Two file to be Newberg's next mayor
BY NEWBERG GRAPHIC STAFF
A former Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce citizen of the year and a local auto technician have thrown their hats into the ring to become Newberg's next mayor.
Rick Rogers and Nicholas Morace filed with the city of Newberg after Mayor Bob Andrews announced several months ago that he wouldn't seek re-election. His term expires at the end of the year.
"I believe Newberg is at a critical juncture in its history," Rogers said. "The decisions made in the next few years will impact the long-term livability and character of our home. If the voters support my candidacy, I will direct my skills and experience to making Newberg a great place to grow."
Rogers, 59, has nearly three decades of experience working with nonprofit organizations, from overseas development to grant writing, accounting, public health and transitional housing for the homeless. He is executive director of Newberg Habitat for Humanity and chairman of the board of directors for the Newberg Education Foundation and the Citizens' Rate Review Committee, as well as a member of the school district's budget committee.
We asked Rogers, if elected, will he have to give up some of his other commitments.
"Habitat for Humanity is a part-time position, as is coaching," he said. "I plan to continue with these two passions/activities. Other committee and board positions will be limited so I can focus on the City Council and the duties of the mayor."
The father of three Newberg High School swimming and water polo standouts, Rogers also coaches the NHS boys rugby team. He was raised in Hawai'i until the seventh grade, when his father moved the family to the Philippines for the next four years. After that they moved to Brazil for his junior year and he finished high school at the Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Mass.
After graduation he took various jobs in banking, journalism and ran a small commissary business at the United States Consulate in Brazil, which piqued his interest in nonprofit agencies. Wife Lisa Rogers worked for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Rick Rogers worked at Africare' both are aid agencies.
The growing family ended up in Newberg when Lisa Rogers started a job with CASA of Oregon in 1999. A year later, Rick Rogers signed on to assist Habitat for Humanity with writing grants and a year later he was named executive director.
Rogers said he has some help developing a strategy for his campaign.
"A group of volunteers is currently drafting a plan to help with the campaign," he said. "I anticipate some door-to-door canvassing, stump speeches, signs, an on-line presence and the always vital word-of-mouth support."
Rogers is joined in the campaign by Morace, a member of the Citizens Rate Review Committee for four years and founder of Veteran's First, a nonprofit organization that focuses on advocacy for veterans.
"I really have the desire to serve our community and the community that I live in," he said. "I thought what a better way to do that then to serve as mayor."
Morace, 34, has been married for almost 15 years and has four children ages 7 and younger. He works as an auto diagnostic technician at Steve's Auto Service and moved to Newberg nearly 10 years ago from Montana.
"All our kids were born here and this is our home," Morace said. "Through Veteran's First, I've worked a lot on the state level with legislatures and senators just trying to get our veterans the kind of care that they need on the legislative level."
He elaborated on why he wishes to join Newberg city government.
"I've been watching at how everything works and, honestly, I would like to get some fresh eyes in there," he said, "some younger people and people who have been on the sidelines looking on and formulate a plan to improve Newberg."
City Council positions for District 2, District 4 and District 6 expire at the end of the year as well.
District 2 councilor Stephen McKinney is undecided whether he will run again for council. District 4 councilor Patrick Johnson has filled re-election and Brad Sitton has filed for the District 6 spot being vacated by Scott Essin. The District 1 spot is open for appointment after the resignation last week of councilor Matt Murray.