Election 2022: Lebanon City Council Candidates

Lebanon City Council Candidates

We have made concerted efforts to reach all the candidates in the races represented who have received questionnaires and follow-up calls in efforts to have them returned for publication. Because City Council Ward 3 incumbent Michelle Steinhebel is running unopposed, we did not submit a questionnaire to her. Ward 1 candidate Carl Mann had not responded to emails and phone calls by press time. Ryan Newby, who will be listed on the ballot for City Council Ward 2, has informed us that he has withdrawn from the race due to personal circumstances. Ward 1 incumbent Wayne Rieskamp has also said he is not running.

Tami Cockeram, 60, Ward 1

Years in Lebanon: 2
Education: Vale Union High School – Vale; Treasure Valley Community College – Ontario; Mount Hood Community College – Gresham; Insurance Institute of America – Philadelphia, Pa.
Professional Background/Work Experience: Oregon Trucking Association – Portland, safety and compliance consultant; Eastern Oregon Fast Freight – Wilsonville, director of human resources and safety; Washington County – Hillsboro, risk management analyst; City of Hillsboro – risk manager and organizational development manager; City of Hillsboro – community services manager.
Political Experience/Affiliations: 25 years in public service, working directly with elected officials including mayors, city council, county commissioners, and state representatives. Appointed by Governor Kitzhaber to the Management Labor Advisory Committee (MLAC). This committee provides an effective forum for business and labor to meet, explore, and resolve issues involving the workers’ compensation system.
Other Community Involvement/Affiliations: Lebanon Soup Kitchen; serving meals and organizing special projects. Oregon Veterans Home – There every Wednesday hanging out with the Veterans. Grandfather, uncle, father, and brother all served in the military. “I’m honored to give my time to so many veterans that reside here in Lebanon.” Pioneer Cemetery – caring for gravesites, weeding, cleaning headstones, trimming, etc.
Family: Partner Tom, and “a neighbor’s cat who has taken up residency on our front porch.”
Contact: [email protected]

Cassie Cruze, 40, Ward 2

Years in Lebanon: My family and I have lived in Lebanon for seven years.
Education: Bachelor of science in child, youth and family studies, Portland State University (expected graduation 2024); associate of science in human development and family studies, Linn Benton Community College (2021).
Professional Background/Work Experience: Sales Director, Phoenix Inn Suites; Community Outreach and Resource Development coordinator for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Greater Santiam; Main Street Manager, Lebanon Downtown Association, managed volunteers, collaborated with community partners, including city staff, on wide variety of community programs and events.
Political Experience/Affiliations: Worked alongside elected officials of all affiliations to carry out items of the Lebanon 2040 Vision: with focuses on Art & Culture and the Downtown Area.
Other Community Involvement/Affiliations: Co-creator of the Live Free Project; “Liberty’s Legacy” (proceeds to the Boys & Girls Club and ABC House; medallic art calendar sales proceeds donated to CARDV (Center Against Rape & Domestic Violence); City of Lebanon Arts Commission (Quirky Turkey and other local events and programs); Linn Benton Community College contributor to the Open Education Resource. See more details at Cassie’s Facebook page.
Family: My three children live at home, one working locally and attending LBCC, another in high school and one at Seven Oak Junior High.
Contact: (541) 409-1755 | [email protected]

Carl Mann, Ward 1, did not respond to Lebanon Local inquiries for this election guide.

Dave Workman, 60, Ward 2

Years in Lebanon: Born in Lebanon Hospital. Family in Portland during middle and high school years, but returned to Lebanon “as soon as it was my choice, in 1987.”
Education: Certified Lending Expert and a Certified Financial Counselor
Professional Background/Work Experience: Chief Recovery Officer at Linn-Co Federal Credit Union, where he has been employed for over 10 years. Prior to Linn-Co, was in sales and production management positions dating back to the mid-1990s.
Political Experience/Affiliations: Member of
Lebanon’s Planning Commission.
Other Community Involvement/Affiliations: Coach for Boys and Girls Club for many years, volunteer for causes such as Kidz Shop, The Pumpkin Run, Brewfest and Willamette Manor Assisted Living.
Family: Married to wife Renee for 35 years. Two grown daughters and one “perfect little grandson,” all Lebanon residents. Mother lives a few blocks away in the house she grew up in. Workman’s family lives in a house his grandparents built in 1965, next to the one they built in the 1940s.
Contact: [email protected] | Facebook @Workman4Ward2


