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Karla Laws, seeking a seat on city commission, pledges to fight park fees and value resident input if elected in November.

Elyville neighborhood chair Karla Laws is seeking to "bring a new dimension of community involvement to the city commission," running to empower resident voices if elected in November as an Oregon City commissioner.Karla Laws

"For too long citizens, businesses and the community have been seeking upper-level city administration without responses or results. I intend to work for change on this and encourage the city to respond to citizens who fund city government," Laws said.

Voting with other members of the Citizens Involvement Committee in August 2021 to call for an investigation, Laws alleged "lots of bad practices" in the Community Development Department, which includes the city's planning and land-use functions.

Laws says she has a plan to address the dysfunction neighborhood leaders have identified between the city's administration and citizens, volunteers and development service partners. Using her bachelor's degree in business supply-chain logistics management, Laws desires transparent financial reports and annual budgets that are understandable for residents.

"There is a need to connect city staff leadership back to the community in seeking to improve customer service," she said.

Laws serves as secretary of the nonprofit Oregon City Park Foundation in addition to her roles volunteering for city committees. Desiring to build Oregon City's greenspaces and parks with a "holistic approach," Laws pledged to continue to fight against park fees that the city imposed this year.

Laws would like to address resident concerns on infill and create "positive change" by increasing the value that city officials place on resident input for proposed developments. In a recent article by Oregon Public Broadcasting, Laws spoke out against the recent mandates from the Oregon Legislature for cities to allow infill development in Oregon City neighborhoods impacted by increased traffic and parking constraints.

"The huge impacts of infill development that the state has mandated are really impacting our neighborhoods, and I will work to change that, even if I have to go to the state legislative level," Laws said. "Good projects like the Legacy Project at the falls are not getting done while we are dealing with the overwhelming impact of infill development and lack of infrastructure."

Laws has received endorsements from former Mayor John Williams, Oregon City school board member Michele Stroh, Citizen Involvement Committee Chair and Planning Commissioner Bob La Salle, Gaffney Lane Neighborhood Chair Amy Willhite, who is the former Citizen Involvement Committee chair, and Natural Resource Committee member Samantha Wolf.

More information about her campaign can be found at or on the Facebook page, Karla Laws for Oregon City.

You can find other articles online that Pamplin Media Group has written about Oregon City Commission candidates.

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