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Return Schouten and Rogers to county board

Washington County prides itself on being known as the economic engine of Oregon, and in this era of ever-speedier communication and ever-evolving technology, it deserves that description.

As home to Intel and Tektronix, along with the many other smaller tech businesses that make up the Silicon Forest, Washington County has been and will continue to be well positioned as a hub for forward-looking industry. The presence, too, of Nike will continue to show the rest of the world that Washington County is a place where big things happen, and where big business ventures can survive and thrive.

The key then, in the race for seats on the Washington County Board of Commissioners, is determining which candidates can best facilitate future growth in the business world, best position the county for the massive growth that’s predicted here, and best balance the many needs of the county’s residents — both rural and suburban — with the limited resources available to serve them.

In our view, it’s the two incumbents on the ballot who will serve voters best: Dick Schouten, running unopposed to again represent District 1 (comprised by Beaverton and Aloha); and Roy Rogers, challenged by Glendora Claybrooks for the commission’s District 3 seat (comprised by Tigard and Tualatin).

With Schouten unopposed, let us consider the matchup between Rogers and Claybrooks.

Rogers, a CPA who has served as a county commissioner since 1985, is well known for his dedication to mass transit and takes some criticism for those positions. That said, Rogers’ dedication in that arena underscores his understanding that the ability to move people and goods through our county will play a huge role in its success as a place for business, but also as a place to live, play and attend school.

It’s fair to point out some of the county-wide transportation challenges that have arisen or intensified during Rogers’ tenure, among them crowding along Highway 217, the Sunset Highway and Highway 99W, the slowdowns between Beaverton and Hillsboro and capacity issues along even Roy Rogers Road. Rogers must take some share of responsibility for the county’s successes and failures in those areas.

In the realm of transportation and in many other areas, however, Rogers has an incredible wealth of experience that comes from his years as mayor of Tualatin, his service on almost innumerable boards and commissions, and his longtime efforts on the Washington County commission itself.

That experience leads to Rogers’ other great strength as a candidate and as a commissioner — his understanding of the interplay between the many public agencies that work together to shape and serve Washington County is vast, and his understanding of how county government can interact and serve Washington County’s businesses and residents cannot be matched.

Claybrooks, meanwhile, brings to the table a wealth of experience in the area of community health and focuses her candidacy on Washington County’s infrastructure needs, her promise of improved collaboration between agencies, and the benefit of bringing a fresh perspective to problems unresolved by longtime elected officials.

Further, her insight into and understanding of the needs of the county’s diverse population, and her commitment to communication and outreach to those populations will make her a valuable player in county politics in years to come, though she needs to better familiarize herself with the workings of county politics and partnerships.

Elections are about choices, however. And while Rogers — thanks to his long record of public service — is well-positioned to take the slings and arrows of critics, the question at hand is whether Rogers or Claybrooks is the better candidate to serve Washington County’s needs, both now and for the future.

In our view, the answer is clear — vote for Roy Rogers for District 3.