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Joshua V. Callahan, Michael Morrow make it to the final six for city's vacant council spot

Two applicants to a vacant seat on the Happy Valley City Council already are well known to the city's voters.

Joshua V. Callahan and Michael MorrowJoshua V. Callahan and Michael Morrow have made it to the final six out of 14 applicants for the city's vacant council spot. Callahan, chair of the Happy Valley Planning Commission, ran for a City Council position in 2018, and Morrow was a city councilor from 2008-16.

Callahan lost the election to Happy Valley City Councilor Brett Sherman, first elected to the position in 2014. Morrow was unseated in a three-way race with David Golobay and Tom Ellis (now mayor) when Morrow placed third for two City Council positions. Happy Valley changed to by-position elections rather than top-two elections starting in 2018.

This newspaper has profiled four other finalists for the vacant City Council position.

Joshua V. Callahan

Callahan honorably left the U.S. Army's Military Police to pursue a legal career. He now is a self-employed attorney and a member of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association.

He grew up in Oak Grove, graduating from Rex Putnam High School, and earning a law degree from Lewis & Clark College after getting his bachelor's degree at Portland State University in criminology and criminal justice.

Callahan volunteers in youth sports as a Special Olympics coach and in the Spring Mountain Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization. He believes infrastructure and growth are important issues for Happy Valley as it seeks to mitigate traffic on Sunnyside Road and Interstate 205 by expanding the Sunrise Corridor.

"I desire to serve my community and to be involved in the decision-making process affecting the city in which my wife and I are raising our three young boys," Callahan wrote in his application for appointment. "I believe planning in the next two years for the appropriate infrastructure to support and accommodate the already existing development projects is key. ... I would like to see the Council focus on tying the existing neighborhoods together within the city with sidewalks and arterial road projects."

Under his term on City Council, Callahan would like Happy Valley to explore a police force independent of the Sheriff's Office.

"I believe my experience and skills as a trial attorney and experienced negotiator can help find a solution to issues with the county, and I firmly believe my education and training as a police officer can help efforts towards finding an independent police force," he wrote.

While he loves being a part of a "thriving community," Callahan is concerned about Happy Valley's exponential growth.

"I do worry that proper planning of infrastructure may sometimes take a back seat to pushing large developments through to completion," he wrote.

Michael Morrow

A physician's designee for Lion's Visiongift, Morrow said he plans to retire soon, freeing him of any work conflicts if appointed to the vacant seat.

Once voted Happy Valley's Volunteer of the Year, Morrow has served in various volunteer capacities in addition to the City Council. He served as a member of the Happy Valley Planning Commission, Traffic & Public Safety Committee and Sunrise Water Budget Committee. He has been on advisory boards for North Clackamas Parks & Recreation, Parrott Creek Child & Family Services, Boy Scouts of America's North Clackamas District and the Cascade Recreational Soccer Club.

Morrow says his qualifications for the City Council position include having attended training sessions in municipal law, chamber leadership classes and many training sessions through the state and national leagues of cities.

"I wish to continue to serve my community," Morrow wrote in his application. "I feel Happy Valley has grown to be a vibrant city with many activities for its citizens. I wish to continue this work and continue to provide new and exciting opportunities for our citizens."

Unlike most of the other candidates for appointment, Morrow has pledged to step down from the seat after it is up for election in 2020.

"Appointments are fraught with inherent problems: A sitting official has an advantage as the incumbent," Morrow wrote, saying he would rather "allow the candidates to campaign on the issues and then allow the voters to select who they truly want as their representative."

While on the council, if appointed, Morrow wants to "encourage some density to combat urban sprawl." Recognizing that the regional government has designated Happy Valley as an area for growth, he would like to help plan for open and natural areas for wildlife, community gathering and sports.

"We need to maintain minimum setbacks so that citizens may enjoy their yards, so that children can play, and so that our houses are not right on top of our neighbors," Morrow wrote. "We must also find new ways of improving the infrastructure before building occurs."

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