City Government, Cottage Grove

Grove gains a new councilor


COTTAGE GROVE — When Alex Dreher stepped up to the plate, the Cottage Grove City Council was “blown away,” city officials said. Earlier this week, she was unanimously appointed to fill the vacant “Councilor at Large” seat left by Kenneth Micheal Roberts late last year. 

“My goals for this position are to bring people together and build community,” Dreher said. “We have been painfully socially distanced due to the pandemic and I look forward to getting to working together in community again. Virtually when it is convenient and necessary, but most importantly in person as well.” 

Monday evening, the city council met to interview potential candidates for the vacant seat, eventually settling on Dreher — the interim manager for Lane County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). 

Jon Stinnett, who represents Ward 2 on the Cottage Grove City Council, said Dreher brought a “workable idea,” to each question raised during the interview. 

“I think it shows the depth and breadth of knowledge that she will bring to the role,” he said. “She brought a solution to each issue.”

Dreher brings years of local government experience to the role having previously worked for the county as the Homeless Services Supervisor, Anti-poverty program services coordinator, and in various leadership roles with the United Way of Lane County. She specializes in Grant tracking and management. 

“Because of the nature of my work as a grant manager, I’m usually the first one to hear about new funding opportunities. I have my eye on what is on the horizon for rural cities like ours,” she said. “There are tremendous resources coming down the pike from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act. I will do my homework before meetings to put us in the position to secure as much grant funding as we can, especially to lower the cost we have to pass on to our residents.” 

Dana Merryday, who represents Ward 3 on the Cottage Grove City Council, said Dreher “exuded positivity,” and was “quick on her feet.” 

“She showed a willingness to collaborate and work as a team,” he said. 

Dreher has also worked locally with the “Be your Best” Coalition and on the city manager’s human services stakeholder group. 

“Hands down, our City’s biggest asset is our people,” she said. “Look at who applied to serve on the Council. Really talented people (and one dog) who bring different skills but they’re all ready to show up and work. That’s what I love about this City and why I choose to live here.”