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Paul Rencanzone

Paul Rencanzone

Paul Rencanzone

Age: 55

Years in area: Three

Occupation: Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative Broadband Program Manager

Past Political/Civic Experience: I spent seven years in the Army, I have a Master of Public Administration Degree. I have been employed by cities and non-profits

What do you feel are the most important issues facing the city? Coquille is a beautiful place, but we have a 25% downtown commercial vacancy rate and derelict abandoned properties sprinkled throughout town. We have broken streets where families struggle to find housing they can afford on the wages they can earn, mostly working for businesses in Coos Bay. And like our employment opportunities, like our professional opportunities, like our retail and commercial opportunities, our entertainment opportunities are a shadowy remnant of a misremembering of what it used to be like.

How would you try to address those issues? Coquille needs to stop hoping for an industrial economy redo and start creating a 21st century economy for itself. In order to see Coquille thrive, I believe we need to plan to become a recreation destination, an aging care center of excellence, and a place where the location independent workforce chooses to live, work, and play. We are already well on our way to becoming one of the most connected places in the nation between Coos-Curry Electric’s broadband efforts and DFN’s entry into Coos County. That connectivity is part of the foundation for recreation, aging care, and location independent work — but it is only a part. Coquille needs to invest heavily in other infrastructure elements required to build its chosen 21st century economy. The city has to stop hoping for a miracle investor to build new businesses and opportunities and has to take on that role. We need to build trails and improve parks and build recreation facilities and recreation programs. We need to invest our land and capital into building hotels and time-shares and artisan crafts and restaurants and parking. We need to instill in our population — old and young — an eagerness to build and grow and serve.

What would you like to accomplish if elected? I would like to restructure our city’s government and services to be more professional and more responsive by: Directing all planning, zoning, and land use issues through the planning commission; Instituting a redevelopment agency board that is not the city council but that brings decisions to the council for advice and consent; separating the enterprise funds (in particular water and sewer) from the city into their own entities or districts with their own elected boards; creating a sidewalk and street district or other entity with its own elected board to manage and maintain sidewalks and streets; eliminating our police department by contracting our law enforcement to the Coos County Sherriff’s Department, where the head of the department is an elected official; and creating a recreation district with an elected board

I would like to invest in Coquille’s future by: Developing the Georgia-Pacific site with a hotel, a modern grocery store, artisan craft shops and mixed housing; developing the 100 Acre Wood with treehouse time shares, a disc golf course, a ropes course and a zipline; developing the community center with a remodeled and expanded library, a lap pool, a miniature golf course and go carts; building 25 miles of interconnecting paths; developing the water trail and other recreational opportunities on the Coquille River; and connecting Coquille to regional tourism and recreation opportunities so that Coquille can become a destination hub to play all along the South Coast.

How should the city address the current COVID-19/economic crisis? To my knowledge, Coquille has no emergency response plan and no economic development plan. It is hard to put the wheels on that bus as it is rolling down the road but that is what has to happen.

What do you feel should be the relationship between the city council and the public? The relationship between the council and the public should be symbiotic. As the council’s hands and ears and eyes, city staff should be engaged with the public in open and cooperative ways. Council and staff should be eager to find new ways to share their actions with the public. The city’s web site should step out of the 1990s and should become a viable tool of interaction between citizens and the council and staff.

Julie Nighswonger

Julie Nighswonger

Julie Nighswonger

Age: 54

Years in area: 54 years in Coos County, 25 in Coquille

Occupation: Business owner (Denny’s Pizza)

Past Political/Civic Experience: Currently finishing four-year term on Coquille City Council. Also have served on Coquille Chamber Board, Coquille Valley Hospital Budget Committee, Coquille River Walk Committee, SMART Reading, Rotary Club and Coquille Parks & Recreation Committee

What do you feel are the most important issues facing the city? The city’s infrastructure (roads, buildings, the water master plan); the budget for the next few years; the repercussions that are going to affect our City from Covid-19

How would you try to address those issues? When the new council meets at the first of the year to list the council goals for the year I will be (if elected) bringing these issues up to the council for discussion.

