Christine Perry closes a decade as Pateros council member

Moving to Arizona

Courtesy pateros.com Christine Perry

Mike Maltais/QCH Pateros City Council members, from left, Mike Harding, Holly Bange, Mayor Carlene Anders, council member Megan Sherrard, Rey Pascua, President of the Filipino American Community of the Yakima Valley, and council member George Brady pose with the proclamations and Congressional Medal after the council approved a resolution proclaiming Nov. 11 Veterans Day 2018 as United States Congressional Gold Medal for Filipino and American world War II Veterans Recognition Day.
PATEROS – City Council member Christine Perry announced her retirement from that civic body at last January’s regular meeting, ending more than 10 years of service helping guide the city’s growth - and recovery – through a tumultuous decade of the 21st century.

Perry is relocating to Anthem. Arizona, 20 miles north of Phoenix, to live with her daughter and to be closer to other family members.

A California transplant, Perry moved to Pateros in 2006 and brought with her a background of 18 years’ experience working for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Emergency Service Department, according to a brief bio on the Pateros city website. Before long she was a member of the Pateros Planning Committee. Perry was working with then mayor Gail Howe (Jennings) gathering history interviews around the area when the mayor urged her to file for a vacant spot on the city council. She did, was appointed, and ran for the seat in 2010. She has been a council member ever since.

Like any position where decisions on behalf of the public good make the decision-makers lightning rods for criticism, Perry experienced the ups and downs that came with the job where she served on the council’s Streets and Parks and Police, Fire, Health and Safety committees.

One of the major downs came with the loss of her home during the 2014 Carlton Complex wildfire. Perry said communications were spotty at best as the fire approached Pateros. While she heard reports that the flames were headed the town’s way, the reality was that when she actually saw the fire, it was already at the water tanks on the hillside above Pateros and bearing down fast on her home. Perry had just enough time to get her mother, visiting grandkids, and pets, including a parrot, four dogs, and nine two-week-old puppies into her vehicle and escape.

Perry said that is when she really witnessed the mettle of the city’s character as residents and volunteers tackled the task of recovery.

They were just incredible,” said Perry. “That’s where Pateros really showed its backbone.”

If there was an upside to the wildfire Perry said it was in the city’s infrastructure.

We did get the opportunity in an unfortunate way to upgrade some of our aging systems, like water,” Perry said.

Perry also credits a group of military veterans called Team Rubicon, founded in 2010 as a fast-deployment force with first responders to provide immediate disaster relief. City councilman and former mayor George Brady had a son-in-law who knew of the group and was able to secure their help with rapid post-fire help. That same son-in-law, Frank Herbert, will take Perry’s place on the council after council members selected him from among four candidates following interviews earlier this month.

Perry singles out as one of the high points during her council tenure, the occasion when Pateros and its larger namesake in the Philippines signed a Sister City Memorandum of Understanding on July 23, 2013, when former Pateros, Philippine mayor Jaime Medina visited here. became sister cities in 2013. Later in 2018, the Filipino American Community of the Yakima Valley council and Pateros jointly approved a resolution proclaiming Nov. 11 Veterans Day 2018 as United States Congressional Gold Medal for Filipino and American world War II Veterans Recognition Day.

Perry said the council needs to continue to address the city’s shortage of housing and need for more businesses as two of the most pressing issues in the weeks and months ahead. The current appeal of the Pateros park system she credits to city administrator Jord Wilson.

You know why we have such beautiful parks?” asked Perry. “It’s because our city administrator has a master’s degree in landscaping and design.”

Perry said that while she looks forward to being closer to family members, she will miss her friends and co-workers in Pateros.

They are the best group of people I have ever worked with,” Perry said.

 

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