This fall, voters will elect three people to the Hillsboro City Council, but no matter who is chosen, theres one issue on all of their minds:
How do you manage the citys growth?
Six people are racing for three open positions on the Hillsboro City Council. The filing deadline for council candidates was Friday, Aug. 26.
The Council is broken up into wards, each representing a specific portion of the city, although they are elected by voters city-wide.
In Ward 1, which represents much of the northern and eastern parts of town, incumbent Rick Van Beveren is running against political newcomer Abdi Muse.
Van Beveren, who runs the Reedville Café near Aloha, has served on the City Council since October 2015, after he was appointed to fill a vacant seat left by the resignation of Megan Braze.
This is where I want to invest my time, Van Beveren told the Tribune on Monday.
Van Beveren said the citys biggest challenge is how it will deal with a surge in growth expected over the next several years. Hillsboro is expected to outpace Gresham as Portlands largest Oregon suburb in the next two decades.
Were growing quickly, which is a good thing for our economic viability, but that comes with lots of challenges including transportation, roads and transit," he said. "Affordable housing and keeping a diverse range of housing are imporatnt to meet the needs of citizens now and into the future.
Van Beverens opponent, Muse, worked to build the Somali Community Center in Portland.
Muse, who came to the U.S. from Somalia several years ago, said that he wants to serve as a role model for other Hillsboro residents like himself.
I want to be seen as a role model for young immigrants or colored members of our community, because it is hard for them,"
Muse is passionate about education, and said hed like the city to get more involved in education, offering pre-kindergarten opportunities for families.
I want to see the city partner more with the school district, he said. I want to help foster that relationship.
Muse said he wants to see more affordable housing added to Hillsboro, as well.
Too many people are being forced to move away, he said.
Ward 2 represents the central part of Hillsboro, and is the only race without an incumbent.
But voters might remember candidate Brenda McCoy, who ran for City Council in 2014, but withdrew from the race shortly after filing. She said supporters in Hillsboro encouraged her to give the race another shot.
I was called to it by my neighbors and peers, she said. I still had support here, and it made sense to try again.
McCoy agreed that managing Hillsboros growth was the most important issue facing the city. We need to grow sustainably while still protecting the livability of Hillsboro, she said. One thing we need to look at are the tax breaks we give to businesses and make sure we are collecting tax breaks appropriately.
McCoy said she also supports extending MAX service to Forest Grove and adding bike lanes around the city, which she said would help alleviate congestion.
McCoys opponent is Anthony Martin, a financial and economic analyst for the public sector.
Martin, who moved to Hillsboro more than a year ago, said that he wants to improve the city's infrastructure to make way for the influx of new residents.
We need to be proactive in the choices we make, he said.
In his day job, Martin works with cities on financial issues.
We do economic studies to make sure cities are financially prepared for the day-to-day, he said. I think that makes me really knowledgable for the council.
Fred Nachtigal is wrapping up his first term on the council and is hoping for four more years with the city.
Nachtigal, an attorney in Hillsboro, said that he has a "long-term vested interest in Hillsboro" and said that he'd like to continue the work he started four years ago.
"All city issues circle around growth," Nachtigal said in an email to the Tribune. "The projections for growth are large on into the foreseeable future. South Hillsboro will add phenomenal growth. The planning for growth and traffic will be a large issue. I hope to successfully deal with these issues."
Nachtigal faces a political newcomer in his race in Ward 3, which represents Hillsboro western and southern edges. Sandra Jafarzadeh got involved with politics last year. She said she was inspired to run by former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
We are growing great and good things are happening here, but were forgetting the low income people, the seniors, the people with disabilities, she said. We dont have enough housing for them. I think I can be the voice of these people.
Jafarzadeh said her biggest issue with the city was adding more affordable housing.
We can come up with policies to benefit everyone, she said. I know that its not going to be easy. There are a lot of rocks in my way. We might not all think the same way, but maybe people will realize that this lady might me a little right in what she says.
Voters will cast their votes in the race on Nov. 8.
By Geoff Pursinger
Associate Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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