Chaimov wins city council seat

The Milwaukie attorney must defend his seat again in November

Milwaukie attorney Greg Chaimov defeated David Miller in a special election to fill a seat on Milwaukie's City Council last Tuesday.

Chaimov took 62 percent of the vote, or 1,000 of 1,609 ballots cast. He was appointed to fill the seat in December after Carlotta Collette left to take a seat on the council of Metro, the regional governing body.

Collette was elected in 2004 to a four-year term. Chaimov's victory only carries through to the end of that term, meaning Chaimov will have to defend his seat again in November.

Chaimov formerly worked as the lead attorney for the Oregon legislature, as a special counsel with the justice department, served on the vector control and historic review boards at the county level and was vice chair of Milwaukie's library commission and the Island Station neighborhood association.

In his three months on the council, Chaimov has dealt with issues of downtown development, the county's proposed library levy, code revisions and light rail.

He said in his time there he has brought respect back to the council, both among councilors and toward the public.

He's also sought the best solutions to problems rather than having a 'pass' or 'don't pass' mentality. When the issue came up of how much developer's should pay to help improve the public areas downtown, it was Chaimov who recommended the code be reviewed and possibly changed rather than simply decided on as it was written and not revised.

In his own words: quotes collected from Chaimov.

'What I've tried to do in my time on the council so far is to open avenues of communication between councilors. Before I got on the council, councilors didn't talk as much with one another before they had to vote on important issues.'

'I think we've made steps in the right direction - I spend a lot of time on the phone or e-mailing with people in the community, my sense is that people are beginning to think they are being listened to better, but I think we've still got a ways to go. My sense is if we continue to do what we're doing, the community will begin to see that we're not only listening, but we're also hearing.'

'The neighborhoods know what's best for the neighborhoods and the commissions know what's best for the issues they're focused on. We are representatives … we are not there to vote our views, we are there to share your views with the wider community.'

'I think where those [downtown development] projects are consistent with the city's view of itself, those projects are to be pursued with vigor, and the ones that don't should be taken to [other] communities.'

'There is a perception in a great number of people in the community that they are not heard, that they may speak, but their words tend to bounce off - allowing them to feel that they are the government and the government is them is one of the most important things ' the council can do.

'More than anything, I hope to be able to lead by example by demonstrating the benefits of listening. Despite my profession, most people would characterize me as introspective … although I think it's very important for public officials to make sure that when it comes time to talk they do it in a manner that is respectful … to make it clear to [residents] their views were heard, and are valued, and when the merits are appropriate, they will prevail.'

'I hope I will be able to get out in the community to meet with all of the neighborhood organizations, which I think are very much the backbone of this community. I am aware for example the people in Linwood might have a different view than the folks, for example, in my neighborhood, Island Station.'

'I think I'm one of the few people that can see the merits and demerits of both sides [of development issues] and I've also had a great deal of experience at many levels of government working with people with strong opinions on divisive issues in ways that have allowed them to come to agreement and to reach some census, and I think that's probably a skill that the city needs right now.'

'The way that the city recently developed its transportation plan serves as a very good model for including broad segments of the community in reaching consensus on issues that effect different people in different ways and using that kind of a collaborative model would be an excellent way to help move the city forward on whatever projects the city is going to implement … Making sure that everybody owns a decision is important for a community's self worth and the long term acceptance of the decisions that are made.'

'It's far more important to me how we get to a decision than what that decision is. I think [Parecki] made a very good recommendation [regarding downtown development] that we bring people together again and look at where are we and where do we want to be in 20 years.'

'What was particularly instructive to me with the five-member [County Commission] task force was that the task force started out leaning toward a specific outcome, and by listening to many people, traveling around the county and talking with people, I think we came to a different solution than if we'd just voted at the beginning.'

'Any time that we are encouraging people to come downtown, which we need to do ... [councilors should make sure] we're doing so in a way that takes into account the needs of the people who are most likely to be affected by those decisions.'