Nyquist’s priorities include fairgrounds, lakes, drug houses

For newly elected Linn County Board of Commissioners Chairman Roger Nyquist, priorities for the county government are getting the fairgrounds in order, improving amenities on East Linn County’s lakes and cracking down on drug houses.

Nyquist got involved in the process because, like a lot of people, he “could just sit around and complain about things or try to do something about it.”

Nyquist, owner of Lakeshore Lanes in Albany, has been active for four or five years with business organizations and in service work. He also has served on the county budget committee the last two years.

“There were some things from a fiscal responsibility point of view that just didn’t make a lot of sense to me,” Nyquist said. The fairgrounds payroll is 130 percent of sales, for example. “I had just never seen numbers like that. What I think is we should operate that facility based on current revenues. I think that they’ve built a facility and built a staff on the Field of Dreams theory, build it and they will come.”

The new fairgrounds has been open a couple of years, Nyquist said. Now, staffing levels should be built on existing revenues. There is no plan that’s going pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat.

“We just need to roll up our sleeves and get down to business as it relates to the fairgrounds,” Nyquist said.

The Board of Commissioners hired Porter last week on a 2-1 vote. Commissioners Cliff Wooten and Nyquist voted to hire Porter. Commissioner John Lindsey voted against it.

It appeared that the previous board had offered or intended to offer the job to Porter, Nyquist said, then the board did not hire him, placing ads that closed applications a week and a half ago.

Up until Porter was hired, the fairgrounds were operating with a team of three managers.

“Somebody needs to be in charge out there. Randy (Porter) received a strong performance review,” Nyquist said. “You either add another level of management out there and increase expenses or you put the guy in charge who shows up for work every day.”

Nyquist also said that Porter has solved problems at the fairgrounds and seems receptive to improving things and going forward.

In other issues, “I really enjoyed campaigning, and I enjoyed the time I got to spend in Sweet Home,” Nyquist said. One of the things he heard frequently was that the amenities at the lakes, Foster and Green Peter, should be improved.

“This is not complicated,” Nyquist said. With the boat traffic using the ramps on the lakes during the summer, Sunnyside needs to increase the moorage available, allowing boaters to leave their boats overnight on weekends.

There are indications that the Corps of Engineers will be cooperative, Nyquist said. He proposed seeking grant funds for the project.

That’s a place to start, Nyquist said. Then Linn County ask what else should be done out there and move forward a little at a time as it can.

Nyquist was interested in “the fact that, in this county, we have known drug houses,” he said. “What are we doing with known drug houses. If we know they’re drug houses, let’s close them.”

Nyquist would like to give law enforcement in Linn County the ability to close down those houses, giving Linn County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office the resources to make it happen.

Nyquist said he did not have to live or walk by known drug houses when he was a child, and he wondered why children should have to do that now.

He proposes duplicating nuisance ordinances used elsewhere to close down known drug houses.

Nyquist wants to be accessible to the folks of East Linn County.

“I intend to schedule some office time in Sweet Home,” Nyquist said. “I’ll probably start out a couple days a month.”

Nyquist said he is still juggling his schedule and does not have committee assignments complete yet. When he gets all of that figured out, he will begin visiting Sweet Home regularly.

“The people of Sweet Home area county taxpayers,” Nyquist said. “And I hope they don’t have to drive to make sure the county is doing what they want.”

Nyquist’s job is to “represent the citizens,” he siad. To do that he would like to set up a desk, perhaps in the county health building on Long Street.

“We’ll see how that goes, if there’s a need,” Nyquist said. “Based on knocking on doors in this community, I got the impression that folks would like to see a county commissioner on a regular basis around here.”

Nyquist signed a proclamation with the former Board of Commissioners and with Commissioner Wooten.

“I’m very concerned about Weyerhaeuser’s attempt to take over Willamette,” Nyquist said. “Willamette’s been a great corporate citizen. If I sense that people’s jobs are in danger, I hope we all go foward aggresively in keeping fat cats on Wall Street from rolling the people of Linn County.”

Nyquist is a graduate of West Albany High School, and he attended Linn-Benton Community College. He has owned his family’s business, Lakeshore Lanes in Albany, for 15 years. He has two children, a 4-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son.

“We’re going to go forward. We’re going to do the county business, and we’re going to accomplish some things.”

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