Tryan Hartill, June Lake and Peter Roscoe are vying for the Ward 2 position on the five-member Astoria City Council. All three candidates for the open seat are taking the political plunge for the first time.
Whoever fills the open slot will help choose a new city manager and a new public works director.
The search for a new city manager is under way, but the council will wait until the new member is seated so he or she can have a say in choosing a successor to Dan Bartlett, who retired at the end of June and is staying on as a contract employee in the interim.
On Aug. 15, Bartlett fired Mitch Mitchum, the city's longtime public works director. The dismissal came after Bartlett investigated actions that led to costly mistakes related to construction of a pump station on West Irving Avenue that is a component of the Skyline Water System Improvement Project. Mitchum plans to appeal the decision.
The council seat has been vacant since May 1, when Les Zimmer resigned after completing just four months of a four-year term. The winner of the Sept. 20 special election will fill Zimmer's unexpired term, which ends on Dec. 31, 2008.
Ballots go out today to the 1,725 registered voters in Ward 2. It includes the south side of Astoria and extends from the south shores of Youngs Bay to roughly the crest of Niagara Avenue.
Tryan HartillTryan HartillAge: 26
Occupation: Production manager, Josephson's Smokehouse
Education: Attended Lower Columbia College and Clatsop Community College, no degree.
Length of time in community: 26 years
Affiliations: Astoria Golf and Country Club
Prior experience: Serves on the Port of Astoria's energy committee
Key issues: Encouraging citizens to become more involved in local government; local energy production through renewable energy sources; improving traffic flow throughout the city; improving the aesthetics of downtown Astoria; keeping educated youth in the area; improving the quality of life for local residents.Tryan Hartill, 26, is production manager at Josephson's Smokehouse in Astoria. A native Astorian, Hartill is bullish on his hometown. He says he believes Astoria is on the right track with a combination of tourism and light industry, and sees a prosperous future with opportunities for investment and controlled development.
Hartill says traffic congestion is an issue for Astoria, but he would like to see more studies before settling on a solution. He sees the riverfront as a transportation alternative for people who could park their cars a few blocks away and walk to their destinations.
If elected to the City Council, he would emphasize communication and reach out to the community, especially to young people. He would also want the city to look to renewable energy as a way to reduce costs during the energy crunch he predicts is on the way.
June LakeJune LakeAge: 45
Occupation: Self-employed in financial services
Education: Attended Richfield College, Dallas, Tex., no degree
Length of time in community: 10 years
Affiliations: OSU Master Gardener, Lower Columbia Preservation Society
Prior experience: None
Key issues: Represent the interests of Astoria residents; take the same care and consideration of Astoria's financial responsibilities that I do my own, and be accountable for those decisions; base economic decisions on complete and accurate information and analyze the cost and benefits of each alternative; think "outside the box" by looking for opportunities to utilize existing facilities at their highest and best use.June Lake, 45, is self-employed in financial services, and she considers her financial background her biggest asset.
She says she is concerned about the way the city spends money and considers it important to keep track of how money is spent. For example, she would like to find out why the Aquatic Center's deficit continues to grow and what can be done about it.
A set of checks and balances should be set up to monitor spending, she says.
She said the situation with the pump station and subsequent dismissal of the public works director, along with the handling of a proposed visitors' center at the Astoria Column and other issues have eroded public confidence in the council, and she would like an opportunity to help the council gain it back.
Lake is pleased with the way development is proceeding in Astoria. She says Astoria should retain its "folksy charm and acknowledge its origins in logging and fishing, while promoting retail development.
Hiring a new city manager who is detail-oriented, with a strong background in management, is of utmost importance to Lake. She is also is concerned about traffic in Astoria and would look into the issue of a bypass. She is pleased with the pace of development in Astoria, and would enhance and promote what is special and unique about the city.
Peter RoscoePeter RoscoeAge: 58
Occupation: Owner of Fulio's Pastaria; host of radio talk show "Soundbites"
Education: University of Oregon and University of Notre Dame in British Columbia, no degree
Length of time in community: Family has maintained a residence in Astoria since 1955. Returned to live here full-time in 1999.
Affiliations: Oregon Restaurant Association Board of Directors, 2005; American Heart Association "Affair of the Heart" fundraiser 1996-99; American Express "Taste of the Nation" participant 1987-2005; Chefs' Collaborative 1995-2003; Portland Culinary Alliance 2003-04; Astoria Golf & Country Club 2003-present.
Prior experience: Astoria Planning Commission-2005; Duncan Law Seafood Consumer Center Board of Directors 1998-present; Multnomah County DUII Advisory Committee 1993-96; Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Shellfish Advisory Committee 2002; ODFW Razor Clam Advisory Committee 2005; State of Oregon Solid Waste Advisory Committee 1978; U.S. Navy, 1965-69.
Key issues: Encourage business and industry; preserve Astoria's heritage without closing the door on development; provide leadership that is sensitive to the wishes of the people; investigate all possible alternatives before making decisions.Peter Roscoe, 58, a self-described pasta and soup seller, is the owner of Fulio's Pastaria in downtown Astoria. He moved to Astoria as a child, graduated from Star of the Sea High School, attended college and served in the U.S. Navy for four years. In 1999, after living in Portland and elsewhere, he returned to Astoria.
Roscoe says it is important to protect Astoria's heritage, but an industrial base is needed, whether it's based on natural resources, high tech or energy, such as liquefied natural gas.
Although he considers tourism important, he says it's not enough. Astoria needs some "good, solid industry-based jobs," he says, and it's important to keep a working waterfront. He said developments at the Port of Astoria, including the new hotel, Englund Marine and Bornstein Seafood, are very important for the future of Astoria. And he's pleased with the business climate in downtown Astoria.
Roscoe said he's interested in a bypass or truck route as a solution to traffic congestion, and is concerned about the landslide on the east end of town and the pump station snafu.
Although he has never held public office, Roscoe said serving on various boards has acquainted him with the governmental process.
The Daily Astorian's Sandra Swain talks with the candidates about why they are running. (Click here to listen to interviews.)