Learn more about candidates for Lake Oswego City Council
Over the past several weeks, The Review has published individual profiles of the eight candidates who are seeking three open seats on the Lake Oswego City Council. Now that the official filing deadline is past and the slate of candidates is complete, we've gathered all of those profiles here.
Those candidates include former Planning Commission Chair Randy Arthur, LO Moms community service organizer Emma Burke, Lewis & Clark College archivist Hannah Crummé, Councilor Jackie Manz, former Hallinan Heights Neighborhood Association Chair Donald Mattersdorf, International Leadership Academy director Massene Mboup, restaurateur Daniel Nguyen and former School Board Chair John Wendland.
Councilors Jeff Gudman, Joe Buck and Manz currently hold the spots that will be up for grabs in the general election, but 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.
A former longtime member of the City's Planning Commission, Randy Arthur says he's developed a strong enthusiasm for working with Lake Oswego's residents to develop City policy. He's seeking a City Council seat, he says, in order to further apply his expertise.
"I want to do my part to help Lake Oswego remain a wonderful place," he says. "Using the skills and experience I developed interacting and listening to the public on the Planning Commission, I think I can make a positive difference."
Arthur received his bachelor's from Occidental College and his master's from the University of California, Berkeley. He began his career in the public sector, including work at Portland Public Schools, and then later received his J.D. from Hofstra University. He now works as a private practice attorney with a focus on financial institution bonds and insurance.
Arthur's involvement in local government began with a series of neighborhood leadership roles in Portland. He served on the board of the Forest Heights Homeowners Association and played a role in creating a budget committee and an activities committee for the community. He later served as president of the HOA and as president of Portland's Northwest Heights Neighborhood Association.
"My approach that I developed in Forest Heights, and then later on the Planning Commission, was to really reach out and listen to members of the public," he says, "and to engage in rigorous analysis and scrutiny and to prioritize the community's wants and needs in light of limited resources."
Arthur moved from Northwest Portland to Lake Oswego with his wife Katie and son Peter in 2008, and says the family was drawn to the city because of its schools and its natural beauty.
"I've really grown to love Lake Oswego in my 10 years here," he says. "With each passing year, I've gained a renewed appreciation."
Arthur quickly became involved in Lake Oswego, at first in smaller-scale roles such as serving on the easement committee of the Lake Oswego Corporation. He eventually applied to serve on the Planning Commission and was appointed in 2012 by Mayor Jack Hoffman and reappointed in 2014 by Mayor Kent Studebaker.
Arthur says he joined the commission to seek new ways to connect with his neighbors and become involved with the city, and found that the most rewarding successes were the ones that included large amounts of public involvement, such as the development of individual neighborhood plans in collaboration with Lake Oswego's various neighborhood associations.
Arthur served as vice chair of the commission from 2013 to 2014, and as the chair from 2014 to 2016. During his tenure, the commission began opening its work sessions to public comment, which Arthur says improved the overall quality of the commission's recommendations by bringing in new ideas.
Arthur also came up with the idea for a series of meetings in which the Planning Commission would join neighborhood association leaders for walking tours in order to get a firsthand look at their concerns and areas of focus.
"It really makes a difference to walk the neighborhood and look at issues," he says. "I'm most proud of that as a contribution I've made. I've thought I'd like to continue something like that (if elected to the council)."
Arthur left the commission earlier this year after declining to seek reappointment, a decision he says stemmed in part from a desire to make sure commission seats continually remain available for new members.
But after six years on the commission, Arthur says he's incredibly tuned in to the issues facing the City; as a councilor, he says, he will be able to have an even greater impact as the City confronts issues like short-term rentals, annexation policy and a potential renewal of a series of Parks & Recreation bonds.
Burke says she's seeking a council seat as a way to pursue further civic involvement and to provide greater representation in City Hall for parents of school-age children.
"Everything about this community has been just wonderful," she says. "I want to really just invest more of my time, commitment and energy into making this an even better place. That's why I would like to bring more engagement from the parent level to the City Council."
