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New mayor and councilors take their seats

UPDATE: The council's published meeting agenda has a different time than initially planned. The meeting is now set to begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday with an executive session at city hall, 380 A Ave.

by: VERN UYETAKE - Mayor Kent Studebaker addresses a crowded room at city hall on Tuesday at the start of his first meeting in his new post leading the city council.The Lake Oswego City Council is poised to make some big changes following its first meeting of 2013.

Four new council members, including the mayor, took the oath of office Tuesday night, marking the start of their four-year terms.

Mayor Kent Studebaker and councilors Karen Bowerman, Jon Gustafson and Skip O’Neill were sworn in by Lake Oswego Municipal Court Judge Bruce Shepley to cheers, whistles and applause at city hall. They joined councilors Jeff Gudman, Donna Jordan and Mike Kehoe on the seven-member governing body, whose first action at its subsequent meeting was to unanimously elect Kehoe as council president for the year.

Studebaker then said he’d like to address news that emerged earlier in the day about the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership reportedly offering $5 million to the city of West Linn for “the right to get conditional use permits,” or to compensate the city for building and operating a new water pipeline in the right of way. The project stems from plans to update and expand Lake Oswego’s water treatment plant, which is located in West Linn’s Robinwood neighborhood.

“I’d like to tell you that neither the outgoing council or the council you have before you has authorized payment of that kind of thing,” Studebaker said, adding: “This council will be open and transparent.” In that vein, he said, any authorization of such a payment will be discussed in public. “You’ll know about it and there will be plenty of room for discussion.”

In some additional first remarks as mayor, Studebaker acknowledged others who have devoted their time to public service, including former mayor Jack Hoffman, former councilors Sally Moncrieff, Mary Olson and Bill Tierney and former U.S. Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.), who was in the audience on Tuesday.

“A lot of things are being done very well and we want to continue that,” Studebaker said. “As this council moves forward we want to try to make this city even better in a more affordable way, and we want your input. ... Let’s create a viable future together.”

All of the new council members thanked community members and their families for supporting them during their political campaigns last summer and fall.

“We’re a great community; we’re well-educated, and I think that helps us become better councilors when we have people in the community who are willing to give their time and their thoughts to us,” O’Neill said. “I’m certainly going to be willing to listen to those strong ideas Lake Oswegans have.”

“Now is the time that we come together as a city and we as a council work together as a team to not only keep this the great city that it is but to make sure that we make it even better,” Gustafson said. “I’m really optimistic about working with my colleagues up here, and I think we’re going to be able to get a lot done.”

Bowerman pledged to ensure the council stays on top of ongoing issues important to the community — citing sensitive lands, land use and debt — and to communicate with the public.

“Indeed, it is a new day,” she said.

While there’s a fresh focus among councilors, some familiar issues will soon resurface in council chambers at city hall.

The tentative agenda for next week’s council meeting includes a discussion about terminating the Foothills urban renewal area, which was approved by the city council last year, and readdressing budget committee appointments the council made in December.

Next week’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday at city hall, 380 A Ave.

In addition, following this week’s meeting the council scheduled an executive session to consider records exempt from public disclosure. That meeting, closed to the general public, will take place at 9 a.m. Thursday at city hall.

by: VERN UYETAKE - A large number of citizens, including Kim Studebaker, front right, wife of new Mayor Kent Studebaker, crowded council chambers at city hall on Tuesday, when the new mayor and three new councilors were sworn into office.by: VERN UYETAKE - Councilor Karen Bowerman takes the oath of office Tuesday at city hall.by: VERN UYETAKE - Councilor Jon Gustafson takes the oath of office Tuesday at city hall.by: VERN UYETAKE - Councilor Skip ONeill takes the oath of office Tuesday at city hall.




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