Election 2014: Frank Bubenik seeks re-election to Tualatin City Council
Position 1 incumbent responds to The Times' candidate survey
Job and education background: Information technology consultant, small business owner, programmer/analyst; information technology consultant and U.S. Army officer; B.S. in criminal justice, Rochester Institute of Technology; M.B.A., SUNY at Albany.
Neighborhood you live in: CIO 1 by Jurgens Park
Length of time youve lived in Tualatin: 21 years
Community service experience: Tualatin City Council, 2011 to Present; Tualatin Library Advisory Committee, November 2004 to December 2010; Tualatin Tomorrow Steering Committee, chairperson, February 2006 to December 2010; Tualatin Ad Hoc Citizen Involvement Committee.
Council liaison to: Tualatin Tomorrow Visioning Committee; Arts Advisory Committee; Tualatin Centennial Celebration Committee; Centennial Art Selection Committee; Washington County CDBG Advisory Board; and Board of Neighbors Nurturing Community.
Former member of Washington County Commission on Children and Families.
What skills, knowledge and experiences would you bring to the City Council?
I have been on City Council for the last four years and worked effectively with fellow councilors, city staff and residents. I was chair if two citizen committees prior to being elected to City Council and serve on the board of Neighbors Nourishing Communities.
To read the responses from Bubenik's challenger, Nancy Petit, click here.
Why are you running?
As a member of Tualatin Tomorrow for 10 years, I have learned from residents where they want to see the city in 20 years and how we can get there. I want to help us get to those goals.
What role should the city play with local businesses and economic development?
I believe we need to focus on retaining and growing existing businesses and then attract new firms that provide family-wage jobs. I also believe that money spent in a locally owned business has more impact on the local economy than money spent at a national firm or chain. The money spent in a locally owned business may stay in our local economy for such things as bookkeeping or legal services. So I would like to encourage the opening of more locally owned firms. I believe we need to review our development code and zoning. Over the four years I have been on council, I have heard several times that our outdated and/or confusing zoning drives away businesses. We need to set aside the time go through the development code and zoning with city staff, companies, developers and the community and correct the problems that cause businesses to locate elsewhere.
How should the city prioritize spending on infrastructure and other projects?
Maintenance and improvement of our roads is critical to bettering our quality of life and fostering economic development. Growth needs to be planned in a sensible manner. We cannot allow our city services and infrastructure to be stretched beyond capacity or be degraded in order to accommodate our anticipated growth. Priorities would be completing projects that have federal/state/Metro matching funds and projects that maintain and enhance critical services to the community.
What should the citys role be in regional issues such as planning for transportation and urban growth?
They both go together and must be planned hand in hand. You cannot have growth without first planning transportation and infrastructure. The city must be at the table when regional plans are being made so as not to erode our quality of life and to garner citizen input on regional plans that are being taken out to the public for comment. If we are not part of the conversation in the region, then we will not have our concerns addressed.
What issues have you tackled in the community? Have you worked to resolve or address a concern that went before the Planning Commission or City Council?
Tualatin has seen the sharpest rise in the poverty rate in the Portland metro region rising from 5 percent in 2000 to 13.6 percent in 2010. That is a 189 percent increase. Washington Countys average poverty rate is 12.4 percent. Members of our community are struggling to make ends meet, and several organizations provide needed services to our neighbors in distress. One of these organizations is Neighbors Nourishing Communities that supports local community involvement in helping provide nutritious produce and education to those who live locally in poverty. NNC does this by incentivizing residential and community gardens to provide 20 percent or more of the garden produce to those in need of nutritional assistance. I have worked with Neighbors Nourishing Communities and city staff so that vegetable bedding was made available in Jurgens Park and advocated that the city award NNC a $2,000 grant to expand its work in Tualatin.
Whats one project the city tackled that you wish had turned out differently? What went wrong?
The backyard chicken issue and ordinance is an example of where there was a great deal of community involvement and of tailoring the ordinance so that the community was supportive of its passage. The ordinance is now in effect but many folks say they cannot put chicken coops in their backyards due to some of the setback language. We need to revisit the ordinance and correct any mistakes in language on the required setbacks from neighbors homes.
What is an initiative you feel turned out well, and what made it work?
The extension of 124th Avenue south from Tualatin-Sherwood Road to Grahams Ferry Road by Wilsonville is working out very well. The city and the community worked closely with Washington County to develop a plan for this new road that will take commercial traffic off of Tualatin-Sherwood Road and get it to I-5 quickly. There will also be safety improvements on Tonquin Road and Grahams Ferry Road. There has been great community involvement in the project, and city and county staff have worked very well together to get this road built.
What should voters know about you?
I am a very good listener, and I listen to all sides of an issue. I keep an open mind and make decisions based on feedback given to me and what appears to be best for the community as a whole.
How do you plan to encourage citizen involvement/engagement with the council?
I supported and voted for the creation of the CIOs. I have invited citizen involvement in resolving community issues and welcome citizens to bring solutions to city staff and the City Council. I believe that neighborhoods are empowered to develop plans which make sure the citys growth does not negatively impact their quality of life.
What distinguishes you from your opponent?
Active in the community since 2004 and am very aware of where residents feel their city is today and where they aspire it to be in the future. I have proven leadership experience and work well with all members of the community.
What is your leadership style, and how will you work with the mayor, other members of the council and city staff?
I want to get things done, but also want to preserve the good things that exist in Tualatin. I know that too much change can be disruptive and bring processes or decision making to a halt. I like to work together with all concerned parties and reach an agreement or a compromise that works for the community as a whole. I attempt to forge agreement through participation. Collaboration, team leadership and communication are important to me. Over the past four years, the council has worked very well with each other despite differences in opinions and approaches.JW_DISQUS_ADD_A_COMMENT