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Citizen's View: Candidates share sustainability views

Sustainability is critical for our community as we move into the future, especially if we want a community that our kids and grandkids will be grateful for.

I’m a board member of the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network, a nonprofit organization that formed in 2012 to promote a sustainable future. LOSN is not an advocacy group. We do not take positions. Our focus is on community education and engagement.

To help our community understand our local candidates’ views on sustainability, we sent a short survey to each of the mayoral and City Council candidates. The questions focused on sustainability actions that candidates would propose or champion, climate change views and efforts, and delivery of internet services.

I’m happy to report that it is unanimous: All of the candidates who responded agree that sustainability is an important issue for our city and community. The questions and full answers are

posted on our website ( www.losn.org/mayor.pdf and www.losn.org/council.pdf). Here are highlights from the responses:

Mayoral candidates

— Jon Gustafson would champion “the full implementation of our current Sustainability Action Plan for City Operations,” “the development of a climate action plan” and “a full-time sustainability coordinator position at City Hall.” Gustafson said that “climate change is a significant issue. ... Our children’s future depends on it. ... I would fully support the development and implementation of a climate action plan.”

— Kent Studebaker would make “our staff very aware that saving energy is something to be looked at continuously” and “encourage private developers into our downtown who build to high LEED certification standards.” On climate change, Studebaker said that “I agree that it is an issue. All of us as individuals should do our part and (raise) awareness of what can be done (and) should be promoted. ... I am open to the development of a Lake Oswego climate plan.”

— Mayoral candidate Dave Berg declined to respond to the survey.

Council candidates

— John LaMotte would champion a public lands summit “to discuss strategies for being better stewards of our public lands,” shared storm water management and accelerated new park implementation, trail programming and Stafford-area development.

— Skip O’Neill pointed to past sustainability successes: “changing out street lights to LED, using sustainability measures in the new water treatment plant and maintenance center.” He noted that “we can always work together to do more.”

— Charles Collins also pointed to past sustainability successes: “composting, LED lighting, our new water plant and city vehicles.”

— Theresa Kohlhoff would champion “infrastructure, services and civic involvement,” “further housing opportunities for a wider range of citizens” and “the issue of transportation.”

All of the council candidates said they believe that climate change is a significant issue. They differ on whether it should be handled by local or higher levels of government, and on the best methods to address it.

Sustainability is common sense and something that Fortune 500 CEOs see as a strategic imperative. It is not a tree-hugging movement, but a way to become more efficient and fiscally prudent. It is great to see that all our candidates agree.

Lake Oswego resident Dorothy Atwood serves on the board of the nonprofit Lake Oswego Sustainability Network.