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Three face off for position 3

County commissioners race

Over the next three issues, the Clackamas Review and Oregon City News will pose several questions to each of the candidates in the race for county commissioner.

With the expansion of the board from three to five members, along with Commissioner Bill Kennemer vacating his seat, there are four positions up for grabs. Current commissioner Lynn Peterson is running uncontested for Position 1, the chair. There are a total of 14 candidates running for the remaining three open positions.

Following is a look at the candidates for Position 3, which Martha Schrader currently holds. She faces opposition from Ray Nelson and Patrick Reed. All positions are filed as non-partisan.

Ray Nelson

Wilsonville resident Raymond D. Nelson is retired and serves as chairman of the French Prairie Homeowners Association. He has also served as a school board director in the Reedville School District in Washington County.

Nelson graduated from Canby Union High School and earned his bachelor of science in psychology from Portland State University. He also spent 20 years in transportation management with Clackamas-based USF Reddaway Truck Line and several other transportation companies. Nelson was also a scout executive with the Boy Scouts America.

Why are you running for commissioner?

I became concerned about the way the commissioners were conducting business. For example: Ambulance service was given to the highest out-of-state bidder. There were political contributions involved. I decided to run to instill a higher ethical standard to the commission.

The county's communities often have radically different needs. How do you ensure residents from each of the different communities - from Estacada to Lake Oswego to Wilsonville - get fair and equal representation?

It is imperative that the commission takes time to communicate and evaluate each community individually. Applying a cookie-cutter approach simply does not work. Listening to, and then cooperating with each city government in a partnership relationship is the key to a greater overall success.

The loss of federal timber payments has left a $12 million hole in the county's budget. How do you expand the tax base and create more family-wage jobs?

The first step is to examine the existing budget to see just how effectively money is being spent. I am skilled at thinking 'outside the box,' and sometimes, the result can be impressive. The city of Portland is not noted for being particularly 'business friendly,' so targeting those businesses would be a good place to start.

What options does the county have if the library levy fails in November?

Options are slim, but I would look toward private businesses to assist as a start. Sometimes a catalyst is needed to jumpstart an effective drive in each community and the county should assist in developing a plan. The county provided a financial base for libraries with the understanding that city government would enhance that dollar amount. In communities where that happened, libraries are in far better financial condition.

What would you say is the biggest issue facing the county today?

The money shortfall overshadows everything, and as a result, citizens appear to be most concerned about roads, libraries and medical clinics. I believe we should get the county out of providing urban services in areas where a city government should rightfully be established. Instead of dealing with sewer and water treatment plants, we should be providing basic infrastructure, such as roads.

Anything you want to say?

The process of change started last election and now is the opportunity to complete the process. It is time for county commissioners to be more responsive to the taxpayers, and less concerned about extending political careers. I have more than 35 years of solid business experience, and believe this could be helpful to a commission that often times appears ineffective.

Patrick Reed

Reed and his wife Elizabeth live in Sherwood, have four daughters between them and one grandson. Reed, 47, is a grocery clerk and has been a union member for 30 years. He has been on the management team and a shop steward at several different stores, currently he is steward at Wilsonville Albertson's. He graduated from Narbonne High School, Harbor City, Calif. He has been involved in Christian youth ministry since high school, currently working with junior high students at Rolling Hills Community Church in Stafford.

Why are you running for commissioner?

The current commission has failed to protect the environment. Last year five tons of debris was removed from the Clackamas River. Traffic continues to get worse with no master plan for growth in place.

The county's communities often have radically different needs. How do you ensure residents from each of the different communities - from Estacada to Lake Oswego to Wilsonville - get fair and equal representation?

Living in rural Clackamas County I understand the need and passion to protect this lifestyle. Having grown up in a small town and working now in Wilsonville, I understand the need for local government and the county to work together. Talking with citizens weekly is essential. People make the difference. Politicians are only as good as the people they communicate with. I will be a commissioner who keeps connected with everyday people.

