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Councilors will each pick their 'Top Five' finalists

Process will help narrow the list of 13 applicants for the council seat vacated by Karen Bowerman


STUDEBAKERLake Oswego city councilors have been asked to narrow the list of 13 applicants for the seat vacated by Karen Bowerman to their individual “Top Fives” and bring their choices to City Hall next week for the council’s first regular meeting since its summer hiatus.

When the number of applicants for a council vacancy reaches 10, procedures approved last year give the council the option of narrowing the list by appointing a three-member subcommittee. But the rules also give the council some flexibility, according to City Recorder Anne-Marie Simpson, and Mayor Kent Studebaker chose instead to ask every councilor to participate.

“It was a better way to get all councilors involved in the selection process,” Studebaker told The Review this week.

Councilor Jeff Gudman agrees. “The council will be acting as a committee of the whole rather than appointing a smaller subcommittee to reduce the list,” Gudman said, adding that councilors were told to choose their top five contenders — “no more, no less, and unranked” — and to bring their lists to the Sept. 1 council meeting.

The session, which is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, will be the first regularly scheduled gathering for councilors following Bowerman’s resignation, which became official on Aug. 31.

“When we compile the lists the councilors submit, it is conceivable that there could be ties that make the top five become a different number,” Simpson said. “Council would then decide during the meeting how they wish to handle that.”

During Tuesday’s session, the council will also outline its list of questions to ask the applicants who advance to the interview stage, which would likely be scheduled for Sept. 8. Interviews are expected to take around a half hour for each selected applicant. After the interviews conclude, each councilor will be asked to select his or her top three choices.

Studebaker said the selection process would then depend on how much time remained in the evening, and whether council members felt they needed more time to consider applicants. Once chosen, Bowerman’s replacement will serve out the rest of her term, which is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2016.

Ten candidates filed applications before The Review’s press deadline last week and were profiled in the Aug. 20 newspaper. They include:

— Randy Arthur, current chairman of the city’s Planning Commission;

— Dave Beckett, a member of the Citizens Budget Committee;

— Ed Brockman, a member of the city’s Planning Commission;

— Charles Collins, chairman of the Citizens Budget Committee;

— Eric Goble, an auto body technician;

— Theresa Kohlhoff, an attorney in private practice;

— John LaMotte, vice chairman of the Planning Commission;

— Ray Phelps, retired regulatory affairs manager for Republic Services Inc.;

— Robert Price, a member of the Mountain Park Homeowners Board of Directors; and

— Barbara Rizzatti, assistant development director at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church.

Three additional candidates filed on Aug. 20, including:

­— Wayne Benson: Benson, 61, 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.”

POULSON— David 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,” Poulson 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.”

VIZZINI— Dan 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 “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..