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Candidates for Clackamas County Commissioner Position No. 5

This is the third part of a three-part series looking at the 15 candidates for the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners. Today's installment details the candidates for position No. 5. Information is compiled by the Pamplin Media Group.

Lori DeRemer

Bio-graphy: 40, married to Dr. Shawn DeRem-er, twin 13-year-old daughters: Emilie and Annie; Hometown: Happy Valley; political party: Republican; Education: Hanford High School-Hanford, Calif., California State University Fresno, bachelor of science in business administration; previous government and community involvement: Happy Valley City Council 2004-current, Happy Valley City Council President 2007-current, East Happy Valley Comprehensive Plan Committee, Clacka-mas County Coordinating Committee, Policy Advis-ory Committee for Urban and Rural Reserves, North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce Member, NCCC-Leadership Clackamas County graduate 2005, NCCC-Leadership Clackamas County, Young Leaders Project co-chair 2007-2008, Providence Mil-waukie Hospital Found-ation Board of Directors, Clackamas Rotary, Happy Valley Elementary/ Sunrise Middle School PTA, youth soccer coach 2000-2005, campaign phone: 971-235-1999, Web site: http://www.campaignderemer.com/ ; e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Why are you running for commissioner?

I believe I offer a unique perspective on how business, government and the community can work together to support, manage and grow the county while protecting our quality of life.

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?

As one of the few candidates from the east side of Clackamas County, I believe I bring a much needed perspective to the commission.

It is difficult to meet the specific needs of every city within Clackamas County, however I believe that while individual city needs are indeed diverse, we are all addressing growth, economic and transportation needs and it's those issues that I will focus on as your county commissioner.

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 must continue to support our small businesses. Private development and public investments will be what continues to drive this economy. The focus has been on an industrial and an agriculturally based economy, and we need to continue to support them. However, we also need to look forward for opportunities to cultivate and attract professional and business services like warehousing, durable goods, healthcare, education, the arts, wholesale, and high tech into our community.

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

If the voters vote down the proposed library levy then the message will be clear to the commission - prioritize existing revenues. I do not support collecting taxes on residents when they say no more. I will be a strong advocate for taxpayers. I'm committed to prioritizing county spending - ensuring that county services are delivered at a fair and reasonable price to residents.

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

Maintaining our roads and bridges is one of the most important issues facing Clackamas County. Citizens must be able to drive on safe, free-flowing roads that keep them, and goods, moving. The cities and county must partner together on this issue so we are not competing for funding. I will work with our Legislative leaders to aggressively support a 2009 transportation package that includes funding.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

I am proud to have the endorsement of Clackamas County Commissioner Martha Schrader, Mayor Rob Wheeler, Thomas Joseph of Thomas Joseph Dry Cleaning and Lori Luchak, president, Miles Fiberglass and Composites.

I promise to do all I can to ensure that government works for its people. I ask for your vote in the May primary.

Ron Adams

Bio-graphy:

Ron Adams, 73, a resident of the Staf-ford Hamlet, is retired from a number of positions from local companies, including Pacific NW Bell (management), AT and T (management), Oregon Youth Conserva-tion Corps (director) and Clackamas Community College Board of Educ-ation (past chair).

Adams received his bachelor's degree from Portland State University and his master' degree from Marylhurst Univer-sity. He also taught college level business courses.

He was an Oregon state representative (West Linn, Wilsonville, Sherwood), for six years and calls himself a former moderate Republican, now registered as an Independent.

Why are you running for commissioner?

I believe the expanded five-member county commission can benefit from my broad business management experience. We are talking about a $600 million budget. There will be several commissioners with local government experience so my diverse background should enhance the budget discussions without diluting the total knowledge.

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?

Communities will get fair and equal representation by taking advantage of my open door and open mind policies. I represented three vastly different communities in the Legislature and was noted for my willingness to visit, communicate and listen. Even my most vigorous opponents acknowledged the efforts I made to reach out to all constituents. I was raised in Gladstone and have family in Gladstone, Mil-waukie, Oregon City, Canby and Hubbard. Believe me, I will hear from a broad section of the county.

