Ballots for the Nov. 6 election go into the mail tomorrow and will arrive in most mailboxes Saturday or Monday. After all the efforts of candidates to persuade them, voters now face decision time.

I launched my campaign for mayor of Lake Oswego early this year. Since then I have walked all over the community, talking to local residents at their doorsteps about the future of our city. Drawing on those conversations and my past public service, I offer the following way forward:

Restore civility to our civic life. Our city council has become too polarized, reflecting divisions among residents. When I represented Lake Oswego in the Legislature I learned how to be effective in a decision-making body with wide-ranging viewpoints. I will bring these skills to my city service to bridge the gaps that divide us.

Strengthen our schools. As Lake Oswego’s representative in Salem, I pushed for better funding for our schools. I sponsored legislation that increased the local option capacity, so more of our property tax dollars stay here instead of being spread statewide. As mayor, I will advocate for renewal of the local option levy and expand the range of housing options available in the city so more young families can move here and add to the population of our schools.

Help local businesses thrive. I’ll promote convenient services and appealing shops and restaurants here in Lake Oswego so residents have less reason to drive to distant shopping malls. I’ll champion buying from local businesses so more of our dollars circulate close to home. Lake Oswego is more prosperous when we recognize that we depend on each other.

Protect our parks and open spaces. I’ll maintain the great parks that make Lake Oswego a beautiful place to call home. I’ll extend bicycle/pedestrian paths and will pursue a new one on the right-of-way for the Willamette Shore Trolley line. I will combat the invasive species that threaten our open spaces.

Keep our neighborhoods safe. As state representative, I (helped) pass legislation that shut down the home meth labs that were afflicting communities around Oregon, including Lake Oswego. As mayor, I’ll make sure we continue to have one of the lowest crime rates around. I’ll support our police and fire fighters in their work to provide prompt emergency response.

Lake Oswego is a great community. To keep it great, we must maintain the excellent schools and beautiful landscape that attracted most of us here. At the same time we also must continue to renew our city.

The community has been enhanced by a number of public projects over the past 15 years, including Millennium Plaza Park, the Lake View Village shops and Luscher Farm. These projects were controversial when they were in their planning stages. Now nearly everyone loves them.

In pursuing the projects on the city’s agenda, we need to be careful about cost. A weak economy and soft home values have strained household budgets. But we should not abandon the work of community renewal. If we do, Lake Oswego will attract fewer of the educated, talented and dynamic citizens that are its greatest resource.

Please join me in this work for an even greater Lake Oswego. I would be honored to have your vote for mayor.

Greg Macpherson is a former state representative for District 38 and candidate for mayor of Lake Oswego.

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