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High-quality candidates dominate city council race

We suggest Bill Tierney, Jon Gustafson and Dan Williams for election


If you take the time to meet the six candidates running for three positions open on the Lake Oswego City Council, you can’t help being struck by one thing: They are all very nice, very engaged people who have the best interests of Lake Oswego at heart.

They may have different political philosophies on what the city needs to do or how it’s going to get there, but make no mistake, we are fortunate to have quality folks willing to tackle what must seem, at times, to be a thankless job.

Running for council are, in alphabetical order: Karen Bowerman, Jon Gustafson, Terry Jordan, Skip O’Neill, Bill Tierney and Dan Williams.

The last few years have seen some anxious times in Lake Oswego. The city rolled out a series of ambitious — and often costly — projects, moving on some of them. One of the big ones, the Portland to Lake Oswego streetcar, after several years of enduring public acrimony, was tabled when the balance of support for it on the city council changed. Still, it’s no secret that many Lake Oswegans worry about how to pay their share when a number of their fees are on the rise.

Navigating this tricky area is what confronts both the current council and the new council coming in this January. Ballots for the vote-by-mail Nov. 6 general election go out in the next couple of days. There’s a lot at stake, and the way you vote on a good group of candidates will affect the direction the city unfolds in the coming years.

There’s only one incumbent running in the mix, and that’s Bill Tierney. He has a strong business background and that’s a big plus. He’s consistently impressed us with his attention to detail, his due diligence in doing his homework and his demeanor while conducting city business. A moderate, he doesn’t feel the city can just sit still. While there will be those who might disagree, we like the job Tierney has done as a city councilor, respect him as a person and are delighted he has chosen to seek re-election.

We wholeheartedly endorse Tierney for a position on the Lake Oswego City Council.

Two other incumbents are leaving the council, and they couldn’t be more different: Sally Moncrieff and Mary Olson. We appreciate their efforts and wish them well going forward. Their departure leaves only one remaining woman on the council: Donna Jordan. More about the gender balance later.

We are very impressed with Jon Gustafson as a candidate and we feel we will be even more impressed with him as a city councilor. As the head of the city’s planning commission, he did an impressive job of listening, learning and leading. He presided over what could have been a very contentious meeting on lake access and, by most reports, handled the situation very well. We like that Gustafson is willing to hear all sides and then strive to make a fair and correct decision.

We wholeheartedly endorse Gustafson for a second council position.

We confess that as an editorial board, we went around and around about the merits of which person was most deserving of our third council endorsement. Part of what made this decision difficult was that — as noted — we were dealing with quality people. We could not and did not immediately discount anyone.

We were aware that having only one woman on the council would not be representative of the gender breakdown in our city. Only two of the six candidates are women.

We were also aware that, generally, the candidates are divided into two categories: a more conservative approach represented by Bowerman, O’Neill and Williams, and a more moderate branch represented by Tierney, Gustafson and Terry Jordan.

We feel Williams is deserving of our third endorsement. This is his second time running for council. He was a member of the citizens budget committee. He is fiscally sound, a businessman and very tied into the community. He is founder and president of NeighborLink, a nonprofit serving local seniors with transportation needs. We do want to request that, if elected, he make his decisions based on value and merit — not just costs.

We therefore endorse Williams for the third council position.

Before we end, we want to say something about candidates Jordan, Bowerman and O’Neill.

We think Jordan’s activism is contagious and don’t want to discourage it by any means. She would be perfect now for most any of the key city panels or boards. We would like for her to have a bit more seasoning in city government before tackling such a key position as city council.

Bowerman’s business background can’t be ignored. She definitely brings a sharp fiscal pencil to the table and is considered a quick learner. Our biggest concern here is that this is the second high-visibility office she has sought locally since moving here from California a couple of years ago.

Finally, O’Neill brings a Lake Corp. focus that has been missing at times from the council conversations. He also has a business background that can’t be denied. He’s been in the community for 30 years, and that’s definitely a plus for local knowledge. Our concern comes down to his views on several issues where we fear he might be too rigid to find any middle ground.