Sunday, September 21, 2014

It was impossible to cover the Astoria City Council over the past 30 years without getting to know Don Webb, who passed away over the weekend at 82.  Webb attended the majority of council meetings over those years and was sometimes the only member of the general public at those meetings.

 Webb was a bulldog when it came to the city budget and any spending decision the council might make.  He was the guy who would dig through the budget and often called the city to task for not being absolutely clear about where tax dollars and fees were going. He questioned spending decisions without fail.  Webb's other chief concern was traffic safety and for many years he sat on the city Traffic Safety Committee making recommendations to the council on ways to make the town safer for everyone.   Webb took the opportunity to speak at nearly every council meeting often chiding or, less often, praising the actions of the city but Mayor Van Dusen treated him with respect, at times referring to Webb as part of the team guiding the city.  

 

On April 1, 2011 the Mayor decided to honor Webb with a special meeting of the city council that started as an April fools joke.  Webb was told the city had decided to buy a new city vehicle, The vehicle selected was a new Ford Mustang.  The car, supplied by Astoria Ford was parked on the street outside city hall when Webb arrived  and he was greeted by the Mayor, council and the press. Webb saved his comments for the council meeting that followed.   When the council meeting began Webb was encouraged to give public comment. He did.  During his comments the Mayor asked Webb if he knew what day it was. That it was a joke didn't seem to quite register with Webb and he sat down only to be called back by the Mayor who then read a proclamation declaring Webb the official city "watchdog"  thanking him for his tireless service on behalf of the citizens of Astoria.  Don Webb will be missed.

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