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La Salle becomes first OC mayoral candidate of 2014

Park Place Neighborhood Association chairman Bob La Salle announced Wednesday, May 28, at the gates of the Blue Heron mill site that he will be running for mayor of Oregon City.

by: PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - Park Place Neighborhood Association chairman Bob La Salle announces his plans to run for mayor at the gates of the Blue Heron mill site in Oregon City.Mayor Doug Neeley is prohibited from running for re-election due to term limits.

Although candidates for the November election cannot officially file until June 4, La Salle began his campaign for “common-sense government” early by becoming the first hopeful to announce mayoral plans. Also as a member of the Citizen Involvement Council, he has criticized the city for not exploring a plan to opt-out of TriMet.

“The service that TriMet gives us is just pitiful,” La Salle said. “We can get the job done cheaper and better than TriMet can.”

In 1959 at age 17, La Salle enlisted in the Oregon City branch of the National Guard, becoming a commissioned Army officer and serving a total of 23 years. Then until his retirement, he led the approximately 30-member service department for an HVAC company.

Among the approximately dozen people who gathered to support La Salle’s speech for more Oregon City jobs and independence from metro-area mandates were Citizen Involvement Council Secretary Barbara Renken of the Park Place Neighborhood Association, naturalist Jerry Herrmann, former Urban Renewal Commission member Paul Edgar, and Tom Geil and Bob Mahoney of the Planning Commission.

Renken was one of the chief petitioners for 2012’s Measure 3-407, which gave citizens the right to vote on urban-renewal projects. La Salle also backs Oregon City’s special law giving its voters a chance to approve or deny annexation requests.

After his speech, La Salle denied claims that he is anti-development. Saying that “growth is inevitable,” he clarified that he would simply prefer commercial and light-industrial job growth such as is possible at the Blue Heron site, because it would provide an estimated 66 percent more revenue to the city.

“I’m for developing Oregon City in fair and controlled ways,” he said. “Oregon City is different, and it has a more rural feel of life, and we don’t want to be dictated by Metro on more density.”