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13 candidates apply for vacant City Council seat

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Councilors will select a replacement for Karen Bowerman in September; deadline to file was Thursday


Thirteen candidates have thrown their hat in the ring — including planning commissioners, budget committee members and others with a long list of public and private involvement — to fill the City Council seat vacated by Karen Bowerman.

Bowerman formally resigned in a letter to Mayor Kent Studebaker on July 13. She will officially leave office on Aug. 31, before the council returns from its month-long hiatus. She was elected in 2012 to serve through Dec. 31, 2016.

Under City Council vacancy procedures approved late last year, the council now will appoint a three-member committee to recommend a final list of candidates for the full council to review. After interviewing those finalists, the council will appoint a replacement in September to fill out the rest of Bowerman's term.

Applicants had until the end of day Thursday to apply, and the last of the applications was actually received by the city just 10 minutes before midnight Thursday night.

The candidates include:

ARTHUR• Randy Arthur: Arthur, 60, is the current chair of the Planning Commission. His long list of civic activities includes roles with the Oregon State Bar, the Community Associations Institute, the Forest Heights Homeowners Association and the Royal Rosarians.

The litigation attorney, who has lived in Lake Oswego for seven years, earned his law degree at the Hofstra University School of Law and a holds a master's in Social Work from the University of California at Berkeley.

“As chair of the commission, I am adept at assimilating detailed material and identifying, understanding and evaluating problems, as well as potential solutions, based upon the available information, public input, staff recommendations and the comments of my colleagues,” Arthur says.

In addition to land-use policy and citizen involvement issues, Arthur says a spot on the council would give him "the opportunity to work on broader issues of municipal governance, community policy and city management."

He says his emphasis would be on the “significant land-use issues presently facing the city” and says the council must "responsibly balance meeting our citizens' aspirations and needs ... with the limitations of our budget and the realistic constraints of our finances."

BECKETT• Dave Beckett: Beckett, 74, is a computer programmer who has lived in Lake Oswego for 31 years. He holds a master's in Business Administration from the University of California at Los Angeles. He currently serves on the Citizens Budget Committee, chairs the Blue Heron Neighborhood Association and co-chairs the Advisory Council of Columbia Land Trust. He is a past board member of the Lake Oswego Schools Foundation.

“I have participated in about a hundred meetings with other current and past neighborhood chairs," Beckett says. "This gives me a body of knowledge of the concerns of neighborhoods beyond my own."

Beckett says he is concerned with the amount of debt the city has compiled in rebuilding its utility infrastructure. "We should be cautious to stay within the newly established debt limit and pay it down, while maintaining current facilities and considering improvements such as the North Anchor Project, Lake Grove redevelopment and library facilities,” he says.

Beckett believes there should be “an increased emphasis” on fostering “neighborhood plans and then be sure they result in appropriate overlays to city code and the Comprehensive Plan.”

Wayne Benson: Benson, a retired wastewater supervisor in the city’s operations division, has lived in Lake Oswego for 14 years. Previously, he worked for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Benson, who is the chairman of the Hallinan Safe Routes Committee, holds two certifications from the Oregon Public Works Association. He says he was inspired to apply for the council seat because he feels citizens have slowly lost their voice in the city’s decision-making process.

“Having worked for the city in a supervisory position for 20 years, I managed my budget and employees from a homeowner's perspective as best I could,” he says. “I believe my knowledge gained while in that position give me a greater understanding of the things that need redirecting.”

Benson says the biggest issues facing the city in the coming year include wastewater and homeowner issues, as well as management of the capital projects program. He wants the council to focus specifically on budget issues, and feels that hiring is “going to be a big problem soon.”

“I would make sure our neighborhoods are maintained at a higher level,” he says. “Streets, water and wastewater pipes should get a higher priority.”

BROCKMAN• Ed Brockman: Brockman, 60, is a real estate broker who has lived in Lake Oswego for nine years. Brockman, who pursued a bachelor’s from Oregon State University, ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the council in the November election and currently sits on the city’s Planning Commission. He says he would bring a “practical knowledge of the development code” to his new position.

“One of the issues I want council to consider is providing annexation aids to neighborhoods within our Urban Services Boundary that allow for whole areas to come into Lake Oswego at one time,” Brockman says, adding that he’d also like to see council consider “a diversity of housing types, especially to meet the needs of the older and younger generations.”

