City Council Responses

City Council Responses
News - 10/9/2020
City of Lake Oswego Election Update

On November 3rd, Lake Oswego residents will elect a new mayor and three new city councilors as a majority of the 7 positions held by the mayor and city council turn over in the upcoming election.

To help clarify where the candidates stand on issues surrounding Oswego Lake, the LOC Board of Directors extended invitations to all 8 candidates for city office – 3 for mayor and 5 for city council – to participate in 30-minute virtual interviews on September 22nd and 23rd

We provided the candidates with the questions in advance as we explored issues around lake access, water quality and safety. We also asked for their perspective on how the Lake Corp and city government can more closely align moving forward. At the conclusion, each candidate was asked to submit a paragraph of their platform to share with lake stakeholders. We provided the freedom for them to submit what they choose but did encourage them to include their lens on key lake issues. We previously shared the information on the mayoral candidates, and you can find that information on the Lake Oswego Corporation website (link here) if you missed that first communication.

Now we turn our attention to the five candidates in the running for three city council seats – Emma Burke, Melissa Fireside, Massene Mboup, Aaron Rapf and Rachel Verdick. Please see below for the custom write-ups they submitted to be shared with you. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

We hope this information is useful as you decide your vote. We also invite you to reach out directly to any board member below if you would like to connect to learn more about the candidate interviews.

Your vote matters!

The LOC Board of Directors

Larry Thompson, President,
Justin Harnish, Vice President,
Amy Gaddis, Secretary,
Rick Johnson, Treasurer,
Jeff Edelson,
Grant Hanson,
John Medak,
Stuart Smith,
Katharyn Thompson,
Katy Brown Troftgruben,
Scott Wittenberg,
Doug Woodcock,
City Council Candidate Statements for Oswego Lake Shareholders & Easement Members:
Emma Burke (

Emma Burke is a parent to two daughters in our public school system. In a field of eight candidates Emma earned 2nd-Runner-Up for her attempt at this role in 2018, which she entered because she believes Lake Oswego NEEDS a voice from the public school community since most families move to our city for our public schools. Emma now has five years experience in various leadership capacities as a classroom volunteer, on her local elementary school's PTO board, and as a voice on the school district's Coordinating Council where all ten of our schools convene once per month to discuss relevant issues. Emma serves the community on two non-profit boards as well as an advisory board to the LOSD School Board and as a City Council appointed task force member. Emma is also a Chamber of Commerce member for her local massage therapy business and recently served as a Tri-Chair for the 2020 cohort after graduating the program in 2019. Please feel welcome to learn more at her website above or contact her directly at 503-462-5445.
Melissa Fireside (
Oswego Lake adds value to our community, it's literally our namesake. From my perspective, I do not see an environmental or fiscal advantage in proposing reasonable public access. I do, however, feel and understand how those that have been traditionally excluded in our society, view this as an equity issue. Because the City is not investing or using public funds to maintain the lake, I don’t share in the equity sentiment. I will listen to equity concerns and honor them, as I will also honor you as community members as well. I do believe we have a very large divide in our community at all social levels that needs to be healed. Anyone that wants to participate in healing this divide with real action, not congeniality, is always welcome. I believe there should be outreach on the side of the City (not just elected officials that cycle through every two years) to Lake Corp in order to build consensus around watershed, community service, and community events. Thank you. 

Lake Oswego is a gem with its wooded areas and a Lake that make it an amazing city. As a city Councilor I would make sure these two resources are protected. The lake should be protected as we protect our forest areas and parks. I am impressed by the stewardship of the Lake Corporation. They are doing a great work keeping the lake safe, healthy and environmentally sustainable. I cannot think of a better way of managing the lake.

Aaron Rapf (

Oswego Lake has rightly been referred to as one of the “Crown Jewels” of our city and its importance to the long-term economic and environmental value of Lake Oswego must never be underestimated. The lake has been privately managed and operated for 78 years and great strategic decisions are being made, communications are admirable, and the water quality and ecological balances are closely monitored by knowledgeable professionals who understand the whole watershed. Enhancing Oswego Lake and protecting it with sound policy decisions, infrastructure investment and a strong working relationship around the discussion table fits into my theme of “The Key Is We.” The Lake Corp should drive policy. Local leaders should listen and understand that changing the current lake access policy would negatively impact city revenues, severely hurt revenue for the Lake Oswego School District and could substantially diminish funding for watershed management.

As a shareholder and hopefully your next City Councilor, I look forward to a long-term relationship with Oswego Lake and the Lake Corp. If you ever have any questions, I’m available anytime at 971-246-4655 and if you feel like supporting my candidacy, you can donate on my website listed above.

Rachel Verdick (

Our town is fortunate to encompass a beautiful private lake that has served as a center point of the community for more than a century.  Lake Oswego’s excellence is rooted in our citizens’ ability to actively enjoy beautiful spaces that improve our well-being. As a Lake Oswego City Councilor, my goal will be to maintain our community’s sense of place while thoughtfully helping write the next chapter of our city’s future. To that end, I am committed to ensuring Lake Oswego continues to have a strong parks system, safe paths, excellent schools, vibrant businesses, and be fiscally responsible while at the same time addressing challenges surrounding climate change, working to achieve DEI goals, and bringing together community organizations. Specifically, I am committed to improving the partnership and communication between the city and the Lake Corporation. The Lake Corporation does a fantastic job maintaining Oswego Lake and keeping it safe. When we work together, we can create a stronger community that brings people together to prosper socially, culturally, educationally, and economically. 
For more information, please visit my website listed above and/or Facebook page (Rachel4LO).