Mattersdorff joins Lake Oswego City Council race
Lake Oswego resident Donald Mattersdorff has announced his candidacy for one of the three open seats on the City Council, making him the eighth and final candidate to join the race before the Aug. 28 filing deadline.
The other candidates on the November ballot have all been profiled in The Review in recent weeks: Councilor Jackie Manz, former Planning Commission Chair Randy Arthur and restaurateur Daniel Nguyen on July 26; LO Moms community service organizer Emma Burke on Aug. 2; International Leadership Academy director Massene Mboup and Lewis & Clark College archivist Hannah Crummé on Aug. 9; and former School Board Chair John Wendland on Aug. 16.
Councilors Jeff Gudman, Joe Buck and Manz currently hold the spots that will be up for grabs in the general election. Manz is the only incumbent seeking another term; term limits prevent Gudman from running again, and Buck is seeking a spot on the Metro Council instead.
Lake Oswego's city councilors are all elected citywide to four-year terms. The top three vote-getters in the November election will take their seats in January 2019.
Mattersdorff says his goal is to help prepare Lake Oswego for the impact of regional growth in the coming decades, particularly in the areas of park spaces and transportation.
"I'd like to do something nice for Lake Oswego," he says. "I've seen it grow a lot, and I'd like to be able to help shape the future."
Mattersdorff grew up in Lake Oswego and graduated from Lakeridge High School; he then attended college at Dartmouth, majoring in history. He built his career as a financial advisor, starting at the Putnam Family of Mutual Funds in Boston. He later moved to the San Francisco Bay area and worked at another mutual fund company called GT Global Funds.
Mattersdorff opened his own financial advice firm in 1997 and has maintained it ever since. He and his wife Céline met in San Francisco in 1998 and married two years later. In 2010, with the older of their two children approaching kindergarten, they decided to move to Lake Oswego in order to give their kids access to Lake Oswego's schools.
Mattersdorff says his community involvement began with the Hallinan Heights Neighborhood Association. Jackie Manz was the neighborhood association chair at the time, and Mattersdorff says she was an early inspiration for seeking further community
involvement. He eventually succeeded Manz as the board chair, serving in 2014 and
Mattersdorff says his City Council aspirations grew out of an increased sense of connection to the community through the neighborhood association, and he says he wants to find a way to give back to the city where he grew up.
His campaign is also spurred by a desire to be involved in the city's long-term planning, particularly with regard to growth. He says he wants to focus on improving Lake Oswego's transportation plan to catch up with other nearby towns in terms of bike and pedestrian accessibility, as well as encouraging greater support for the city's recreational centers and options, which he says are going to be strained by population growth.
"There are going to be some hard choices in that department," he says.
Mattersdorff was one of the early members of a group of Hallinan neighbors who have been lobbying for several years to try to get the City to purchase property to expand the Hallinan Woods area. He's stepped back in recent years and let other neighbors take the lead in the effort, but his support for parks is evident in his goals for the council if he is elected.
Mattersdorff says he would be a strong advocate for park space acquisition, urging the City to do it sooner rather than later. Once property is developed, he says, it becomes extremely hard to acquire for park space, so the City needs to prioritize staking out future open areas in advance.
He would also advocate for the creation of a smaller second branch of the Lake Oswego Public Library in order to better serve residents in the western half of the city. Although he enjoys the city's existing library, Mattersdorff says it is too remote for some residents.
"I've never lived in a city this size that only had one library," he says, recalling when he previously lived in Alameda, Calif., which he says was roughly twice the size of Lake Oswego but featured four small branch libraries in addition to the main building.
Mattersdorff describes himself as fiscally conservative, with an enthusiasm for budgets and numbers stemming from his career in financial planning. He says he wants to maintain the City's existing budgetary direction, which has seen debt consistently decrease from a high point during the Lake Oswego Sewer Interceptor project.
"The devil is in the details, and very often they're numerical details," he says.