Nash wants to see SH return to bustling local community

Sean C. Morgan

Cortney Nash says he remembers Sweet Home as a bustling place when he was younger, and he would like to see it that way again – without “undesirable elements” wandering the streets in the middle of the night.

Nash, 41, is one of seven candidates seeking four positions on the City Council in the Nov. 6 general election. Also running are Greg Korn and Larry Angland along with incumbents Susan Coleman, Diane Gerson, Bob Briana and Mayor Greg Mahler.

Ballots were mailed Friday, and ballots are due by 8 p.m. on Nov. 6 at drop sites, including City Hall and the Sweet Home Police Department.

Nash has driven truck for Weyerhaeuser for 18 years. He is a 1995 graduate of Sweet Home High School and he attended Linn-Benton Community College’s collision repair program. He is married to Kimi Nash. They have two adult children, Kourtney and Devon, and a 10-year-old daughter, Ava.

Angland put him up to running, Nash said, but he also sees where Sweet Home could improve.

“I drive through town, I see empty buildings,” he said. Many that are gone have been replaced by larger businesses from out of town.

“I remember seeing businesses everywhere (like the Busy Bee, among many others). I’d like see some of that come back.”

He said he doesn’t know if it’s feasible, but he applauds efforts to help, such as the Oregon Jamboree, and thinks additional events could help.

While events like the Jamboree bring “a lot of stupid with it,” they get people into town and up to the lakes.

Among his priorities, “my biggest one is the undesirables we have running around at 1 to 4 o’clock in the morning,” Nash said. “I’ll see six to 10 people riding around on bikes with flashlights, looking into cars on my way to work in the morning.”

When a family member’s house burned recently, the “drug zombies” quickly arrived to sift through the debris.

He suggested finding funding for another police officer to help patrol the city at night.

Nash said his biggest issue is with thefts. The police do a good job with the bigger crimes, but “it’s the little stuff they’re not seeing.”

At his own home, he recalled catching someone looking through his vehicles, he said. The intruder ran away. He didn’t report it to the police.

Nash said he is also concerned about rising utility rates and taxes.

In the past year, many Sweet Home residents have seen their trash, sewer and water bills and property taxes increase substantially. In addition to an annual increase to cover inflation, trash rates increased another 8 percent based on China’s decision to stop accepting recycling. Sewer rates increased to cover a shortfall in funding and an upcoming improvement project at the Wastewater Treatment Plant; and property tax bills are increasing rapidly – the mayor’s taxes, for example, increased by 15 percent from last year – as compression decreases.

“I can see why they raise their rates,” Nash said. It makes sense as minimum wage increases, as the price of food goes up, for example.

Faced with various rate increases, he said he would like to find out about raises and other factors causing the increases.

“It’d be nice to find a happy medium,” Nash said. “It’d be nice to control it, but it’s above the pay grade of the council.”

Nash said he doesn’t know much about politics, but “I’ve got common sense. I grew up here. I love this town.”

He doesn’t want to see somebody move here who just wants to control it.

“I keep to myself,” he said, and “I still live by the whole blue-collar ‘do what you’ve got to do to support your family.'”