2020 General Election: Lebanon City Council race includes two registered candidates, active write-in

Editor’s note: Lebanon has only one competitive race in the 2020 City Council election, with two registered candidates for the Ward 1 seat being vacated by Councilor Robert Furlow, along with one write-in candidate who has been extremely proactive in getting her message out. Those three, Wayne Dykstra, Zach Beck and write-in Christan Stagg, are profiled below in a Q&A format. Also running are Mayor Paul Aziz, Councilor Rebecca Grizzle (Ward 2) and Councilor Jason Bolen (Ward 3) are running unopposed.

Zachary Beck, 18

Years in Lebanon: 18
Education: Lebanon High School senior.
Professional Experience: Lebanon High School and Spirit Halloween in Albany.
Political Experience: Lifelong political observer, grandfather served on City Council.
Other Community Involvement: Scouts since 2007, candidate for Eagle Scout award.
Family: Parents Jacki and Jim Beck, grandfather Raymond Weldon.
Contact: [email protected]

Wayne Dykstra, 76

Years in Lebanon: Childhood, 2013 to present.
Education: Abilene Christian University (doctor of ministry, leadership development); Emmanuel Christian Seminary (master of divinity); Hope International University (master of arts, church growth); Puget Sound Christian College (bachelor of arts, Christian education); U.S. Navy (electronics); Lebanon Union High School.
Professional Experience: Retired senior minister, Sun City West Christian Church, Sun City West Ariz., Senior minister, Prine-ville Christian Church, Prine-ville; Professor, Nebraska Christian College, Norfolk, Neb.; Electronic sales, JW Electronics, Salem; Business owner and sales and service, Lafayette Electronics, Albany; Thompson Electronics, Eugene; U.S. Navy, electronic technician, Pacific theater.
Political Experience: Board member, Lebanon Museum Foundation; President, Lebanon Genealogical Society; Board member, Board of Associates, Emmanuel Christian Seminary; Board member, Oregon Christian Convention; Board Member, Christian Counseling Center, Eugene; volunteer, Maricopa County Republicans; Chamber of Commerce, Albany.
Other Community Involvement: Ministerial associations; Lebanon Library volunteer; Bible study leader; Southside Church of Christ.
Family: Married 55 years to Patricia, two grown children.
Contact: [email protected].

Christan Stagg, 43

Years in Lebanon: 22
Education: Portland State University (2010, master of social work) University of Oregon (2007, bachelor of arts), Linn-Benton Community College (2005, Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer); South Albany High School (1994). Professional Experience: Current small business owner; 2013-present, Medical integration research; 2010-13 Peace Health Johnson Unit Acute Care Psychiatric – medical social worker and therapist; 2006-13 Milestones Inc; Outpatient dual diagnosis therapist for adolescents and families; 1996-2007 Chamberlin Inc., care provider for vulnerable populations.
Political Experience: Endorsed by Linn County Democrats.
Other Community Involvement: Chair, Housing, Equity and Resource Coalition; Board member, Family Assistance and Resource Center; Member, Live Longer Lebanon; Volunteer, seasonal community clothing drives.
Family: Husband Anthony Mobley; daughters Paige and Jade Stagg, three grandchildren.
Contact: [email protected] or (541) 570-4652.

The Questions

Why do you want to be a Lebanon City Council member?

Zach Beck: I want to help the people of Lebanon, and see the town grow. I see the problems we face and I want to find out why they are happening, what can be done, and how to fix it. I want to improve our spending and taxpayer dollar usage dramatically. As a council member I’d also like to see a more open City Council, who will communicate with our citizens more. Lastly I’d like to see a big change in billing and infrastructure.

Wayne Dykstra: With my education and experience in leadership development, I feel I can contribute to the overall vision and direction of the city.

Christan Stagg: Bottom line, I care about Lebanon and the people who live here. I have been a part of this community for over 22 years, both personally and professionally, it has supported me through every moment and city council is an opportunity for me to give back.
I have raised two daughters with my husband, and currently three grandchildren, own and operate a small business, and received a master’s degree in social work all while living here in Lebanon. These experiences have prepared me to serve this community with a unique perspective and voice which
I believe can be used to accurately represent our increasingly diverse community.

Please describe your view of the proper role of government and how your philosophy of government would impact how you carry out your responsibilities in leading the city.

Christan Stagg: First and foremost, I believe that government should be for the people and by the people; the role of local government is that of record keeper, advisor, representative, and decision maker.
The most impactful way to ensure this occurs effectively is by increased communication and contact between City Council members and the people of their community.
I don’t believe government should self-serve or dictate against the will of its people; so, understanding the needs of the community is imperative for representation.
The functions, infrastructure, and creation/amendments to policy for which local government is responsible, should be approached with the advocacy and representation of the people it serves in its intent.

Zach Beck: The city and county are local government. I believe that they are there to help citizens, keep the town running and make sure people are happy living in town with a good quality of life.
Government should be unbiased, and carry out the will of the people. Government should spend taxpayer dollars as needed,  maintain infrastructure and local departments, and lastly it should be for the benefit of the people.

Wayne Dykstra: To take care of the tasks for the well-being of the citizens, especially those that are beyond an individual’s capability, such as schools, roads, infra-structure and management of resources, and maintenance of existing laws.

What would you consider your primary responsibility/ies to voters as a council member if you are elected?

Wayne Dykstra: Listening to the people and making decisions as to the proper direction, within existing laws, and support for the various departments within the city, with planning and vision.

