The Chamber sent out questions for our local candidates – here are the responses:

Paul Aziz for Mayor, Incumbent
1) How would you go about recruiting new business and industry to Lebanon?

I have been involved with the Chamber’s Economic Development Committee and we work on many facets of economic development and always searching for new ways to encourage business to locate here and bring new jobs.

We will continue to make it easy for businesses to locate here in Lebanon. We have several large sites available and several companies have been interested in these properties. In each case the deal fell through because of the cost of wetlands mitigation. We have a project and are working on reevaluating our properties to determine the actual amount of wetlands, which could greatly reduce the costs on these properties.

I am very interested in the small business incubator model which has been very successful in many communities. We are in the process of renovating our downtown which will become the heart of our community and it will bring new businesses downtown.

2) What do you think is the biggest challenge facing this community? How would you fix it?


We have had an increase in our homeless population in the past 5 or so years. We have the Lebanon Soup Kitchen and other services to help out, but there needs to be a better answer. My big question is, why? Why do we have so many homeless?

We are hosting a homeless summit in October to bring the community together and discuss the issues and solutions. The entire community and all organizations are invited. Dr. Marbut will be the facilitator and he has spent time on the ground here in Lebanon talking with the homeless and others in the community to understand what our issues are.

Nearly every community in Oregon is dealing with this problem and we are working on a solution. My biggest concern is that we do not do things that attract homeless people from the outside. But rather help the homeless people in our community to better themselves if they desire. Addiction counseling, job skills and resume building are all positive steps towards help getting them back on their feet.

3) What unique quality do you bring to this position?

I am not a politician, even though running for office and holding office technically makes me one. I am a citizen, a business owner and my unique quality is that I am a troubleshooter.

Any problem large or small, I love the challenge of solving a problem. From my days in high school government to being a police officer, to being a computer repair guy, I have always taken a challenge with enthusiasm. I keep a positive attitude and know that any problem can be solved and there might be more than one solution.

4) What is your position on Measure 97?

Measure 97 would be very bad for everyone in Oregon. It is a huge tax on the gross sales of larger companies. That is a tax on all sales, not the profit.

Businesses that do not fall under this law will still be affected, and so will every resident. Every single product and service will have to increase their prices because the tax is being passed on to them.

Just as important, there is NO guarantee that the money from Measure 97 will go to schools or anywhere specific. The measure does not have any safeguards to keep the money focused on schools, and even if it did, the next legislature could change it and all the money could go for whatever projects legislators want.

This measure is a tax on everyone. If passed the legislature will get more money in the pot, but there is no guarantee where this money will go. I would like to see the legislature spend the money they currently have in a much more fiscally responsible way. They do not need more tax money to spend.

I am voting No on Measure 97.

5) What is Lebanon’s biggest strength?

I worked to get the Lebanon motto back, “The City that Friendliness Built.”

20 years ago when I was working in Albany and commuting from Salem, I went home shopping. I looked at all the communities around, but I found that Lebanon seemed like home. The people were friendly and there was just a really great community feeling.

Today, I still see this daily as people help others all over our community. After we completed the Lebanon 2040 Vision, it was clear that our community likes the small town feeling and values but also enjoys the economic success.

This strength also carries over to resilience. Our community has been through a huge change in economy when the timber industry took a dive. But with education and economic development Lebanon has rebuilt itself and rebounded from what could have been devastating for another town.

Lebanon is now a leader in Oregon in economic development and an example on how to turn a town around after the timber industry decline. We have a major hospital, a medical university, a college with high tech automotive training and many other important industries and companies.

The future for Lebanon is very bright and I am excited to help lead our community in such a positive direction.

I ask that you vote for me for another term as Mayor so that I can continue to lead and help guide Lebanon in the next two years.

John Hitt, City Council Ward 3

* How would you go about recruiting new business and industry to Lebanon?
John Hitt Response: We need a well thought-out and targeted business recruitment plan. A plan that will focus on medical, educational, business and professional services that are a good match/fit with the medical college, veterans home, advanced transportation center and others that have come to Lebanon in recent years. Greater involvement with the Oregon Economic Development Association, Council of Governments, and our local businesses and organizations could go a long way toward establishing contacts with those organizations and businesses that might be attracted to Lebanon.
* What do you think is the biggest challenge facing this community? How would you fix it?
John Hitt Response: Our biggest challenge to effective business recruitment, as well as our community quality of life, is the somewhat minimal community amenities that we offer and the excessive number of blighted and substandard properties in the town. While progress has been made in recent years, much remains to be done.
This can be remedied by updating our property maintenance standards and then proactively working with property owners to help make upgrades. In addition, we need greater public input as to what community amenities are most important to our citizens (walking trails? bicycle lanes? athletic fields? water sports? etc.) An amenities improvement plan, with specific dates and funding identified, needs also to include consideration of the needs and interests of those businesses and organizations we hope to attract in the future.

* What unique quality do you bring to the city?
John Hitt response: I think the primary quality or benefit I can bring to the city is the length and depth of my experience in local government. I have been involved with small cities and counties in three states for over 25 years. Having served as a mayor, city councilor, economic development director, and city manager gives me an understanding of what works and what doesn’t in small cities like Lebanon. It has also helped me develop the skills to carefully review and deliberate all sides of an issue with the end of developing an effective community and city council consensus.
* What is your position on Measure 97?
John Hitt Response: I am opposed to Measure 97. This measure, if passed, would impose additional burdens on Oregon businesses and hurt future growth of jobs.
* What is Lebanon’s biggest strength?
John Hitt Response: Lebanon is blessed with many outstanding attributes. These include, among others, a strong local economy, a city infrastructure prepared for growth, amazing local organizations and businesses such as Comp Northwest, Entek, Lowes, the veterans home, LBCC, etc. But perhaps chief of these is a citizenry that is not afraid of change and looks forward to a future that will be even better than the past

Forest Bosley, Mayoral Candidate

* How would you go about recruiting new business and industry to Lebanon?

New businesses and industry need to see that moving into the town is worth it to them. This would require us to ensure that they will be setting on fertile ground. We do this by improving the local economy and by improving the value of the local workforce. By leveraging on community resources like Worksource Oregon we could help fill the gaps in local labor skills. With the downtown being revitalized we can show that our economy can support more businesses.

* What do you think is the biggest challenge facing this community? How would you fix it?

Lebanon’s local economy is heavily hit. This disrupts our towns budget which in turn weakens our schools, our community safety and our ability to provide basic services. We need new local jobs to come in to feed our economy. We need new businesses to provide the diversity in our town that draws visitors. In order to do that we have to invest time and money into our communities, our workforce and our local businesses. I believe that with an investment in the people of our community, we can see a great return.

* What unique quality do you bring to this position?

I bring a forward thinking perspective. I like to analyze and develop strategies to solve problems while they’re still a developing issue or before it becomes a larger problem. By listening to the community we can open dialogues about what the community sees is a problem building and we can work together to solve it.

* What is your position on Measure 97?

I’m for Measure 97. After doing research into the measure itself I can’t help but be for it. Corporation’s are using a standard tactic of saying that it is a sales tax, it is not. This measure won’t raise your price of goods. Right now we are paying the same price for goods as states with much larger corporate taxes. This is only a tax on less then 1% of the large Oregon corporations’ sales.

* What is Lebanon’s biggest strength?

Our community. We have amazing groups of people who will go out of their way to help others, without asking anything in return. They will share new ideas, praise each other for doing a good job and give you the shirt off their back if you needed it, I want to see that grow. I want to see the whole town feeling the sense of community, not just some. That we are all here together and we all, regardless of differences, can stand side by side.