Burke grew up in Wenatchee, Wash, but her mother was originally from Portland. Burke says the city felt like a second home due to her family's many visits, so she eventually chose to start college in the Portland area.
She finished her bachelor's in business management at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, where she worked during her college years as an actor at Disney World. She later returned to the Portland area and worked for several years in corporate HR positions, including one that saw her living and working in Lake Oswego from 2006 to 2007.
"I moved outside the area," she says. "But when my family started, I knew I wanted to have them in (Lake Oswego) schools, so I moved back into the district."
That was five years ago, and she's remained in the city ever since. Her two daughters attend Oak Creek Elementary and are getting ready to start first and second grade, and Burke says her local community involvement began with volunteer work at their school and serving as a co-founder of their local Girl Scout troop.
She also serves as the community service coordinator for the local organization LO Moms, and was recently appointed to the Lake Oswego School District's advisory committee on diversity, equity and inclusion. Burke has openly identified as bisexual since her late teens, and she says that was one of the reasons she wanted to serve as a representative on the committee.
"It's hard to be a young adult or an older child who is going through identity issues," she says. "If the community isn't behind them, that increases the angst and the feelings of depression — it's harder to function, much less graduate."
She says her inspiration to become more involved in local government also stems from a trip she took to Washington, D.C., as a student in Portland State University's Master's of Public Administration program.
"Everyone kept really emphasizing that it's important to create faith in local government," she says. "No matter who is in the White House, everybody needs the roads and everything else at the city level to run well."
She says she considered running for the School Board, but opted to seek a City Council seat in order to have a greater impact and better represent the interests of Lake Oswego parents. If elected, Burke says she also hopes to be able to provide a voice for other underrepresented constituencies, including women, millennials, divorced parents and the LGBTQ community.
Burke currently works as a massage therapist and has previously run her own practice. She has become a familiar face in the audience at School Board and City Council meetings, and says she's quickly developed an enthusiasm for the policies and issues facing the city.
One example she cites is the annexation policy for unincorporated residents, which she says came up during the signature-gathering phase of her campaign; some of her friends offered their signatures without even realizing that they technically lived outside the city.
"I think the way we do it is going to be extremely important," she says. "The (proposed neighborhood-level annexation) vote makes sense to me, but I think first we need to have the actual numbers. What are the long-term costs? I think we need to first know the answer ourselves before we try to present it and get others excited about it."
Crummé says she's running for the City Council with an eye toward the ways in which Lake Oswego will grow and develop in the coming years. She says she wants to encourage growth while working to maintain the features that make Lake Oswego distinct.
Crummé moved to Lake Oswego a little more than two years ago, although she's a native Oregonian. She grew up in a rural part of Benton County, near Corvallis, and then attended Pomona College in Claremont near Los Angeles.
She moved to the United Kingdom to pursue her postgraduate education, earning her master's and later her Ph.D. in early modern literary history at King's College in London. She also worked for the National Archives in London, curating an exhibit that focused on Shakespeare's life.
Crummé says she has a passion for history and enjoyed the job at the archives, but she always had a long-term goal of returning to Oregon. She got her chance in 2016 when she accepted a position at Lewis & Clark College as the head of special collections and archives at the Aubrey R. Watzek Library.
When looking for a place to settle in the Portland area, Crummé says she and her husband David chose Lake Oswego because of the city's geographical flavor that mixes the kind of small rural community that she grew up in with a location near a bigger city.
"I loved how Lake Oswego seemed vibrant, with a population that's really invested in the town," she says.
It's a decision the couple has never regretted; Crummé says they've been happily taking advantage of the city's many community features, such as the farmers market, the tennis center and the movies and concerts at local parks, and have become active participants in their Lakewood neighborhood.
After spending so many years as a student, Crummé says the new job at Lewis & Clark gave her an opportunity to pursue a greater leadership role as an instructor and manager, and she says she's seeking out a City Council seat in order to find a similarly proactive role in her community.
"(Working at Lewis & Clark) has really trained me to listen and use the perspectives of my constituency to create a better school, or in this case a town," she says.
