Metro Council set to fill vacant seat
Metro Councilors are expected to select an appointee Thursday night to fill the District 2 seat vacated by former Councilor Carlotta Collette.
A public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Willamette View Terrace auditorium near Milwaukie (12705 S.E. River Road). It will begin with testimony from the applicants and questions from the councilors, followed by a public comment period, council discussion and vote.
The regional governing agency has been short a member since Jan. 2, when Collette resigned in preparation for a move to Corvallis. Collette represented Metro District 2, which includes Lake Oswego, West Linn, Oregon City, Gladstone, Milwaukie and Happy Valley.
Collette's current term expires at the beginning of next year, so the seat will be on the ballot in the 2018 election. The appointee will only serve on the council until Jan. 7, 2019 — unless they also run as a candidate and win election to a full term.
Candidates for the nonpartisan seat will initially face off in the May primary. If one candidate emerges with at least 50 percent of the vote, they will automatically win the seat starting next year; if not, the top two candidates will appear on the November general election ballot in a runoff.
Four residents of the district have publicly campaigned for the appointment: Lake Oswego restaurateur and City Councilor Joe Buck, former Oregon City Commissioner Carol Pauli, Oak Grove resident Betty Dominguez and West Linn resident Christine Lewis. All four have also filed as candidates for the seat in the primary.
Two other candidates have also filed for the appointment, according to Metro staff, but neither John Gibbon nor Eric Freed appears to have publicly announced their campaigns. And according to the Oregon Secretary of State's website, neither one filed for the primary election before the March 6 deadline.
Buck has outlined an agenda that includes affordable housing, improved roads, safe communities, reliable public transit and support for small businesses. At his campaign kickoff event in February, he placed a particular emphasis on ensuring that residents in the Metro area can secure good-paying jobs close to where they live.
Those opportunities are becoming harder to find, Buck said, citing his own experience as an employer. Many of his restaurant employees now commute to work from places as far away as Salem and Vancouver, he said, and the lack of frequent and reliable bus service to Lake Oswego makes the trip increasingly difficult.
Buck was raised in Lake Oswego and currently operates two restaurants in city, Gubanc's Restaurant and Babica Hen Cafe, as well as a second branch of Babica Hen in Dundee and a boutique inn in Oregon's wine country.
A veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, he earned a degree in business administration from the University of Portland. He initially worked in public accounting and also helped manage Gubanc's, which was founded by his grandfather and later run by his father.
Buck was elected to the Lake Oswego City Council in 2014. His tenure has focused on advocating for progressive policies, including environmental protection, public transportation and engaging youth in local politics.
He has been endorsed by a number of elected officials, including state Senator Ginny Burdick, state Treasurer Tobias Read, U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, Tigard Mayor John Cook, Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle, Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer, Clackamas County Commissioners Jim Bernard and Ken Humberston and all five of his fellow Lake Oswego City Councilors.
Dominguez is the director of east county relations for Home Forward, the housing authority serving Multnomah County; she has also served as assistant director in the agency's real-estate development department.
She moved to Oregon in 1996 to become regional advisor to the director of Oregon's Housing Finance Agency and became a resident of Oak Grove 12 years ago. Dominguez says her life as a single parent, often struggling to afford housing and pay the bills, informed her decision to seek the Metro District 2 seat.
Dominguez hopes to bring her deep background in affordable housing to bear as Metro considers its first-ever affordable housing funding measure. She has emphasized the role that Metro can play in affordability, accessible transportation and "creating a place that provides opportunity for all members of the community."
Currently, Dominguez serves on Clackamas County's Housing Advisory Board, a position she has held since last year. She also serves on the East Metro Economic Alliance Board, and has served on Portland Housing Bureau's Advisory Committee since 2015.
In the past, she served on Metro's Transit Oriented Development Steering Committee and worked on Metro's Equity Strategy Advisory Committee from 2013-16. She was on Metro's Equitable Housing Task Force through early 2016. She is a past board president of Greater Portland Habitat for Humanity and a past member of the Metro Regional Boys & Girls Club board.
Dominguez has been endorsed by Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba, Wilsonville Mayor Tim Knapp, state Senator Laurie Monnes-Anderson, Clackamas County Commissioners Jim Bernard and Martha Schrader, and AFSCME Local 3580, the union representing Metro employees.
Lewis currently serves as the legislative director for the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) and is also the current chair of both the Clackamas County Vector Control District Budget Committee and the West Linn Historic Review Board.
Prior to arriving at BOLI, Lewis served as a senior associate for the City of Portland Office of Government Relations from 2016-17. She was a policy director for Multnomah County from 2014-15 and also served as assistant legislative director for the Office of the Speaker of the House in 2013.
If elected, Lewis says housing would be her top priority on the council. In 2016, she managed the City of Portland's successful campaign for a $258.4 million affordable housing package.
She lists transportation, parks and waste management as other priorities for Metro moving forward. As for leadership style, Lewis says she would aim to be as open as possible with her constituents, and also hopes to add to the ranks of women who are making their voices heard in politics.
Lewis was born and raised in Texas and moved to the Portland area in 2003; she has lived in West Linn since 2011. She graduated from Reed College with a bachelor's degree in anthropology and is currently working on a graduate certificate in social impact strategy through the University of Pennsylvania.
She has been endorsed by Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, former Commissioner Jules Bailey, former state Sen. Diane Rosenbaum, state Rep. Jeff Reardon, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, the Portland Association of Teachers, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 and the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
Pauli was appointed as an Oregon City Commissioner in February 2012 on a promise to bridge the political divide after the recall of Commissioner Jim Nicita. She was elected to a full term from 2013-16 but resigned almost at the end of the term when she moved out of town to care for an ailing relative.
Pauli, the former owner of KC's Midway Historic Public House in Oregon City, sold the business about a year and a half ago to focus on family. Now a resident of Oak Grove, she says her priorities as a Metro councilor would be the same as those that inspired her as an Oregon City commissioner: livability, connected bike path/sidewalks, public involvement and investments in core urban areas.
She lists housing affordability and rising congestion among her greatest concerns for the region, and says she will work to find a solution for the crisis being caused by Chinese companies saying they will no longer accept recycled materials from Oregon.
As president of the Downtown Main Street Association Board of Directors, Pauli thinks that the work of her nonprofit "resonates so well with what Metro stands for and what Metro does." She believes the regional agency needs to work on "low-hanging fruit" where there is available infrastructure to support denser development.
Pauli was a founding member of the Willamette Falls Legacy Project Partners group, and she remains a member of the Willamette Falls Heritage Area Coalition board of directors. She has been endorsed by Gladstone Mayor Tammy Stemple, former Oregon City Mayor Alice Norris, Oregon City Commissioner Nancy Ide and the Oregon City Business Alliance.