Creswell Mayor Dave Stram, left, is congratulated by Judge R. Scott Palmer after being sworn in on Monday night. ERIN TIERNEY/CHRONICLE PHOTO

CRESWELL – Once learned and never forgotten, like riding a bike, Dave Stram took the dais Monday night as Creswell’s mayor for the fourth time in eight years.

“This is like deja vu all over again,” said Judge R. Scott Palmer during Monday’s swearing in ceremony. Re-elected twice, Stram served as mayor of Creswell from 2013 through 2018.

“Public service reigns supreme in this city … Hopefully, Mr. Stram, you’re going to have a steadying influence to help the City and the council achieve great things,” Palmer said.

Stram’s appointment is supervened by difficult times; amid community tensions relating to equity initiatives and this year’s infamous Fourth of July holiday fallout, both mayors elected since Stram’s departure in 2018 have resigned, in addition to two city councilors. 

Since Amy Knudsen’s departure in August, who cited “undue stress” for her resignation, the City has been operating sans mayor. “It’s been a challenging few months without a mayor, but you (citizens) have done a good job of keeping your chins up,” Stram said.

A fractured city government is not an unfamiliar sight for Stram. During the first months of his first term in 2013, disputes relating to airport management, water rates and an overall growing distrust of city officials led to the resignation of a city manager and two councilors in a single meeting. Stram was then tasked with helping restore trust and rebuilding the local government. Dozens of letters of support from community members that were sent to the City and The Chronicle emphatically acknowledged that Stram was a successful leader in those difficult times – a sentiment that helped sway council to appoint Stram over council president Kevin Prociw last week. 

Poised and composed with gavel in hand, Stram’s first order of business was to appoint new members to the Budget Committee and the Airport Commission, a process that was underway before his appointment.

From left are Ceswell city council president Kevin Prociw, mayor Dave Stram and councilors Shelly Clark and Alonzo Costilla. ERIN TIERNEY/CHRONICLE PHOTO

With three applicants vying for the position, Creswell pilot Patrick Dodson was appointed to the Airport Commission, completing the full roster of the board.

Dodson

He said his lifelong interest in aviation propelled him to apply, noting that he’d like to see the airport become a more recognized and appreciated component of the community. Staci Holt and Jason Byrn applied for that position, too.

Holt and Byrn also applied for the Budget Committee, which had three vacancies. Only Holt was appointed, leaving two vacant seats.

“In the last week, I’ve been approached by a number of people who are now very excited about applying for various committees and commissions,” Stram said. Rather than appoint both applicants, Stram proposed to extend the deadline to allow more candidates to apply. 

Holt, who moved from Springfield to Creswell in April, is a senior business analyst for PacificSource Health Plans.

Holt, spoken to council in the past to voice opposition to citations issued to the organizers of the 2021 unpermitted Fourth of July parade, has been a member of the Springfield Main Street Safety Project Community Advisory Committee for three years, and is also on the budget committee for the Lane County Republican Party. She said that her skills in understanding financial statements, budgets, and basic parliamentary procedures will make her an asset to the committee.  

Holt

She said her skills in understanding financial statements, budgets, and basic parliamentary procedures will make her an asset.  

Stram also proposed a timeline for appointing a councilor to fill the spot left open by JoeRell Medina, who resigned in September calling Oregon “a totalitarian state.” 

Realtor Tammy Sue Schuck filed for the open position two weeks ago. Another resident, Eric Gwaltney, has since applied.

Gwaltney. PHOTO PROVIDED

Gwaltney has been a Creswell resident for 15 years and is employed in sales and purchasing at Pacific Rubber and Supply Corp. He said he would focus on “the grass roots of our city, and that’s family.” He would like to explore resources that would benefit children and help “keep families together.”

He said that his experience as a former Cub Scout leader had led him to want to contribute more to his community. “Being a part of something outside of my home that can make a difference is a wonderful feeling when you see the fruits of your efforts,” he said. “I am hoping to work alongside the other council members and the mayor to bring a fresh perspective and thought process.”

The application deadline is Dec. 2, which will be followed by interviews and the choice on Dec. 13. The new councilor would be sworn in at a January meeting.