Farmen throws hat into Council ring

Jay Farmen

With the addition of another candidate, the race for the two Lakeview Town Council seats has heated up. Jay Farmen has thrown his hat into the ring wanting to help bring in business, improve enforcement of the nuisance ordinance and more.

Farmen moved to Lakeview in the early 1990s with his wife, Ceci Farman, a Lakeview native, when Jay started teaching middle school math and science. He grew up in Toledo and graduated from Western Oregon University. During his time teaching he also coached basketball, track, and football teams.

Since he retired, he has remained involved with the community, and wishes to see it grow and prosper by serving on the Town Council.

“Lakeview is a great place to raise a family, I raised my family here and a lot of people want to do it as well,” said Farmen.

He described that he wants to get Lakeview to a point where people might leave to get an education after high school, but then come back to raise a family, start a business and be otherwise involved in the community.

One issue he feels is holding back the community is the lack of enforcement, or teeth, to the current nuisance ordinances. While there has been some discussion between the Town and the County over potentially hiring a nuisance officer, Farmen believes that doing things within the Town, by adding more teeth to the ordinance, is the way to go as it will help improve the imagine of the Town to passing motorists.

But his campaign is not all about ordinances. He would like to see more businesses come to Lakeview, including another grocery store. He said that the faith that Red Rock Biofuels has put into the community will help to bring other industrial manufacturing to the area. That combined with the efforts of the Lakeview Community Partnership (LCP) to revitalize downtown Lakeview is something that he wishes to work towards if he is elected to the council. Farmen said that using tax breaks wisely to attract businesses, whether it is another Red Rock, or helping to fill some of the empty buildings in the downtown area, is something he wishes to pursue. There are many empty buildings, with many of them needing work, but he said that there is only so much the Town can do to fix up sidewalks and buildings that are private property. He said he would work with the owners on finding a solution.

Farmen has long term goals as well which include offering natural gas to the community as both a heating option and for cooking. Farmen said that it could be possible but it is a long term goal. Another long term goal is finding a way to have attractive affordable homes for people moving to the community.

“There are not a lot of homes that have been fixed up, but there is a need in this town for affordable housing at a reasonable price,” said Farmen.

Farmen is a big believer in supporting local business. He said that online purchasing has hurt many local businesses as they are unable to compete on price with the major online stores. He wants the people of the community to support local businesses which will help them grow and attract new businesses, offering more options for people locally without the need for long drives to Klamath Falls or Bend.

One area that he would like to see developed more is tourism, though he admitted that the empty and sometimes worn down buildings might not leave the best impression. He said that if Hunter Hot Springs is developed to its full potential it could be just as good, or even better, than the Surprise Valley Hot Springs in Cedarville, Calif., which brings in a lot of people from the urban areas. He also feels more events could be held at the Fairgrounds drawing in visitors after COVID passes.

Farmen had nothing bad to say about the current people holding the council seats that are up for election, but he said that there is a need for new blood and thinking on the Town Council. He is excited about the work that current Lakeview Town Mgr. Michele Parry is doing, and is looking forward to working with her on the many projects in the community if he is elected. This includes looking into making the Town swimming pool a year-round operation by covering it and building a skate park and basketball courts in the Town Park.

Farmen said he is ready to serve on the council, and has been encouraged by friends and family to run. He has been watching and attending meetings.

Currently he is running against Sandra Wenzel and Shannon Theall. The top two vote getters will win seats on the Town Council. The election is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

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