Cooper offers locally focused vision for Fairview in mayoral bid
Fairview City Councilor Brian Cooper, 47, is challenging incumbent Mayor Ted Tosterud for Fairview council's top spot.
Cooper grew up in East Multnomah County, and he is the owner of Cooper Tractor and Quality Diesel.
Cooper was appointed to Fairview City Council Position 6 in 2012, and he was elected to the seat in 2014. Cooper will step down from his council position in January, 2019, because Fairview laws prohibit citizens from running for mayor and a council seat simultaneously.
The Outlook met with Cooper to discuss how he would handle the mayor's role if elected.
THE OUTLOOK: If you're elected to mayor, you're going to have familiar faces (from currently serving councilors), and new faces (from newly elected councilors) on that group. As a leader, how you would you create cohesion on that group?
BRIAN COOPER: I've always been a big fan of transparency and communication. I'm all about laying out any issue so that everybody understands where everybody else is coming from. I do believe communication is the key to getting people to work together. That's my biggest thing, getting people to lay out what they believe, and what they support. That way we can understand why they oppose something, and whether whatever we're working on can be crafted to satisfy all.
OUTLOOK: What do you think of the plastic bag ban (which Tosterud proposed) in Fairview?
BRIAN COOPER: I'm both for it and against it. The plastic bag ban as it stands right now, essentially goes after a single business within Fairview. It goes against Target. Target has been a huge community partner for Fairview. I don't believe anybody has raised an issue with Target bags as a litter problem or as any sort of problem. My problem with using the "ban hammer" as a means of first resort I generally oppose. I don't believe that is the first response of government. I do believe we should educate. We should incentivize. We should simply ask for Metro (regional government) or the state or (Multnomah) County do deal with it.
OUTLOOK: How do you handle strong disagreements on an issue?
COOPER: Again, communication and transparency, I've been opposed to many things that the council has done, and I've written letters to the editor, and I've used the bully pulpit as means to get the citizens engaged, and that is what democracy is about.
OUTLOOK: Why is public safety such an issue and Fairview?
COOPER: Public safety is important because Fairview is a small city with big-city problems. We're seeing more and more homeless people, and just people transitioning through Fairview is skyrocketing, or people pilfering cars. Those are the biggest issues people are starting to have a problem with. I was opposed to the (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office) merger with Fairview, but that was only fiscally. I believe officers will do what officers do. I do believe the county deal is going to put a pinch to us in a couple years, but that's an issue for another day. We don't have enough money for enough officers to be patrolling Fairview at all times. That's why I've (established) the community surveillance program. We have an internet exchange zone at City Hall. And the COPP, which is Citizens on Park Patrol, I was a founding member of that. So we're looking for community solutions to these problems, and make Fairview less appealing for people to walk into.
OUTLOOK: Why run for mayor instead of your council seat?
COOPER: Unfortunately, there's a lot of reasons for that, but the biggest one is mayor sets agendas, sets the tone, sets the vision for Fairview. I think my vision for Fairview in the next four years is a little different than what we've been doing for the last four years. I am way more community based. I do a lot of volunteerism with the Friends of Fairview, and Fairview on the Green (a community celebration). My focus is more the livability issues in Fairview. I think, unfortunately, we've been looking too regionally. I just think I have a better vision of what Fairview can be in the next four years.
OUTLOOK: Anything else you want to say about your mayoral run for Fairview?
COOPER: I think I bring a very Fairview-centric-community-based vision to the position of mayor. As a volunteer within the community engaging with festivals for the last four years I'm out front in the community. I'm on NextDoor (a community social media platform) all the time, I've written about 400 posts. I don't think government should be done in secret with nobody knowing what's going on, and nobody finding out what's happened in Fairview until the Fairview Point, the monthly letter comes out.