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

Tami Cockeram: In the short time that I have lived here, I have grown to love Lebanon. It has given me and my partner community and a home for our retirement years. I am passionate about public service, have a background in local government, and I genuinely believe that I can make a positive difference in my ward and our city. As our community grows and becomes more diverse and complex, I feel my experience, skills and abilities would be beneficial to the work that council will be doing over the next four years.

Cassie Cruze: It would be an honor to serve Lebanon as your Ward II city councilor. Moving to Oregon as a child opened a world of freedom as small-town living provided safety to roam wherever my legs would take me. Living in Lebanon lends the same experience to my children. It takes effort to provide a safe, vibrant community. I want to support those efforts not only as a doer but as a listening ear to residents, and a decision-maker for Lebanon.
It is important to me that as Lebanon grows we accomplish the community’s 2040 Vision, keep our small-town values of open communication, being welcoming to all, having transparency in government, and keeping our community safe. As a councilor, I will work in these areas making Lebanon a vibrant place to live.

Dave Workman: It’s simple… I love this town and want to help shape its future, while respecting our past. I hope to be part of the common-sense decision-making process for our future growth, and to protect and improve the safety, security and well-being of the community. My family on both sides moved here in the 1940s, so my roots here are deep. I’m invested in this town and owe it my best efforts to keep it a safe, beautiful city where families and individuals can pursue their vision of the American Dream.

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.

Dave Workman: I believe in government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Too many things at all levels of government are decided for all, by a select few who want to tell the voters what is best for them. Names of folks like me, and bond measures asking you for more money, shouldn’t be the only thing on a ballot. America needs to listen to its people. We need to put more issues in front of “We the People”, when it is possible, and take them out from behind the doors of the council chamber.

Tami Cockeram: The fundamental role of local government is to serve the needs of the community efficiently and effectively by providing and overseeing: essential services, i.e., water, streets, sewer; fiscal responsibility of taxpayers’ dollars; economic growth and opportunities; public safety services; democratic processes through community involvement. The role of city government is also as a convenor, facilitator, and clarifier. Bringing community together to decide how we will live together, how we will thrive individually, while mediating conflict. In an increasing crowded and complex world, we must find new ways to live together and ensure all voices are provided the opportunity to participate in a meaningful way.

Cassie Cruze: Government is the governing body made of the people, which sets policies that serve the people in the interests of public safety, infrastructure development, and other social issues. In my philosophy, the work of officials is one that serves the people.

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

Cassie Cruze: A primary responsibility is listening and acting in the interest of voters. Listening to their needs, working with city staff, and possibly other community organizations to help support voters. The people of Lebanon created the 2040 Vision, a framework guiding city initiatives that improve quality of life in Lebanon. It is the responsibility of the council to make the pathways needed to better support those efforts.

Dave Workman: As stated in my platform, my primary responsibility to the community will be to protect and improve the safety, security and well-being of all the citizens of Lebanon. My main focus in achieving that will be on fully funding and enabling our law enforcement community, working toward common sense residential growth that assures investment in the community… not in developers that likely don’t have any tie to Lebanon… and on fiscal responsibility, with emphasis on transparency.

Tami Cockeram: Attend council meetings prepared; provide leadership and guidance by putting forward options and presenting arguments or possible solutions to problems at council meetings; facilitate communication to understand the views of the people I represent; keep community informed about the policies and decisions of council; remain open to all thoughts and ideas.

How do you think the city is doing in managing its growth and the challenges that come with that? If elected, what changes, if any, would you support?

Tami Cockeram: Being in Lebanon for only a few years, I’m not able to compare where we were at 10-15 years ago, but I can offer this: I have spent time reviewing the city’s Comprehensive Plan, 2040 Vision Plan, Housing Needs Analysis, and the ECONorthwest Mitigation Options Report. These guiding documents along with the new Water Treatment Plant, Westside Interceptor Project, as well as the limitations of the Urban Growth Boundary, it seems the city has done a good job managing current growth and preparing for future growth.

