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Ridge sets sights on 'grander vision' in race for council post

Challenger says he will be a new voice for change
by: Jonathan House, Political hopeful Jason Ridge offers

Political newcomer Jason Ridge believes 'now's the time for change' on Beaverton's City Council.

Wanting to further his involvement in the community, Ridge decided to challenge incumbent Cathy Stanton for the Position 3 seat she has held since 1994.

'Cathy has had her time,' Ridge said. 'She's had her chance.

'I think she's happy with the way things are. It's my impression that she doesn't see the need for a bigger vision. She's all about infrastructure.'

Ridge said he hopes to bring a 'grander vision' to the council.

'I want to make sure Beaverton is developing the way we want,' he said. 'Are we just going through the motions, or are we giving people a better idea of what we want Beaverton to be?

'I'm very interested in seeing change in our city and changes in the way we interact with the community and businesses - not as a parent, but as a partner. They need to understand where they fit with the city.'

This is the second time Ridge has fought for a seat on the City Council. He was one of eight candidates considered to replace Fred Ruby, who resigned from his Position 1 seat in February 2006. The council appointed Bruce S. Dalrymple to fill the vacancy.

Ridge's previous community involvement includes serving two years on Beaverton's Board of Design Review, three years as the Murray Ridge Homeowners Association president and as a member of the Murray Ridge Landscape and Architectural Review Committee.

He currently serves as a director of account development for the PMSI marketing firm in Portland.

He also volunteers as a Special Olympics chaperone and youth soccer and basketball coach.

Ridge and his family moved to Beaverton 7½ years ago.

'I've always been involved wherever I've lived,' he said.

As a leader, Ridge said, 'I like to drive and am someone who always gives my opinion.'

'I like to be in control and steer the conversation. I am somebody who will be a squeaky wheel. I like to get things done.'

Although Ridge did not participate in Beaverton's community visioning sessions, he feels the city needs a 'phase two' in its visioning process because talking to '700 people out of 88,000 is not enough.'

He suggests the city perform more public outreach by going to school events.

As the city moves forward with forming an action plan in the visioning process, he thinks defining where downtown is located should be a priority.

He also feels The Round needs to be finished and that the council should not support the Westgate redevelopment plan proposed by Urban Renaissance Group.

'I see Beaverton as smaller community, not a place for high rises,' Ridge said. 'We need to preserve that small-town feel.

'I don't think a 17-story building fits the area or that we should be developing for the sake of developing. A performing arts center would be a better fit in that area. We need to take a step back and see what fits the bigger picture of the city.'

What can people expect from him as a city councilor?

'I will continually push for change with a holistic view and provide a different perspective than what is represented on the council now,' Ridge said. '(Cathy Stanton) has more experience, but I am hungry and interested in change.

'I want to be involved and engage more people in the process.'