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Candidates drop by Estacada lunch forum

Candidate for Oegon House and Senate seats kept the conversation cordial in their brief comments during a forum Oct. 23 in Estacada.

The informal event brought incumbent Sen. Alan Olsen, R-Canby, and his Democratic challenger Jamie Damon of Eagle Creek to address locals over pizza during the Chamber Lunch Forum at City Hall.

The two are competing in the Nov. 4 election for the District 20 seat. The district includes Estacada and Eagle Creek.

Sen. Chuck Thomsen, R-Hood River, who represents Senate District 26, alsoattended the event. Thomsen represented Estacada before redistricting, which went into effect for the 2012 elections and forward. Scott Mills, a candidate for state representative of House District 18, also was in attendance. District 18’s northern border is just south of Estacada.

Estacada Area Chamber of Commerce President Tamara Pugh said the forum was not intended as a debate, but simply as a chance for candidates to introduce themselves and answer questions from the audience.

Sen. Alan Olsen

Olsen, who has served in the Senate since 2010, told the crowd he used to live in the Estacada area with his wife, and built a house here.

After a bad car accident when his wife was on her way to work in downtown Portland, the couple moved to Canby for a shorter commute.

“I represent you for the things that you need,” he said. “When we first got here, Sen. Thomsen and I, there was a gentleman who couldn’t park his dump trucks on his land. And they wanted him to come down into Estacada and lease a place. Well, it would have been very expensive. Sen. Thomsen and I along with Rep. Gilliam were able to author a bill that did a land use change so this gentleman could keep his trucks on his land. This is what we do as senators.”

Olsen emphasized his commitment to evaluating bills based on their merit, not on the Republican or Democratic affiliation of its author.

“My motto has always been, if it’s good for Oregonians, I’ll support it, no matter who wrote the bill,” he said. “If it’s not, I will fight it to the end.”

Olsen often referenced a handout with a “partial list" of accomplishments as Senator for District 20.

The Estacada section of the handout reads:

  • "Chamber of Commerce meetings."
  • "Estacada Fire District Meetings for bond issue."
  • "Job Corp luncheons."
  • Opening new industrial park.
  • "PGE salmon enhancement program."
  • "Property owner with truck parking problems. Bill passed into law that solved problem."
  • "School tour and meet with Superintendent."
  • "Consitituent issues with schools."
  • Jamie Damon

    Damon told the audience that she has lived in Eagle Creek since 1996 and has been deeply involved in local community and school volunteer work. Damon referenced that she is the president of the Jacknife-Zion-Horseheaven Historical Society, which operates Philip Foster Farm and serving on the board of the Clackamas Community College Foundation.

    In the course of her campaign, Damon said she has knocked on more than 3,500 doors since May.

    The most prominent concerns she has heard that constituents want their representative to address are quality of education, job solutions and problem solving rather than partisan politics.

    Having raised two daughters in the Estacada School District, Damon said the issue of a high-quality education resonates with her.

    One of her daughters is dyslexic, Damon told the crowd, and was lost in her Eagle Creek Elementary class of 38 students.

    As Damon was finishing her master’s degree in Vermont, she brought her daughter with her.

    In Vermont, Damon’s daughter began to thrive in a classroom of 14 students.

    “Class sizes matter,” Damon said. “We’ve got to get the class sizes down.”

    Damon told the audience that District 20 is made up of small towns filled with family owned businesses.

    She listed her experience as a Clackamas County Commissioner getting funding to Main Street Programs as her credentials for supporting jobs in small towns.

    Damon went on to say she is uniquely qualified to work across the aisle as she has spent 28 years as a mediator.

    Damon added that as a county commissioner she had tackled the county’s forestry management program.

    She said she worked with the urban commission, the environmental community, industry and federal partners to keep from dismantling the county’s forestry program, which provided money for Dump Stoppers, public safety on the river and dollars for parks programs.

    Strengthening the county’s forestry management program, Damon said, brought jobs and money back into the county.

    “That’s an example of taking on an issue that no one wanted to touch in the county, that our urban commission had stopped doing anything with, and creating jobs not just as a one-time thing, but it’s still creating jobs now,” Damon said

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