Philomath is at a risky fork in the road. Will the city keep its small-town values and uncrowded quality of life? Or will it become a playing field for developers? This November's election is critical in sealing the choice.
The population of Philomath will increase 31.5 percent over its 2016 level as a result of housing units already approved. However, a recent survey found only 11 percent of Philomath residents favor this breakneck development pace.
Current elected officials (except one) have voted for developers at every opportunity. A 2016 state law ended voter rights to determine most annexations; however, two of the biggest developments OK'd by the City Council were based on rezoning industrial land to high-density residential. Such rezoning is not required under state law - these approvals to meet developer interests were voluntary.
Here are the candidates who will work to safeguard our quality of life from the out-of-control development waiting for future approval.
Eric Niemann, an incumbent city councilor, has been the only elected official with the courage to vote against developers on their largest, most unwise demands.
Terry Weiss and Marion Dark have attended numerous City Council meetings over the last two years. They testified at these meetings to slow excessive building when basic infrastructure is not there to support it. Matthew Thomas has also spoken out against rubber-stamp development approvals.
Niemann is running for mayor; Weiss, Dark, and Thomas are candidates for City Council. Please vote for them.
Philomath (Oct. 10)