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Citizen's View: We must face challenges with vision

I am excited to be running for mayor. Together with my council colleagues, we have worked to put the city in a strong financial position. I’m proud of that effort, and give credit equally to all involved.

I decided to run for mayor not because things are bad, but because I believe that by putting all of our efforts toward cost savings, we have turned our attention away from the needed planning and vision for a future that can be even better. While we face a number of challenges, we as a city have great potential and great opportunity. To face those challenges and to reach that potential, we need a leader with the vision, commitment and motivation to see it become a reality.

My vision for Lake Oswego begins by making sure that we’re able to meet our current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. For that sustainable future, one with a healthy and protected natural environment, we need a leader who believes climate change is real and who is willing to support the initiatives to address it.

I believe we should also be a community that provides more than just the “core” services. I envision a community rich in educational, recreational and cultural opportunities. A community where our library, arts, parks and natural areas are adequately funded and where our existing capital investments are well maintained. We should also be a community where our assets are spread equally to those across all areas of our city.

My vision also includes finding new ways to support our schools so that they are able to exceed their reputation as Oregon’s best, and so that they can continue to attract young families to Lake Oswego. In order to achieve this reality, we need to offer more than words of support; it will take real action and a financial commitment.

We must also face our challenges with vision. While development pressure from both within and without our borders threatens to make traffic congestion worse and to harm neighborhood character, a comprehensive reexamination of our transportation system and priorities could help ensure a future where our children are more able to walk or bicycle safely to school, and where we have the transportation options that make us less dependent on the automobile.

In order to avoid a future of automotive gridlock, we need to invest in new infrastructure and to take a comprehensive approach to transportation and land use planning.

Beyond meeting our challenges, I believe we should reach for our potential and embrace opportunities. I envision a Lake Oswego that is an inclusive community where we celebrate and respect our differences, a Lake Oswego where we address housing affordability for young families and seniors, and where we seize opportunities like the creation of a municipal broadband network.

While some visions cost money, some just cost the commitment and motivation to make them a reality. While we could rest comfortably on our laurels, I believe it is better to take a proactive approach to our challenges and to embrace new opportunities.

Jon Gustafson is a Lake Oswego resident, a member of the City Council and a candidate for mayor.