Get to know the county commissioner candidates

County Commission candidate Jennifer Purcell.
County Commission candidate Jennifer Purcell.

Jennifer Purcell

Tell us about yourself.
My husband Mike and I have been married for 24 years and currently live in Bay City.  We have lived in Tillamook County for 13 years, raising our three children in Neah-Kah-Nie schools.  We are former restaurant owners and I worked for 20 years as an independent consultant in market research, strategic planning, and organizational development.

I value community service and my involvement spans a wide range of interests.  I have served on a variety of committees, including the Tillamook County Futures Council, Tillamook County Parks Advisory Committee, Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Neah-Kah-Nie School District Budget Committee, and Neah-Kah-Nie High School Site Council.

What experience do you have for commissioner?
I have experience addressing complex issues, bringing people together to share ideas and identify priorities, and moving ideas to action.  It is my skills in collaborative processes, coupled with my experience in local and state government, that will provide the leadership needed in the coming years.

As Tillamook County’s Solid Waste Program Coordinator, I managed a $3 million operating budget and various capital projects, including construction of the County’s Hazardous Waste Facility.  I am currently a member of the Governor’s Regional Solutions Team.  My work includes coordinating with state and federal agencies, streamlining regulations, and serving as a resource for communities and new or expanding businesses in Tillamook, Clatsop, and Columbia counties.  I am prepared to represent Tillamook County well because I understand how local governments function and I have developed relationships with regional, state and federal partners.

Why are you running?
I want to put my skills and experience to work for the people of Tillamook County, representing our citizens, our businesses, and our communities on priority issues.  As County Commissioner, I look forward to continuing to connect with people throughout the County, increasing the accessibility of our County government, and encouraging participation.

I look forward to connecting people with opportunities to serve, matching their passions and skills with County advisory committees and local nonprofit boards.  As a Ford Institute Leadership Program graduate and community ambassador, I have had the opportunity to influence new and emerging leaders in our communities. I hope to bring my leadership, convening, and organizational development skills to County government.

What are your top two priorities?
Tillamook County is on the cusp of exciting opportunities and challenging times.  I have been meeting with residents throughout Tillamook County, discussing citizens’ top priorities and issues related to economic development and tourism investments resonate with me as areas that would get immediate attention.
Healthy economies rely on small businesses and entrepreneurs willing to invest in their ideas and their communities.  We must invest in retaining and expanding our existing businesses.  I will work with our businesses to identify barriers to growth, connecting them with the resources and relationships needed to overcome obstacles and thrive.  I look forward to working with economic development partners like Tillamook County’s Economic and Small Business Development Center, our Chambers of Commerce, Tillamook Bay Community College, and Business Oregon.  Our top priorities must be to encourage a diverse economy, expand job opportunities, invest in quality education for a skilled workforce, and address the inadequacy of housing available for families and our workforce.

Tourism makes up an important part of Tillamook County’s economy.  We must continue to look for ways to strengthen our tourism and hospitality related industries, while being thoughtful and strategic with tourism investments.  It is important that Tillamook County residents participate in our tourism economy, identifying community assets, and addressing tourism impacts.  I look forward to working with citizens and tourism partners to ensure Our Tillamook Coast continues to reflect the values of its people, places, and attractions.

Something positive in the county you hope to build upon?
Tillamook County has a remarkable capacity for community partnerships.  Organizations and individuals regularly come together around common causes, moving ideas to tangible, collaborative outcomes.  Tillamook County’s social service agencies meet monthly to share ideas and program updates, identifying opportunities to work together; Tillamook Bay Community College has joined with OSU Extension and others to bring about the new Partners for Rural Innovation Center; residents in the communities of Manzanita, Nehalem, and Wheeler have convened around emergency preparedness, establishing the Nehalem Bay Emergency Volunteer Corps as a robust volunteer network.  These are only a few examples of partnerships that strengthen our communities.  I look forward to building upon our strengths in collaboration and partnering, convening people and connecting resources that can move ideas to action.

If you could have any superpower?
My super power would be bi-location, the ability to be located in two distinct places at the same time.  Different from a doppelganger, look-alike, or a clone, the superpower of bi-location would allow me to physically be in more than one place at a time, fully engaged and participating, creating memories and relationships.

Final thoughts?
The power of our county going forward will be in working together. I am a strong leader with a balanced and collaborative approach to problem solving.  My small business background and work in local and state government makes me uniquely qualified to represent Tillamook County well.
Whether it is our economy, the environment, transportation, housing, taxes, tourism, or many other topics, we all share a passion for making our county the best it can be.  As County Commissioner, I will work to ensure opportunities for our citizens, focusing on growing our economy, strengthening our communities, and protecting our quality of life.  It would be my privilege to serve as your next County Commissioner.

David Yamamoto

yamamoto

Tell us about yourself.
I was born andraised in Selma, Calif., a small farming community in the Central San Joaquin Valley and was driving tractor for my father by age 10. I have a BA in Psychology and after graduation started in the forest products industry where I spent the next 22-plus years, culminating as general/sales manager for two wood pressure treating facilities specializing in utility poles and highway wood. Upon my arrival in Oregon over 20 years ago, I became a long-term care specialist (working for myself as an independent contractor) helping seniors confront issues of aging in place.  I also became a licensed Real Estate Broker (again as an independent contractor) one-and-a-half years ago.

