Council honors longtime assemblywoman

Ossiander praised for “keeping our way of life” in Chugiak


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Assemblywoman Debbie Ossiander receives a plaque from Chugiak Community Council president Amy Demboski during the council’s meeting Jan. 17.

Matt Tunseth

During nearly a decade of service on the Anchorage Assembly, Chugiak’s Debbie Ossiander has always managed to find time for local community councils. On Jan. 17, the Chugiak Community Council found time for Debbie.

“Debbie’s always been there for us,” said council member Dave Baldwin, who joined council president Amy Demboski in presenting a special award to Ossiander for her nine years on the assembly.

“In recognition of your many years of selfless dedication and commitment to the preservation of our rural lifestyle and leading the way in shaping the future of our community,” read the plaque, which Ossiander said came as a big surprise.

“Thanks, guys,” said Ossiander, who had just finished giving her regular assembly update when the council sprung the award on her.

Ossiander’s term on the assembly expires this spring, and because of term limits she’s not allowed to run for re-election.

First elected in 2004, Ossiander said her top priority during her time on the assembly was looking out for property rights in Chugiak-Eagle River.

“That’s the primary reason I ran,” she said.

Ossiander spent much of her time dealing with the municipality’s massive Title 21 rewrite, which had its final public hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Ossiander — who chaired the assembly’s Title 21 committee — said she believes the land use code will be adopted soon.

“This is where the rubber meets the road,” she told the council.

Ossiander said Chapter 10, which deals specifically with Chugiak-Eagle River, is different from that of the Anchorage Bowl in that it attempts to maintain the area’s rural feel.

During his presentation to Ossiander, Baldwin praised the three-term assembly member for her commitment to preserving the area’s unique character.

“You are keeping our way of life out here,” he told Ossiander.

With Title 21 winding down, Ossiander said she plans to spend the majority of her remaining time on the assembly finishing up on land use and doing what she can to address the community’s transportation needs. She said she’d still like to figure out a way to get more taxi service in Chugiak-Eagle River, and hopes to explore changes to Title 11, which governs transportation in the muni.

“I am all Title 21 and taxis now,” Ossiander said.

Baldwin said Ossiander is an excellent example of how individuals can help shape policy through the public process, and used the opportunity to drum up interest in the community council — which currently has two expiring seats.

“I highly encourage you to get involved in your community,” he said.

Anyone interested in serving on the Chugiak Community Council — or learning more about other councils in the area — can visit communitycouncils.org, the website for the Federation of Community Councils. The site includes links to information about each of the Chugiak-Eagle River area’s six councils (Birchwood, Chugiak, Eagle River, Eagle River Valley, Eklutna Valley and South Fork).

 

Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or matt.tunseth@alaskastar.com

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