Candidacies announced for mayor, council races
Editor’s note: In the upcoming weeks, The Chronicle will offer each candidate the opportunity to write a guest column in addition to answering a Q&A. Election coverage will be published throughout October and in early November.
Candidates are gearing up for the election, and between two contested mayoral races, local psilocybin bans, police services and countywide parks funding, voters have plenty to consider as they prepare to cast their votes in the general election on Nov. 8.
The election deadline for candidates closed early September and now, candidates are actively on the campaign trail. Below is a brief introduction to each candidate in the communities The Chronicle serves.
In Creswell, the mayor’s seat is contested, with incumbent Dave Stram running against former city councilor Jane Vincent. City councilor Alonzo Costilla is uncontested as he runs again for his position.
DAVE STRAM, a nonpartisan candidate, is a piano teacher and former pastor at Creswell Church of Christ. Stram has previously sat on the Creswell Budget Committee, and was the Mayor of Creswell from 2013-18, and currently holds the seat.
JANE VINCENT, a nonpartisan candidate, previously held a Creswell City Council seat for eight years. Now retired, she has experience working in community emergency training, elder care and economic development.
ALONZO COSTILLA, a nonpartisan candidate, is running again for councilor. Costilla was elected in 2019, and works professionally in the printing industry. He serves as the chair of the Administration and Finance Committee, and on the Airport Commission Committee. He also served as the Director of Say NO to Onegro PAC in opposition of Measure 20-280 — allowing certain recreational marijuana businesses to operate in Creswell.
In Springfield, Mayor Sean VanGordon runs uncontested for his position.
SEAN VANGORDON joined the Springfield City Council in 2011 and represented the Gateway Area (Ward 1). He has served on numerous committees and boards over the years including the Planning Commission, Poverty and Homelessness Board, and the Lane Area Committee on Transportation.
In Cottage Grove, the mayor’s office, Ward 1, Ward 3, and one Councilor at Large position are on the ballot. In the mayor’s race, incumbent Mayor Jeff Gowing will run against local business owner and city councilor, Candace Solesbee. Three candidates have filed for Councilor at Large, including incumbent Mike Fleck, Robert D. Kidder and Daniel D. Wilson. Two candidates have filed for Ward 1, including incumbent Chalice Savage and newcomer Donald L. Morris. Ward 3 is also a contested race, filling the vacancy left by Solesbee in her mayoral run. Dana Merryday and Chris Holloman have filed for the seat.
JEFF GOWING is running for reelection, having served five years as mayor and seven years on Cottage Grove City Council. Gowing is a millwright at Weyerhaeuser Lumber and a veteran of the United States Army.
CANDACE SOLESBEE, local business owner of two mainstreet storefronts, Shampoo Dolls and 5 Flying Monkeys. Solesbee was previously representing Ward 3 on the city council.
MIKE FLECK, executive director of the Community Sharing Program in Cottage Grove, is the incumbent for the seat. Fleck has previously sat on the boards of the South Lane Fire District, L.R.A.P.A, the Lane School District budget committee and the Cottage Grove Planning Commission. He was elected to city council in 2018.
ROBERT D. KIDDER, a Cottage Grove resident and tow truck driver with no prior city government experience running for the Councilor at Large seat.
DANIEL D. WILSON is a previous member of the Springfield Downtown Revitalization Committee and works as a local security guard and courier, is also running for the Councilor at Large seat.
CHALICE SAVAGE has filed to represent Ward 1, after being appointed by the council in 2021 to fill the remaining portion of Jake Boone’s term. Savage is the executive assistant and general manager of Blackstone Inc. and has been a Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce board member since 2021.
DONALD L. MORRIS, a foreman for a heavy equipment contractor headquartered in Coburg with no prior government experience, is also running for Ward 1.
CHRIS HOLLOMAN, a local business owner who is on the board for South Lane County Fire & Rescue is running for Ward 3.
DANA MERRYDAY, a freelance writer and substitute teacher with South Lane School District, is also running for Ward 3. Merryday previously sat on the City of Cottage Grove Budget Committee and the Ore Cart Coordinator for Bohemia Mining days.
US Representative District 4
Upon PETER DeFAZIO’S retirement — having served as U.S. representative for Oregon’s 4th congressional district since 1987 — five candidates filed for election, including Mike Beilstein of the Pacific Green Party, Jim Howard of the Constitution Party, Val Hoyle of the Democratic Party, and Levi Leatherberry of the Independent Party and Alek Skarlatos of the Republican Party.
Senate District 6
(Creswell, Cottage Grove)
Senator Lee Beyer’s current seat
CEDRIC HAYDEN: Redistricting last year shifted Cedric Hayden from District 7 to District 6. He had served in District 7 since 2015, and will be running against Ashley Pelton. Hayden is a Republican with occupational experience as a dentist, rancher, wildland firefighter and small business owner.
ASHLEY PELTON, a Democrat, is the campaign coordinator for Criminal Justice Reform for Clean Slate Oregon; serves on the political action committee and on the legislative committee for National Association of Social Workers; and is also a national committee person for the Young Democrats of Oregon.
Senate District 4
INCUMBENT SENATOR FLOYD PROZANSKI, a democrat is uncontested as he runs again for his position. He has served in the Oregon House of Representatives, as the Lane County assistant district attorney, on the Eugene Police Police Commission and the Oregon Law Commission, as well as the BLM Timber Advisory Board.
House District 12
(Crewell, Cottage Grove)
CHARLIE CONRAD, of Dexter, is an operations supervisor for Lane Events Center. He served on the Lane County Planning Commission and on the Community Action Advisory Committee. He has previous experience as a supervising analyst for Lane County Parks; a research coordinator for the League of Oregon Cities; a police officer at Springfield Police Department; and was a corrections officer for Lane County Sheriff’s Office.
MICHELLE EMMONS, of Oakridge, is the Upper Willamette Watershed program manager, a Willamette Riverkeeper, and an outdoor experience guide with the City of Eugene’s River House Outdoor Program. She has experience in education and outreach at the Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council, Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah and the Lane Arts Council.
House District 7
JOHN LIVELY: Redistricting has shifted Springfield’s John Lively from District 12 to District 7, who will be running against Republican Alan Stout. Lively, a Democrat, has experience as the chief operating officer for a landscape architecture and planning company; the director of technical and customer support at contact center; a director at a semiconductor manufacturing company, and a regional business development officer for the State.
ALAN STOUT, of Springfield, is employed as a sales manager.