No second chances in politics? Not in Happy Valley
Happy Valley's longest-serving city councilor is stepping down at the end of the year, prompting two well-known volunteers for the city to step up and vie against each other for the council seat.
As a Happy Valley councilor since being appointed in 2005, Markley Drake won his first full four-year term in the 2006 election. His soon-to-be vacated seat attracted the attention of two candidates who are seeking nods from Happy Valley voters on the November ballot.
Both candidates who seek to replace Drake are familiar to Happy Valley residents. Joshua V. Callahan and Ana Sarish both made it to the final six out of 14 applicants for the city's vacant council spot in 2019, although the council ended up appointing David Emami.
Candidates to replace Drake have appeared on previous ballots. Callahan, a member of the Happy Valley Planning Commission since 2015, serving as planning chair from 2018-21, ran for a City Council position in 2018, and lost the election to Happy Valley City Councilor Brett Sherman.
"My overall goal is to make sure Happy Valley keeps its neighborhood feel," Callahan said.
Sarish, who volunteers for the city's Budget Committee and Traffic & Public Safety Committee, ran against Emami in 2020, but Emami prevailed in the last election.
"Raising my boys and working in this beautiful city for over 20 years, I have actively advocated for local businesses, our families and schools," Sarish said.
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.
If elected, Callahan plans to use his council position to advocate for term limits to encourage more people involved in the decision-making process.
"We have to build leaders through the fire of being put in leadership positions, so making sure we are getting people involved by limiting the amount of time people can sit in elected or appointed seats just makes sense to me," he said.
Sarish is involved in the business community and city advisory committees. Sarish said she has grown deep roots in the Happy Valley community and city government since moving here in 2003.
She has served as president of the Happy Valley Business Alliance and has been a member of Rotary, Parent Community Leadership Alliance, Boys Team Charity and the PTO. She has served on city committees for traffic and safety, the new community center and on hiring panels for fire and police chiefs.
"As our city continues to expand, my vision is to help facilitate growth in such a way that preserves the history and livability of our city, with an eye toward a fiscally conservative future," Sarish said.
Callahan said his experience on the city's planning commission has given him the desire to be part of Happy Valley's development decisions moving forward as look to build a city center and a large recreational facility in the coming years.
"Those large projects, plus the continued expansion to the east and south, are really going to help shape the city," he said.
If elected, Sarish would become the first Indian-American councilor in Happy Valley and the second such councilor in the state.
Sarish said her election would make strides toward more balanced gender representation on the currently all-male city council. Besides a former mayor, Happy Valley has not seen a woman on city council in the 20 years that Sarish has lived in the city.
Sarish grew up half hour south of Portland and graduated from University of Washington School of Business with an emphasis on Information systems and finance. She received a master's degree in business administration from George Fox University, then became a senior adviser for Sunrise Mortgage Group.
If elected to city council, Sarish wants to use the position to advocate for small businesses that keep more money in the local economy. She served on the city's COVID relief committee to help businesses survive and thrive.
Sarish volunteered many hours to help pass the police levy and says that serving on the safety committee has given her opportunity to help increase the safety of her community.
"Creating a safe community space for our family is what makes Happy Valley such a desirable place to live," she said.
Sarish's vision for Happy Valley is to help with the creation of the Happy valley business district to serve its multi-generational families. If elected, she'd advocate for fresh perspective on the council and the need for diverse ideas regarding future parks and police services.
If elected to city council, Callahan said he would still like Happy Valley to explore a police force independent of the Sheriff's Office.
"But in the near term, I really think it is very important to make sure we are fully funding, properly training and supporting our current police force and fire department as they navigate ever-increasing calls to support our community," he said.
Happy Valley has two other seats that will be elected in November. Mayor Tom Ellis is running unopposed for reelection, and City Councilor Brett Sherman (first elected in 2014 after serving for four years on the city's Traffic & Public Safety Committee) is facing an opponent in Bill Krasnogorov, who has served as a board member for both Slavic Vote and the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland.
This story was updated online on Sept. 21 with another 2022 quote from Ana Sarish, removing a 2020 quote, so now there are no 2020 quotes being repeated.
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