Knute Buehler visits with Lents residents

Here’s why a self-described, life-long Democrat invited the Republican gubernatorial candidate to come for a chat in outer East Portland …

For the first time anyone can recall, a gubernatorial candidate, in this case Knute Buehler, makes a campaign stop in the Lents neighborhood.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

A politician making a campaign stop typically doesn’t warrant coverage at East Portland News. But when a Republican candidate for Governor of Oregon was invited to Lents, it made us curious.

The meeting, set for August 22, was held at the TEAM Event Center in Lents Town Center. As guests filtered in, Lourdes “LuLu” Gonzalez told East Portland News why she set up this meeting for Oregon gubernatorial candidate Knute Buehler near her home.

Knute Buehler spends a few minutes chatting with his host, LuLu Gonzalez.

“I’ve been a lifelong Democrat, but we’ve had many years of having Democratic governors; and, with our current one, we’re not getting the positive change that we should be getting,” Gonzalez began.

“Learning more about Knute Buehler, and looking over the information he presents, it raised a lot of questions in my mind; for example, I didn’t realize the amount of money that had been taken from education, and allocated elsewhere under leadership of Governor Kate Brown,” Gonzalez said.

“In a year of record revenue, we should be doing swimmingly, but somehow many programs in our state are not doing well, and it looks as if Buehler is providing answers to questions that Governor Brown is not.”

Asked if she’d like to see other politicians stopping by outer East Portland to campaign, Gonzalez responded, “Yes, they all should! Instead of appealing to a niche group of voters on the west side of Portland, they should realize that more people live east of the  I-205 than anywhere else – making this an influential area.”

Listening to neighbors’ concerns is candidate Dr. Knute Buehler.

“I’m just meeting a few people here in outer East Portland, because I’ve been invited to do so,” candidate Dr. Knute Buehler told East Portland News.

It’s not his first visit to Lents, however, said the Central Oregon politician who currently represents District 54 in the Oregon House of Representatives. “I’m a big baseball fan, so I enjoy watching the Portland Pickles baseball team, and I’ve been out here for two or three games.

“While here, I’ve seen the difficulties with homeless in the neighborhood, and have spoken with people who are struggling to simply keep a roof over their head, being hammered by the high cost of living in the city,” Buehler remarked. Housing and the homeless is at the top of my list; it’s become a humanitarian crisis, a public health crisis and increasingly a public safety crisis. Certainly, the Lents neighborhood feels it as much as any.

“Governor Brown is for a ‘big government’ solution, I’m for a solution that leverages leadership with a combination of leverage and philanthropic dollars,” Buehler campaigned. “My goal is to foster independence – moving the homeless away from dependency.”

Candidate Knute Buehler tells Lents neighbors about his plans for Oregon if he is elected Governor.

About 40 neighbors were in the Center when Buehler spoke for a few minutes, outlining his “Seven Point Plan”.

Buehler said he’s passionate about “saving 8,000 of the most vulnerable kids in the State of Oregon – those who are in foster care. They deserve much better treatment.”

The candidate declared Oregon’s public schools’ “classroom funding is in crisis – and low high school graduation rates is a crisis – we have one of the worst graduation rates in the entire nation, and we need to fix this situation.”

And, while surprising to some – but not to news reporters in the room – Buehler said decried the high rate of automotive theft. “If you steal a vehicle you should be put in jail. Now, car thefts are not being prosecuted; the hands of District Attorney Offices are tied [by an Oregon court decision], giving Portland one of the highest rates of auto theft of any city in the nation.

“In my Oregon, if you steal somebody’s car, you’re going to pay the price,” Buehler asserted.

These Lents neighbors take the opportunity to question candidate Knute Buehler about his plans.

The candidate stayed after his informal talk to meet and greet neighbors, before leaving for another campaign engagement.

To learn more about his campaign, CLICK HERE.

And should Governor Kate Brown visit the Lents area to campaign, East Portland News will cover that event, too, even if not hosted by a Republican.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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