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?

I have lobbied for the Secure Rural Schools funding at the federal level. I am convinced that some funding will be replaced although probably not the full $12 million. There will still be economic development, education and training opportunities. Family level wage jobs will come to those communities that have a prepared work force. We must concentrate on that workforce preparation in tandem with strong outreach efforts.

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

I support the library levy. I am not familiar with the options if the Library District initiative fails. The county board could elect to make other cuts instead of library funding since I know libraries are incredibly important to our communities. I prefer optimism at this point since library funding has passed in the recent past but was defeated by lack of a double majority (a separate discussion I would love to have with voters at an appropriate time).

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

The biggest issue facing the County today depends on who you're listening to: the person stuck in traffic would say roads and transportation; those seeking other infrastructure fixes (water, wastewater) would say funding and I would say facing reality. We are in a down economy and must accept that suggestions to increase/expand the taxes people are paying will be faced with severe scrutiny. Cuts will probably be required and priorities established for where and how deep.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

I have been disappointed by the lack of discussion by all candidates about agriculture (second largest ag county in the state),the environment, senior citizen needs, education and economic development. Perhaps my broad background in business, education and the environment causes me to see the County opportunities through a different lens. Such diversity could be an advantage in all discussions.

Jim Bernard

Bio-graphy:

Born and raised in Mil-waukie, Jim Ber-nard is the owner of Bernard's Garage, a third-generation, family-owned business.

Bernard was elected Milwaukie's mayor in 2001 - his father Joe Bernard also served as mayor in the 1960s.

Bernard has served on numerous community boards, including two terms as president of the Automotive Service Association of Portland, president of the Milwaukie Downtown Development Association, the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation Board, and the North Clackamas Cham-ber of Commerce Execu-tive Board. He co-founded the Milwaukie Sunday Farmer's Market.

Why are you running for commissioner?

I am running for Clackamas County Commissioner because I am committed to public service and because I believe I can improve county government. I intend to focus on bringing jobs to our residents and securing new funding for transportation from the federal and state 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?

First, by listening to the people of those communities and making sure their concerns are heard. Every county, including Clackamas, is a jumble of different priorities and concerns. As a county commissioner, it's your job to either create policy that is acceptable to all communities or to work out a compromise that will provide each community with most if not all of their desired outcome. As mayor of Milwaukie, I have a track record of doing so.

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

By recruiting new employers and retaining existing employers through a variety of economic development options. Clackamas County needs to aggressively market its proximity to the region's largest airport and highlight I-205's capacity for moving freight efficiently. We need to focus on developing industry clusters like nanotechnology rather than focusing on individual companies of interest. As a Clackamas County Commissioner, my highest priority will be improving local infrastructure and offering incentives to businesses that want to locate here.

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

Not many. Clackamas County has a poor history of supporting countywide funding measures and because of this, county government has shouldered a significant load of the budget through the general fund. This model is not sustainable. If the voters choose not to support public services, then we need to listen to the vote and stop providing those services. It's a difficult message, but if the money is not there, you have to make tough choices.

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

The biggest issue facing Clackamas County is the state of our core infrastructure (roads, sewers, etc.) and lack of funding to maintain or expand capacity. Oregonians have made it relatively clear that raising taxes is not an acceptable answer. Our job is to squeeze every last efficiency out of government and work aggressively to recruit new businesses and jobs to Clackamas County to improve our revenue streams. By doing so, we can create additional revenue for infrastructure.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

As your next county commissioner, I intend to focus my time and energy on providing you a high level service for your tax dollars. We will improve the performance of Clackamas County government and we will create new jobs and a higher standard of living. I ask for your vote.

Trent Tidwell

Bio-graphy:

Trent Tidwell is is a current Oregon City Commis-sioner and the twice-elected Oregon City Commission president. He is a life-long resident of Clackamas County with a career as a property management supervisor. This background combined with his experience as the economic liaison for Oregon City gives him the knowledge to keep our county growing without pouring concrete over our fertile soil. Tidwell also works with the Urban Renewal Commission, the budget committee, and the Metro Policy Advisory Committee. He is currently working toward his master's degree in career developmental leadership at Warner Pacific College.

