Wants to continue working on city projects and make plans for long-term growth

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Jeff PapkePrineville City Council member Jeff Papke wants to leave his hometown better than he left it.

To accomplish that goal, he has filed for a second four-year council term.

"I have come to really enjoy my time on the council," he said, "the ability to represent other citizens of Prineville, the ability to listen to their needs and concerns and try to be that voice for them on the council."

Papke, who is now 47, joined the council in 2015 after winning his seat by election. He spent eight years as an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor in Crook County before taking a job as the Oregon State University coordinator for the newly opened Crook County Open Campus in 2010. He held that job until 2013 when he moved on to serve as executive director for Cascade East Area Health Education Center. More recently, he has moved back into the teaching as the agriculture science and technology teacher at Mountain View High School in Bend.

During his time on the council, Papke said he "picked up the ball when I was elected, on some projects, and we have started some other projects, and I really like the direction we are headed as a city."

"I like to think I had a part in that. I want to see that continue," he added.

Some of those projects include completion of the Crooked River Wetlands Complex and work to improve local water use development. He noted that the council is pursuing improvements to the city business climate as well as the local road infrastructure.

Papke said he and his fellow councilors are trying to make these improvements with a large-scale, long-term view in mind.

"What are those projects, opportunities and concepts that we can implement thinking about Prineville 10, 15 or 20 years down the road versus right now?" he said. "It is a really broad scope of looking at a lot of different facets and looking at challenges and opportunities within those and continually thinking down the road."

Mixed with the projects are what Papke terms unique challenges the city faces. He stresses that while the economy is improving and work continues to boost job growth, city leaders need to find a way to ensure people are prepared to fill them. He sees a lot of help wanted signs in the community and believes local residents should be equipped and educated to fill them.

"I think there is still an opportunity when it comes to housing," he said, clarifying that he is not only talking about affordable housing. He believes the city needs to scrutinize how it manages its growth to ensure that people who want to live in Prineville can find a home.

"I think there is an issue in town with illegal drugs, and I think there are opportunities to look at that," Papke added.

The Prineville City Council has three councilor positions open that will be filled during the 2018 general election. The three candidates who win the most votes will fill those openings in January 2019. The deadline to file for a city council or Prineville mayor position is Tuesday, Aug. 28. The general election will be held on Nov. 6.

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