Mr. Mayor: Mount Angel’s Andy Otte says it’s all about giving back

February 2013 Posted in People
Mount Angel Mayor Andrew Otte

Mount Angel Mayor Andrew Otte

By Don Murtha

Ask Mount Angel Mayor Andrew “Andy” Otte what makes him tick and he will  say simply “It’s my turn to give back.”

He is giving back in many ways.

Besides being mayor, Otte is a member of the Mount Angel Fire Department; a football and basketball coach at Mount Angel Middle School; and a school booster club member.

His volunteer work is in addition to his full time job as a project manager for the Bank of America, which keeps him on the go. He is just back from business in South Carolina.

“There is never a shortage of things to do in Mount Angel if you want to be involved,” he said.

Otte’s busy life is a way of honoring to the generations that went before him, he said.

His father Mike Otte, who was in banking in Mount Angel was also an active citizen.

“He was in the chamber of commerce, the Lions, Little League. He was involved in everything,” Otte said. “Volunteering is part of growing in the community. It is a legacy you keep passing down. It is how little towns survive.”

Otte attended Mount Angel schools and in high school he was active in sports.

“There was football, baseball, basketball and track. Never anything outstanding. Just a lot of fun,” he said. After Kennedy High School, it was on to college.

“A friend of my mother was in the first graduating class at Saint Mary’s College of California in the East Bay town of Moraga. She told me about it and that was it. There was no more thinking. I went down there,” he said.

He majored in business and economics. To help finance college studies, he worked as a bouncer in a bar in San Francisco for three years.

“There was never much rough stuff there. Most of the time you could solve those things by talking,” he said. “It was really a fine job. I got to meet a lot of people.”

He worked at Irelands 32. Across the street was Pat O’Shea’s of San Francisco. There he met Shelley, who was working as a server. They were married on July 4, 2001.

During his San Francisco days, Otte threw his hat in the ring for mayor of San Francisco.

“It was a write-in thing and I got 32 votes,” he said. ”I knew where 22 of those votes came from but I never knew where I got the rest. I would have dropped dead if I had been elected. One thing, though. The salary for the mayor of San Francisco is better than the mayor of Mount Angel.”

Mount Angel’s mayor isn’t paid for his service.

Otte earned his masters of business administration at the University of San Francisco. He was hired by the Bank of America in San Francisco, working in  risk management, marketing communications and eventually project manager. With mergers and other transitions, however, his office declined from 400 people down to 10.

“I got another offer and I told my boss about it and she wasn’t really responsive at first.” he said. Then he learned Bank of America would allow him to work out of his home, and home didn’t have to be in San Francisco.

He and Shelley took a vacation  to Oregon to look around. They checked Wilsonville and Beaverton, among other places, and then came to Mount Angel, Otte’s real home. They moved to Mount Angel in June 2006.

Otte has been with the bank for 17 years.  His office is now in his 1908 home, which they are restoring.  It is “a work in progress,” and one of the many things that keeps Otte occupied.

Otte dove right into community activities. He ran for Mount Angel City Council and was elected in November 2008.

“It was another way to be involved in the community,” he said.

After serving a term on the council, his predecessor, former Mayor Rich Schiedler, told Otte he didn’t want to continue in office and he thought Otte would make a good candidate for the job. Otte ran unopposed and was seated in January.

“I’m not looking for any attention,” he said. “I’m just another small town mayor nobody knows.” Between his career, community involvement and house project, Otte says he has his hands full.

“It’s not like I don’t have anything to do,” he said.

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