This article was published July 13, 2016 in the Lake Oswego Review
Attorney Kohlhoff enters race for Lake Oswego City Council seat
Creating affordable options for young families is her ‘most important reason for running.
Theresa M. Kohlhoff, a small-business owner and practicing attorney who has lived in Lake Oswego since 1989, announced Tuesday that she will run for a seat on the City Council in November’s general election.
Kohlhoff joins incumbents Skip O’Neill and Charles Collins in the race for three open council seats, although additional candidates have until 5 p.m. on Aug. 30 to enter the contest. Councilor Jon Gustafson, whose four-year term is also set to expire this year, announced Tuesday that he will instead run for mayor.
Kohlhoff said “the single most important reason” why she decided to run for office is a lack of affordable options for young families in Lake Oswego. “I love Lake Oswego more as I go along and use the services and businesses,” she told The Review. “It’s a beautiful city, but to quote one of my grandchildren, ‘Lake Oswego IS beautiful, but there aren’t any kids.’”
Kohlhoff said the city must work toward finding ways to keep housing available and affordable for families with school-age children who could benefit from Lake Oswego’s amenities and its quality school district. She said she also believes that retirees should not be forced to leave their homes in the event that they find themselves “house rich and cash poor.”
“I want to address our infrastructure and service needs, further housing and transportation opportunities for a wider range of citizens and work toward an efficient, responsible but also generous Lake Oswego,” she said.
Kohlhoff said fiscal responsibility is important to her and that she knows it is to the rest of the city as well. Still, she said, she in no way supports arbitrarily cutting city staff where their services are needed and wanted.
“I am very savvy about money,” she said, “but the cheapest route is not always the best.”
An attorney for nearly 36 years, Kohlhoff earned her undergraduate degree at Portland State University and completed four years of law school at Lewis & Clark College while commuting from her home in Philomath. With four young daughters at home, she started her practice in her front room.
“This meant balancing family responsibilities, learning the technical aspects of applying the law to solving a person’s particular problems, paying bills on time when income was sporadic, marketing myself and adapting it to the economic times,” she said. “I know it takes hard work, commitment and discipline to run a successful business and earn a profit.”
Kohlhoff is active in the community and in the state, most recently being elected to a four-year term on the Board of Governors of the Oregon State Bar. In that role, she helped hire a new executive director, served on task forces, evaluated state law improvement areas and initiated real estate investment research.
She is married to Mike Kohlhoff, the retired city attorney for Wilsonville. Together, they have six grown children and six grandchildren.
“My heart is always with the little guy — and that includes most of us,” she said. “I will be their voice.”
Kohlhoff has scheduled a campaign kickoff event for 4 p.m. on July 30 at the law office of Tom D’Amore (4230 Galewood St., Suite 200, in Lake Oswego.) Among the co-hosts scheduled to attend: City Councilors Joe Buck and Jon Gustafson and state Rep. Ann Lininger.