Coeur d'Alene Councilwoman Amy Evans points to park and infrastructure improvements; opponents say changes is needed

<p><p>Coeur d’Alene City Councilwoman Amy Evans has a long history of working in the community.</p></p><p><p>But her two opponents in Tuesday’s election, entrepreneur Morgan Dixon and social services worker Roger Garlock, say the city council needs a fresh voice.</p></p><p><p> Before joining the City Council eight years ago, Evans was on the city’s planning commission for six years. Her first foray into the public arena was a campaign to save Sorensen Elementary when it was slated to be closed.</p></p><p><p>“That’s how I became really involved in city efforts,” she said.</p></p><p><p>She grew up in Lewiston and graduated from Lewiston High School. She studied microbiology at Idaho State University for five years before moving to Coeur d’Alene with her family. She was a substitute math and science teacher before working at the Kroc Center the first four years it was open. Nine years ago she began working for Idaho Youth Ranch, where she is currently vice president.</p></p><p><p>“I have a deep passion for this community,” she said. “I have a deep passion for open engagement, open listening.”</p></p><p><p>She said she’s proud of several things the city has accomplished while she has been on the council, including preserving the old Atlas Mill site to provide public access to the waterfront.</p></p><p><p>“We’ve increased our public parks by 19%,” she said.</p></p><p><p>The city added a new fire station and is building a new fire boat house, which will help improve infrastructure in the growing city, Evans said. She added she believes supporting infrastructure is key and the city needs to make sure streets, water, sewer and public safety are properly supported so they can handle the growth.</p></p><p><p>Evans said the current council members work well together.</p></p><p><p>“I did not do these things,” she said of the city’s achievements. “I’m one of six of us up there.”</p></p><p><p>Mask mandates have been a hot topic in the community. Evans was among the council members who voted to impose a brief mask mandate last year and said she made the best decision she could with the information available at the time and might not make the same decision now.</p></p><p><p>“Nobody wants to make a mandate,” she said. “My role as a council member is to gather all the information available at the time. It’s just so dynamic. It literally is changing daily.”</p></p><p><p>Dixon said he’s not in favor of a mask mandate.</p></p><p><p>“I stand on allowing people to decide what they want to do,” he said. “I don’t think the government should have a say in how we live our own lives.”</p></p><p><p>Garlock agrees.</p></p><p><p>“I would have not voted for mask mandates,” he said. “I don’t think that’s the role of government.”</p></p><p><p>Dixon grew up in Coeur d’Alene and graduated from Coeur d’Alene High School in 2020, but he’s been working for a few years.</p></p><p><p>“I started my first tech company at 15,” he said.</p></p><p><p>He created an app called Outloud Reader, which turns text into audio for those with vision problems, dyslexia or reading disabilities. When he was 17, he helped found the nonprofit organization Imagination Initiative. The organization accepts donations of used electronic devices that can be refurbished and distributed to low-income students for as little as $25.</p></p><p><p>A year ago he became part of the Innovation Collective.</p></p><p><p>“We help entrepreneurs create new businesses or overcome challenges,” he said. “We hold events where people can come talk to each other and meet new people.”</p></p><p><p>He also manages the customer service team of a Utah company while attending computer science classes at North Idaho College. Dixon said he decided to run for city council because he wants to represent the younger generation, including the innovation and entrepreneur community.</p></p><p><p>“As far as I’m aware, there has been no younger people on the city council,” he said.</p></p><p><p>Dixon said he considers himself politically unaffiliated.</p></p><p><p>“In our current political climate, if you align with Republicans or Democrats, there are some people who won’t talk to you because of that,” he said.</p></p><p><p>Housing costs and growth are huge issues in Coeur d’Alene, and Dixon said he believes the city should consider innovative solutions, including tiny homes, 3D printed homes and storage container homes.</p></p><p><p>“It doesn’t have to increase density,” he said. “It just reduces that barrier.”</p></p><p><p>He said he’s in favor of term limits and believes he can do as good a job as Evans does.</p></p><p><p>“What has she done that I couldn’t do or Roger can’t do,” he said. “At some point, you need to adjust to the future and get rid of those old ideas.”</p></p><p><p>Garlock ran for state legislative district 4 seat B three years ago and lost, but said he’s since come to believe he can be more effective on the local level.</p></p><p><p>“I’ve learned that local politics has the most impact on our lives,” he said. “I’ve been serving this community for so long, this just seemed like an extra step of service.”</p></p><p><p>He grew up near Sacramento. He left California for Wyoming in 1994, where he stayed until 2003. While he was there, he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Wyoming.</p></p><p><p>When he arrived in Coeur d’Alene, he worked at St. Vincent de Paul through AmeriCorps and volunteered as a crisis counselor at Project Safe Place. Since then, he’s worked in juvenile probation and ran a residential facility for people with developmental disabilities for 12 years. He’s currently the employee and education coordinator for GEO Connection and Intervention, which helps prisoners released to community supervision.</p></p><p><p>Garlock said he decided to run against Evans because he believes she’s ineffective.</p></p><p><p>“I felt like the incumbent has been absent from her duties,” he said. “I think two terms is good.”</p></p><p><p>The city’s growth has reached critical levels, Garlock said.</p></p><p><p>“We have overcrowded schools, we have failing infrastructure,” he said. “We have, in two years, had a city council that has never denied a zone change. I just think they have a short-sighted vision of cashing in on the influx of people. It’s pricing out the locals.”</p></p><p><p>Garlock said that if he’s elected, the first thing he wants to do is have the police department open a downtown substation.</p></p><p><p>“Downtown is a hotbed for certain issues,” he said.</p></p><p><p>Evans said she decided to run for re-election because she feels she can still contribute.</p></p><p><p>“I want to continue to improve our infrastructure,” Evans said. “Our citizens need good jobs and an affordable place to live, and I will work to provide that.”</p></p><p><p>Dixon said he has a lot to offer as a city council member.</p></p><p><p>“I am a young, highly energetic person with a lot of ideas,” he said. “I work hard and listen to people of all beliefs.”</p></p><p><p>Garlock said he believes there needs to be other points of view on the council.</p></p><p><p>“I’m a new voice to the community,” he said. “I think we need to allow more citizen representation of our community. I’m here to help the everyday citizen.”</p></p>