Cassie Cruze: In working with city staff and listening to city department heads, Lebanon is on point in managing our growth. Police Chief Frank Stevenson is doing an outstanding job hiring quality officers, the rest of the city’s departments are fully staffed. If elected, I would support the development of housing and the infrastructure changes to support new development, especially with our growing medical campus. A challenge for Lebanon are housing prices. We need a better housing mix for first time buyers, and affordable housing.

Dave Workman: As part of the Planning Commission I know the city is doing it’s best to follow state guidance. What I think we are missing, is the will and determination to push back against Salem and to decide our own fate. We need to incentivize home ownership, and find a way to slow the growth of three-story apartments being developed. If we don’t, we will soon have a community of tenants that have no real skin in the game, supported by a diminished base of home owners that have to pay the property taxes to support their decisions. Multi-family housing serves a purpose and fits a need that will always be there, but the dream of owning your own piece of ground… your own home… connects people to the community and invests them in its success.

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?

Dave Workman: In meeting with all the department heads of the city, the common theme was that we’d like to do more, but don’t have the money. The maintenance of our infrastructure is following the failed path our schools followed years ago. We are putting out fires, instead of stopping them from starting. Priorities need to be re-evaluated. The budget needs to be examined closely, with an eye toward basic human needs and future demand. Special interests and pet projects have no place in our city budget if our police force is not fully funded. According to more than one source, Linn County has the highest effective property tax rate in Oregon, and Lebanon has close to the highest rate in Linn County. The only acceptable way to further raise the property tax dollars collected is to get more people paying property tax. You do that by promoting home ownership. I guess the short answer would have been that our 172-page budget for 2022-23 needs to be gone over line by line. Decisions, some hard, have to be made on how to best budget for our citizens. Then we need to proactively seek funding to assure our infrastructure exceeds our needs for now, so it is prepared for our children’s future.

Tami Cockeram: The General Fund budget is balanced for FY 2022-23, major infrastructure projects are moving forward, future challenges have been identified, and city staff is working to address these challenges. The city has done a good job managing their funds while recognizing that difficult decisions will have to be made in the future as revenues no longer meet the city’s operational needs.
The city will need to be cautious in delaying or canceling critical capital expenditures and infrastructure projects as this could slow economic growth, and due to inflationary pressures cost taxpayers more.

Cassie Cruze: City staff and the council have done good work in managing our budget, especially hard calls made in 2020 and 2021. The city was strategic with ARPA funding received.

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

Cassie Cruze: Currently, the city is working to encourage economic growth within Lebanon, a staff support effort in conjunction with community partners. Continue to collaborate with community partners, and work with organizations like the League of Oregon Cities, Linn Benton Small Business Development Center, and Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network (RAIN) to support those efforts. In the area of tourism, strengthen and leverage Lebanon’s assets (festivals and events grounds, city parks, etc.) to bring more people into Lebanon. Collaborate with community partners and surrounding areas to increase visitation and positive visibility.

Dave Workman: Lebanon is strategically located, and a prime area for organic economic growth. At this time, I think the best thing we can do as a city is to work proactively to be ready for that growth. At the council level, we need to assure that our infrastructure can handle the citizens’ demands first, and to support local entrepreneurs with local businesses, over big names or dollars. In economic growth there is a danger of putting the attraction of big business, over the well-being of the citizens. This type of growth, as with residential growth, deserves real input from the community.

Tami Cockeram: Sharing what Lebanon has to offer through strategic marketing and communications strategies. The creation of Rural Economic Alliance, (REAL) will help in marketing the strengths and opportunities of Lebanon and the surrounding area. It is equally important that the city have its own marketing and communication strategies specific to targeted markets best suited for Lebanon. Movement of people via public transportation, bike lanes, and safe pedestrian crossings are vital to a growing and livable city. It provides options on how people get to and from work, shopping, and recreation. As our community grows, Lebanon should continue expanding the LINX system, bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

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?

