Two women have filed to run for the Ward 4 Roseburg City Council seat currently held by Steve Kaser.
Bev Cole is a retired Douglas County parole officer, while Ruth Smith is a community organizer who works for NeighborWorks Umpqua.
Kaser has said he will not seek re-election.
Roseburg City Councilor Steve Kaser said he won’t seek re-election to his Ward 4 position.
Cole was a longtime Douglas County government employee, serving more than 25 years as a parole officer and following that up with working for the county’s senior services department. During her time with the Douglas County Parole and Probation Office, Cole initiated a program that specifically supervised female parolees. She worked with women on probation for about the last 10 years of her time there. She retired as a parole officer in 2003.
“That women’s idea turned out to be the hardest caseload I ever had, but I still believe heavily in it,” she said.
She worked on a program called Baby Smiles, which was a University of Washington dental program administered through the county. It got pregnant women in to see the dentist and followed up by ensuring the babies were seen by a dentist in their first year. She also worked on a family care program for caregivers.
Cole said she’s always had an interest in City Council, and when she found out Kaser wasn’t running she thought this would be a perfect opportunity to run. She said she doesn’t have a big goal for what to accomplish on the council, but she would like to see more people get involved in city government.
“It’s easy to complain, but if you’re going to complain you need to get involved and do something about it,” she said.
She said Roseburg is a beautiful community, located in “one of the best spots there is,” close to the ocean, the mountains and bigger cities. She said the community is becoming a retirement community, which she said is not necessarily a bad thing.
Cole cites a lack of shopping as an issue and said it’s sad to see businesses like Macy’s and Sears leave town. She said a lot of city money is spent improving downtown, but other areas of the city also need financial help.
Cole is concerned about the city’s homelessness problem. She doesn’t yet have a solution, except to suggest that in her experience, one of the best ways to start a new program is to look at what’s working in other cities with similar issues.
“I don’t mean you have to be a carbon copy, but it would be nice to steal some good ideas,” she said.
Smith is an organizer of the Umpqua Dairy Community Garden, and of a neighborhood watch in Southeast Roseburg. She is also a member of the grassroots organization SERVICE, or South East Roseburg Voices In Community Enhancement, and a board member of the Roseburg Senior Center. She works as a resident services coordinator for NeighborWorks Umpqua.
An interview with Smith will appear in Saturday’s News-Review.
Ward 4 covers southeast Roseburg, including downtown.