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Clackamas County Commissioner Jim Bernard throws hat into chair race

Having served as a county commissioner for the past six and a half years, Jim Bernard believes he is “the best person to take on the challenges of leading this diverse and growing county” as chairman of the Clackamas County Commission.

FILE PHOTO - Jim BernardAs previously announced in this newspaper, Commissioner Paul Savas also is assembling his campaign for the position currently held by John Ludlow.

Bernard said last week that he had two main reasons for announcing his candidacy in the 2016 election. His No. 1 concern was maintaining the county’s relationship with TriMet and Metro, a relationship that has implications for partnerships throughout the region.

“In order to get anything for people, you have to be friends with them,” Bernard said. “You can criticize them, but you have to do it in a constructive way.”

Bernard’s second major concern is resolving the Stafford transportation planning issue immediately. Metro and West Linn disagree as to whether the area should be an “urban reserve,” land outside of the current growth boundary defined as suitable for urban development in the next 40 to 50 years.

“While it is true we lack employment lands, we can’t do anything until we’ve resolved the urban-rural issue,” he said. “Otherwise, we’ll be in a vicious cycle for the next five or 10 years.”

Bernard looks forward to the Sept. 12 grand opening of the MAX Orange Line to Milwaukie, which he championed as a commissioner and mayor. The family business, Bernard’s Garage in Milwaukie, celebrated its 90th anniversary in May.