Introducing the Lake Oswego Mayoral Candidates

By Arya Lewis 

October 30, 2020

Do the names Joe Buck, John LaMotte, and Theresa Kohlhoff ring a bell? If they do, it’s likely because you’ve seen them on campaign signs scattered across Lake Oswego for the last couple of months. These are the candidates to become mayor for the next four years. Eligible citizens of Lake Oswego may choose to vote for a mayor on November 3rd.

Communication was sent to the mayoral candidates to hear about their thoughts and opinions on certain matters. However, response was received from only one candidate, John LaMotte.

All three candidates have unique experiences that have shaped who they are today. 

On Ms. Kohlhoff’s campaign website, it is detailed that she graduated from Portland State University and attended Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College. She has worked in many areas of law over the 39 years she has been practicing.  Kohlhoff was also elected as a Lake Oswego City Council member in the 2016 general election and has served since then. 


On Mr. Buck’s campaign website, it is said that he started his career by washing dishes for his parents business, local restaurant “Gubancs”, at the age of 12. When he was older, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard, and later graduated from the University of Portland. In 2012, Buck founded “Babica Hen” a restaurant in Lake Oswego, adjacent to his parents’ business. 


Mr. LaMotte’s campaign website mentions that he was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. His father was a social worker, which influenced him to become a city planner, after graduating from University of Wisconsin and University of Utah. In speaking with LaMotte, he said, “my family and my career have helped shape me and my views.” LaMotte has traveled across the United States helping shape communities using his city planning skills. He was also elected as a Lake Oswego City Council member in the 2016 election. 


The candidates all have ideas of what Lake Oswego would look like under their leadership. To help facilitate progress in Lake Oswego, they all have priorities they would address as mayor.

Mr. LaMotte expressed that as mayor, he would like to continue evolving the city’s infrastructure, transportation, and affordable housing. He stated that, “we need to continue to plan ahead to keep our roads, streets, sewer system, water system, and stormwater management in good condition. We need to ‘”up our game”’ regarding upgrading paths and trails, especially the routes that our students are walking and biking on to get to school. We will be looking at a new funding plan to keep our paving program going while finally addressing priority paths and trails.”

On Mr. Buck’s campaign website, he writes about his plans for Lake Oswego. It is apparent that his most important ideas are environmental stewardship, building a healthy community for all, supporting local businesses, and accessible and equitable government. He goes on to write that, “as mayor, I will continue the City’s support of organizations fighting food insecurity, as well as its support of the Adult Community Center, community recreation programs and facilities, municipal infrastructure and expanded funding for protected pathways and bikeways”. 

Ms. Kohlhoff’s campaign website  expresses that her ideal Lake Oswego includes better transportation, housing and the preservation of big trees. When talking about more affordable housing, Kohlhoff says, “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that human beings need shelter, food, and water for survival. Nor does it take a great deal of discernment to understand that Lake Oswego is an affluent community where the average home price is $629,000. In 2018 dollars, the average income is $100,000. Home prices are continuing to trend upwards.”

Lake Oswego voters will be making their decision on November 3. Ballots must be received by 8 PM that evening. Remember, every vote counts! If you are voting this election, make sure to make an informed decision; checkout the candidates campaign websites and other resources.

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