News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Five running for four council spots in Detroit

Reporter for The Canyon Weekly

Five candidates are vying for four spots on the Detroit City Council on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Incumbents Todd Smith, Greg Sheppard, Denny Nielsen and Michele Tesdal all are seeking new four-year terms. They are being challenged by newcomer Theresa Maurmann. 

Mayor Jim Trett and Councilors Eric Page and Tim Luke do not face the voters until 2024.

The Canyon Weekly interviewed candidates Nielsen, Tesdal and Maurmann, but Smith and Sheppard did not respond to multiple emails seeking information.

Maurmann, an entrepreneur, landlord and an area manager for Arbonne, a health and wellness company, said that she “figures her campaign is a long shot,” but spoke passionately about some of the challenges Detroit has faced post-2020 wildfires.

“I want to be more a part of the community,” she said, particularly as it relates to fire-recovery issues.

Maurmann, whose family lost their home in the fires, noted the challenge of a landscape that has lost its tree cover, cited challenges with petty crime and theft and also expressed frustration that those seeking to rebuild must contend with a septic tank approval process that is funneled through two Marion County employees.

“We need more than that,” she said. “We have a whole town to rebuild.”

Maurmann said she also hopes to be a councilor who will help bridge the gaps between those who live in Detroit year-round and those who are there only part-time during the summer.

“I am a community cheerleader,” she said. “I want everyone to be part of the process.”

Nielsen, a retired administrator with Salem Health, was appointed to the council in January to fill a vacancy.

“I have found council responsibilities to be challenging, stimulating and exciting,” Nielsen said. “It’s not often that a team of community leaders and volunteers with support from various government agencies have the opportunity to rebuild a city.”

Nielsen’s key council goal is the commercial rebuilding of the town, and he also is one of the two Detroit members of the North Santiam Sewer Authority, which is working to provide a system that will serve Mill City, Gates, Detroit and Idanha.

Nielsen said “replacing and enhancing all infrastructure which supports both commercial and residential properties is of primary concern.”

Nielsen also stressed the importance of communication as the city rebuilds.

“We must keep all stakeholders apprised of council and board activities in order to nurture and support our community volunteers through the use of social media, town hall meetings and contact with our government partners,” he said.

Tesdal, a retired U.S. Department of Agriculture natural resource specialist, is finishing her second year on the council. She also has served on the city’s planning commission.

She cited three key goals: leaning on tourist dollars more, beefing up code enforcement and, as Nielsen advocated, improving communication between Detroit and its residents.

“Our city park is basically a highway bathroom stop,” said Tesdal, who noted the financial drain that this produces in terms of materials and maintenance. “Post-fire we are serving tourists as best we can but currently only get traffic and financial burdens in return. We have to research what other similar towns do and then bring solutions to (city officials).”

Tesdal, like Maurmann, noted livability issues, mentioning noise, golf carts on the streets and RV overcrowding.

“We should hire someone to enforce our codes,” Tesdal said, with citation fines being used to pay for the new employee.

Better communication is necessary, she said, “so the people who do not listen in on council meetings get accurate and timely information.”

Currently, volunteers are being used to disseminate information, but Tesdal cautioned that “most of our citizens are tapped out because many are trying to rebuild post-fire.” 

Also on the ballot in Detroit is Measure 24-466 which would replace the city charter. Key changes include items on the qualifications for those eligible to serve in elective office, how nominations for the City Council occur, and removing the difference in status for primary and non-primary residents. Residents no longer would be either primary or non-primary with any qualified elector eligible to serve in an elective office, including the office of mayor. 

Here is a look at other races in the Santiam Canyon:

Psilocybin: Voters in Lyons, Mill City, Gates and in unincorporated areas of Linn and Marion counties will be deciding psilocybin measures.

Oregon voters in 2020 passed Measure 109, which created a program for administering psilocybin products, such as psilocybin-producing mushrooms and fungi, to individuals aged 21 years or older. Before the issue passed by a 55% to 45% margin, the manufacturing and consumption of psilocybin was illegal under both federal and state law.

Measure 109 also allowed cities and counties to place referendums on local ballots to prohibit or allow psilocybin-product manufacturers or psilocybin service centers in unincorporated areas. Measure 109 prohibited psilocybin service centers within the limits of an incorporated city or town.

Lyons (Measure 22-197), Gates (Measure 24-497) and Mill City (Measure 22-198) all chose to put up ballot measures that, if approved by the voters, would prohibit psilocybin-related businesses within their city limits. In addition, Linn County Measure 22-200 and Marion County Measure 24-465 would prohibit psilocybin manufacturing and locating service centers in unincorporated parts of Linn County. 

Gates: Ron Carmickle, who was running unopposed for a second two-year term for mayor, died Sept. 29. Council president Patrick Rahm will chair meetings until a new mayor is named. Incumbents Brian Gander and Tonya Chamberlain are running unopposed for council seats, as is Donald Mann. He is seeking the seat of Liz McCall, who resigned Sept. 15.

Lyons: Lloyd Valentine is running unopposed for another two-year term as mayor, with Jessica Ritchie running unopposed for another four-year term as councilor. Councilors Diane Hyde and Mike Wagner do not face the voters again until 2024. Councilor Troy Donohue is not seeking re-election, and the final council member will be appointed by the remaining councilors. 

Mill City: Mayor Tim Kirsch, incumbent councilors Janet Seyen-Hall, Steve Winn and first-time council candidate Jason Saari all are running unopposed.

Scio: Four candidates are bidding for three City Council seats. Incumbents John Whalen, Lyle Zedwick and Tom Gray are on the ballot as is newcomer Dennis Shaffer. More informatioon on the Scio races was published in the Sept. 16 edition of The Canyon Weekly.

ELECTION DATES

Oct 18: Last day to register to vote

Oct 19: Local ballots mailed

Nov 3: Last day for election officials to mail replacement ballots to voters

Nov 4: Voters needing a replacement ballot must make arrangements for pickup at the county elections office

Nov 8: Election Day

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