Tami Cockeram: In talking with city residents, I hear homelessness and crime as the biggest challenges. And although people have empathy and compassion, the community is weary. Parks have been taken over to the point that people no longer allow their children or grandchildren to enjoy them. Property crime is becoming more common. RV’s have become part the neighborhood. Mental health issues are playing out day and night. My career has included homelessness as part of my portfolio. Through my work, I learned that although homelessness is happening in the city, it is not solely the city’s responsibility. This is a societal issue. The city should not own homeless but rather provide support to those trained in aiding this community. The 9th Circuit decision (Martin v Boise), limited affordable and transitional housing inventory, coupled with mental health, and drug/alcohol addiction, makes this an extremely complex issue that cities are not equipped to deal with. It uses significant city resources and creates difficult work for our Police and Public Works Department. We need to create strong and on-going partnerships and agreements with the faith community, Community Services Consortium, non-profits, and county mental health; organizations that are trained to best serve our homeless community. I would encourage the city to assign dedicated city staff outside the Police Department to take the lead on coordinating these efforts by convening meetings with identified organizations, drafting agreements that will include how results will be quantified, and then reporting to council on a regular basis.

Cassie Cruze: The challenges facing Lebanon will only be overcome through strategic collaboration between the city and our community partners.
Challenge: Brown sites – collaborate with city staff, community partners, and the State of Oregon to transform brown sites into usable land.
Challenge: Housing – educate developers on incentives for mixed housing use and affordable housing (i.e. grants to support development of mixed housing and tax incentives for affordable housing).
Not so much a challenge, but the mayor had assembled an ad hoc committee to assess where Lebanon is in accomplishing action items of the 2040 Vision. Learning their findings gives light to understanding the current state of Lebanon based on the vision set by the community.

Dave Workman: I believe one of the biggest challenges we face is the precarious balance between the safety, security and well-being of the people who have built their lives here, many for generations, and those moving here to take advantage of the location, or schooling, or the new surge of multi-family housing development. Many of us enjoy the small-town history and feel of Lebanon. Ourselves and our families have worked hard to make this a great little town. Some are concerned that those coming here to share that feeling with us, will instead bring their big city expectations. I hear real concern from our community that a surge in tenants versus homeowners will result in a large voting block with no investment in where we are going, or where we’ve been.

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

Dave Workman: My roots and commitment to this town run deep. My grandparents on both sides came here in the 1940s. One side from the harsh winters of Minnesota, one side from the dust bowl of Colorado. Both my grandfathers worked in the mills, built houses that became homes, raised families, and enjoyed the beauty and freedom of Lebanon. I know what we came from, and think that the foundation Lebanon built in those times still helps support us today. I come to this election with no agenda… I am here to best represent the people of my town, and my ward. My main goal is to make Lebanon a place where families and individuals are free to pursue life, liberty and happiness. I am a thinker, an optimist, a problem solver and I get things done. I look forward to the opportunity to lead and be the voice of the people of my ward.

Tami Cockeram: I’ve grown to love Lebanon. I’ve lived here for over two years and have worked hard to learn about my community and have engaged where my heart leads me. With 25 years experience in local government, I’m confident that I can help our city as it continues to address the challenges of a growing city. I am skilled at bringing diverse voices together to effectively address complex issues. I have the experience, time, and passion necessary to be an effective leader and would be honored to serve on City Council.

Cassie Cruze: I ask people to consider Cassie Cruze for Ward 2 Councilor as my efforts since moving to Lebanon have directly positively impacted residents and supported vibrancy in our downtown area. It is imperative to me that Lebanon continues to be a city that friendliness continues to build as the city grows. As Lebanon grows and as the Main Street Manager for the Lebanon Downtown Association, implementing strategic collaboration is needed for the 2040 Vision. As a city councilor I would keep the council a place where residents are comfortable to speak openly to concerns and ask questions. I would create space for discussion listening to my fellow councilors. What I bring to the council table is an open mind that listens, with a desire and track record to get things done. The difference I want to make is to strengthen our assets that elevate our economy and create better livability for residents and guests.