If elected, Crummé says she'll put a strong focus on transportation and finding solutions to congestion. In particular, she says she wants to lobby to increase Lake Oswego's bus service, such as by extending Line 39 down Terwilliger Boulevard.
"Lake Oswego has a lot of people who could benefit from a Hillsdale and OHSU connection," she says.
But it's not just about the roads and transit services; as an avid runner and biker, Crummé says she puts a high value on Lake Oswego's pathways and walkability. She says she would work to make sure the city is increasingly pedestrian-friendly and accessible through active transportation, including pushing for a direct bike path connection from Portland.
She also casts herself as a strong advocate for the city's green spaces, and says she wants to encourage careful development that preserves and grows them, particularly in the city's more suburban and rural areas.
At 32, Crummé is the youngest candidate in this year's race, which she says means she's in touch with a large number of constituents in her own age demographic and can represent Lake Oswego's younger residents.
She says it also encourages her to take a patient, long-term view of the city's development, and to pursue policies aimed at maintaining the small-town feeling and high quality of life that the city's residents currently enjoy.
"I'm invested in the future," she says. "I'm going to be here, I hope, for 60 years, so I really care what shape the city takes."
Jackie Manz says her decision to seek a second term is spurred in part by a desire to see several projects through to completion, including the Boones Ferry Road redesign, a replacement for City Hall and the North Anchor project.
She also says she wants to continue the council and city's ongoing discussions about diversity, equity and inclusion, affordable housing and the future of the Stafford region.
"I feel it's my fiduciary duty, as well as my civic duty, to see (the City Hall project) through," she says. "We've had to make a lot of tough decisions, but I think the end product will be worth the wait."
Manz grew up in Los Angeles and received her bachelor's degree from the University of Portland. She is the owner of Edmunds/Manz Consulting, a strategic management business that focuses on the hospitality industry.
After getting married, Manz and her husband Christian spent several years moving from place to place, with stops including Spain, Ecuador and Florida; his job kept him moving, she says, while her work as a business management consultant was mobile. But they wanted to raise their children in the United States, Manz says, and eventually settled in Lake Oswego 23 years ago.
Manz's initial involvement in the community began with the school district, volunteering in various parent-teacher organizations. She also gained early government experience when she was appointed in 2007 to serve as a member of Oregon's state Tourism Board.
After a few years, she also began to get involved with her neighborhood association and eventually served as the chair for Hallinan Heights. She says she found that she enjoyed being able to advocate for her neighbors, which prompted her to apply to serve on the City's budget committee.
"Step-by-step, I was able to feel I was in a place to be most effective," she says.
Running for council seemed like a logical next step, she says, and she joined the race in 2014 after two years on the budget committee.
Manz says she didn't come into the job with a specific agenda, beyond a general commitment to managed growth in the city. But she says that over the course of her term, she discovered a number of issues where she could have an impact, such as the City's flag lot policy.
Still, she says she makes a point of following what she calls her "listen-learn-lead" philosophy and avoids entering discussions with pre- formed opinions. Perhaps not coincidentally, Manz has developed a reputation as the swing vote on the current council.
"I do consider myself a moderate, not tied to a particular point of view," she says. "I doubt I'll change that aspect — I'm not really a go-whichever-way-the-wind-blows person."
If re-elected, Manz says she wants to maintain a commitment to pathway development and expand her focus on transit issues, both in terms of finding solutions to traffic congestion and exploring the development of alternative forms of transportation — everything from new bike paths to self-driving mini buses.
There's no one-size-fits-all approach to Lake Oswego's transportation issues, Manz says, but she plans to approach the issue by prioritizing input from residents.
"You need to have opportunities for citizens to weigh in," she says. "I'd have to stick with my listen-learn-lead philosophy, and make sure that I'm in alignment with what the citizens would like to see."
She says she also wants to continue the council's current discussion about affordable housing strategies, and one of her biggest goals in the discussion will be to prioritize ways to maintain the city's existing housing stock.
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 2015.
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.
Mboup says he's joining the City Council race because he wants to advocate for students and the school community, and to play a greater role in shaping the future of Lake Oswego.
"I'm optimistic that the future is bright in Lake Oswego," he says. "That's why I want to be a part of this."