Christan Stagg: I believe my primary role as a council member is to bridge the gap between the community and their local government.
As a council member, I will seek to understand the wants/needs of the people and how to help them meet those needs within the construct of their local government and available resources.
I will strive to remain accessible to my community as well as actively seek public input. It will be my responsibility to maintain accountability by remaining transparent in all my interactions on the council.

Zach Beck: If I am elected, my primary responsibilities are to maintain the budget, maintain the city buildings, parks, sidewalks, etc. Most importantly, my responsibilities are to the citizens of this town. I wish to ensure that citizen needs are met and their problems are listened to.

A lot of city government revolves around funding – budgets and taxation. In general, how do you view the city’s performance in these areas? If you would change it, how would you do so?

Christan Stagg: Lebanon has been impressively consistent with addressing its fiscal responsibilities. To efficiently support our rapidly growing community, which values a small town feel, we may need to take a more creative approach to funding allocation in the future. Currently, we need to continue to assess and respond to the economic impacts of recent events and emergencies such as COVID-19 and the wildfires. Flexibility, accountability, and transparency will be top-priority.

Zach Beck: I personally believe we do very poorly on budgeting, whether it be not sticking to a budget, or some years not even creating a budget, as well as funding in the wrong areas.
I’d like to see requisitions be properly used, then funding directly used on the town’s infrastructure. Many people in town come to me, and tell me about their streets being old and beaten, and their sidewalks crumbling, and other issues.
I’d next like to rearrange our funding and increase it to our library and better fund our local systems that help people out, I think that’s very important.

Wayne Dykstra: The City of Lebanon has generally been very responsible with the resources available. The COVID-19 pandemic has stretched the budget to its limits. Contingency planning needs to be considered, who’s responsible and how implemented. Storm management, water and electric resources maintained; streets and roads, parks and recreation all need improvement. Support of our schools.

What should the city do to encourage economic growth in Lebanon?

Wayne Dykstra: Improve the availability of affordable housing, encourage clean industry, such as the electronic sector, and lumber, and its support associates, as well as retail and service facilities to locate in Lebanon.

Christan Stagg: The city can encourage economic growth by reducing barriers and increasing access for small businesses, while carefully balancing tax incentives to invite big business.
We need to be more creative and inclusive in our approach to supporting a thriving entrepreneurial environment. Particularly in response to the current economic crisis related to the COVID-19.

Zach Beck: The city should encourage shopping local and buying local bonds.

As Lebanon expands, it is facing certain challenges (example: Westside development hurdles). What role can the City Council play in addressing challenges posed by the city’s growth?

Zach Beck: The City Council can offer support by creating ordinances, and using the city loans to assist growth projects.

Wayne Dykstra: Forecasting budget issues beyond management by crisis. Addressing those issues that are obstacles the private sector encounters that tend to slow down progress (reduce red-tape). Answering, “What would we do if….”

Christan Stagg: To address the intersectional challenges that come with city growth, we as a community need to remain flexible, creative, and innovative.
The best offense is good defense. The City Council can prepare with research, historical data, community knowledge, and critical thinking to plan for any challenges that may arise due to Lebanon’s growth. For unforeseen challenges; the City Council can lean into city staff members and local community programs to bring forward recommendations; as well as reaching out to other communities of similar size and growth rates to analyze how they each uniquely handled city expansion challenges as they arise.

In addition to any of the issues already touched on, what do you consider the biggest challenge(s) facing Lebanon? As briefly as possible, how would you address it/those?

Christan Stagg: As a rapidly developing rural area, a major challenge Lebanon faces is vying for the allocation of adequate resources from the county and state.
Unaddressed, this can lead to our vulnerable populations experiencing further avoidable marginalization. It will be imperative for city to make resources stretch further through the many grant opportunities and staying in close contact with our county officials and state representatives to maintain their awareness of our community’s growing needs.

Zach Beck: The biggest challenges facing Lebanon, apart from what I’ve already mentioned, is simply the big disconnect between the citizens and the City Council. Over the years the City Council has shrunk public communication; there used to be two meetings a month. And then they moved it to the Travel Station, and then they shortened the meetings.
To me and many of the people in Lebanon that I have spoken to, there’s no real communication between the two and that has to be changed, that could easily be changed by reversing those decisions so more of the community can come take part in local government.
And lastly I think that another issue is the water/sewer. Many people spend way too much money on that and it’s ridiculous. A five- person house in Lebanon currently pays $350 a month for city water, and then a two person house pays the exact same amount. This has to change, and I mean fast.
Though I’ve been doing my research on how that can be changed I’m not all too sure how to change that. Frankly, I’d like to find out why it’s high and go from there to fix it.

Wayne Dykstra: Budget, environmental issues, homeless, traffic, housing; I would function as a team addressing these issues.

Why should voters consider electing you? How would you make a difference on the City Council?

Wayne Dykstra: Leadership, vision and common sense.

Christan Stagg: Lebanon is one of the fastest-growing areas in Oregon, which means increased diversity and many opportunities to grow culturally.
We need agile and experienced people in place to represent each ward as they continue to grow and change.
I have the communication skills and the awareness of our varied and intersecting needs to advocate effectively for our community and its ever growing needs. My intentions will always be clear, and I will remain committed to respectfully amplify the voices of my neighbors.
Your City Council is here to serve you and I see so many ways to do that effectively if given the opportunity. I have the commitment, education, experience and good ol’- fashioned work ethic to get the job done and done well.

Zach Beck: Voters should consider voting for me for City Council because I’m full of ideas that can help the community. I’m only for the people, and I want to do what’s right for Lebanon.
I’d make a difference by being open and inviting with my ideas, and I think being a younger person I’ll have ideas different from the current council that will help.