A third woman has filed to run for a Roseburg City Council Ward 4 seat.
Downtown business owner Kristi Rifenbark will compete against NeighborWorks Umpqua resident service coordinator Ruth Smith and retired parole officer Bev Cole in the November election.
Rifenbark, 37, said she’s running because she’d like to help connect the younger and older generations in the community.
She said many people talk about Roseburg as a retirement community, but she has a different opinion about that.
“There are many upcoming creative business owners, active community members who are currently transforming that outdated image of Roseburg,” she said.
She said she believes there’s an “emergence of something really special happening here” with young entrepreneurs in their mid-20s to late 30s starting shops downtown. She said that’s a group that feels underrepresented.
“I’ve been talking to a lot of people that I’ve met over the last year and a half who are younger, and they have ideas, and they see some kind of bubbling-up excitement that’s happening. They see a vision of Roseburg that makes them excited,” she said.
Rifenbark owns a digital marketing agency downtown called Buzz Collective Marketing. She started the business in Portland and moved it here in 2017.
Rifenbark visited Roseburg frequently while growing up, because her grandparents lived here, and her parents had graduated from Roseburg High School.
She said she loves the community.
“It’s just such a cool place. You have all of the outdoor options that are available to you without the traffic,” she said.
She said the people here are really unique, very opinionated and passionate about what they’re doing. She said her own experience is also unique, in that she grew up knowing Roseburg but also has a perspective that comes from living and working in other communities.
She said she passionately believes in transparency, community involvement and healthy debate.
“I’m really good at talking to both sides of the aisle, in my opinion, and I have the skill set to do it. I do it every day in my job, in my career and I have for a long time,” she said.
Rifenbark hasn’t had prior government experience, but has served on the board of directors for a Portland nonprofit called Modified Style, which supports the arts through design, and put on an annual fundraising event for another nonprofit called Sisters of the Road, which serves food to homeless people in Portland.