Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Dick Fosbury Envisions a Jump to County Commission
Dick Fosbury greets the voters during the Bellevue Labor Day Parade.
Sunday, November 4, 2018


Dick Fosbury had just returned from a reunion of fellow Olympic athletes celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

It was the Olympics that put the lanky 6-foot-4 high jumper on the map as he stunned the world by twisting back first over the high jump with the help of a patented jump that would become known as the “Fosbury Flop.”

But, while he enjoyed recounting memories with 157 of the 380 U.S. athletes  who took part in those games, his mind was on yet another race back home—one that will be determined at the voter’s box on Tuesday.

Dick Fosbury, considered one of the most influential and inspirational athletes in the history of track and field, has served on the executive board of the World Olympians Association, as well as other Olympic organizations.

Fosbury is running for the Blaine County Commission’s District 1 seat.

“It’s a job that can use my skill set, both on affordable housing and the restoration of the Big Wood River, which I consider two of our most pressing problems,” said Fosbury, a longtime civil engineer in the Wood River Valley.

Fosbury visited Sun Valley in 1973 with a friend from Oregon State. He returned in 1977, opening up Galena Engineering. He retired only to decide he had more to give the community after surviving stage one lymphoma.

“I made applications to the county and cities for 40 years so I understand land use issues,” said Fosbury,  who lives with his wife--retired dentist Robin Tomasi--on a 20-acre farm on Glendale Road where they raise hay.

Fosbury served for five years on Blaine County’s Planning and Zoning Commission and as city engineer for Ketchum. He’s also served on the board of directors at the Wood River YMCA and on what is now the Mountain Rides board.

“(The commissioner’s job) is a complex job with all the different departments and a lot of land with a small population and budget but many visitors,” he said.

Fosbury says the biggest issue is housing—something he thinks could be addressed with such things as a tax-deductible affordable housing foundation and public private partnerships.

“The struggle to provide affordable housing is nothing new and it’s a national issue, as well as a local issue,” he said. “I travel a lot and everywhere I go they’re having issues with affordable housing, workforce housing. As an engineer I believe we can streamline some ordinances, speed things up.”

Fosbury also believes he has much to bring to the restoration of the Big Wood River, which became a focal point of the community following devastating 2017 floods.

 “There are a lot of restoration projects going on and I think we can revise the way we make applications to speed things along. We got to do a better job of protecting the river--it’s a source of life,” he said.

The way projects used to be administered was actually more efficient 20 years ago than today, he added.

“I can bring in consultants who are knowledgeable and more sensitive to the environment,” he added. “It’s not an easy job. But I’m willing to use what I’ve learned to provide a service to the community.


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