A longtime forester has filed for an Astoria City Council seat.
Ron Zilli, who has worked for the state Department of Forestry for 25 years, will run for the downtown Ward 3 seat held by City Councilor Cindy Price, who is running for mayor in the November election.
Joan Herman, a radio programmer and city planning commissioner, has also filed to replace Price.
Zilli, 51, earned a forestry degree from Northern Arizona University. He served 30 years in the Navy, including eight years on active duty, and rose to the rank of master chief petty officer.
He now lives with his wife, Michelle, and 13-year-old daughter, Ella, near Shively Park and is a field operations and policy manager with the forestry department.
“It’s service, really. I think I have a good breadth of life experiences. I feel I bring some relevant experience to the seat, and I love Astoria,” he said.
Zilli fought a proposed 150-foot Verizon Wireless communications tower at Shively Park, convincing the City Council in 2016 that the tower would be significantly more visible than Verizon and the city had initially described.
While he said he has opinions about recent policy issues at City Hall, he declined to share them.
“I’m not coming there specifically with an agenda to change things,” Zilli said. “It’s more that methodology of understanding complicated issues and knowing who’s affected by them.”
Herman has pointed to Astoria’s housing scarcity and riverfront development as some of her main issues. After hearing murmurs from a friend, she was not surprised Zilli entered the race.
“I would’ve been surprised if someone hadn’t,” Herman said. “I wish I could not do campaigning and just walk into the seat, but I knew that wouldn’t be the case.”
Both candidates said they don’t know much about each other. Herman said, however, that she “completely agreed” with Zilli about the Verizon tower.
“I’m just going to let folks know who I am and what I stand for, and I’ll rely on that,” Herman said.