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Rich Allen: Ready to improve the process

Elected to the City Council in 2010, also served on city committees -

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Rich AllenName: Rich Allen

Running for: Mayor of Troutdale

Education: Attended a two-year vocational school, plus training through the military. Continual education is required for his tech job.

Prior Governmental Experience: Elected to the City Council in 2010. Sat on the Citizen Advisory and Budget committees for two years each, plus the East Multnomah County Transportation Committee and the Regional Disaster Preparedness Organization. Served in the United States Air Force from 1982 to 1988.

Career: Works as an engineer for Microchip Technology.

Family: Married to his high school sweetheart, Carol. They have three children, twin boys Chris and Mike, 27, and a daughter, Theresa, 17.

Age: 52.

Hobbies: Volunteers with the Kiwanis. Currently rebuilding a 1971 Datsun 240Z. Board member for the Troutdale Historical Society. “I’ve always loved history,” he says. “It repeats.”

Note: This Q&A has been condensed for brevity.

Why are you running? What I’m really looking for is a fair and open process. I’m an engineer, and engineers look for the best outcome. If you have a bad process, you’re going to have a bad outcome.

Has the council made mistakes? I do believe that we missed opportunities, because certain things never actually make it to council. At least as mayor I can put them on the agenda and we can talk about them.

Thoughts on the Urban Renewal Area? For as much pressure as there is regarding urban renewal, I still don’t have a plan before me that I can work with. It’s hard to move forward when you don’t know what you’re moving toward.

What about Imagination Station? Imagination Station should never have been made a political issue. I supported the request for proposals that did not actually specify materials. In the end, the community has to be happy with the results.

What’s the role of transparency? All the decisions need to be made in front of the public, because that’s who we work for.

Thoughts on the West Columbia Gorge Chamber? The chamber needs to represent the best interests of all businesses. I feel the chamber was being used.

How do you lead? My experience in life is when people don’t feel heard, and they don’t feel the process is fair, that’s when you get into the contentious environment we find ourselves in now.

Thoughts on your opponent? Personally, I don’t think he knows what he’s getting himself into. He hasn’t been involved or (attended) meetings.

What about the presidential election? Until we have stronger ethics laws and campaign finance reform, you get what you get.

How do we keep people involved? It was (former) Mayor Paul Thalhofer who took the time to meet with me and talk with me, and that got me interested in local politics. He never told me what to say or what to think, it was just acceptance.

What’s your favorite thing about Troutdale? When I was looking for a place to move, I was impressed by how beautiful Troutdale was and what a good community of people there were here. But with all of that, it would have meant nothing if it wasn’t a place I could afford to move to.

Are you pro-growth? I want to have a successful, dynamic economy, while preserving the character and nature of Troutdale.