Race takes shape – Silverton leadership set for changes

July 2022 Posted in Business, Community

By James Day

Silverton government will present a slightly different face in 2023.

Mayor Kyle Palmer, a Silverton political fixture since 2004, is not running for re-election. Veteran councilor Jason Freilinger and local businessman Morry Jones have filed for the race to replace Palmer.

Meanwhile, the six-person City Council will see at least one change and perhaps more. Two-term councilor Jim Sears told Our Town that he will not seek re-election. Incumbent Dana Smith told Our Town that she has not made up her mind about a re-election bid. The seat of Crystal Neideigh also is up this cycle, but she did not respond to questions about her plans.

The other three councilors, Freilinger, Jess Miller and Elvi Cuellar Sutton, do not face the voters again until 2024 for their council seats. However, should Freilinger win the mayoral race, a special process would be put in place to fill his council slot.

According to the city charter, vacant elective city offices are filled via a majority vote of the remaining members of the council. The appointee’s term begins immediately upon appointment and continues throughout the unexpired term of the appointee’s predecessor.

Freilinger, a financial services officer, told Our Town “I am running for mayor because of my commitment and passion for the Silverton community. I decided 20 years ago that my life’s aspiration was to live, work, serve, and play in Silverton.

“Over the last ten years, I have served on the City Council. We have been proactive about planning Silverton’s future, including funding important future projects within our existing budget. I remain committed to making improvements to our core infrastructure. We are at the point where improvements can be made to parks and the downtown.  I will lead the community in facilitating a public process to make these much-needed improvements.”

Jones, a sales director, has lived in Silverton for 57 years. Both he and Freilinger are Silverton High School graduates.

“I love Silverton and want to continue my efforts in giving back to a community that has given me so much,” Jones said. “In 40 years of work experience I traveled around the world working with diverse cultures, languages, and cultural norms. I have been successful getting people within an organization to work together and engage in respectful dialogue.”

Noting the mayoral change and the council seats in play Jones said, “I believe strong leadership is necessary for this transition, and I believe I have that skill set for the change. It is important that we keep Silverton moving in the right direction. I believe the experience I bring to the role of mayor will help move our community forward while attempting to get more citizen involvement. My goal as mayor is to make sure every voice in Silverton is heard.”

Sears, meanwhile, told Our Town that the decision not to seek re-election to a council seat was a difficult one.

“After some soul searching I have decided not to seek re-election,” Sears said. “There are a number of factors.  Mostly, I would like to spend more time pursuing some of my other interests that I have not been able to. Also, we have been toying with moving outside of Silverton (and) residency in Silverton is a requirement to serve on council.

“I feel fortunate to have been able to use my background and experience to give back to the city (and) to be involved in several key infrastructure projects and policy decisions that will be here in Silverton for many years.  After serving for eight years I believe it is time for new and younger blood on the council to replace me.”

The volunteer council and mayoral positions are non-partisan. Thus there was not a May primary as there was for the Legislature, Congress and state and federal elected offices. All Silverton councilor positions are at-large and the new terms begin Jan. 9, 2023.

Candidates can file by fee ($50) or by petition. The deadline to file to make the ballot is Aug. 30. To qualify, a candidate must be a registered voter in Silverton and must have resided in Silverton continuously in the 12 months preceding the election.

Those interested in picking up papers can do so at City Hall or contact city clerk Traci Nichols, the elections official for Silverton, at 503-874-2216 or [email protected]

Election days

Here is a look at key election dates coming up:

Aug. 30: Filing deadline for candidates

Oct. 18: Last day to register to vote

Oct. 19: Local ballots mailed out

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

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.