COEUR d'ALENE - Coeur d'Alene City Council member Deanna Goodlander said Tuesday she will not seek a fifth term on the council.
Goodlander said she's leaving the post on her terms, confident that qualified candidates will replace her and continue moving the city toward a vision of progress.
She listed a number of accomplishments she's proud to have been a part of in her 16 years, including the construction of the Coeur d'Alene Library, three new fire stations, partnering to build Kroc Community Center and creating a positive working environment at City Hall.
"I think that's what I'm most proud of," she said of employee morale that improved after administration devoted more resources to then under-equipped departments, such as the fire department. "The pride that employees have coming to work."
Goodlander is the third longtime incumbent not running for re-election. Mayor Sandi Bloem and Councilman Mike Kennedy announced earlier that they won't seek another term. Goodlander, like Kennedy and Bloem, supported the $20 million McEuen Park development project now under construction downtown.
But Goodlander said, as the others did, she wasn't concerned about fallout from the controversial park project as reasons for not running.
She said that when she saw other qualified candidates entering the political race, she was content to step away. Had that not been the case, she would have thrown her hat in for another run.
"I'm very comfortablewith the decision," she said, endorsing Kiki Miller, who is running for Goodlander's Seat 6. "The time just felt right."
Also on Tuesday, Councilman Woody McEvers said he is running for re-election. That leaves McEvers as the lone council member who voted in favor of McEuen Park - and who was targeted in last year's recall attempt - to run for re-election.
"If that's the reason they don't want to vote for me, that's fine," McEvers said on a possible McEuen Park fallout stemming from last year's recall attempt. "I love working for the city, working with the people. I love what I do."
Local political races have been increasingly polar and political recently.
Goodlander said the prospect of facing a divisive campaign factored into her decision, though she would have been up for the political battle had she not felt comfortable walking away. But she pointed to print and online attacks as examples of the increased divisiveness, as well as last Sunday's Press editorial that questioned the taxpayer value of union representation for government employees, such as what Coeur d'Alene has.
"It's attack, attack, attack," she said, calling criticism directed at City Hall as "constant" but often not warranted. "You just get tired of it."
Goodlander is also a liaison to the city's urban renewal agency, Lake City Development Corp., and has been active with the arts community. She said she'll continue to be active in the community after she leaves her position on the City Council.
Goodlander played an "instrumental role" in helping build the library, Bloem said, and the City Council will miss her decades of service and the institutional knowledge of the ins and outs of city government.
"I've always admired her commitment," Bloem said. And the "trust and respect she has for the staff and understanding the role of the council person.
"We'll miss all those things," she said.