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Candidate focuses on housing, traffic, homelessness in his bid for Gresham City Council

OUTLOOK PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Raymond LoveRaymond Love decided to run for Gresham City Council after examining why he and his wife were considering moving their family to Sandy next summer.

Love, 46, first came to Gresham from North Portland. And while he loves the community and people, all of a sudden the problems he tried to get away from seemed to follow him to his new city. Not far from his home in Rockwood, there have been shootings and traffic accidents.

As he thought about moving away, he realized how much he enjoys Gresham. He is raising two kids, 10- and 12-years-old, and has a successful insurance business a few blocks from his home. So rather than leave, he has decided to run for Gresham City Council Position 4 in order to give back and make a difference.

Love joined the Oregon National Guard in 1990 between his Junior and Senior years of high school. He opened a mortgage business in Gresham in 2003, but was forced to leave the company when he was called to active duty in 2006. He returned to Portland in 2011, finishing his military commitment in 2013.

Love took the time to sit down with The Outlook to talk about the election and the issues that are important to him:

The Outlook: Why are you running for City Council?

Raymond Love: I feel like the council is a good place to have a big impact, make a difference, and then get out. I could come in and serve and do some good things while I'm there. I have no intentions of running for re-election no matter how well I do. To me, it's more of a giving back kind of idea.

I think Gresham is doing a pretty good job, but if I had one criticism it's a marketing problem. The city doesn't do as good of a job in galvanizing people to be on the same page.

Outlook: What issues are you focused on?

Love: My three main things are traffic, affordable housing and the homeless issue.

We live on the back of the Springwater Corridor Trail, and we don't feel safe letting our sons ride their bikes alone on the trail. More emphasis needs to be put on assessing the people who are creating the problem. If someone is foolish or mentally ill, that is a different type of person than someone who had a job four months ago and can no longer pay.

If you go to the corner of Burnside and Division, a friend of mine was killed there about a year ago on his way to work one night. There are some traffic flow issues that could be improved. A lot of the accidents happen from people being upset by the traffic issues and speeding through areas. I think the police could target the problematic areas better than they are.

Finally, affordable housing is something we need to look at. We live in a split-level house. The zoning regulations do not allow me to alleviate homelessness issues by renting out a couple of rooms or half the house. The way the rules are set up you aren't allowed to do that.

We need to build additional units and allow homeowners and property owners to use their land more effectively. The No. 1 thing is having the zoning regulations reflect the types of use that is in most demand.

Outlook: What sets you apart as a candidate?

Love: The value that I have is I have actually been in government behind the curtain. I had a long career working as the No. 3 person with the Army Corps of Engineers. When I was doing that assignment, my office was in downtown Portland and I got a really good perspective on how government works. This isn't a political aspiration for me — it really is just about service. If you had the experiences I had running businesses, you get a good perspective on the people who live in the community. People want to talk to other people that have the same values and stuff in common.

Outlook: Why should voters choose you?

Love: People should consider voting for someone with my kind of skill set. Putting someone in there who does think that our city is good — but can also be better. This isn't a 'the system is broken, and I need to fix it' kind of thing. I have the right mentality that a candidate should have. If you don't think I mirror your values, you should vote for someone else.

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