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North Clackamas School Board Chair Libra Forde will likely challenge three-term incumbent running for reelection

COURTESY PHOTO: CLACKCO - Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas reviews information for upcoming policy sessions at his office in Oregon City.Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas.Paul Savas is seeking reelection to the Clackamas County Commission Position 2, seat he has held for over a decade.

The three-term incumbent says he plans to hit the ground running if reelected to serve on the nonpartisan board through 2026, continuing to push affordable housing and jobs as well as equity for the county's underserved populations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I really am honored and humbled to serve the citizens of this county," Savas told Pamplin Media Group. "It comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility and I take that seriously. I'm committed to protecting the quality of life in this county and helping the underserved succeed."

Voters in the upcoming May 17 primary election can expect his name to appear on the ballot next to North Clackamas School Board Chair Libra Forde, who declared her candidacy for the nonpartisan position in October. Savas remains the only candidate to have officially filed as of Nov. 3.

Elected in 2010 after unseating Bob Austin, Savas defeated Karen Bowerman, then a Lake Oswego city councilor, to win reelection in 2014. He was reelected again in 2018, earning 60% of the vote over challengers Peter Winter of Oak Grove and Louise Lopes of Mulino. He also made losing bids for county board chair in 2012 and 2016.

Savas said housing has been a priority of his throughout his tenure on the board, but amid rising housing costs, rental assistance delays and uncertainties surrounding the future of the federal eviction moratorium, he said it is a "larger part of my focus than ever before."

"The housing issue is a top priority for me in many aspects," Savas said in an email to Pamplin Media Group. "From displacement prevention, to supply, sheltering and supportive housing while advancing equitable outcomes for the marginalized and disenfranchised populations."

While it is not easy to implement the county's current housing plan as quickly as the crisis demands, Savas added that the issue is "on the top of everyone's minds" at the county level and they are committed to ramping up efforts "as aggressively as possible."

Savas also pledged to continue to push workforce advocacy and economic redevelopment as the county continues navigating the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Savas said he is in the early stages of developing his reelection campaign after filing for the position in September and will be updating his campaign website to reflect his added goals for a potential upcoming term.

An unincorporated Clackamas County resident, Savas has owned an auto-repair business, Savas Tuning, for over 25 years.

When he was elected to the county board, Savas had sat on the Oak Lodge water and sanitary boards — they were combined by popular vote in 2016 — and he continues to serve on multiple local committees including the Clackamas County Coordinating Committee as co-chair, the North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District Advisory Board and more.

Savas said he has viewed his role on the board over the years as providing a "thoughtful and moderate voice" to help the board reach "reasonable solutions" amid the backdrop of a "growing partisan divide."

"I think we all thrive when we can work together unselfishly," Savas said. "I just want to see us all succeed and hopefully, we can put partisan politics aside and just do all the good work we need to do."

Savas said he is proud of how county leadership has been able to remain nimble in tending to a number of big issues that has only increased over the past year and a half.

"At the end of the day, we're still in business and I think that's a sign that we have resiliency," Savas said. "We will come together in crises and put aside partisanship, and that kind of teamwork, in crises, shows who we are and how we're committed to serving the needs of the county."

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