City & Government

Unofficial: Solesbee takes slim lead for Grove mayor, other races closely contested

Editor’s Note: With more ballots still to be counted, these are the results as of 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Election Day. The votes tallied so far include ballots received through Monday, and ballots received during Election Day morning ballot box collection. This story will be updated as more ballots are counted. 

Neck-to-neck as the ballots continue to be tallied on Election night, the Cottage Grove mayor race is proving to be one of the more closely contested races in the Southern Willamette Valley.


As of 11 p.m., incumbent Jeff Gowing, 60, is falling short of just over 200 votes to his opponent, Candace Solesbee. Gowing has been mayor since 2017 and city councilor for seven years prior. This is Gowing’s first highly-contested race in his political career following an attempted House race earlier this year. 


Solesbee, 53, was Cottage Grove Ward 3 city councilor from 2018 – ‘22. The four legs of Solesbee’s platform include “fighting against drugs, law and order, compassion with accountability and transparency in government.”

In Creswell, mayor incumbent Dave Stram, 63, is retaining over 80% of the vote, bringing in 1,643 votes. His opponent, Jane Vincent, 73, is holding a slim number at 368 votes. Over 2,000 votes have been counted so far. 


The crux of Stram’s platform includes upholding the City’s mission to “provide quality, reliable and affordable city services … creating a safe, livable, attractive community with a unique small-town atmosphere.”

Stram served as mayor of Creswell from 2012- ‘18, and was appointed mayor from 2021- ‘22, following the resignation of former mayor Amy Knudsen. Unofficial numbers show an uptick in Creswell voters since Stram was last on the ballot in 2016, Back then, 1,760 votes were cast for the seat, with 1,659 in favor of Stram. 

In Cottage Grove, Dana Merryday retains a slim lead over Chris Holloman in Ward 3, garnering just over 50% of the vote, while Holloman is trailing closely behind at nearly 49% of the votes. Both candidates are “throwing their hat in the ring,” for the first time this year. Incumbent Mike Fleck retains a slight edge over his opponents, with just over 53% of the vote for the Councilor at Large position, which he has held in spurts over five terms since 2003. Darrel Wilson trails behind with nearly 34% of the vote, followed by Robert Kidder, with just over 12% of the vote. 

Incumbent Chalice Savage leads the Ward 1 race with 52% of the vote. This is her first election since being appointed to the city council in 2021. Donald Morris, straggles behind with 48%. 


  • The measure to ban psilocybin-related businesses in Creswell has 64% of voters in favor. In Cottage Grove, the split is shaping up to be much closer with 52% of voters in favor. 
  • The Springfield Public Safety levy, which renews police and jail operations is retaining 66% of voters in support. 
  • The countywide parks funding levy, aims at reinvesting and refurbishing local green spaces, is taking root with 60% of the vote. 
  • The South Lane County Fire and Rescue levy, which renews the current five-year local option tax for general operations, is holding 56% of voters in favor. 

The next results will be released by 5 p.m. Nov. 9 and 10. These include more ballots received during Election Day, followed by cured and postmarked ballots on Nov. 15. Final official results are not posted until Dec. 5. 



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