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ENDORSEMENT: Stegmann grasps East County issues

Of the three candidates in the race for District 4 of the Multnomah County Commission, Lori Stegmann demonstrates the most nuanced understanding of the hurdles facing residents living east of 122nd Avenue.

That’s no surprise, given Stegman’s tenure on the Gresham City Council and bevy of advisory panels dealing with planning, development and public safety.

LORI STEGMANNPerhaps more important, the lifelong East County resident also does the best job of enumerating steps that can be taken to move beyond those obstacles.

On homelessness, Stegmann says the issue won’t disappear by merely opening more shelters. Instead, she’ll consider the many reasons that people fall on hard times — drug/alcohol addiction, mental health, disability, discrimination, lack of education, entanglement in the criminal justice system — and search for meaningful solutions through partnerships.

She’s an advocate for additional low-income housing in strategic neighborhoods and an expansion of the housing supply, in general. She also wants to bring together a cross-section of experts and community residents — including homeless people — to work together for a broad range of housing options, including incentives for building accessory dwelling units.

Stegmann believes the county would be better served if the sheriff were appointed. We disagree, but appreciate her ability to defend her position by tying it to her experience in city government, where a city manager hires a police chief. That clear chain of command, she says, provides “a more unified organization, which produces more collaborative, creative and cost-effective results with clear objectives and goals.”

As an elected official, Stegmann may well be the “establishment” candidate in this three-way race. But don’t let that fool you. Stegmann grew up in Rockwood and has operated her small insurance agency in the neighborhood for 17 years.

During that time she’s been an intense advocate for the people living in one of the state’s highest-poverty areas. Serving on the Gresham Redevelopment Commission, she worked on the Rockwood Rising development that will break ground in early 2017, providing a pathway out of poverty to many.

Stegmann is being challenged by Amanda Schroeder, an Army veteran who works for the American Federation of Government Employees Local 2157. She has an interest in veterans issues and has wracked up some union endorsements, but lack’s Steggman’s public service résumé.

Stegmann’s long history of political, business and nonprofit experience are an outgrowth of her passion for serving the people living in East Multnomah County and make her the best choice for Position 4 of the Multnomah County Commission.