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Local women vie for Sandy City Council Position 2 in November 6 general election

POST PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - With City Councilor Scott Horsfall not running for election for his appointed position on the city council, Bethany Shultz, left, and Laurie Smallwood are running to take council Position 2 in November. With the deadline to register and vote in the general election looming, The Post spoke with the four candidates for Sandy City Council to find out where they stand on contemporary issues and remind constituents of their options come Nov. 6.

The deadline to register is Oct. 16 and registration can be done online at www.OregonVotes.gov/myvote.

Running to replace Councilor Scott Horsfall in City Council Position 2 are Laurie Smallwood and Bethany Shultz.

Smallwood is a two-year resident of Sandy and works as a firefighter/paramedic for the Sandy Fire District. She has served on the city Budget Committee and the board for East Clackamas County EMS and teaches CPR classes for several local businesses.

"I believe we have a great community and live in a unique area of the state where, obviously many people want to live," Smallwood told The Post. "We are close to so many activities. Sandy is also one of the fastest growing cities in the state, which makes this a really exciting time for this area."

Smallwood did not answer the questions provided by The Post, but provided this statement:

"Having participated on the Budget Committee and attended City Council meetings, I have been very impressed with the quality of individuals that work at the city and serve this community. I believe we all have the best interest of our community in mind and desire to see the city of Sandy flourish and continue to be a wonderful place to live and work," Smallwood said. "The City Council is an important part of the future and quality of life for businesses and residents alike. Having been a long time resident who also works in this community, I believe I have the knowledge, skills and understanding to be an effective addition to the council. I also have a strong belief in teamwork and collaboration, and look forward to working with businesses, citizens and neighborhoods to ensure our community continues to be somewhere we can all continue to enjoy, live and be successful."

A stay-at-home mom with two daughters, Shultz has lived in Sandy with her family for five years. She has served on the Parks Advisory Board for the city since May of 2016.

SANDY POST: Why should you be elected?

BETHANY SHULTZ: I am invested in this community. This is where I have chosen to raise my family. I want to be more involved with making decisions as our town grows so rapidly. I am passionate about maintaining the small town values that are so integral to our community even as we continue to expand.

POST: Do you feel your current living situation allows you adequate time to fulfill council duties?

SHULTZ: It does. I will absolutely be able to put forth the time and energy required to fulfill council duties.

POST: List and rank what you consider the most important issues facing Sandy in the next five to 10 years.

SHULTZ: Without a doubt, the most important issue facing Sandy in the next five-10 years is growth. As more families are moving here, we need to be aware of and able to anticipate the growing pains associated with the large numbers of folks coming to join our city.

Along with growth, another issue is maintaining our culture even as we expand.

Another major issue is business development, including the type of businesses we attract and support.

POST: How do you feel about the council's recent decision to consider banning plastic bags?

SHULTZ: I have some concerns about how this ban would affect our small businesses. I would love to see more of an effort to reach out to our restaurants and small shops to see how they feel about such a ban and the the cost it would have on them. We all need to do our part to protect our Earth, but I would hate to see it negatively impact the small shops that are so important to us as a city.

POST: What's your opinion on the recent decision to conduct a city-led search, as opposed to one utilizing a search firm, to find a city manager replacement?

SHULTZ: I appreciate the transparency the city has put forth thus far in allowing us, as citizens, to be aware of the hiring process. I also feel like the money that will be saved in conducting our own search is indicative of a good decision. I hope the correct person is able to be found without a search firm. However, if our own search isn't revealing the individual best suited for the job, I have faith that our city staff will make the call to conduct a wider search potentially with the help of a firm.

POST: In what ways do you think could the city government stay in front of rapid growth and maintain Sandy's livability?

SHULTZ: One of the most important things we can do, in my opinion, is to focus more on maintaining our current parks and natural spaces. As we grow, we will continue to build playgrounds and trails, but we need to make sure we're adequately taking care of the beautiful parks we currently have.

POST: Given the expense of the proposed Sandy Community Campus project, do you feel optimistic, pessimistic or realistic about its possibility of being funded within the next 10 years. From your point of view, what should be done with that property?

SHULTZ: As a mom of young children, I am very excited about our new Community Campus project. I feel that we will be able to create a beautiful space that our whole city can use and enjoy. I would love to see more indoor areas for children to play in during our rainy months as well as extra outdoor space to run around in. We would truly benefit as a community to have a welcoming space to spend time with our family and friends.