What would you like to accomplish if elected? The city has so much deferred maintenance that needs done, I would like to have a list at every Council meeting to remind us what needs done and start tackling them one by one. The city’s biggest issues will be funding to achieve any of this, we will need to apply for every grant that we can.

How should the city address the current COVID-19/economic crisis? I don’t think that we have even began to feel the economic impact from COVID-19 yet, don’t get me wrong, we are all feeling it, but we really won’t know what the damage is for awhile. The funds that the city receives from the state every year could possibly be lower, we just don’t know how much lower.

What do you feel should be the relationship between the city council and the public? Communication is big, we need more citizens to be involved and come to the council meetings. We now live stream on FaceBook and the meetings are also posted on the city’s web page.

Jay Westrum

Jay Westrum

Jay Westrum

Age: 47

Years in area: 22

Occupation: Owner Amling/Schroeder Funeral Service and Myrtle Crest Memorial Gardens

Past Political/Civic Experience: Former budget committee member and city council member for city of Myrtle Point; current budget committee member for Coquille Valley Hospital; past exalted ruler for Coquille Valley Elks Lodge; Coquille Rotary Club member.

What do you feel are the most important issues facing the city? Infrastructure, street repairs, fire hall, either seismic retrofit or new construction, water treatment facility and the need for a city finance director and grant writer.

How would you try to address those issues? Matching Grants or Revenue Bonds to the best extent as to not cause city residents any more financial burden than necessary.

What would you like to accomplish if elected? I would like to see a new fire hall built and faith restored in city staff that the council stands behind them and that they can do the job that they were hired to do without being micromanaged.

How should the city address the current COVID-19/economic crisis? I believe we are doing the best we can under these uncertain times. I would like to think that if there are residents in the city dramatically affected financially, that the city find some common ground and within its powers that the law or charter allow, work with those who are struggling to pay utility bills.

What do you feel should be the relationship between the city council and the public? Transparency! Transparency! Transparency!

John Cooper

John Cooper

John Cooper

Age: 32

Years in area: 7

Occupation: Oregon State Police

Past Political/Civic Experience: None

What do you feel are the most important issues facing the city? The most important issue facing Coquille is getting a new Fire Hall built.  Coquille Fire Department’s current Fire Hall is extremely outdated, undersized for equipment, and not up to code.  If we experience a large earthquake, the current Fire Hall will crumble.  Then, every piece of equipment will be out of commission.  So when fires start from downed power lines, our Fire Department will not be able to efficiently respond.

How would you try to address those issues? The Coquille Fire Hall will be a very large expense, but it is a necessity.  This is a long term investment which we can leverage Urban Renewal Funds to cover expenses.

What would you like to accomplish if elected? I want to see Coquille prosper and thrive, all the while maintaining the Small Town America way of life we all enjoy and cherish.  Coquille needs to remain relevant at the same time, however.  Far too often our youth are moving away as they become adults and finding better opportunities to raise a family.  Coquille needs to once again be a place where families want to stay and where other families want to come to.  In my opinion, this comes down to three main factors: Safety, Family, and Business. 

When looking at where to live, the first factor you look for is a place where you, your family, and your property are safe.  This includes law enforcement, fire department, infrastructure, public works, hospitals, etc.  The next factor you look for are opportunities for your family.  This includes schools, libraries, sports, youth after school activities, parks, pools, playgrounds, etc.  And the third factor you look for are business opportunities.  This is both from a consumer standpoint and a career perspective.  Coquille needs to be a place businesses want to open locations at.  This brings more competition (lower prices), more selection and options to shop at, more local jobs, and more tax revenue for the city.

How should the city address the current COVID-19/economic crisis? The city has already applied for and are receiving $100,000 in reimbursements related to COVID-19.  This will help to offset the added expenses of PPE and lost revenue from programs which were forced to shut down.

What do you feel should be the relationship between the city council and the public? The relationship between City Council should be very open.  City Councilors are elected to represent the residents of the city and should regularly hear their thoughts and opinions.

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