Second contest emerges for Port Angeles City Council seat

Bruce Erlwein

Bruce Erlwein

PORT ANGELES — A second contested race has emerged for one of four open Port Angeles City Council positions.

Port Angeles native and 12-year Navy veteran Bruce Erlwein, 35, has announced his intention to run for the at-large Position 3 seat being vacated by Mayor Patrick Downie, who is not running for re-election.

Erlwein joins lawyer Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin, 37, in vying for the four-year position.

The two, who have never met, will introduce themselves at a downtown coffee shop Thursday, they said Tuesday.

A 2000 Port Angeles High School graduate, Erlwein left the North Olympic Peninsula in 2001, returned in February 2016 and has operated Port Angeles Underground and Heritage Tours, which is owned by Black Ball Ferry Line, since mid-2016.

A former Navy petty officer first class, Erlwein was a federal government weapons and tactics instructor for the Navy from 2013-16 before returning to Port Angeles to live closer to his 10-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter and attend Peninsula College, where he is pursuing an associate degree in business management.

Erlwein, who received an honorable discharge from the Navy, has never run for or held public office and is on the board of directors of the Port Angeles Downtown Association.

“I always felt a call to service, whether it’s being in the military or teaching the military,” he said. “I just want to be part of my community.”

Erlwein said he will vote against municipal water fluoridation on a Nov. 7 advisory ballot.

He also is against changing Port Angeles’ code city status to a second-class designation, a measure also headed for the Nov. 7 ballot.

Candidate filing week is May 14-19.

If more than two candidates file for an open position, the top two vote-getters in an Aug. 1 primary face-off will proceed to the Nov. 7 general election.

In the only other contested race on the council so far, incumbent Councilman Lee Whetham and challenger Jake Oppelt have announced their intentions to file for the four-year Position 2 seat.

Erlwein said he did not want to “step into” the race between Whetham and Oppelt, so he picked Position 3.

Erlwein said he is “looking forward to having a good race bring out the best in the candidates, and that’s what I really think is important to the community.”

Schromen-Wawrin said Tuesday he sought the Thursday meeting with Erlwein.

“I think it’s good to know who he is and what he stands for,” Schromen-Wawrin said.

Erlwein said he is looking forward to the sit-down Thursday “and kind of putting our minds together to see how everything shakes out.

“I realize we will be opponents in the race and would love to keep everything civil, and as long as we are working toward a better community, I think that’s the important part.”

Former Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce President Jim Moran has announced his intention to run for the Position 1 seat held by Councilman Brad Collins, who is not running for re-election.

Financial adviser Travis Berglund is running for the Position 4 seat held by Councilman Dan Gase, who also is not running for re-election.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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