Council president may not run for re-election
Wilsonville Council President Scott Starr said he almost certainly will not seek a third term while longtime councilor and former mayor Charlotte Lehan said she will run for re-election this fall.
Starr, who has represented Wilsonville on the council since 2010, told the Spokesman in late May that he is 95 percent sure that he will not seek reelection.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to have done this for the last eight years and the confidence the people of Wilsonville put in me," Starr said. "I appreciate that and am honored they've allowed me to do it."
Lehan was first elected to City Council in 1991 and served as mayor from 1997 to 2008. She was then elected to city council again in 2014 and plans to serve for at least four more years if re-elected.
"I think there are a lot of important things that the city is involved in that I think my experience can benefit the city," Lehan said.
The councilors' four-year terms will end Dec. 31 and the election will take place Nov. 6. Prospective candidates must be registered voters in Wilsonville and have lived in the city for at least 12 months prior to the election and must file their applications with City recorder Kimberly Veliz by Aug. 20.
Starr said he's likely leaving the council because he feels that turnover among city representatives is healthy and that long tenures can lead to detachment from the citizenry. He will also use the extra time to visit his children, who live out of town, more often.
"I would say it's true with anyone in government, not just me. You can't help but be more familiar with government but the purpose is (to serve) the people that sent you," Starr said. "You always want to have a strong sense of that behind your decision making."
Starr said he's proud of his efforts to save Wilsonville citizens money — particularly in negotiations over building the SMART transit facility and in developing the "Big Pipe" agreement, the joint-use water access agreement between various Portland metro area cities and Tualatin Valley Water District.
"I think I was able to come in and be a very good steward of other people's money as a government official," Starr said. "(These are) major issues where we saved the taxpayers literally millions of dollars. I'm very proud of my history of being able to do that for the people."
Lehan echoes that sentiment about her fellow councilor: "One excellent thing is: he was always oriented to fiscal impacts — how we could get the most bang for our buck. He's an excellent watchdog of the people's purse."
Starr works as a mortgage banker, has lived in Wilsonville since 1994 and has served as the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce president and coached various local youth sports teams. Currently, he is the council's liaison to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and chairs the Economic Development Strategy Advisory Committee, among other responsibilities.
Starr advises future councilors to be open-minded but not to waiver from their convictions. He said he was occasionally outvoted 4-1 and said he was more wary of density than his fellow councilors.
"There were many times I changed my mind after hearing the facts," Starr said. "But don't be afraid."
Lehan plans to run for re-election in part because she wants to help guide development in the Villebois neighborhood and the emerging Frog Pond area.
"Developments like Charbonneau, Villebois, Frog Pond, these are long-range developments," she said. "You want to make sure the end is as good as the beginning and that it works for all residents."
She added: "I think traffic is a big concern on all of these. We're trying to stay ahead of the traffic issues, with regard to the Boeckman Dip and increasing the connectivity that's necessary to make the city continue to work."
Lehan also views protecting Wilsonville's agricultural land and forging a better relationship with the West Linn-Wilsonville School District over sports fields' usage
as priorities in the years to come.
"It's a very good council and I'd like to see it continue to be strong and responsive to the needs of the citizens," Lehan said.