Mboup has had a lifelong career as an educator, starting in his native Senegal with a class of 80 students. He majored in English and Linguistics and received a Secondary Teaching Degree from École Normale Supérieure in France. He is currently working on a Ph.D. in education from Portland State University.
Mboup immigrated to the United States in 1999 and taught for 12 years at two Portland-area French schools. He has also taught courses at Chemeketa and Portland community colleges and at PSU. In 2011, he and his wife, Patricia Raclot, founded the International Leadership Academy, a French Immersion School in Lake Oswego.
Mboup and Raclot were drawn to Lake Oswego because of the value the community places on education, he says, as well as the small-town atmosphere and architecture that give the city a European feeling.
"The narrow streets, the roads without sidewalks — it gives a charm to the city," he says.
Mboup is an avid soccer player and volunteers as a coach for youth teams. He's also been a regular attendee at Respond to Racism, a community discussion group founded last summer to explore issues of race and privilege in Lake Oswego.
He says he sees public service as a natural continuation of his duties as an educator, which include listening to children and being an advocate for them, as well as for other groups whose voices are marginalized.
"The most important thing I believe is that people's lives are storied lives," he says. "I want to listen to their narrative."
Mboup says another part of his inspiration to run for council came from a more specific place. He was attending a conference in Seattle last year, he says, when someone mentioned Lake Oswego as an example of a place where students and community members face racism.
"I was shocked by that, and that's when I knew I'm a real Lake Oswegan," he says. "I told them I've never been intimidated to live there. In any place, there are incidents like that. I've been a victim of racial things in Portland, Lake Oswego, maybe in Seattle — but it doesn't make all the folks here bad folks."
Racism should absolutely be addressed and discussed, Mboup adds. He's a strong advocate for dialog about issues of race, and says he's proud of the work of groups like Respond to Racism. But it's not the only thing that defines the community.
"That's why I want to run for City Council, to show that there's another narrative that can be told about Lake Oswego," he says. "The community has people like me who are thriving in their business."
If elected, Mboup says he wants to support youth and schools, as well as community hubs like the library and parks, and hopes he can facilitate greater cooperation between the City and the Lake Oswego School Board.
He also characterizes himself as an advocate for future families, and says he would fight to increase the availability of affordable housing and to make Lake Oswego a leader on environmental issues.
Mboup's previous political experience includes a bid for a seat in Senegal's Parliament in 1998, and he says he visited every major region of the country during the campaign. Lake Oswego's election might be a bit smaller-scale, he says, but he's looking forward to the opportunity to knock on as many doors as possible and engage in dialog with residents.
Daniel Nguyen and his wife Katherine are best known as the team behind Bambuza, a series of Portland-area Vietnamese restaurants. He says his City Council candidacy stems from a commitment to public service, and that his skills and experience as a restaurateur and small-business owner will help him make an impact on the city's leadership.
"It's something that's very important to me, to be able to give back to the community that's given me and our family so much," he says.
The Nguyen family moved to Lake Oswego in 2010, although Nguyen says he's been a resident of the greater Portland region for most of his life. His parents came to the United States from Vietnam as refugees in 1975 and settled in Camas, Wash., where Nguyen grew up.
Nguyen attended college at the University of Puget Sound and later received his MBA from Marylhurst University. He and his wife initially entered the restaurant industry in Seattle, but he says they had always hoped to be able to return to the Portland area. They got their chance in 2008 when they opened a new Bambuza franchise in the South Waterfront neighborhood.
The Great Recession hit just a few months later, but the new Portland location was able to ride out the economic downturn, and Nguyen says those years taught him how to make difficult decisions in order to keep the business going and adapt to a changing environment.
"I think what it taught us is really how to be innovative and careful with our resources," he says. "It forced us to really refocus and think about our priorities."
Bambuza now has six locations throughout the Portland region, including one in Lake Oswego, and the Nguyens are poised to expand back into the Seattle region with new franchises at Sea-Tac airport.
Nguyen says he hopes to be able to apply what he's learned as a business owner to serve the city, and to represent the small-business community on the council.
