CRESWELL – The council has opened the mayor position to the public, and former Creswell mayor Dave Stram is heeding the call. He is one of three applicants so far vying for the position, which will be filled in October by a majority council vote.
“I can help the City navigate its way through these raging waters,” Stram said. He was mayor from 2013-18 and is credited by some community members and local officials for pulling the city out of difficult times that had also resulted in mayor and councilor resignations.
“When I became mayor nine years ago, people were mad about water rates. They didn’t think we had enough public safety officers. We had an angry person out at the airport that was suing the city for several grand. We had people so angry with The Chronicle that people wouldn’t speak to reporters … There were a lot of angry things going on there,” Stram recalled.
“All these years later, the issues have changed. And if we were to go forward five years from now I daresay the issues would change again,” he said. “Challenges are always with us in life. The constant is the people who have skills to navigate their way through the challenges, and I think I have a lot of skills to navigate people through challenges.”
Stram has been attending city council meetings lately as “a friendly face in the crowd,” he said. He spoke at the two most recent meetings during the public comment period, first to thank the council for its service, as well as to remind the councilor’s of their mission statement: “The City of Creswell exists to provide quality, reliable, and affordable city services to city residents and businesses creating a safe, livable, attractive community with a unique small town atmosphere.”
“The next thing I know, Amy resigned,” Stram said. “So now there’s a need. And I’m starting to realize that I stepped up before because there was a need, and because I really care a lot about Creswell.”
He said he strongly believes in the vital role the council and the mayor play in the City, adding that the role of the mayor is to defend its council and to make sure meetings run efficiently as possible so that City business is accomplished.
The mayor serves to “protect the rights of every counselor to speak, to be heard, to voice their agreements and disagreements, to discuss, debate and decide. The job of the mayor is to protect six people who’ve been elected, and make sure that when they come to a meeting, they can ask their questions and they can get their answers without interruption by other councilors.”
He said that, from experience, when these methods are practiced, “people begin to see that they can come to these meetings and they can do their job as a councilor,” he said. “It takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight.”
Council President and Acting Mayor Kevin Prociw and first-term Councilor JoeRell Medina had also expressed interest in the seat at the last city council meeting.
“I’m not against Joe or Kevin … I just believe that I’m a good candidate and if I’m a good candidate, then I should be willing to serve,” Stram said.
No other applications have been submitted yet, City Manager Michelle Amberg said on Tuesday. The city council is still working on the process to take applications and do interviews. The process will not be opened until after the city council accepts Knudsen's resignation at the Sept. 13 meeting.
Community members are encouraged to email city council with their recommendations and candidate preferences. The term expires in November 2022.