Why are you running for commissioner?

While serving on the Oregon City Commission, I initiated 'Conversations with the Commissioner' meetings. I've found that not every creative and successful idea comes from an elected official. I'm in this race because I would like to bring that same kind of community involvement and empowerment to the county level.

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?

We have a county not just divided by community lines, but full of individuals! I've proven my ability to work effectively in a non-partisan manner with people from a broad spectrum of individual perspectives. This is reinforced by my endorsements which include Democratic State Senator Kurt Schrader, State Representative Wayne Scott, The Teamsters, Local Union 37, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Columbia Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council, and The Northwest Oregon Laborers.

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 county must pursue at least partial replacement of the timber payments to encompass the huge amount of federal land in the county. Growth of the property tax base occurs when properties develop, but when underutilized properties redevelop, we attract quality businesses that provide family-wage jobs, increase the tax base, and secure our infrastructures. This can only be achieved through cohesive teamwork on the Commission. I'm ready to roll up my sleeves.

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

The county is on a path to relinquish itself of direct library operations due to financial constraints. Without the library district, responsibilities for our libraries will shift to the cities. If the levy fails perhaps we could explore ideas such as virtual libraries in much the same way the ORCA program provides virtual classrooms. However, I am committed to reaching out to individual communities as well as my colleagues to keep the library doors open.

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

There are two very important issues that demand attention…economic development and our challenged infrastructure. Regarding economic development, we must partner with local businesses to provide the kind of family-wage jobs we need. Our infrastructure must maintain the basics … sewer, water, and roads for our growing population. All this must be done while maintaining the green lifestyle that Oregon has always embodied.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

We must have leaders that are progressive and innovative with ideas. Building on the strengths we possess, doing more with what we have, and living within our means. I want to be the commissioner who places our citizens first for a better Clackamas County.

Kami Kehoe

Bio-graphy:

Kami Kehoe, 32, is a resident of unincorporated Clack-amas County in the Beavercreek area. She graduated from the University of Michigan, is a mother of two and the co-founder of Meeting and Event Services Co. She chairs the Holcomb-Outlook Community Planning Organization, the Oregon City Area Sustainability Political Action Commit-tee and is co-leader of Stand for Children, Oregon City chapter.

Why are you running for commissioner?

As a community advocate, I bring a unique and refreshing perspective to the county commission. I possess more than a voting record and have a proven track record of community leadership and accomplishing community-driven goals. I am focusing on fiscal transparency and accountability, education ... and citizens first, growth management and environmental protection.

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?

I am the only Position 5 candidate residing in unincorporated Clackamas County and the county is the sole local government jurisdiction. As a resident of unincorporated Clackamas County, I am less inclined to play favoritism to certain cities and can bring a balanced, unbiased opinion ultimately ensuring each of the different communities get fair and equal representation. It is also vital that governing bodies take part in the county coordinating committee meetings and that CPOs, hamlets and villages remain active.

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?

Diversifying the tax base and scrutinizing urban renewal districts and tax abatement districts is key to a healthy county budget. Ways to encourage economic growth are to provide incentives for businesses and encourage them to provide family-wage jobs. One way is to lobby for state changes to Enterprise Zones so they can be implemented business-to-business instead of constricted by location. We should consider requiring businesses to provide a certain number of family-wage jobs in urban renewal districts.

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

Cities always have the option of passing their own levies if the district fails. There has been little communication with the citizens on the benefits of libraries to a community, a study of how libraries are currently being used to be most efficient with tax payer money and lack of open houses hosted by cities explaining how the money will be used and their part in the operation of the district.

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

Wastewater treatment capacity is the biggest issues facing Clackamas County right now. A Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) is not in place for wastewater treatment. A solution needs to be immediate as the County is losing money by not increasing their System Development Charges (SDC) for sewer infrastructure. This cannot be done without a Capital Improvement Plan in place. This means a loss of millions of dollars to sewer infrastructure from the build-out of Happy Valley.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

Committed to environmental protection, I have been endorsed by OLCV - Oregon League of Conservation Voters and Doug Neeley, Oregon City Commissioner. Supporting Urban Renewal amendments. Tough on crime and protecting victims' rights. Dedicated to promoting and protecting citizen involvement in land-use issues and preserving citizens' right to vote on annexations.

