Tualatin mayor a shoo-in, one council race challenged
With no challengers, Tualatin Mayor Frank Bubenik is set to cruise to reelection this November.
At the same time, only one of three city councilor positions in Tualatin has a contested race.
At the council level, three positions are open for the November ballot. They include Position 1, currently held by Maria Reyes; Position 3, held by Bridget Brooks and Position 5, occupied by Council President Nancy Grimes, who is term-limited and cannot run for a new term.
Reyes and Brooks are both running for reelection. Like Bubenik, neither drew a challenger this year.
Both Octavio Gonzalez, an account manager for a large landscaping company, and Kelly Horsford, who is a registered nurse and stay-at-home mom, are vying for Grimes' Position 5 seat.
"I'm running for Tualatin City Council because after almost a decade volunteering in our schools, advocating for inclusion and special education, and working as a community builder, it feels like the natural progression to continue to serve our community in a broader way," said Horsford, who is founder and president of the Edward Byrom Elementary School garden project, in an email. "I bring a unique skill set with my background in healthcare combined with my community work; my values support an inclusive environment free from hate, bias, and fearful agendas."
Raised in Tualatin, Horsford said her one of the top issues she wants addressed is traffic congestion, saying that a traffic bond has been used to make improvements around the city as well as plans to make improvements to I-5 to Martinazzi Avenue.
"I support a sustainable, accessible transportation system that provides an affordable alternative to our automobiles, which includes an east-west transit line which currently doesn't exist," said Horsford, who has an associate's degree in nursing from Portland Community College's School of Nursing.
She's also supportive of an upcoming parks bond that will provide more commuter bike trails, and she said she wants to see alternatives to the ODOT's current proposed Interstate 205 tolling proposal.
Horsford also wants to see the city become a more affordable place to live.
"Currently, nine out of 10 employees in Tualatin are not residents of our city. I will support sensible options to increase affordable housing opportunities in Tualatin. By ensuring affordable housing, we can lessen the amount of commuter traffic creating affordability for people who work in Tualatin to live in Tualatin," Horsford said.
Gonzalez, who ran unsuccessfully for a school board seat in the Tigard-Tualatin School District last year, is also running for the Position 5 seat.
"I am an active member of the Tualatin community with the experience to help our city work through its next growth stage," he said in an email.
Gonzalez is currently on the Tigard-Tualatin School District's budget committee. He's a board member of Tualatin Together and is also on a community advisory committee for the school district's strategic planning committee.
Gonzalez said he has experience working with development budgets, homeowners association rules and bylaws, and city regulations, which he believes will be of use on the City Council.
Gonzalez studied business and landscaping at Clackamas Community College.
He said one of the issues Tualatin is facing is a period of growth constrained by Metro's urban growth boundary, which limits how fast city land can be developed or expanded, as well as housing regulations "needing to be updated to reflect changing needs of the community and multi-generational families."
"As an experienced landscape and conservation specialist in the private sector, I would be a great asset to the city of Tualatin as it makes the best possible decisions for Tualatin's long-term planning for the community," he said. "With my extensive experience as a landscape and preservation specialist, I will be an asset to help Tualatin incorporate the appropriate conservation technologies and planting which will need minimal care, resulting in cost savings for the city."
Gonzalez also noted that Tualatin's population and diversity are growing quickly, and being bilingual and bi-cultural, he has the unique ability to bring communities together.
"I will use these strengths to provide a representative voice to our growing community and help bridge the gap for Tualatin's at-risk and most vulnerable community," Gonzalez said. "Having lived many of these challenges myself, I understand the challenges and I am committed to making a difference. My passion is community-building. For positive change, open and honest communication is key."
Although Bubenik was facing a term limit that wouldn't have allowed him to run for reelection, voters in May agreed to allow him to run again. That's when Tualatin residents voted for a change in the city charter that allows a resident to serve up to eight years on the council and another eight as mayor.
The measure changed previous charter language stating that no one could serve as mayor or a city councilor or a combination of both offices for more than 12 years in a 20-year period.
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