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Council Pos. 4 challenger wants to draft better policies for safety, recreation in return elected role

COURTESY PHOTO: JERRY HINTON - Jerry HintonA Gresham resident for nearly 20 years and former elected is looking to rejoin city leadership.

Jerry Hinton, 61, is running for Gresham Council Position 4 against incumbent Mario Palmero in the upcoming November general election. For Hinton it would be a return to the group after he served eight years on council from 2012-2020.

Hinton worked more than three decades as an automotive executive in the wholesale industry, but recently retired. He is a Family of Friends mentor and an active member of the LDS church. He and his wife raised two children in the Centennial School District.

The Outlook reached out to all of the candidates running in the November general election, and more Q&As will be shared in the coming weeks. Here are Hinton's responses, edited for space:

Outlook: Why are you running for Gresham City Council?

Hinton: "To help restore Gresham as a safe place to live, work and play. To make sure our homeless population is cared for and not on our streets and sidewalks. To help restore our business infrastructure. To help create a better quality of life for all residents."

O: What solutions do you have for public safety?

H: "The Gresham Police Department needs to be fully staffed — they are currently almost 40% below staffing levels prior to 2020. The GPD needs ready access to mental health resources, (and) the full support of the city council."

O: How concerned are you with historic levels of crime?

H: "Extremely concerned. Portland's failed public-safety policies are bleeding into Gresham. Gresham's current City Council majority aligns itself with Portland and (its) pursuit of global socialization rather than what is best for Gresham neighbors and neighborhoods."

O: How would you support the business community?

H: "Help small businesses by recalibrating Gresham's Garage to Storefront program, reducing start up fees and taxes for new businesses. In general, reduce red tape and process time for licensing, building permits and regulation mitigation. Heavily promote our state-authorized Strategic Investment Zones for tax abatements with dedicated capital-improvement and employee-augmentation agreements."

O: Do you have ideas for parks and recreation funding?

H: "Parks are the heart of a vibrant city. It took great courage to dedicate some of the most expensive land in the world for (New York City's) Central Park; Gresham's leaders must have that same kind of vision for the future. Furthermore, Gresham's size calls for two community centers and yet we have none. As we increase our business-tax base through measures I've mentioned, funding will become available."

O: What needs to be done around homelessness and livability?

H: "It is not compassionate or safe to allow camping in public spaces. The approach must be compassionate, but firm. The city has access to the social-services networking resources needed to immediately shelter or house Gresham's homeless population. If they will not accept these resources, the chronically addicted and mentally unstable must be moved along in interest of public safety."

O: What other issues are important to you?

H: "Successful, loving families is the answer to most of the world's problems. Therefore, my litmus test for creating public policy is, 'Will this help families (all kinds of families) or will it hinder their ability to thrive?'"

O: What sets you apart from the other candidate?

H: "Education, experience and ability to create positive change. I've also drafted and successfully navigated several bills through the Oregon legislature and lobbied in behalf of my industry on a national level."

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