Decision 2014: Four vie for three seats on Stayton city council

October, 2014 Posted in News

Editor’s note: In this issue we profile the candidates on the Nov. 4 ballot for the City of Stayton. In the Nov. 1 edition we will feature the Sublimity and Lyons races. 

HANK PORTER is running unopposed for mayor.  He served as mayor in 1979-1985     and 2000-2001. He also served on Stayton City Council in 1974-1978, 1993-1997, and 2011-2014.

Candidates for the three Stayton City Council seats are Priscilla Glidewell and Mark Kronquist, Ralph Lewis and Joe Usselman.

PRISCILLA GLIDEWELL is the owner of Budget Blinds of Marion County and the state coordinator for Safe Families for Children. She is a member of the Stayton Library Foundation, a Stayton community ambassador/leadership facilitator for the Ford Foundation; and is on the North Santiam School District’s facilities committee. A member of the Stayton Rotary and the Stayton-Sublimity Chamber of Commerce, she also volunteers for Habitat for Humanity.

Glidewell proposes, “Is our planning/development system conducive to new business? Our unemployment rate is high, but all local manufacturers have openings they cannot fill. Where is the disconnect? Ask me!”

She believes Stayton’s historic areas should be “improved, maintained and treasured. The best small towns in America are those that have not forgotten or forsaken their history.”

Priorities regarding infrastructure needs, including roads, aging facilities, and the need for new facilities, need to continue to be set within budgetary constraints, she said.

Glidewell said she brings planning and budgetary experience and knowledge gleaned from more than 40 years of work history. She’s worked with at-risk individuals, families and programs, been a business owner and the administrator of county and statewide programs.

“I can promise to provide positive leadership, and joy and love of Stayton, and a commitment of time, hard work and passion to best serve our community,” she said. “The current city council has brought healing and a true sense of teamwork to the table. Let’s keep it going!”

MARK KRONQUIST is a fourth generation Oregonian and single parent of Ian, 19, and Elise, 17. With family roots in Lake Oswego, he is the owner of the Stayton Castle (the Lau House), and is aware that he has been entrusted with a community treasure. When he is not working, he enjoys photography, travel and spending time with friends. He also serves as winemaker for a “tiny winery,” and Winderlea Winery just published a book of his photographs.

Kronquist believes economic development is a key issue facing the city.

“We live in a beautiful town with a downtown that is a ghost town,” he said, adding lessons can be learned from neighboring cities with thriving downtowns. He wants to attract such “manufacturing” businesses as breweries, wineries, coffee roasters and artist studios to downtown by changing archaic laws prohibiting such ventures and getting in the way of helping Stayton attract residents and other businesses.

He would like to see closer coordination between the city, city staff, the city council and the local chamber of commerce and other community leaders and organizations. He believes the city’s investment in solid city leadership can be leveraged to bring businesses to Stayton. He also wants to review city fees to make sure they are justified.

Kronquist, who served on the Board of Oregon Destination Imagination for several years, also wants to explore what city leaders can affordably do to make Stayton a more attractive destination.

“We need more youth activities, family activities, and activities for all ages,” said Kronquist, who is active in Boy Scouts and serves as the Scouting and Youth Activities coordinator and vice-president of Wolverton Mountain Gun Club.

His suggestions include: having a better selection of movies in the park, re-opening the skate park discussion, more concerts, a thriving farmer’s market; and even creating a Stayton beach with a few truckloads of sand, complete with beach volleyball on city-owned land west of the community garden.

“I am willing to take the plunge, roll up my sleeves, bring a creative mind to the council, and, most importantly, to listen,” said Kronquist, who said he has a plethora of good ideas he is willing to share with community members.

RALPH LEWIS is married to Gail and has five sons and two grandchildren. The couple fostered children for 17 years. He was a Peace Corps volunteer and a teacher in the Virgin Islands and in Jewell and Milton Freewater, Ore. He works for Senior and Disability Services, and has lived in Stayton for 21 years. He served on the Planning Commission for 15 years.

According to Lewis, a key issue facing the city is maintaining livability while continuing to grow. Challenges are finances and “the attitudes of others who are opposed to growth,” he said.

“I believe I work well with others, and am willing to listen to the opinions of others,” Lewis said.

JOE USSELMAN has deep roots in the Stayton area. He and his wife, Leslie, raised three children in Stayton – Anna, 24, Meagan, 22, and Michael, 20. He works at Stayton Middle School teaching eighth grade social studies. He has also been involved in various programs throughout the Stayton area from helping with YMCA sports to Little League.

Usselman believes the city of Stayton is in good condition due to strong leadership currently in place with city council and city leaders. His objective is to work with those community members to held Stayton reach its full potential.

“My goal is to ensure that Stayton remains a town that is livable for all its citizens, whether they are families, seniors or single adults,” Usselman said.

Passionate about youth, he also wants to provide opportunities such as a youth center, and improving parks and library programs.

“One idea would be to develop a tutoring center where seniors could tutor the youth after school, and the youth could help the seniors navigate the Internet,” he said.

Usselman said funding is the biggest obstacle with any project and would approach the issue by working with community leaders to find committed volunteers to find creative solutions for the betterment of Stayton’s youth and other city needs.

“I will always strive to put the community needs first, think clearly, keep an open mind, and research all options available of the topic up for consideration,” he said.

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