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A citizen, not a politician

Casey Stroupe's self-funded campaign might be minimalist, but he is serious about helping West Linn move forward

Casey Stroupe might be running for West Linn City Council, but he certainly does not think of himself as a politician.

Instead, sitting in his office at S&H Landscape, Stroupe described himself as a resident — a concerned one, no doubt — as well as a father and business owner. Being elected as a city councilor on Nov. 3 might technically make him a politician, but it wouldn’t change his fundamental approach to governance.

TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Casey Stroupe takes pains to emphasize that he is not a politician, and feels he can bring a rational and analytical viewpoint to the City Council.

“I followed (city business) for a little while, thinking, ‘Do I ever want to get on the political side?’” Stroupe said. “I don’t want to be a politician, but as far as bringing a business sense to the element, I want to help make decisions. Not with a political agenda by any means, but just making decisions that make sense for everybody.”

Stroupe, 46, has lived in West Linn for the great majority of his life. After graduating from West Linn High School and the University of Oregon, Stroupe was handed the reins of the family business — S&H Landscape — and has served as president for the past 20 years.

His campaign has been atypical — he is not accepting donations and printed just one box of signs, preferring instead to rely on personal home visits and email lists to help get the word out. Stroupe was also absent at the candidate forum hosted by West Linn High School students Oct. 6.

But Stroupe is clear: he takes this opportunity seriously.

“There just seems to be a lot of conflict between the current council,” he said. “They don’t seem to be getting any decisions made. From what I can tell or read, half of them don’t want to do anything and the other half want to get things moving in the city or make some decisions going forward.

“They’re in a gridlock, I think, maybe just because they’re missing a member right now.”

The message from Stroupe and his campaign manager, David Miller, is simple: there is no agenda, other than “Let’s do what’s right for West Linn.”

“Casey’s not a politician,” Miller said. “He’s not a huge public speaker. He cares about the issues. ... He’s a very successful business owner, a father first and foremost to his children, but he cares about people. We’ve got 100 employees. Like any company we have good and bad times, but he’s committed to his employees from the top down.”

Indeed, Stroupe himself says his core strengths as a city councilor would come from his management skills.

“I’ve ran the business for years, and I definitely have the management strengths as far as (working with) people, delegating different tasks,” Stroupe said. “I deal with that on a daily basis. I could be the one cleaning the toilets or I could be the one having meetings with attorneys. From top to bottom, the whole spectrum.”

“One of his biggest strengths is he listens and then empowers our management team,” Miller added.

Having spent most of his life in West Linn, Stroupe has had a front row seat during the times of growth — or lack thereof — in West Linn. The way forward, he believes, is “sustainable growth.”

“West Linn has probably changed the least out of all the cities,” he said. “Lake Oswego has done a lot more growth and new development. Like Dave (Miller) was saying: If you’re not growing, you’re dying.”

In that regard, Miller said, the problems go beyond West Linn.

“We sit back and watch this infighting, which is pretty wild, between Tualatin and Lake Oswego and West Linn, because this affects us,” Miller said. “This corner (across from S&H along Stafford Road) — nobody’s doing anything with it, but nobody wants anything done.”

So what’s the remedy?

“You can over-politic everything,” Miller said. “We deal with that every day in our business, from DEQ regulations to the EPA to Metro, the city, councils, Clackamas County. We deal with it every day and everybody creates things that get in everybody’s way. Let’s streamline things.”

Outside of running a business and raising his family, Stroupe enjoys an array of outdoor activities.

“Camping, fishing, outdoors events ... anything outdoors pretty much would be high on the list,” Stroupe said.

He traveled to Alaska this past summer, but generally tries to keep activities — everything from fishing to boating and water skiing — local.

“I always want to stay close to the Willamette, fish for local fish,” he said.

Indeed, staying local has been a key theme in Stroupe’s life. A seat on City Council would only further solidify that lifelong connection to West Linn.


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