Column: ‘Normal’ activity from City Hall to the streets is a welcome relief

“A return to normalcy.” We hear that phrase a lot these days. We speak it with a plaintive yet still hopeful determination in our voice. “Yeah, someday, maybe,” we think to ourselves as soon as we speak it. But will it ever be “normal” again? 

Well, in some ways, we know that it will. There will be a new normal, at least. 

One criteria for feeling “normal again” is by taking measure of local government, its people and machinations. In Creswell, it’s feeling normal again.

Dave Stram has re-entered the stage, not from stage left or stage right, but straight up the middle, emerging from the orchestra pit, and conducting himself and the city’s business in the spirit of peace and harmony.

Observers and participants at city council meetings and community events have commented on Stram’s efficiency running the proceedings, the clear objectives, and a transparency that serves his city colleagues and, especially, We The People. He’s been accessible and communicative with The Chronicle and other news outlets, and articulated his vision and “five-point plan” during the application process and again at council meetings. 

Business is being conducted without drama, and now he has the full complement of councilors.

When Stram first applied for the vacant position, people could be forgiven if they saw him simply as a stopgap, someone who might exit in gentile fashion when the abbreviated term ends in 2022.

Hmmm. Those folks might want to pay the mortgage before betting on that scenario. Stram’s ambitious five-point plan – even with his well-known drive – is not something that can be stuffed into 18 months. It’s a big-picture, long-term vision for a small town that continues to juggle growing pains. In fact, its boundaries grew again Monday night to accommodate more residential growth.

Pastor Stram, the town’s piano teacher, is positioned to build for the long haul. Set the metronome, and let’s go.


Stram and the residents in Creswell will benefit from the reconstituted Chamber of Commerce, led by president Bobby Ladley. He visited Erin Tierney and me in our offices, where the heat has been turned off and most of the furniture removed. It was a warm discussion nonetheless. Various members of the paper have been collaborating with Ruth Ann Seim and Sandi OBrien at the Chamber’s offices the past few months. The new chamber board has been getting their legs underneath them, and we’re working hard to keep standing on ours. 

The Creswell chamber pulled off its parade and Winter Lights events, and is now partnering with The Chronicle and Sanipac on a home-decorating contest through Dec. 25. We’re humbled that the Chamber has chosen The Chronicle to publish its 2022-23 newcomers and visitors guide next spring. Our 2019-20 chamber guide – pre-Covid – earned first place in the state for its design and Tierney’s cover story on Pazzo owner/chef Scott Pisani.

The Cottage Grove Chamber, led by Shauna Neigh and Georgia Haskell, chose The Chronicle to produce its 2022 visitors and newcomers guide. So, we’re doubly humbled – blessed. The Cottage Grove chamber has remained active with renewed focus and energy. Concerts in the Park this summer, Business After Hours events, a brand-new Halloween Hootenanny, a new relationship with RAIN, and the Christmas events at Bohemia Park were just a few examples of community engagement. Its offices stand as a beacon on the corner of Main and Hwy 99, the entrance to Historic Downtown. 

Walking the parade route down Main Street in Springfield reminded me of big events. Growing up in Miami, I either watched or participated in the Orange Bowl parade, and I was lucky enough to attend a Rose Bowl parade. I admit to avoiding parades in NYC while living about two hours away in Connecticut. 

The Springfield Chamber, under Vonnie Mikkelsen’s steady hand, has continued to promote tent-pole events in the community all year, and deliver real business support via meetings with experts in retail sales to supply-chain challenges and opportunities.


I write this week on the death of a phone number. I’ll keep it short, but I’m sure all of you can imagine the painstaking, drip, drip, drip of minutes and then hours dealing with customer “service” agents over the phone.

Our old Creswell Chronicle phone number had been in use for 20-plus years, and it was important for us to keep it alive. Well ahead of our office relocation from Creswell to Springfield, I made sure the “old” number in Creswell would bounce to our new number in Springfield. Not necessarily an easy trick as the cities have different carriers. 

“No problem. It’s an RFN,” an agent told me confidently. “Remote Forward Number.” This seamless forwarding of the old phone number is just what we needed – and never got. Not on the day it was supposed to happen, and not on any day since then – two months later.

“Gee, I see the work order. It should happen tomorrow.” Nope. Never. I spoke to more than 10 people on the phone over three months. Todd was really empathetic. But sadly no more capable. Finally, I bit the bullet and canceled all business with Spectrum. We have one, new number now: 541-515-6233. Feel free to call 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays. 

Noel Nash is publisher of The Chronicle.



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