"As a small-business owner, I work within a budget, and I have expenses and revenue forecasts," he says. "The city is a much larger context, but I think a lot of the basic principles of financial management and planning are things that I practice every day."
Nguyen's first foray into local politics came last year, when he applied for an appointment to represent Oregon House District 38, replacing former Rep. Ann Lininger. The appointment eventually went to Rep. Andrea Salinas, but Nguyen says the six-week process gave him an opportunity to learn the ropes of campaigning.
"I came away with a greater respect for the process," he says. "From a nuts-and-bolts perspective, what it takes to run a campaign."
With an expanding company and two school-age children at home, Nguyen admits he's picked a very busy point in his life to pursue a City Council position. But he says he hopes he can serve as an inspiration to other residents who want to find the time for public service.
"At first I was kind of reluctant and thought it's not really a convenient time," he says, "but then a voice in the back of my mind said, 'You know, there's never going to be a really convenient time.'"
He also says he can bring a unique perspective to the City Council as a younger parent who is raising a family in Lake Oswego. He says some of his biggest areas of focus will be housing and transportation, and those goals stem in part from his own experiences.
"Having a family gives you perspective," he says. "What would it take for another young family like mine to come and live here?"
Wendland says he's joining the City Council race with the goal of maintaining the features that make Lake Oswego "a great city." His focus, he says, will be on supporting the city's infrastructure and basic services.
"I really love Lake Oswego, and I want to keep it going in the right direction," he says. "I'm here for the whole city."
Wendland grew up in Lake Oswego and graduated from Lake Oswego High School. He received his undergraduate degree in Commerce-Accounting from Santa Clara University and remained in California during his early career. He moved back to Lake Oswego in 2003 with his wife Lisa and their two children, who were in elementary school at the time.
"I've lived in Lake Oswego twice," he says. "It's a great place to raise a family, and a wonderful community."
Wendland is the owner and president of Portland Bindery Inc., which has been in operation since 2003. He also currently serves as the board chair of Reading Results, a Portland-based nonprofit that works to help economically disadvantaged students catch up on reading proficiency.
Wendland's community involvement began as an LOSD parent. He served as president of the Parents Club at Lake Oswego Junior High School and as a Lake Grove Elementary School site council member; he also served for one year on the district's programming committee and 10 years on its budget advisory committee.
He was elected to the Lake Oswego School Board in 2009 and served two consecutive terms, including two one-year terms as the board's chair. He sought a third term in May 2017 but lost to current board member Sara Pocklington.
Wendland says he's had his eye on a City Council run for some time, but found himself busy with his roles in the school district.
"I knew it would be in my future sooner or later, that I would want to be on the City Council. But I wanted to give back to the schools first," he says. "(The district) is, in my opinion, the top crown jewel that we have in the community."
Wendland cites the impending departure of Gudman as another catalyst for his City Council campaign. Gudman has a reputation as the council's strongest budget-and-numbers voice, and Wendland says his experience with budgets and the impact of state programs like PERS will enable him fill the void after Gudman's term ends.
"Jeff Gudman is going to be a huge loss on this City Council," he says. "But a lot of my background is business and numbers; I think I would fit in and help replace the skill set that's going to be lost."
Wendland says he also wants to maintain the current council's reputation for cordiality and cooperation, which he says is essential to keep local governments functioning. He casts himself as a well-connected community member who can facilitate cooperation between the City Council and other groups like the LOSD.
Toward that end, he says he would push for the resumption of "Fusion" meetings, which were a series of informal get-togethers among community leaders that used to be held biannually to help build relationships between different groups.
If elected, Wendland says his policy focus would be on infrastructure maintenance and support for core city services like fire, police and parks. One of the examples he cites is road maintenance — another area where Gudman has been known as a champion — although he says he intends to fight for all of the city's core functions.
"That's really the foundation that everything works on," he says. "All those components are working really well together here."
As a business owner, Wendland also says he's concerned about the number of vacant storefronts in Lake Oswego, and wants to work to make the moving and opening process easier for new businesses in the city, especially mom-and-pop shops.
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)