Why I’m Running for County Commissioner | Opinion
To the people of Lincoln County: My name is Ryan Parker and I’m running for county commissioner, post 3, because I don’t think the board of commissioners is doing enough to support the workers of the county.
Throughout the pandemic, the board lacked a unified public face as various policies were discussed, widely criticized and companies struggled.
Newport City Council, where I sit, created a Small Business Support Program to return urban renewal funds to businesses so they can do payroll, pay business expenses and survive in a very difficult time in history, when no such program has been tried or implemented. Returning tax revenue to the companies they come from is a good program, and it’s disappointing that county commissioners haven’t made it a priority.
I see a different future for Lincoln County, and if elected, I would do my best to see to implementing a bold vision where success is shared and encouraged. We could (and should):
• Capping property taxes for owners of single-family homes. If the county wants to raise taxes, it must ask voters to approve any increase.
• To be a leader among all Oregon counties in sustainable forestry – Oregon logs, Oregon sawmill jobs, and Oregon markets for the high quality lumber already produced. A localized Forestry Stewardship Council certification program will open opportunities for direct sales of wood products. This will encourage more locally owned woodlots that can create multiple generations of improved wildlife habitat, landowner income, and carbon storage. I see the need for a direct partnership between the county and the research university, with an incubator on site in Toledo, perhaps on the soon to be released ODF facility. Imagine the possibilities for mill workers, researchers, processors and other stakeholders to create evergreens that could better withstand drier summers, insect pests and future weather disruptions.
• Improve county services, by hiring more employees who do front-line work, and reconsider management salaries. Our tax base cannot support higher pay scales without more income. Lincoln County would benefit from a fair, bipartisan lumber excise tax, which would stay in the county and go to improve streams and rivers for habitat for salmon and rainbow trout, which at in turn supports sport and commercial fishing.
• Examine the expansion of RV camping, as the inventory of RVs and campgrounds in the county does not meet current demand.
• Create a sinking fund for long-term financing of wetland restoration on county watersheds. These practical investments produce better long-term benefits in Lincoln County. This could improve the ability of county watershed councils to continue and expand their important work.
• Ask ODOT to produce a workable plan to begin pre-construction work on a new Yaquina Bay Bridge. Our beloved bridge is 86 years old, and the current plan to operate it as the only crossing for another 20 years is unrealistic and creates significant future economic harm without alternatives.
• Support better management of the Lincoln County School District. We have to help our children who have endured two very difficult years. Career training and school-to-work transition programs on all campuses are badly needed and must be intensified. School-aged children need good, locally grown food, and classified personnel should be paid a going salary for the hard and thankless work they do for us.
Thank you for your support, and please reach out and let me know your ideas and suggestions for how Lincoln County can write a new chapter.
Ryan Parker lives in South Beach. He can be reached at [email protected] and is on Twitter – @RPforCountyComm) – and Facebook – Ryan for Lincoln County.