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Two debates in Tigard this month

Chamber and Tigard First plan differing candidate forums


        The race for Tigard City Council is heating up, with two planned candidate debates slated for later this month.

The Tigard Area Chamber of Commerce announced this week that it would host a candidate forum on Oct. 15, a month before voters will take to the polls and vote.

A week later, the Tigard activist group Tigard First is hosting a forum of its own.

The chamber’s forum is similar to one it held in 2012, when longtime chamber member John L. Cook and longtime city official Nick Wilson squared off in a race for Tigard mayor.

The candidates will tackle questions focused on business and economic growth, as well as transportation challenges in the city, according to Debi Mollahan, the chamber’s CEO.

WoodardThe questions will be generated by the local business community, Mollahan said. Attendees at the debate will also be able to submit questions for consideration.

Ahead of the debate, candidates will be asked a series of questions about business and the economy, which will be posted online on the chamber’s website, Mollahan said.

The forum is open to the public, but space is limited.

Attending the forum will be incumbent Marc Woodard, as well as candidates Tom Anderson and John Goodhouse.

Candidate Carl Switzer, the former Tualatin Parks Department manager and current parks manager at the North Clackamas Parks District, will be out of town during the debate, but the chamber said it is working to have him participate electronically.

Tigard first

AndersonA week later, candidates will gather down the street for another candidate forum, but this one will likely be a little different.

Tigard First formed last year to fight a Walmart supercenter, and has said for months it planned to get involved in other areas of the city.

Organization participants considered a run at City Hall themselves, but announced this week the group would team up with the Tigard Grange for a candidate forum of their own.

Unlike the chamber forum, which is structured largely around business and economic questions from local businesses, the Tigard First forum will give residents the change to ask questions directly of candidates, organizers said.

Goodhouse“The format is very simple. We’ll give residents a microphone and the opportunity to ask questions, and (candidates) will have the opportunity to answer them,” said Tigard First co-founder Steve Bintliff. “No debates, filibustering or grandstanding. Just a conversation between the voters and the candidates who hope to represent them.”

At least one candidate has agreed to attend the forum, and more are expected, Bintliff said.

“The Grange and Tigard First agreed that the forum would be held even if just one of the candidates agreed to attend, as we think this is an important event for the voters in the city,” Bintliff said.

SwitzerAfter the forum, Tigard First will make its official endorsement of the two candidates it feels best represent Tigard.

Tigard First is known for being vocal about candidates and ideas the group disagrees with. Bintliff said those tendencies won’t be on display at the debate.

“Our role is going to be to point information out so voters can get at it, but we will have to moderate our tone a little bit and not draw conclusions,” he said. “The whole reason we are here is to make them campaign and explain why they are the best candidate for the job.”

Bintliff said they plan to bring up the voting record of the candidates, as well as campaign finance reports.

“This is new ground for us, but it’s something we can contribute to the community,” he said.

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