Published in the West Linn Tidings and Oregonian:
West Linn has been a welcoming community to my family and we have enjoyed every moment of it. My history with the city began in 2006 when the headlines of embezzlement started to surface. Since then, I have served on multiple boards: Tri-City Budget Committee, Transportation Advisory Board, Budget Committee and Planning Commission.
In 2010, I had the opportunity to join the police station task force. Our task was to deconstruct the failed bond measure and make a new recommendation to council for the need of our first responders. After tireless efforts on behalf of the task force, the 2011 bond measure passed.
This year, I decided to run for city council. It is time for clear vision and strategic partnerships to move our community forward in a positive direction. I have three priorities that I will focus on as a city councilor:
1) Economic development — All around our city we have seen the toll the Great Recession has taken on small businesses. We need to form an economic SWAT team at city hall to retain and recruit small businesses, cut the red tape and form strategic partnerships to promote West Linn businesses to everyone. Just this year, I brought the cash mob movement to the chamber of commerce to help spotlight and provide an economic boost to select businesses once a month. But what else can we do? Businesses still have a hard time securing credit and capital to grow. Creating a micro-loan program with both private and public equity sources can give growing businesses the strategic capital they need to maintain growth.
2) Address our poor street condition — This year a condition pavement index survey was taken in our city. The result was 62/100. If we continue to let our streets slip into disrepair, they will simply cost more to repair. It’s time to address our roads, fix the potholes and bring the PCI index to an acceptable level. In addition, we need to address areas where sidewalk gaps occur. Providing contiguous pedestrian facilities makes our streets safer for all residents.
3) Address our aging water infrastructure — Many areas in our city are experiencing unreliable water service. In many areas of West Linn, water pipes are approaching or surpassed the end of their useful life. Careful thought and evaluation of all options need to be considered as to the best approach for our city.
It’s time for our city to work with our legislative partners in Salem. Working with our counterparts we may be able to benefit from proposed legislation. For example, last session HB4107 was proposed that would give cities 50 percent business income tax revenue share to attract new or expand current business. Being proactive with these types of legislative partnerships could supply needed revenue to our city and help fund our projects or address revenue shortfalls.
I am a native Oregonian and hold an undergraduate degree in finance from Portland State University and a MBA from University of Portland.
I teach business accounting and finance courses at local colleges and bring practical business experience to the council.
My overarching goal is to maximize taxpayer value for our residents and increase public participation.
Please learn more at Thomas4WestLinn.com and I would be honored by your vote this November for city council.