Two Wilsonville women have already announced their candidacies for City Council — and the filing window hasn't even opened.
A week after Development Review Board member Katie Dunwell committed to run in a race for two open seats, former city planner and local volunteer Caroline Berry said she is running as well. Councilor Charlotte Lehan cannot run for reelection due to term limits and Councilor Ben West is running for the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners, so both positions may be filled by newcomers. The application period will run from June 1 to Aug. 23 for the November election.
Berry, a Wilsonville resident since 2010, served as an urban planner in Washington before becoming a consultant for firms that presented projects to municipalities. In Wilsonville, Berry has served on the Wilsonville Library Foundation, Wilsonville Library Board, Wilsonville Transit Master Plan Task Force and on local parent-teacher associations.
"I love the idea that a city is a physical area with people and you can take ideas and have really good discussions and then you can see those ideas become a reality that helps people have a better, more livable quality of life where they can thrive. I love that. I guess I have that heart of a servant. It makes me feel good to be a helper," Berry said.
Berry also noted that she's lived in both China and France, and those experiences taught her there are different ways to solve problems.
"It's not just a one-way thing. Sometimes you take the best of different options and create a new option to solve that problem," she said.
She felt that Wilsonville was currently well-run and well-designed, noting the separation between industrial and residential areas. Berry hopes to keep it that way.
And she believes her experience in city planning would be an asset to the council.
"I think we have a great council and great staff. My intention would be to get to know the staff better and the other councilors, and join in on the discussions. With my background I would be a quick learner and could start contributing pretty quickly," Berry said.
Some topics Berry would focus on include keeping Wilsonville clean and safe, protecting natural resources, working to increase housing affordability and decrease homelessness and promoting workforce development. She's already begun meeting with city staff to learn more about local issues.
"I want people to know I'm excited and it's easy for me to visualize myself in the role of city councilor," Berry said. "With my education and professional background and having lived here for a number of years, I'm ready to jump in and start doing the work."
City Council members serve four-year terms. To run, an individual has to be a Wilsonville resident for at least 12 months prior to election day. They also must submit a petition with 20 signatures from Wilsonville registered voters. The election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.
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