After in-depth interviews with six candidates, the Canby City Council on July 24 appointed Trygve Berge to serve at least the next 16 months of Tracie Heidt’s term. And, before you ask, it’s pronounced “Trig-vee Berg-ee.”
“Last night was a really good night,” he said in a phone interview the following day. “The other five candidates who had mic time last night; I think the council would have been blessed to have chosen any of the five.
“Selfishly, I’m excited that they chose me,” he joked. “I do think I bring a lot of experience when it comes to construction and land zoning and that kind of stuff.”
Berge is vice president of Inline Commercial Construction, a large, Aloha-based general contracting firm, operating throughout Oregon and southwest Washington.
Councilors were indeed impressed with the depth and breadth of Berge’s construction, land use and business experience, but in particular, his research and preparation for the position. He had excellent answers to Mayor Brian Hodson’s questions and displayed a deep understanding of the challenges facing the city as well as its current and ongoing projects.
“I think that it’s very important that in anything I go to do, I have a good understanding to start off with,” he said. “Just having an understanding and grasp of what the issues are, then I can bring myself up to speed, with the help of others, a lot quicker.”
His previous civic experience includes membership on a public policy committee in Hillsboro as well as an investment roundtable for the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce. He’s also an assistant coach of the Canby High School trapshooting team and is a sixth degree black belt in Taekwondo, having practiced since he was 9 years old.
Much of the discussion Wednesday night concerned candidates’ views on growth and development in Canby. In our interview, Berge discussed his approach, as an experienced vice president of a large commercial construction firm.
“I believe in healthy growth,” he said. “I really want to keep the small town feel and atmosphere in Canby. Canby is an awesome community, and it really thrives on that. But we all know growth is going to happen.”
To him, part of that “healthy growth” is ensuring new development is not permitted until and unless there is the infrastructure in place to support that growth.
He shared the recent example of a major annexation in Hillsboro, which will include thousands of new homes along with churches, shopping centers and other development, but on roads that Berge does not believe are equipped to handle them.
“I want to make sure that kind of stuff does not happen in Canby, and that, instead, it’s a healthy growth,” he said. “We need to take a good look at the infrastructure and what those needs would be before we allow a lot of growth to come in.”
Berge was appointed by a 3-2 vote (initially). Councilors Greg Parker and Sarah Spoon favored Jason Padden, who has served on the council before (though he was forced to step down due to time constraints related to a previous job) and was chair of this year’s budget committee. He has sat on a number of other local boards and committees, as well.
Berge’s civic experience was more limited, and councilors Spoon and Parker expressed that a more seasoned hand might be preferred, considering the high turnover the city is currently experiencing, including the transition to a new city administrator.
Parker later asked permission to change his vote in support of Berge, so the official vote was 4-1.
Berge will serve as the appointee until the next general election in 2020, at which point, the seat will again be up for grabs. On Wednesday, he said that, if appointed, he would file to run in the November election.
For our full interview with newly appointed City Councilor Trygve Berge, check out Monday’s episode of the Canby Now Podcast. Find it on your favorite podcast app, or at show.canbyfirst.com.
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