Trio in the hunt for city council seats
- Lee van der Voo
- Lake Oswego Review - News
Three new candidates have announced plans to run for the Lake Oswego City Council in the next general election Nov. 4.
They include Bill Tierney, chair of the Lake Oswego Development Review Commission; Russell Jones, a long-time civic volunteer with conservative leanings; and Justin Luber, a relative newcomer who brings business savvy and a vision for community building.
The three are so far the only candidates to join the race for an equal number of open positions on the Lake Oswego City Council. The positions will be vacated at the end of 2008 when current city Councilors John Turchi, Frank Groznik and Ellie McPeak end their terms of service.
Both McPeak and Turchi are ineligible to run again due to term limits. Groznik has announced he will not seek re-election.
Anyone living within Lake Oswego city limits can declare candidacy for city council by Aug. 26. Those candidates must file paperwork with city and state offices and collect 20 signatures from Lake Oswego voters to be eligible to run.
But so far only Jones, Luber and Tierney have joined the race, filing early paperwork. Dave Jorling, a former chair of the committee that recommended a Portland Streetcar extension to town, has withdrawn his bid for the race, according to city elections officials.
Should other candidates join the contest, the three to garner the most votes in the open election Nov. 4 will serve as city councilors. The candidates are not required to be representative of zones or wards.
So far, Tierney, Luber and Jones all foresee the next city council as one whose primary duties will be stewarding critical plans. The group will tackle the tough job of planning the future of the city's West End Building and also oversee construction of a new sewer interceptor through Oswego Lake, the main pipeline in the city's sewer system.
An expansion of the city's water utility, possibly in partnership with the city of Tigard, may also need guidance from incoming city councilors.
A quick take on the three first candidates:
Family: Wife Pasha Luber, no children
Career: Marketing for General Electric, sales experience
Hobbies: Hot air ballooning, reviving the Mount Hood Ice Cream Company
Last fun film: 'Iron Man'
After five moves in six years, Justin Luber arrived in Lake Oswego two years ago and was certain he had come home. A marketing leader for General Electric, Luber started setting down roots quickly after relocating for a company job in Tualatin.
When he arrived in Lake Oswego, he said, 'I absolutely fell in love with the place.'
Long intent on running for city council in his future hometown, Luber made it official by filing for office in Lake Oswego. He is also building a home on Lakeview Boulevard.
A fan of Lake Oswego's downtown, Farmer's Market and restaurant scene, Luber is a fiscal conservative with a mind for business. He would like to see Lake Oswego do more to promote business growth. He envisions a business incubation center that would help small operations thrive here.
Keenly aware of the upset in the community over the West End Building, Luber sees himself a forward-thinking candidate on a city council that could draw several candidates with primarily conservative viewpoints.
'My concern is because of the controversy there might be some folks who would move the pendulum too far in the other direction,' away from civic projects that keep the city looking ahead.
His experience living in towns from Trumbull, Conn., to Atlanta, Ga., to Kansas City, Kan.,help him know a good place when he sees one, he said, and would keep him focused on Lake Oswego's strengths.
Luber would like to see the next city council settle the debate over the West End Building, keep a strong focus on rebuilding water and sewer infrastructure and maintain a continued emphasis on community growth.
He brings a background in marketing and sales and a business school education and said his political abilities lie in being a good listener and a good communicator.
Family: Wife Kathe Worsley, three adult children
Career: Retired from a career in pathology at OHSU, 22 years in the special forces in the Army Reserves
Hobbies: Art collecting, travel
Favorite Book: 'All the King's Men' by Robt. Penn Warren
Russell Jones said a motorcycle accident changed his life in 1988, eventually pushing him toward an early retirement and the full-time enjoyment of the arts and life. From his home on Woodland Terrace, Jones has also become an active civic volunteer.
Jones has served on five city committees that include the budget committee, Natural Resources Advisory Board and the Foothills Plan Citizens Advisory Committee.
He's also a member of the Lake Oswego Neighborhood Action Coalition, a past motorman of the Willamette Shore Trolley and treasurer of the Friends of Luscher Farm.
But somewhere along the way Jones said the closed structure of city hall pushed people to speak out about city policy. Community dynamics, he said, painted those who spoke out, like himself, as naysayers.
Jones describes himself differently, saying he's a fiscal conservative but can balance his interest in accountable spending with an appreciation for long-term planning on projects like the West End Building and new zoning in the Boones Ferry corridor.
Jones said an ideal city council would include 'people that listen to the citizens, be a group of people who get along, who are pragmatic, vote their opinions and don't follow a party line.'
Top priorities for Jones as a councilor would be tending to the city's infrastructure and facility needs, including new sewer and water systems but also roads and mold issues at city hall.
He also wants the city to 'be a little more circumspect on the uses of money and how buildings are used.'
Family: Wife Julie Tierney and three adult children
Career: Portland General Electric and cable communications
Hobbies: Golf, nonfiction, food and wine, history
Favorite Book: 'Judgment of Paris' by George Taber
Luckily, Bill Tierney likes to read. A fan of history and nonfiction, Tierney is the current chair of the Lake Oswego Development Review Commission, a job he said requires quite a bit of homework.
Weighing development decisions on the commission means picking through dense documents, sometimes inches thick. It also means conducting frequent public hearings, then acting in a way that balances public opinion with city code.
Tierney hopes to parlay that experience into a policy-making position on the city council, one he believes offers more excitement and responsibility.
He sees himself as a potential anchorman on the next city council, a thoughtful decision maker who withholds opinion until it's time to cast his vote. In conflicted groups, Tierney said, he often holds the middle ground.
He sees a future of careful decisions ahead of the next city council, including a plan for the West End Building.
'I think that a new council maybe has more opportunity to deal with it because … we weren't involved in those decisions and we can give it a fresh look and I think the community will see us as providing that fresh look,' said Tierney.
He surmises the next city council should put less focus on activism and make more of an effort to 'keep things moving in the right direction.'
To that effect, Tierney sees critical projects as planning for infrastructure and the upcoming periodic review of the city's development code.
At a glance
Lake Oswego Mayor Judie Hammerstad will vacate her position as mayor at the end of 2008. Hammerstad has served two consecutive terms and is ineligible to run again, due to term limits.
Jack Hoffman, a two-time city councilor, is unopposed in the race to secede her so far. Hoffman is now eligible to seek re-election after a two-year break from public service in Lake Oswego.