Write-ins welcome: Volunteers needed for Scotts Mills mayor, council

October 2014 Posted in Community

By Brenna Wiegand

Playground volunteers
Scotts Mills City Park,
330 First St. Saturday, Oct. 4,
meet at 10 a.m. Volunteers
are needed to install new
playground equipment.

Outgoing Scotts Mills Mayor Ron Bielenberg wants someone to take his job. So much so that he is encouraging a citizen to advertise as a write-in candidate. There are also three city council spots open on the Nov. 4 ballot but only two candidates running for office. The council terms of Dave Lemings, Erin McRae and Val Lemings expire in Dec. 31; the latter two will run again – unopposed.

“It’s very easy to find people to serve on the city council if there’s something controversial, but as long as things are running good it’s real hard to find people, especially in a small town, where a lot of people volunteer for a lot of other things,” Bielenberg said. “I won’t say we’ve been with a vacancy for most of the time, but it’s pretty common for us to have one.”

With his wife’s recent retirment, Bielenberg said they plan to travel. He’ll be able to rest easier if he knows somone has filled his shoe’s as mayor. Since moving back to his hometown 10 years ago, Bielenberg has spent four years as a city councilor and six years as mayor.

“It’s not a lot of time commitment but there is a commitment,” Bielenberg said. “It’s different than in a larger city. You know, if a water line breaks, I’m standing there with a shovel – and you don’t see Charlie Hales (Portland’s mayor) doing that.”

Bielenberg and City Clerk Kari Plas wear many hats. “I get calls all the time (such as) where we had some hooligans pull some stuff and I go up and checked it out …I get those phone calls,” Bielenberg said. “Pretty much my phone number’s on every water bill, so…”

Bielenberg began his service to the city as a write-in candidate.

Aside from water lines that need replacing, most of the issues before the Scotts Mills council  sound pretty fun, he said. In addition to ongoing improvements at the city park, Scotts Mills is looking to create a safe trail to keep kids off the road while walking to school.

“We want to create some sort of ‘Educational Pathway’ that will get the kids off of First Street,” Bielenberg said. “Hopefully, we’ll have tiles along there and the eighth grade class will come up with questions and make the tiles, and every year there will be new questions that go up along the path.”

Lastly, Bielenberg is proud the city paid off one of its two water system loans this year and figures it should be able to pay the second one off in the next two to four years.

“It’s a 40-year loan, so we’re saving a ton of money by paying it off,” he said.

Scotts Mills City Park
projects near completion
The first phase of a new pavilion at the Scotts Mills City Park will be finished by the end of the year, Mayor Ron Bielenberg said, adding it will increase the covered space, with room for two sets of picnic tables.

“Phase II will include some sort of pizza oven – we have Pizza in the Park every third Thursday during the summer – possibly a fireplace that doubles as an oven. We’re seeking sponsors; a plaque is going up,” he said. Monetary donations as well as supplies, wood fiber or rubber for underneath the structure and other supplies are needed.

The park has had major upgrades the last four years including a water fountain, covered bridge for a shelter, creek, wagon wheel, and new grass and flower beds. To help, call 503-873-5435.

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