Longtime volunteer Tom Geil now first-time Oregon City candidate
A lifelong Oregonian, Tom Geil became active in city politics almost immediately upon moving to Oregon City over 19 years ago.
Geil served as chair of the Citizens Involvement Council for three years, followed by Planning Commission for eight years. He's served as chair, vice-chair and treasurer of the Park Place Neighborhood Association.
Now as a first-time candidate, Geil hopes that voters will select him among the top volunteers for city commission. In the new election format, Oregon City citizens will select their top-two choices among all of the commission candidates who filed for the November ballot.
Voters may recognize Geil's name as a frequent contributor to Oregon City News. City commissioners eventually created a citywide tree and sidewalk replacement/reimbursement program after Geil wrote newspaper articles and testified at meetings several times over the past year about the poor condition of sidewalks caused by tree roots.
While he has opposed proposed developments in Park Place, where 476 homes are planned without any immediate relief for traffic on Holcomb Boulevard, Geil says he's not anti-development. As a planning commissioner, he's voted for many developments that he believed were responsible, such as the hotel planned by former OC Mayor Dan Fowler and the initial Willamette Falls project at the old mill site.
"I will vote to approve any development that adds to the integrity of Oregon City," Geil said. "Just because there is open land, we do not need to cover it with more impervious surfaces with roads and homes."
Geil's other priorities include supporting Metro-wide solutions to homelessness, opposing tolls on Interstate 205 and keeping citizens better informed about Oregon City issues.
Geil said that elected city commissioners need to be ready to serve citizens on day one.
"Oregon City is facing years of intense change and growth," he said. "I'm a firm believer that, to serve in this critical position, you need to have previous experience in some civic volunteer capacity."
Geil said he will not be accepting endorsements from current members of the city or planning commissions because he "didn't want them to feel uncomfortable" in choosing among or between candidates.
"I am running based on my ideas and qualifications. We are all friends and associates," Geil said.
Geil said there's a serious need for volunteers on many Oregon City advisory committees and boards, and he encouraged citizens to apply for any open positions at orcity.org.
Pamplin Media Group has previously featured City Commissioner Adam Marl's candidacy and plans to feature other candidates as well.
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