County candidates on hot seat in Boring
The Boring Citizen Planning Organization will meet Tuesday, April 3, to examine the campaigns of two county commissioner candidates with question-and-answer sessions in the CPO's 'Meet the Candidates' series.
Visiting the monthly CPO meeting are Martha Schrader, candidate for Position No. 3, and Charlotte Lehan, incumbent candidate for Position No. 1 (chair).
Schrader is challenged by Jeff Caton and Jim Knapp, while Lehan is vying against Paul Savas, John Ludlow and Dave Hunt.
Schrader is not hesitant to say she believes she is the only candidate for Position No. 3 who has experience working directly with businesses, streamlining regulations and creating jobs.
She was a founding member of the Pacific Northwest Defense Coalition, a defense industry association that supports its member companies.
Schrader also said she was involved with the board of the Workforce Investment Council of Clackamas County, which works to develop a workforce for some of the largest employers in the county - which improves the local economy.
'I was the economic development commissioner (when she was last on the commission in 2003-2006),' she said. 'I helped our businesses make sure they could get employees and that they could help create jobs.'
Schrader said she still has the motivation to seek local businesses that need help to continue on the road to success.
'I made it my business to go out and visit every business in the county that would let me in the door,' she said. 'That's how I found out no elected official had visited them. That shocked me, so that became my top priority, and I'm still (visiting businesses).'
Schrader also has focused on veterans' services, leading the effort a few years ago to increase the number of veteran-service officers. She also has been appointed to the Governor's Task Force for Troop Reintegration.
She also takes credit for the way the county treated proposed changes in the library service district, which helped fund Sandy's new library.
She says she has connections in Estacada, but also points to her work with Les Otto in Boring to help connect the two trailheads.
'I'm the only one in this race,' she said, 'who has been out there, met with people and done things that are tangible.'
Lehan believes her deep roots (seven generations) in Clackamas County and her 18 years on the Wilsonville City Council (12 years as mayor) is experience enough to deserve a continuing role in countywide issues.
Because of her pivotal role in a growing municipal government, she feels qualified to continue to lead job growth in the county. Lehan has served on the commission since 2009, and as chairwoman since 2011.
'I think job creation is one of the most important things the county can do,' she said. 'I have a background in job creation. While I was mayor of Wilsonville, we tripled our job base and attracted a number of large employers.'
Lehan says the county is ripe to expand its employment opportunities in advanced manufacturing and the trades. She says the county should take more advantage of its export capabilities and 'tap into huge overseas markets.
'Agriculture, increasingly, is an export commodity,' she said of one of Boring's most prevalent businesses, 'and there are lots of opportunities. So anything that brings dollars into local businesses benefits their employees as well as other businesses that serve them.'
Self-determination, Lehan says, is something each community should reserve for itself. She recognizes that each city in the county is different, and says she 'has been supportive of our local cities determining what kind of city each wants to be.'
Pointing to the accomplishments of the commission while she has been on the panel, Lehan identified planning for countywide growth over the next 50 years by identifying urban and rural reserves.
'It was a countywide effort (to determine growth areas),' she said, 'and we really engaged our citizens, our cities and the county planning commission to arrive at a good consensus.'
Acknowledging that the Boring Triangle includes some foundation farmland, Lehan said it also has some 'characteristics that would make excellent industrial land because of its proximity to Highway 26.'