The loss of federal timber payments has left a $12 million hole in the county's budget. How do you expand the tax base and create more family-wage jobs?

We need to implement license and user fees. Enact tolls to repair, replace and build new bridges, opening alternative travel routes, relieving traffic congestion. Invite companies to manufacture wind mills to be build on farmland south of the Willamette to generate clean energy while protecting farmland. Manufacture nickel batteries for hybrid cars, both currently made overseas. Total family wage jobs created is unknown. Additional tax revenue collected is a good start. Total carbon footprint reduced is priceless.

What options does the county have if the library levy fails in November?

First off, the county has a responsibility to keep the libraries open, whether we have fees for movies and CD's (or) promoting admission events for speakers, poets and artists. We need to network the system-sharing materials and resources. Like a business we will have strong and weak locations; unlike a business we will not close locations but create quality libraries for people regardless of their location or economic situation

What would you say is the biggest issue facing the county today?

Better management of taxpayer money, despite previous levies, the current commissioners have failed to maintain libraries and are looking to close the Oak Grove Library. Currently, pot hole repairs are the only maintenance being done on roadways. Shifting funds recklessly has done more damage then the lost timber payments.

Anything you want to say?

The jail proposal decision was made by the commissioners before we lost the timber revenue. We need to look into other options including that of (sheriff candidate) Rick Lamanna's tent city jail. We need to evaluate cost of programs and prevent closures like that of the health clinics recently. Commissioners make tough decisions - (that is) true and I have worked with people from the poverty level to the upper class, listening to and caring about all people.

Martha Schrader

Martha Schrader was first appointed to the county commission in 2003, winning her seat in an election the following year.

Schrader has her own farm in unincorporated Clackamas near Canby, and worked with the Canby area chamber of Commerce to foster small business. She also worked as a school librarian and grant writer. She holds a bachelor's degree of science, a master's degree in entomology, a master's degree in education and is working toward a PhD in public administration and policy.

Why are you running for commissioner?

I'm running for re-election because I have a proven track record of strong leadership. I've been a champion for work-force and job training; dollars for transportation, water, and sewer infrastructure; public safety's strong attack on methamphetamines; managed growth for our communities; and accountability and transparency in County government.

The county's communities often have radically different needs. How do you ensure residents from each of the different communities - from Estacada to Lake Oswego to Wilsonville - get fair and equal representation?

Communication is crucial to represent diverse community needs. I regularly visit chambers, service clubs, neighborhood associations, and community planning associations. I've championed 'Complete Communities,' forums that bring citizens and elected officials together to plan our future. Our Clackamas County Coordinating Committee, a coalition of the County, our cities, and special districts, meets monthly to discuss areas of mutual concern and interest. Our Community Planning Organizations meet quarterly with commissioners to discuss issues facing rural communities.

The loss of federal timber payments has left a $12 million hole in the county's budget. How do you expand the tax base and create more family-wage jobs?

Loss of timber payments is an economic challenge for Clackamas County. We've identified key business sectors where job growth and business expansion will build our tax base. These sectors include healthcare, manufacturing, transportation logistics, and retail. We've focused on health care as an economic engine, validating opportunities for jobs in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and medical manufacturing. Education partnerships with Clackamas Community College provide citizens with additional skills to enter the health care sector.

What options does the county have if the library levy fails in November?

I urge a yes vote in November to form a County-wide library district. In 2006 Clackamas County employed library consultants Himmel and Wilson to conduct an independent study of our library system. The study recommended the creation of a county-wide library district that would provide consistent, equitable library services for incorporated and incorporated areas of the county. Should the formation of the district fail in November, we are in grave danger of losing services.

What would you say is the biggest issue facing the county today?

The population of our region is expected to grow by over one million people over the next 30 years. Clackamas County will take the brunt of that growth. All of these citizens will need jobs, housing, clean water, roads to travel on, and outdoor spaces to enjoy. We must make sure our county will be able to manage this growth, make sure growth pays its own way, and ensure we sustain our quality of life.