He emphasizes that the city must find a way to attract younger residents, and that there should be more “predictability” in the way the development code is applied throughout the city.

“I believe we need to keep aware of national trends in population migration and housing preferences, improve employment opportunities by drawing additional quality employers to Lake Oswego and listen to the needs and desires of our current citizens,” Brockman says.

COLLINS• Charles Collins: Collins, 65, is a sales executive who has lived in Lake Oswego for 22 years. A graduate of Oglethorpe University, he is currently chairman of Lake Oswego's Citizens Budget Committee. An Air Force veteran, Collins is a past president of the Lake Oswego Rotary Club and a past president and board member of the Riverbend Homeowners Association.

Collins believes the biggest issues facing the council in the coming year include “continuing roads preservation, including an integrated approach to bike and pedestrian pathways, surface water runoff and, if appropriate, water and wastewater,” as well as “funding and implementing an operations maintenance facility upgrade and completing the 911 LOCOM facility upgrade and relocation” without additional taxpayer dollars.

His discretionary spending priorities: recreation, arts and neighborhood grants.

“These programs benefit citizens and have paybacks in terms of fees, grants and citizen involvement,” Collins says.

GOBLE• Eric Goble: Goble is an auto body technician who has lived in Lake Oswego for 15 years. He holds an associate degree in Auto Body Repair from Linn-Benton Community College and a Printing Technology Certificate from Portland Community College.

Goble lists no civic background, but says he believes he would bring a fresh perspective to the council. “I’m a working-class person who cares about my community,” he says. “I’m self-taught and extremely knowledgeable on a wide variety of diverse subjects and emerging (technologies). That said, as a person that wrenches on cars every day for a living, I'm also the direct opposite of every single current City Council member.”

Goble believes the biggest issue facing the city in coming years is “protecting our community from crime.” He says he would prioritize spending on public safety and welfare “over, for instance, a modern art installation.”

“My wife and I moved here because things are different,” he says, “and it’s a great, safe place to raise our sons.”

KOHLHOFF• Theresa Kohlhoff: Kohlhoff, 67, has lived in Lake Oswego for 26 years and works as an attorney in her own practice. She earned her law degree from Lewis & Clark Law School and currently serves on the Board of Governors of the Oregon State Bar.

“(Lake Oswego) has many resources, both in terms of educated people and general affluence," she says. "What it doesn’t have are young people and people of diverse skills and cultural backgrounds. Although Lake Oswego will undoubtedly remain upscale, it can only thrive if its doors are more open. I don’t want it to become an insular, old-folks community.”

She says she would like to see the council focus on affordable housing — “not just subsidized housing, but rather housing that young families of moderate means can afford” — as well as expanded public services and a commitment to environmental preservation.

“Private property rights are important to landowners and density and environmental restrictions are emotional issues,” Kohlhoff says. “Reasonable regulation has always been necessary for peaceful communities and to protect from the excesses of those whose wealth and power has allowed them to be ruthless, above the law.”

LAMOTTE• John LaMotte: LaMotte, 61, has lived in Lake Oswego for three years and serves as vice chairman of the Planning Commission. The urban planner, who holds a master’s in Urban & Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin, also serves on the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Juvenile Diversion Panel and the Village on the Lake Homeowners Association board.

“I would bring deep experience in city planning, urban design and community development, along with conflict resolution, to the council," LaMotte says.

He says he would give priority to strategic infrastructure and facilities projects, noting that "Lake Oswego's highly regarded quality of life also requires that we be smart, efficient and creative in spending on services and programs.”

His to-do list also includes establishing an ongoing stewardship program for natural resources on public land, providing proactive outreach and technical assistance to owners with natural resources mapped on their properties, completing park master plans, and maintaining and enhancing the city's economic base.

PHELPS• Ray Phelps: Phelps has lived in Lake Oswego for 38 years. Now retired, he is the former regulatory affairs manager at Republic Services Inc. He has also served as the director of elections and public records for the Oregon Secretary of State, the chief financial officer and director of administration at Metro, and the director of operations for the Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives.

In addition, he has served as chair of Clackamas County’s Economic Development Commission, president of the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Wilsonville Planning Commission and is currently an alternate for the Lake Oswego Citizens Budget Committee. He holds a bachelor's degree and pursued a master's in Business Administration at St. Louis University.