What experience do you have for commissioner?
Over the years, I have become involved in some 20 county organizations and committees, please go to my website at www.dave4bocc.com for a complete list. When you consider the varied responsibilities of a county commissioner, I feel I have a great background to hit the ground running. My volunteer activities include: Pacific City-Woods CAC executive board and  Chair, Land Use Committee; Chair, Tillamook County Futures Council; Northwest Area Commission on Transportation; Territorial Sea Plan Advisory Committee; Tillamook County Health and Human Services Community Advisory Council; Tillamook County Economic Development Council Small Business Advisory Committee; Tillamook County Citizens Corp Council; Tillamook County Transient Lodging Tax Committee; Tillamook County/OSU “Envision” Coastal Futures Project, etc.

Why are you running?
I feel strongly that it is important to give back to the community that has offered so much to me and my wife, Terrie. In my business and volunteer activities, I have taken a leadership role and found myself effective in developing productive collaborations and innovative solutions to problems. Many people I have worked with over the years have been encouraging me to run for county commissioner because of my strong organizational skills, common sense approach to issues, and my willingness to listen to and evaluate all sides of an issue. The riches of Tillamook County are abundant and this is quite evident in the ways they have shaped its people and traditions. This shows in the warmth and friendliness of the people and in the feeling of community that I find so inviting.

What are your top two priorities?
First and foremost, I will endeavor to protect the great lifestyle we all enjoy here in Tillamook County. This lifestyle is under attack on many fronts, but there is one new threat which overshadows all others. This threat is the National Marine Fisheries Service Biological Opinion (NMFS BiOp). This BiOp threatens severe restrictions and in some cases an outright ban on future development in floodplains while at the same time greatly expanding the mapped floodplains. This BiOp, published last April, threatens to allow the Fed’s to take control of land use planning from state and local jurisdictions, and of all Oregon counties, Tillamook County will be the most severely affected. While most people think this will mainly affect property values and building opportunities in our communities, this BiOp will also have a devastating effect on our dairy, forestry, and fishing industries as well. This BiOp is a one size fits all approach to Oregon which does not take in to account everything Tillamook County has already done in the name of clean water and fish habitat restoration by our dairy farmers, timber companies, commercial fishermen, Soil and Water Conservation, watershed councils, and many others.

The second priority revolves around tourism, not because of any major disaster headed our way, but because there seems to be such concern in the community swirling around this topic. I was on the original transient lodging tax (TLT) committee that brought this to the ballot three years ago.  Initial projections showed us bringing in $1.2 to $1.4 million dollars per year. Currently, we are bringing in almost $3M per year.  To date, over $1.8M has gone to the roads department to help maintain our county roads. Best of all, local residents are not paying this tax, rather our visitors are paying.  The angst seems to be revolving around how tourism related facilities monies are being distributed. Currently, it seems that the money is going to whoever screams the loudest. This is not a plan! Is it now time to switch gears and do some long-term visioning for Tillamook County and consider funding major game changer style projects?  As Chair of the Tillamook County Futures Council, we have been tasked by Commissioner Bill Baertlein  to conduct a series of facilitated meetings across the county to help understand what big picture type projects residents would want to see funded in their communities. Ideally, these more expensive large scale type projects would utilize TLT funds as a match to leverage other funding. While these projects may be aimed at attracting visitors, they should also create employment and appeal to local residents and businesses while improving opportunities and quality of life for all of us. When you look around Tillamook County, we are surrounded by small businesses. These small businesses provide much of the employment in the county. Many of these small business owners first came to Tillamook County as a tourist, fell in love with the area, and moved here and started their own businesses. This style of long range planning has been missing from the TLT discussion and it is time for the county to develop its vision around tourism. We need your input into this planning process and I hope you attend the meetings in your area and express your opinion, hopes, and desires.

Something positive in the county you hope to build upon?
The greatest asset in Tillamook County is its people. The traditional natural resource based economies of fishing, timber and dairy required a hard working, no-nonsense, innovative, help-your-neighbor type of people. This is still in evidence today when we see one natural disaster after another being addressed first and foremost by friends and neighbors in the county. Also, we must not ignore the wisdom of those, who for generations, toiled and adapted and made Tillamook County what it is today.  While the newest computer and analytical modeling may point in a certain direction for change, we cannot lose sight of and must try to integrate those ideas that have worked well for generations.

If you could have any superpower?
Like Superman, I would like the ability to fly faster than a speeding bullet. Tillamook County is a long county north to south and the number of meetings and people I would like to have conversations with every day is greatly impacted by being able to drive at 55 mph (much slower in many areas). Fortunately, we have things like cell phones and I would like everyone to know that I will have an open door policy and I look forward to hearing from all of my constituents when you have issues that need discussion.

Final thoughts?
Over the years, I have become involved in many facets of Tillamook County life, and I am committed to ensuring that this community retains its traditional hometown character. I have enjoyed making a real difference here while also managing a successful 20 year career as a long-term care specialist and also as a real estate broker. My candidacy is about the future direction of Tillamook County, bringing a better quality of life, and keeping the values and lifestyles that have make this a great place to live, work, and recreate. While I have been able to make a real difference here while continuing to work full time, I am looking forward to being able to apply my skills on a full time basis as your next Tillamook County Commissioner.









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