have going on and we really don't have the resources or the capacity to handle the growth that's going on.”
Olson shared that he regularly talks with Mayor Goedde about local issues, and although he agrees with him most of the time, he does think that the administration needs to pursue creative alternatives to growth management.
“We have a current mayor who has been in political leadership for almost 30 years now and I think it's time for a change.”
He said that like many tourist towns, there needs to be a balance between tourism and supporting the local community, including access to affordable housing.
“We have upwards of 100,000 people in the valley in a community that's built for 4000 [people] and that just isn't working,” Olson said. “There's every indication that we're going to have many more people.”
If elected, Olson would use his graduate degree in environmental policy for local conservation efforts, and to focus on updating their road system to alleviate increased traffic in the city.
Olson’s city council term will end on Dec. 31, 2023. He shared that he will most likely step down from city council after his term ends.