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Citizen's View: By working together, we've achieved a lot in four years

In his latest Citizen’s View column (“Who should be in charge of LO? Someone who listens to citizens,” Aug. 25), mayoral candidate Dave Berg uses accusations, innuendos and no specifics to make a case that he should be in charge. So without innuendos, let me give you some specifics about what has been achieved since my first term began.

Almost four years ago, I became your mayor by saying that this community, its citizens, its character and its future are all passions of mine. I feel the same as I did then — only more so. In these four years, we have faced challenges together, and Lake Oswego is now fast developing a reputation as a city “that can.”

In my first term, we turned down the temperature. We’ve come a long way from previous divisiveness and former ideological agendas that embraced Metro’s plan for our community.

With civility and balance, we reset the table and listened. We found out what you care about through two surveys, several town halls, forums on North Anchor and the Tree Code. We united around what you told us you cared about — our schools, our infrastructure, our roads, our first responders, our arts and our parks.

By realigning spending priorities, we righted a very shaky budget and reduced our debt burden. With high standards and a measured approach, we reduced staff without reducing services, saving at least $2 million annually. We sold the West End Building, saving the city $1 million annually. We encouraged measured growth and progress done right, and we are attracting young families and committed taxpayers to support our schools and our local businesses.

The Lake Oswego-Tigard water project was managed within budget and we reduced Lake Oswego’s share of the total cost. Sensitive Lands regulations were reformed to the maximum extent allowed by law, lessening the impact on private property; we revised the Tree Code, making it less stringent and more flexible. Funding for new miles of bike paths and walkways was expanded, and we converted street lights to LEDs, thus reducing the cost of electricity.

We have come far in under four years, but there is more work to do — more to achieve. Trust, teamwork, discipline and prioritizing have created financial stability. We can now concentrate on the possibilities for the future without leaving a burden of debt for our children. Proven leadership with teamwork is needed to continue the progress we have made.

I look forward to the next four years serving you all. At the end of it, I want a Lake Oswego with a well-educated community — living in safe, healthy neighborhoods, protected against higher-density developments and with all ages enjoying a “can-do,” first-rate city.

Finally, let me say this. Lake Oswego elects a mayor, not a king. I use the word “we” frequently. No one person is in charge of this great city. Nothing can be achieved without a team comprised of the community, city government and a mayor who listens and then leads.

Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie said that “no man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.”

Here again is my telephone number: 503-201-2270. Feel free to call. I can’t and do not want to do it all myself.

Kent Studebaker is the mayor of Lake Oswego. He is seeking re-election in November.