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Sound infrastructure for city would be a high priority

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In the upcoming election, we will vote for a new mayor and three new city councilors. You have an opportunity to choose four of your fellow citizens to represent you on the Lake Oswego City Council. As a candidate for one of three open city councilor seats, I ask that you carefully consider why I would be your best choice.

Before I expand on my qualifications, let me share with you what I feel are our most pressing issues. First and foremost, sound infrastructure:

My highest priority as a city councilor would be to complete the sewer interceptor. We have a legal obligation to meet DEQ deadlines and a moral obligation to our citizens to do so in a cost-effective, high-quality and technologically sound manner.

Though we are well on our way to larger, high-quality water facilities, the joint project with Tigard will take both budgetary and engineering diligence for several years to come.

Street repairs should have a consistent annual budget and funding mechanism.

Our parks, pathways and open spaces need ongoing care and maintenance.

Secondly, issues of planning and growth management present a huge challenge - Stafford triangle, new infill proposals, density demands from Metro, annexations, Comprehensive Plan updates and the resulting pressure all this will place on our infrastructure and budget. We must support and protect the character and way of life in each of our neighborhoods. Managing growth and development in a responsible way to minimize the effects on our neighborhoods will be an ongoing challenge.

Third, the next council will resolve the question of the Safeco purchase, one way or the other, hopefully with the approval of the majority of the citizens in this community. The current financing method is a drain on our rainy day reserve fund. In these uncertain economic times, a swift resolution is crucial to our city's financial stability. As with all issues, my aim is to listen to all points of view and represent the broad public sentiment. As elected councilors, we must be true representatives of the will of the people.

Fourth, city hall must be a stronger partner to our schools and small local businesses. They are crucial to making our city truly sustainable - socially and economically, as well as environmentally.

So what would I bring to this new council that is faced with complex challenges and much hard work?

Most of you know me as a full-ime mom and volunteer for our schools, Boy Scouts and other non-profits. I enjoyed two terms on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, during which time we acquired Luscher Farm and implemented the pathway system. In all these activities I worked collaboratively with diverse interests, towards common goals. That is an attribute you should look for in your new city councilors.

My education includes an undergraduate degree in accounting, and an MBA with a finance concentration. I have experience working in the public sector at the city of Portland in Public Works and the city engineer's office, budgeting and monitoring large capital improvement projects. After moving to the private sector, I became the business manager and chief financial officer of a large corporation, in charge of everything from pensions to personnel, to contract negotiations and budgets. In other words, the bottom line.

And that's the bottom line for the voters in this election. All the projects and issues are challenge enough alone, but we also have to approach them with prudent financial management. Most of these issues come down to better management of public funds, operating the city in a more business-like manner by setting priorities, and ensuring our long term economic viability. The bottom line for you and your neighbors is your desire and ability to stay in Lake Oswego, by keeping it livable and affordable.

I would be honored to work with you on the significant issues affecting our community's future. Please visit http://

www.olsonforcouncil.com/.

Mary Olson is a candidate for Lake Oswego City Council.