Silva has been board chairman for seven years

Estacada resident Matthew Silva is among seven candidates competing in the May primary for Position 5 on the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners.

'I like getting involved, and now's the time,' Silva said. 'I'm into the community, and that's why I love Estacada. That's why I love this town.'

Silva, 39, has served as chairman of the board for the Estacada Fire District for the past seven years.

Now, he says he is running for commissioner to give a voice to East Clackamas County.

'That's why I've gotten involved in the fire board, because I believe in helping people,' Silva said. 'I believe in empowering folks to be successful regardless of what they're doing.'

In his position as fire inspector and fire rig lieutenant for the Portland Fire Department, Silva is required to look for signs of trouble and work with businesses to find reasonable solutions. Silva says he would apply these same skills in role as commissioner.

'I've worked with lots of businesses. I know what they want and need. I think I can go out and bring businesses to Clackamas County and be pro folks and community,' Silva said. 'I'll find out what the folks want. I think you need to listen to what people want.

'We need to be more pro-business, more effective and more efficient,' he said, 'from planning to how we spend dollars.'

To support businesses, Silva said, 'There's a lot of infrastructure that needs to happen for growth in East Clackamas County: roadways, structures, school and libraries.'

Silva said he believes one of the greatest things the current board has recently done is expanding its number of board members from three to five by adding two two-year positions.

'The more folks you have on the board, the more there's going to be different experiences and opinions that challenge the board as a whole,' he said.

Silva is married and serves as guardian to his niece. He graduated from David Douglas High School in Portland and attended Portland Community College, where he studied fire science.

Through a University of California-Davis extension program in Sacramento, Silva completed the internships and certifications necessary to become a paramedic.

During the U.S. government's liberation of Kuwait in the early 1990s, Silva held a rescue position with a defense department contractor. 'My job was to go out and rescue people on the mine disposal teams and respond to fires,' he said.

Of the five other candidates running for Position 5, Silva is the only one who didn't provide endorsements on his candidate profile.

'I purposely didn't want any endorsements,' he said. 'I wanted to do this on my own. I'm not being driven by any business or group. If I make it past the (May 20) primary, I'll ask for their (the fire department's) support.'

Silva said he has not filed his statement of organization with the elections office because his campaign has raised no money. He said he hasn't had a chance yet to run the campaign he had hoped to run because he is devoting his time and attention to a hospitalized family member.

When asked how he viewed his chances of making it beyond the primary, Silva said, 'I'm hopeful…You won't find anybody who'll talk badly about me. The people here know I'm dedicated from the last nine years.'

Silva said he would step down from his paid position with the Portland Fire Department to take a seat on the board of commissioners, but he has no plans to leave the Estacada Fire Board.

'I absolutely intend to run for a third fire board term in 2009,' Silva said.

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