POST: Do you consider the planning department "business friendly?" What recommendations would you make to improve relations between the city and the business community?

SHULTZ: As we continue to grow, I hope to see the planning department focus on welcoming businesses that we as a community could benefit from on a daily basis such as nice restaurants and family friendly shops.

Both Council President Jeremy Pietzold and Councilor Carl Exner are running unopposed. Pietzold has served on the council for 12 years and Exner has served since 2010. Pietzold refrained from answering questions from The Post.

"I have lived in the Sandy area for over 25 years. I retired in 1999 from the Forest Service and since then a Realtor," Exner told The Post. "My wife, Julie and I raised our two children in Sandy. I consider my belief in Christ as the single largest influence on my life, and I have had many mentors in Sandy who I owe much to. I love the community spirit that I see when I shop, work and play in Sandy."

POST: Why should you be re-elected?

CARL EXNER: My volunteer experience gives me a unique perspective for Sandy and an understanding of why I should be re-elected in November: my time volunteering as a city planning commissioner, twice elected to City Council; on committees such as Oregon Trail school budget, Sandy City budget, Downtown Sandy walk-ability plan, Clackamas County Coordinating Committee, Sandy urban growth plan, Windermere Community service days, church lead boys club, Sandy Arts commission, Sandy River & Clackamas River Watershed Councils as well as my daily work, places me in the city every day. 

POST: What would you consider your biggest accomplishment on council?

EXNER: I have advocated for and feel my biggest accomplishments and influences on council are the new library, new police station, bringing Bull Run water to Sandy, purchase of the Sandy Community Campus (Cedar Ridge), Sandy Net (fiber and wireless), downtown Sandy (architectural) style and increasing residential lot sizes.

POST: List and rank what you consider the most important issues facing Sandy in the next five to 10 years.

EXNER: In the next five-10 years we need to be smart about our growth. My intentions are to continue to encourage businesses that appeal to our community. Inspire city services to respond to our needs such as making our parks and roads more usable, safe and open to all, affordable and quality residences, building on to the Sandy Community Campus, selecting a highly qualified city manager and enlarging our sewer system that is now at capacity. And finally, find a way to make more of those cars to stop and shop here in Sandy.

POST: What was your stance on the recent council decision to consider banning plastic bags? Why?

EXNER: Sandy has always been a place where a clean environment is one of the reasons people live here. Banning plastic bags is not a decision I would spend a lot of time on, but it is a right-thinking step forward. I do not feel it would have an overly restrictive impact on our businesses.

POST: What was your stance on the recent council decision to conduct a city-led search, as opposed to one utilizing a search firm, to find a city manager replacement?

EXNER: I voted to conduct a city staff-led process to find a replacement for our city manager. I feel that we will have a more thorough vetting with this process. And it involves our highly motivated staff that knows the kind of visionary supervisor we need to lead Sandy. We can do all this and balance this with being transparent and involve the community.

POST: In what ways do you think the city government could stay in front of the rapid growth and maintain Sandy's livability?

EXNER: We have to stay in front of our growing population. Council must pass policy that inspires and motivates our city toward smart growth and excellence. We must think and act like a prosperous city that is open to all and uses government with limited intervention. I will continue to use my position at the county level to advocate for transportation money. Lastly we must use last year's urban growth plan to effectively grow our residential areas.

POST: Given the expense of the proposed Sandy Community Campus project, do you feel optimistic, pessimistic or realistic about its possibility of being funded within the next 10 years. From your point of view, what should be done with that property?

EXNER: We live in a fast-growing city, where our citizens need multi-purpose recreation facilities like the community campus. And we need to provide more for our youth. The pool is critical and the city is the entity best suited to manage it. We will have to find income streams that work the other side of the balance sheet. I believe in the long run we will need to institute a recreation district that builds over the next 10-15 years. This property has the potential to be a gem for Sandy's prosperity and a draw for people and in the years to come we will be glad we did this.

POST: Do you consider the planning department "business friendly?" What recommendations would you make to improve relations between the city and the business community?

EXNER: Sandy has a business-friendly issue. I decided to run for council eight years ago, in large part because of this concern. During my tenure here we moved the ball forward by making city staff changes, by hiring an economic development staff, instituting new business helps and regularly tackling business complaints plus pushing for beneficial zoning and code changes. We do need to do more. We need to find a way to say yes to businesses and time will be needed for the above changes to have an effect. I will advocate for making more incentives to grow and entice new businesses. I believe a public affairs staff is needed to focus on these and similar issues.

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