Matthew Silva

Bio-graphy: Matthew Silva, an Estacada resident, has served as chairman of the board for the Estacada Fire District for the past seven years.

Silva, 39, graduated from David Douglas High School in Portland and attended Portland Com-munity College, where he studied fire science. He currently works as an inspector for the Portland Fire Bureau.

Silva is married and is the legal guardian of his niece.

Why are you running for commissioner?

To ensure that the county commission is accountable for all decision-making and ensure wise use of our tax dollars. I want to not only make this county a desirable place to live, but to provide the infrastructure to support growth, both commercial and residential.

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?

Number one, wise use of our tax dollars, prioritizing projects and spending. Utilizing knowledge of geographical areas for projects that would benefit more than one community. Listen to each of the communities and address their needs and concerns with the other commissioners. If a community wants something and fiscally I can't provide it, I would need to bring them to the table to come up with something acceptable and affordable.

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?

I believe you look for innovative ways to bring back federal dollars and state funding. Bring business into the county and you'll have successful families making a family wage and reinvesting it back into their communities and the county. This is through purchasing homes, local products, food and all the necessities of happy living. Remember if you bring businesses and homes to the county with growth, you also get tax revenue to reinvest into the community.

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

I'm confident it will pass if all parties have done their jobs. This includes listening to the public and educating them on the need. If it doesn't pass you look for innovative ways to raise money for libraries, as long as it's a priority. This could be through usage fees or reconstruct a levy through public input that will ensure its passage.

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

As our communities and cities expand within the county, there becomes a need for support businesses and services. Our county and its services need to mirror commercial and residential growth. We need to not only take care of our immediate growth and development, but also not lose sight of our long-term needs and goals. Ensure we have roadways, support services and public safety services to meet the county's growth.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

Be accountable, listen to the public and their wants without losing sight of the county budget and funds. The county government should operate like an efficient fiscally responsible business, remembering that the folks that pay taxes are your investors. If you're not following your investor's direction, then it's time resign and find a new CEO.

Emil Hnidey

Bio-graphy:

Emil Hnidey, an Esta-cada resident, sits on Esta-cada's planning commission and budget committee, and served on the city's infrastructure committee from 2005 to 2007.

He attended high school in Estacada and attended Clackamas Community College for two years before earning a bachelor of science degree in political science from Portland State University.

He is a customer service representative with Bank of the West.

Why are you running for commissioner?

A: Because I love where I live and want to have a hand in shaping the place I call home. I'm just a regular working guy and I want to make sure that the decisions that are made aren't ones that will adversely affect regular working people.

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?

By making decisions that make sense for everyone, no matter where they live. Decisions have to be made on a case-by-case basis and variances have to be granted when it makes sense to do so. Citizens should be able to contact the commissioners so that their needs can be heard and taken into consideration when decisions are made.

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?

There are tax incentives to encourage businesses to move into the area. The county needs to grant variances in situations where not doing so would cause a business not to locate in Clackamas County. Urban renewal districts would help improve commercial areas and create nicer locations for businesses to move into.

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

If the levy fails, the county will need to look at the budget and prioritize its expenses and cut out things that we may not need in order to keep things that we do, like libraries. We also need to consider reducing the number of paid staff at the libraries and use more volunteers. Volunteers are good enough to fight fires; they should be good enough to run our libraries.

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

The biggest issue is where do we find the money infrastructure improvements like roads, waste water treatment, etc. and how do we allow development while protecting our rural areas. We need to look at the budget and cut out the fat. We need to prioritize our expenses and fund the things that are really important and let those go that aren't.

Anything you want to say?

I plan on living here for the rest of my life, so I want to be able to have a hand in shaping the place that I'm going to raise my children in. I want to be there so that the decisions that are made are ones that make sense.