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

Kirsch elected to 10th term in Mill City

Reporter for The Canyon Weekly

Mill City Mayor Tim Kirsch isn’t sure whether or not 10 terms in office is a record for the city, but said the last two decades of civil service feel like they have gone by fast.

The long-serving public official won his 10th non-consecutive term while running unopposed during the Nov. 8 election.

Kirsch said, during that time, he has considered stepping aside, but continued finding himself invested in new goals for the city.

“You want to say, ‘I just want to complete these last couple of projects,’ but there’s new projects going on,” he said.

Kirsch was first elected in 2000 and held the position until deciding not to run in 2008, at which point former Mayor Roel Lundquist was elected unopposed. Lundquist did not run in 2010 and Kirsch was re-elected unopposed, holding the office until he was unseated in 2014 by then-Council Member Thorin Thacker. Kirsch then unseated Thacker in 2016 and has served as mayor since.

Though Kirsch is now poised to spend more years in office than it takes to become old enough to vote, he said longevity was never the goal.

“I believe in community service, and everyone should be involved in some way,” he said. “This is my way of giving to the community I guess.”

Kirsch is joined in securing a new term by incumbent City Councilors Janet Zeyen-Hall and Steve Winn, and Councilor-elect Jason Saari, all of whom ran unopposed. Saari will fill the seat held by outgoing Councilor Tony Trout, who decided not to seek a third term.

Kirsch said he believes this team of fellow officials, along with sitting councilors Brett Katlong and Dawn Plotts, has developed a cohesive relationship and work well together. He said he expects Saari, a civics teacher at Santiam Junior/Senior High School, to bring an even-handed perspective to the council and contribute to the diverse background of city officials.

“I’ve known Jason for a number of years, and I think he’s going to do a fine job,” said Kirsch.

When asked if he is prepared to seek an 11th term in office, Kirsch said wants to take things one term at a time and focus on the immediate needs of the city, which include sewer system expansion, residential development and other infrastructure.

“We are busy with projects, and all of them are ones that I want to say are good for the future in Mill City,” he said.

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