After a narrow loss two years ago, Curt Steininger is running for city council again

by: PHOTO BY JEFF SPIEGEL - Curt Steininger has lived in Estacada since 2006 and he is married with five daughters.With five daughters age 15 months to 12 years, you would think Estacada’s Curt Steininger, 31, would have his hands full at home. With a passion for city government, however, Steininger has all of the energy and motivation he needs to get involved.

Steininger is one of three candidates running for three open city council positions that will appear on the November ballot.

Originally from Milwaukie, Steininger went to Rex Putnam High School, where he had a successful wrestling career. After two years at Clackamas Community College, he went to Pioneer Pacific College and earned his associate's degree in criminal justice.

After graduating, Steininger joined the National Guard in 2004 and has since become a full time federal technician at Camp Withycomb.

In 2006, Steininger and his family moved to Estacada as he quickly fell in love with everything that this area had to offer.

“We love Estacada; it’s a place where we want our kids to grow up and raise their families,” he said. “I want to see Estacada succeed and go further, I want to see it be that place because I have an invested interest.”

Since moving here, Steininger has served on the parks and recreation committee and the infrastructure committee, and has coached T-ball.

“I ran for city council in 2010 and did fairly well,” he said. “I came within 24 votes and got fourth place, but I did pretty well for having no name recognition.”

Unfazed by the narrow defeat two years ago, Steininger hopes his community involvement since 2010 will be the difference this time around.

“I decided I wanted to run again because I want to get involved more,” he said. “Now I have more name recognition so I could build upon that experience.”

At the top of Steininger’s to-do list is the issue that seems to be on everyone’s mind: local business.

As Estacada has done plenty of work to improve the appeal of its downtown commerce, empty buildings still plague downtown, and Steininger hopes that will change.

“Places like Sandy have thrived, while Estacada has stayed stagnant,” he said. “I’m tired of seeing all the surrounding communities get the business, so I want Estacada to go in another direction.

“I don’t think people are coming to Estacada for an art gallery; they’re coming for the gateway to the Clackamas. It’s the hunting and fishing and all of that in our backyard, and we need to capitalize on that.”

For Steininger, the number of times he has heard stories of businesses wanting to come to Estacada but failing to do so is beyond frustrating.

He mentioned the story of a glass company that wanted to bring 25 jobs to town, only to see local government move too slowly, losing the business to Hood River.

He also said he has heard Safeway has expressed interest in coming to town, only to find the interest wasn’t exactly mutual.

“I have done a lot of door knocking because I like to talk to people and see what they want, and people want another grocery store,” he said. “As a sole provider right now, we penny pinch, and I notice the price differences out here.”

In hopes of getting a grocery store and numerous other businesses to consider coming to Estacada, Steininger says Estacada needs to offer incentives and lower the barriers.

“We need to give them tax incentives or waive their service development charge,” he said. “Any business that sets up and develops has to pay a charge depending on the size of the property.”

Aside from jobs, Steininger is prepared to improve Estacada’s infrastructure and essential services, which he said is what government is there for.

“We have roads that need to be fixed, and our water lines are in bad shape,” he said. “We have put money into the skate park, which is great, but when our essential services are suffering, we shouldn’t be putting things into commodities; that shouldn’t be our top priority.”

With big dreams and goals for Estacada, Steininger has all of the motivation and energy to push for the change he thinks Estacada needs.

And he hopes his motivation and energy will bring about a different result this year than he experienced two years ago.

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