Prineville City Council candidate views housing, more jobs as key issues for city

JASON CHANEY/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Janet HutchisonJanet Hutchison took a job with the City of Prineville after stepping away from a local mill.

She needed an office job that didn't hurt her back, and after earning an associate's degree in accounting from Central Oregon Community College, she found such a job at the city.

She spent three years working for the city, holding jobs in the sewer department and the police department and working as a water meter reader.

More than 30 years later, Hutchison is ready to work for the city again, but this time she hopes do so as a member of the Prineville City Council. She recently filed for one of three open positions.

Hutchison, a 55-year resident of Prineville, came to the community when she was 10 years old. In addition to her work at the mill and for the city, she spent nearly 30 years working for the Bureau of Land Management.

"I started at the front desk as a receptionist," she said, "and when I retired, I was a realty specialist for the state office in Portland, but I was remotely located here."

Retired for four years this month, Hutchison initially applied last year for a vacant city council position that opened when Jack Seley resigned. The position, which was filled by council appointment, went to Dean Noyes instead, but she didn't lose interest in joining the governing body.

Community livability is a focus for Hutchison, which she said includes everything from affordable housing, to job availability, to food security and adequate water supply.

"Housing is so difficult to find nowadays in any place in Central Oregon, not just here in Prineville," she said.

Hutchison went on to stress that a community needs more family-wage jobs to help people afford housing.

When it comes to food security, she points out that Prineville faces a homeless problem, so "it is important that everyone has the opportunity to have food and nourishment."

Noting that many people need drinking water as well as water to meet irrigation and recreation needs, Hutchison wants to focus on conserving the resource.

"Because we live in the high desert, we want to ensure that there is enough water for everybody," she said.

Hutchison has been married for 41 years and raised two daughters in Prineville. She has four grandchildren and one great-grandchild, and four of her seven brothers and sisters still live in Crook County.

Because Prineville provided her and her family so much, she is hoping to join the council and show her gratitude serving the city.

"It's giving back and paying the community back for what they have given me," she said, "the safe environment, the great place to raise our kids and family."

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