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Meet the Candidates 2003 - Ross Loudenback
What are the three biggest problems facing North Bend?
1. Getting out of the water moratorium is job one for the city. Without water it will be nearly impossible for any annexation or additional building to occur in North Bend. The city engineer has estimated that we need an additional 13 percent more water than we have currently allotted simply to serve the existing customers.
2. Traffic and parking will be another challenge for the city. It is going to be difficult to handle the increase of commuter traffic from the AF Evans project and the new office complexes to the east and west of the downtown corridor. Solutions must be found to facilitate the efficient flow of traffic and to accommodate the increased parking needs in the downtown corridor. It does no good to draw people downtown if they cannot park there.
3. We will need to move quickly to address the growth in our UGA (Urban Growth Area). We need to secure interlocal agreements with the county to develop a common set of development standards. Preventing any further industrial developments and schools from being put on a septic system over our drinking water aquifer should be a priority.
Bringing business to the downtown sector has been a topic of discussion for years within the city. If elected, what will you do, not only to bring new business downtown, but to ensure that the current businesses remain in the area during the renewal process.
First I think you have to be able to identify and relate to the key stakeholders downtown and I can do that and have already started building those relationships. I believe leading into a conversation with the threat of litigation or new regulations doesn't build partnerships or open dialog. The city must have realistic, flexible policies that will allow for the current businesses to flourish and encourage new businesses to invest in the area.
The city has an obligation to provide the infrastructure and regulatory framework to make this happen. A renewed partnership with the Chamber of Commerce is a good place to start for promoting the downtown and special events to draw people to North Bend. Once businesses see the potential of downtown and the willingness of the city to help them relocate here, I believe the retail/restaurant/ hospitality corridor will flourish.
What is your vision for the future development of North Bend?
Unless we act quickly, the future development of North Bend will be dictated to us by King County. I think most of us can see how this will develop. The county will continue to authorize building in our Urban Growth Area and the city will be forced to plan and build adequate infrastructure for the eventual annexation of those areas in keeping with the terms of the GMA (Growth Management Act). Taxes and fees will have to rise to accommodate the costs of the infrastructure, making it difficult to afford living and working in the city limits of North Bend without annexation to spread the cost.
The state may eventually force annexation, but until then we, as a city, must convince the neighborhoods, businesses and landowners in our Urban Growth Area of good reasons to be annexed by the city. This will be the key to how North Bend will develop after we obtain a reliable, adequate source of water.
What qualities do you have that make you the best candidate for the job?
The qualities that I will bring to City Council are listening, the ability to learn quickly and communicate with the key players to get things done. I have the education and work background to do the job and the desire to do it well. I will serve with integrity and make sure that the council is serving all of its citizens to the best of my ability.
Resident opposition to the SCTF was a huge rallying point for the city. How are you going to parlay that movement into gaining more involvement from resident participation in city government?
Hopefully the area residents will not have to face a threat of the magnitude and immediacy of the SCTF again. I think that citizens of North Bend will come to participate more in city government if it is made more attractive and easy. More communication about current issues is the key and letting the citizens know when and where there are opportunities to serve.
Staying in touch with citizens will enable us to know what interests the individuals have and what degree of involvement is in their comfort level. Diverse appointments to committees and commissions will ensure that all viewpoints are aired and will keep the volunteer base fresh. People like to participate when they feel that their efforts will result in some meaningful action.
Anything else you'd like the voters to know?
I have been attending almost all council meetings, Planning Commission meetings and some work studies for over three years. I am interested in what is happening in our city and how it will impact the citizens and taxpayers of North Bend. I would appreciate the opportunity to serve the citizens of North Bend on the City Council position No. 3.