20-year-old could be West Linn's next city councilor
He may be the youngest of West Linn's field of 10 city council candidates, but Rory Bialostosky doesn't think his youth should count against him. He pointed to endorsements from local electeds and years of experience in city politics.
"You can view my testimony. You can see my positions on a lot of different issues," said Bialostosky. "I'm proud of my age. I think young people are the future."
The family of the 20-year-old council candidate moved to West Linn in 2004, for one of the aspects of town he says makes West Linn great.
After attending Willamette Primary, Athey Creek Middle School and West Linn High School, Bialostosky is now in his third year at Lewis & Clark College as an international affairs major with plans to attend law school.
West Linn residents familiar with news out of City Hall over the past several years may recognize Bialostosky's name from his 2016 fight for more student parking at WLHS or his 2019 lawsuit against current City Councilor Teri Cummings regarding public records (the lawsuit is now before the Oregon Court of Appeals after he appealed a Clackamas County Circuit Court judge's decision).
This sort of engagement with city government is part of why Bialostosky believes he is a strong candidate for council. He pointed to his record of "getting things done" on the high school parking issue, noting the new spots on the West A Street bridge as well as a new parking lot the district plans to build as part of the 2019 Capital Bond.
He said the lawsuit, which he filed after two unanswered records requests for Cummings' council notes, reaffirmed his commitment to transparency.
"The public's right to know is one of the sacred principles of Oregon's public records law and I learned that that can be pretty quickly lost if you don't fight for it," Bialostosky said.
Bialostosky also credits his experience as a legal researcher at the Harker Lepore law firm as a beneficial attribute for a councilor.
His legal background, he said, will help him ask the right questions of the city attorney and other city legal advisors. Bialostosky also said the council has not used its legal services in a cost efficient manner.
"We have not done an RFP (request for proposals, for legal services). We've been with the same firm for 20 years. We need to take a look at how much we're spending on legal services," he said.
The primary reason Bialostosky is running, he said, is because of the dysfunction of the council over the past several years. He said he wants to be a part of the solution to that dysfunction.
He said he's also running to improve the city's relationships with regional partners, noting that he'd like all councilors to be more active with local bodies like C4 (Clackamas County Coordinating Committee), Metro or the I-205 tolling committee.
"We need to be at the table. West Linn is not an island," Bialostsky said.
He is also running to "restore the broken principles of transparency," he said.
Despite where the City Council has gone backwards in the last few years, there is still good in West Linn, Bialostosky said. In his eyes, West Linn's strengths are its sense of community, schools and parks.
"It's important for people to get involved and be a part of the solution. And more importantly, I want young people to know you can do this. You can easily get involved and run for office," he said, adding that he hopes to be the representative for young working professionals, young families and students in West Linn.
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