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Housing, traffic are issues of concern for City Council candidate David Davis

This story has been updated from its original version.

While working toward a business degree from Oregon Institute of Technology in the early 2010s, David Davis held jobs at Fred Meyer and Fry's Home Electronics in Wilsonville.SPOKESMAN PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Wilsonville City Council candidate David Davis is an Air Force veteran and currently works at the Portland VA Hospital.

Though he left after college, Davis still keeps in contact with some of his former coworkers and said some moved out of town because of skyrocketing home and rental prices.

To Davis, this shouldn't be.

"I think teachers and everyone else that makes a medium income, they deserve to live in the city. If they are not able to live here that speaks to our issue of if we have enough (affordable housing)," Davis said.

Davis is running against incumbent Charlotte Lehan, and challengers Ben West and John Budiao for two open Wilsonville City Council seats and believes affordable housing is one of the city's most pressing issues. The election will be held Nov. 6.

Davis served in the United States Air Force between 2000 and 2011 and was transferred from Oman to Iraq three weeks after the Iraq War began. He recalls feeling the whipping desert sand rush across his face and transporting dead American bodies into planes heading west.

Davis, though, mostly planned the transportation of cargo around the world and also served in Kuwait and Turkey.

"That experience will really benefit me well where there are a lot of moving parts," Davis said.

Though he enjoyed serving his country, Davis said he had close to 10 addresses in 11 years and was tired of packing his bags.

So he retired from the Air Force and moved to Wilsonville in 2011 and worked toward a business degree in operations management at OIT. Now, he works at the Portland VA Hospital as a medical support assistant, where he updates medical records and communicates with nurses who serve veterans at their homes. He's also a member of the City of Wilsonville Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Community Enhancement Committee.

As a member of the parks advisory board, Davis said he focuses on making sure park facilities are safe — specifically that they are properly lighted, have effective signage and that potentially conflicting activities aren't too close together.

"I am dedicated to public service. That was one of the reasons I joined the military," Davis said. "I brought my desire to serve into the local level."

Davis and Lehan have become allies in the race. And during his time working with the City as well as viewing City Council meetings and work sessions, Davis has come to respect the current council.

"I don't always agree with the things they vote on, but for the most part I think they're doing a good job. They address issues in an intelligent way, they're respectful and don't put personal interest and party politics ahead of what would move the city forward," he said.

Davis's policy views are more compatible with the current council than Budiao or West.

Like most of the current council, he's in favor of Metro's Affordable Housing bond that would use property tax revenue to fund affordable housing units across the Portland metro area. However, the Metro bond doesn't mandate that any of the subsidized housing will be placed in Wilsonville. If elected, Davis said he will work hard to make sure that his city receives a piece of the pie.

He also said he wished the City incentivised more affordable housing in the Frog Pond West area, which will consist mainly of large homes and begin development soon, and has conflicted feelings about urban sprawl, which he said can be beneficial but diminishes the natural environment. Unlike West and Budiao, Davis believes the issue of density in Wilsonville is a bit overblown. He said much of Wilsonville's density derives from senior living facilities.

Regarding traffic, Davis is a proponent of Wilsonville's push to add a southbound auxiliary lane along I-5 from the Wilsonville Road exit to the Canby/Hubbard exit. However, if funding is approved, the project is projected for completion by 2027 at the earliest.

"That's not soon enough," Davis said. "We need to lobby agencies to get that done sooner."

He's also against the implementation of red light cameras as a solution to traffic issues.

"The revenue to maintain the camera is based off of the number of tickets (issued)," Davis said. "I don't think it's wise to incentivise tickets. It seems like an unjust method of funding that program."

Personality wise, Davis describes himself as calm, measured and analytical.

"It's not about me. It's about a group effort to get things done," he said. "It's important to see the facts. I'm not going to say 'I feel that it's right.' What do the facts say? What do other people have to say about this?"

Former administrator of Davis's campaign Facebook page and Wilsonville Planning Commission member Simon Springall recently posted a picture of West giving giving his son a rifle for his 10th birthday with the comment: "Unusual parenting technique," causing West to call for the City to reprimand Springall. Davis said he did not know the details of this incident and decided not to comment on it.

Davis said his political aspirations do not extend beyond Wilsonville. And he views his bid less as a political endeavor and more as a way to solve community problems.

"I don't look at is as being a politician. To me it's community engagement and involvement," he said. "That's how local government works."

A previous version of this story misidentified Simon Springall's role in David Davis's campaign.

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