“ I have extensive experience in both a public and private capacity shaping public policy at the state, regional and county level," he says. "This experience has taught me that seldom is there a perfect solution or policy to resolve an issue. Rather, working together to forge a consensus is the key to development of acceptable and workable public policy.”

He sees business development and significant growth in population as among the biggest issues facing the city in the coming year.

POULSONDavid Poulson: Poulson, 58, is a civil engineering consultant and 16-year Lake Oswego resident. He currently serves as vice chair of the city’s Development Review Commission and is president of the Kruse Way Rotary Club.

Poulson earned a bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from California Polytechnic State University and a master’s in Business Administration from Portland State University. He says he would like to give back to a community that he feels has benefitted his family. Among his priorities: streamlining development procedures.

“The Wizer Block has brought to light the need to define a comprehensive plan and zoning code that mirrors a dominant ‘vision’ for the community going forward,” he says. “As a city councilor, I would be interested in facilitating those changes. That would certainly be more effective than addressing those issues as part of a development review.”

He also sees a need for the city to “manage the useful life of existing city infrastructure,” including the development of a new public safety building. “Of all the investments currently under consideration, the longevity of the city's existing resources would certainly rank among the most prudent,” Paulson adds.

He says he has developed a reputation on the DRC for “over-utilizing (my) professional engineering expertise when adjudicating a development application. Guilty as charged. After 30 years of working within municipal government and processing development, I have a more in-depth understanding than most.”

PRICE• Robert Price: Price, 62, has lived in Lake Oswego for 21 years. The real estate investor holds a bachelor’s in Finance from Oregon State University; he currently sits on the Mountain Park Homeowners Board of Directors.

“I have learned how to deal with issues that may have differing views, and to reach a conclusion that will be best for Lake Oswego,” Price says. “I have resolved problems and produced solutions that left no parties feeling shortchanged.”

He says the council should focus on “growing the city’s economy to remain vital and attractive to businesses, while maintaining the allure of a smaller, diverse, physically interesting place to live and raise a family,” as well as “protecting the many natural resources and parks in Lake Oswego.”

He believes “the trade-off between business and residential development” is one of the biggest issues facing the city in the coming year, as well as the issues of public and private use of Oswego Lake, “where to best spend revenues to maintain city infrastructure,” and “keeping the police and community aligned.”

RIZZATTI• Barbara Rizzatti: Rizzatti, 36, is a 26-year Lake Oswego resident who is currently the assistant development director at our Lady of the Lake Church. She holds a master's in Business Administration from Universidad del Cema in Argentina and a master's in Global Marketing Communication & Advertising from Emerson College.

“I represent the point of view of the younger generation and would love to be able to get involved with making decisions that will help attract a younger population to Lake Oswego,” she says.

Rizzatti says her knowledge of communications and experience with people would be of benefit to the council. She counts “keeping Lake Oswego green, and yet helping the city advance technologically,” “balancing being a small city and also being in the 21st century,” and “working to attract more young people to Lake Oswego” as the issues she wants the council to focus on.

Rizzatti considers growth the biggest issue facing the city in the coming year. “We need to grow into something while staying true to our identity,” she says.

VIZZINIDan Vizzini: Vizzini, 61, is a public policy and finance consultant who has been down this road before. In 2010, he was unanimously appointed to the council to fill the seat vacated by Kristen Johnson after serving for a decade on the city’s Planning Commission.

Vizzini, who has lived in Lake Oswego for 28 years, earned a bachelor’s in Economics from Boston University and pursued a graduate degree in Public Administration and Accounting at Portland State University. He has previously served on the Multnomah County Tax Supervising Commission and on the Bureau of the Budget at the office of the New Jersey state treasurer.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my previous service on the council and would love the opportunity to do so again in an appointed capacity,” he says He is most interested in the “long-term prosperity and sustainability of Lake Oswego, and the strengthening of the community to deal effectively with economic, social and ecological challenges.”

Vizzini says he has seen notes “a sometimes caustic political culture” on the council, which he characterizes as “the pursuit of ideological ends at the expense of practical and pragmatic solutions.” That, he says, manifests itself in “a resistance to taking the long view of the city and its relationship to its neighbors and the region.”

“I’m particularly interested in helping the city and its citizens co-produce the highest possible quality of life for all of our residents,” Vizzini says.

Contact Saundra Sorenson at 503-636-1281 ext. 107 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..