Bill Moeller Commentary: Hey, Centralia City Council — What Are You Thinking?


I don’t remember when I’ve been more upset about the Centralia City Council’s attitude than when a recent article in this newspaper revealed the thinking about the future — if there is one — of the city’s outdoor swimming pool.

I wish I had known that the local group, known as Save The Outdoor Pool (STOP), was going to appear at that meeting. I would have been there to add my feelings on the subject.

I’ve never been a good ad lib speaker — I’ve almost always needed a script to go by — but the air might have had a different tint by the time I was finished.

The thought of never having another outdoor swimming pool is, to me, impossible to accept. True, we have an indoor pool.

In fact, I like to remind those younger than today’s old timers that I was Centralia’s mayor back in the 1980s when the votes of those of us who were in the Centralia School District passed the measure that built it.

Still, it’s not the same as an open air version.

It’s been quite a while since this 94-year-old swimmer has dipped his toes in the water there and later relaxed in the jacuzzi tub. But I know the difference between swimming in an indoor pool and an outdoor one.

Inside, there’s almost none of the laughing and shrieking that made the outdoor pool so enchanting. We can look with envy at the pool in Chehalis but we also know that the contribution by Gail and Carolyn Shaw was what made the pool possible.

So, not to be defeated, I tried to follow suit and purchased more lottery tickets than I should have in the hope that maybe one of them might have done the same for us. But that ploy didn’t work, as you probably know. And I also wanted to use enough of the winnings to finish everything needed to let the screen at the Fox Theater once again burn brightly. Oh, and though it has nothing to do with swimming, I would have used the rest of my winnings to buy enough musical instruments and hire a full-time director to once again bring the youth orchestra back to life.

One of the bits that caught my eye in the newspaper article was the reference that the splash pad, next to the vacant swimming pool, has been “wildly successful.”

I guess they’ve been passing by at different times than I have? 

True, I’ve seen occasional small groups of three or even four children, but I don’t recall seeing more than an occasional larger group. Don’t get the idea that I’m against the splash pad. I was at its dedication and, as soon as the program was over, I was the first one to walk through the splashes, fully clothed. (“That Moeller guy always was a showoff!”)

So, if someone from the STOP organization will email me at the address below and tell me when and where the next meeting will be held, I’d like to join the group.

The gizmo that counts the words in these sermons of mine says I still have room for a few more, so let me say that the first item I ever got published was years ago in The Seattle Times. It was about the joy of finding and picking the true wild blackberry, which differs from what we see around us.

I continued to receive comments about that piece for several years after it was printed.

My chest swelled larger with each response.

Ah, sweet fame!


Bill Moeller is a former entertainer, mayor, bookstore owner, city council member, paratrooper and pilot living in Centralia. He can be reached at