City Council candidate seeks to 'step up'
Edward Jones, 57, is a plans examiner and home inspector for the city of Gresham, who has lived in Fairview for 20 years. Jones is running for Fairview City Council Position 5 against incumbent Natalie Voruz.
Jones has been a member of the Fairview Planning Commission since 2005, where he serves as chairman.
The Outlook met with Jones to discuss his council priorities before the upcoming election.
THE OUTLOOK: Why should people vote for you?
EDWARD JONES: Well, because I have a lot of vested interest in Fairview, I've put many hours of volunteer time in, and brought some things to Fairview that were very beneficial to the city with construction. I wanted to put (my architecture degree) to use for Fairview, so I went and volunteered for the Fairview Planning Commission, and that's what I have been doing for Fairview ever since. So a vote for me is kind of voting for somebody that's wanting doing it because they like helping the city. Not letting the small city turn into something big and ugly like L.A. I think people live here because they like the small-town feel of Fairview. I would think that people who want to keep that would vote (for me).
OUTLOOK: Why are you running for election?
JONES: Recently, we had a change in policies for our police department. Our police department was (merged with the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office), and we've had serious problems with our water for the last four or five years. On the planning commission, I didn't really have input or insight into why. I have a lot of experience in underground injection wells. I saw what they were doing with the well here, and this doesn't seem right — why would they be using (a strange technique) on a well for fresh water? Well it turns out, that's a new technology, and that just sounds like the city's paying for something that you're going to end up fixing later, and two years later, guess what? We had the same problem. I've spent time on the planning commission, and now we've got this issue solved with the water. I'd like to be involved with what's going on with our police department, and keeping the area the way we like it, and I can do that better on City Council than on the Planning Commission.
OUTLOOK: What do you think of the possible plastic bag ban?
JONES: I'm for it. I think as far as sustainability goes, we have to look at materials that are mass produced. If you look at statistics from the dump sites, you will see plastics is one of their biggest problems. Some of that ends up in our oceans, and ends up being not sustainable for our environment. To me on a local level, and all the way up to Congress, we need to be making it as environmentally sustainable as possible. Maybe we should use something a bit more recyclable. Oregon is known for being a bit more progressive on that side of things.
OUTLOOK: How do you handle strong disagreements on an issue?
JONES: Well, you have to be empathetic to the situations. In my daily job, it is my job is to find resolutions whenever there is an apparent conflict of interest or economic cost versus what it might take to meet a certain code requirement. There is always the potential to have unhappy stakeholders who are in disagreement with city policies or code, and your job is to handle those situations. You have to speak to somebody who's not in a good mood that has no reason to hear what you have to say, or no reason to believe that you are there to help them, but by the end of the conversation they need to know that's not the case. You have to be able to relay that to those folks so they don't feel you were taking sides. I have to fight that daily because some people don't trust government — even at the city level. I make it a point in my job to get people through those things. If I were on City Council, I would approach it the same way when people come with conflict. I'm going to find ways to let them know I'm on the same page. I'm trying to resolve it as much as possible and find alternatives they may not have thought of.
OUTLOOK: What are your priorities on council?
JONES: Priority number one is to ensure a collaborative team effort on the City Council, and identify any differences and conflicts that shouldn't exist, and find out what they are and what it takes to remove them. If you can't do that, I don't see how any of your other priorities are going to get anywhere. You can come into office with all the goals, but if you don't have a cohesion with the group you're not going to get anywhere. Then we can move onto things like getting the water well fixed in a way that actually provides water that's drinkable and doesn't bubble up and leave sticky film. There's clearly a problem in that area, they're working on it, but from what I've read it's still an issue. My third issue would be the police department. Fairview should have their own police department. I think we are totally positioned to fund that. Currently, in a few years the money paid to the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office will cost more than what we were paying for our own police department. Somehow that was put forward (as being) more sustainable for the city of Fairview.