Why I'm supporting Dick Schouten for Washington County Commission

By Sandy Webb-Robinson of Aloha, Oregon. Sandy is an OLCV Washington County Steering Committee Member, a local lawyer, and prior candidate for State Representative for House District 26.

I am an Aloha resident and decided to move here four years ago. Dick Schouten represents much of the Beaverton and Aloha on the Washington County Board of Commissioners and he has done so most effectively for the past 11 years. He should be your vote in this primary for District 1. District 1 is quite diverse, having pockets of wealth and poverty, rural areas and urban areas, some of the busiest roads I have ever experienced in the area, some of the state's largest employers, and areas struggling to get their store fronts filled. Dick Schouten is very active in every aspect of his district, he knows the district's needs, and he has been effectively leading the county toward those goals his entire tenure. He has been endorsed by the Beaverton Valley Times, The Oregonian, The Hillsboro Argus, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, and many other business leaders, elected officials at the state, county and local levels, and local leaders.

His critics make it seem like Schouten has a single focus set directly on the environment, conservation, and bicycle and pedestrian safety. What they miss when they criticize this area of his effectiveness is that these areas are critical to his constituents.

First of all, for us who live in Aloha and Cooper Mountain and other areas built long ago, we do care about safety because many of our roads were not built with shoulders, sidewalks and/or any safety corridors; parks were not set aside; and appropriate infrastructure was not planned for or implemented as our communities developed before the current standards were in place. We see the need for these improvements every day. Dick has worked hard to improve pedestrian and road safety, including successfully lobbying for a recently awarded Community Development Block Grant to close key sidewalk gaps along SW 173rd near Aloha-Huber K-8 School and the at Kinnaman and Farmington Roads. Dick Schouten has been a great representative for us; going forward we look forward to Schouten's leadership as the Aloha-Reedville Study develops choices for the future.

Second, Schouten is highly effective in other areas. He has displayed great leadership by finding routes to encourage investment from major employers in our areas. Intel and Genentech are just two examples of companies he has worked with for the benefit of the county. Both of these companies are in the middle of expansion projects now. Dick has been and continues to be the Board Leader for the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness. Four years ago he successfully lobbied the Board to adopt the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness. Since then he has successfully lobbied for additional County dollars at key County budget hearings to keep this cost-effective program alive and on schedule. He leveraged the recent appearance in Washington County of a prominent, national homelessness advocate, Philip Mangano, to fully solidify Board of Commissioners support for the County's 10 Year Plan.

He is being challenged in the primary and I do not think the challenger has made a case for Schouten needing to be replaced and/or why she would be the right choice if a replacement had been needed. I am not the type of political conformist who would ever say same party challengers are distractions. I have in fact backed many challengers when the incumbent has become unresponsive, ineffective, or focused on their issues and not the issues important to the district. However, the challenger brings nothing to the table to change my mind. Below are some of the issues that have come to my attention about challenger Betty Bode.

She seems to lose support among people who should be her friends - Mayor Denny Doyle and Beaverton City Councilor Ian King have endorsed Dick Schouten. They know Beaverton and Betty Bode very well and believe Schouten to be the right choice. When Betty Bode had a challenger for her seat on the Beaverton City Council in 2010, many of the usual donors that give to incumbents backed the challenger's race to unseat Bode. I attribute this to Betty Bode's sometimes harsh and divisive personality and inability to make a clear statement. And most importantly, she seems to lack any detail or vision for the district or why she needs to be on the county commission. I have heard her speak on the topic of what she wants to accomplish and she has no solid plan or details to back up her broad statements.

Betty seems to blur the line between official business and politicking. I spoke to a few people that spend substantial time at city hall and report she campaigns while working on behalf of the city - blurring the lines of official business and campaigning.

Elect Dick Schouten. He has plenty of ideas and will continue to serve us well.

Schouten has been endorsed by The Oregonian and the Beaverton Valley Times.

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    Add the Hillsboro Argus to the newspapers that endorsed him.

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    My family and the Schouten family have been close friends and good neighbors for almost 20 years, and like Sandy, I feel there is no better candidate for County Commissioner than Dick Schouten. Dick has proven himself with measurable results, even during these economic hard times: Working to improve our roads and walkways to make them safer for all users. Bringing together government and private organizations to improve the health and livability of our community. Getting much needed federal dollars for transit improvements. Protecting precious rural areas from excess development, and procuring natural areas across the county for all to enjoy. And Dick's frugal Dutch nature has helped him find ways to get things done in cost-effective ways, giving Washington County taxpayers the best investment bang for their buck. Dick listens to voters and businesses, finds compromises that benefit everyone, seeks practical solutions to difficult problems, and is one of the most caring, insightful, humane people I know. Washington County Voters in District 1 - Aloha, Beaverton, Cooper Mountain, the "ABC" - would be wise to reelect my friend Dick Schouten, and I strongly urge all my ABC neighbors to do so.

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