By Stephen Floyd
Mount Angel City Council candidate Joseph Pfau may have been first runner up during the Nov. 8 election, but he will join the council nonetheless after being appointed to the position left vacant by Mayor Pete Wall.
Pfau was appointed during the council’s regular meeting Dec. 5 and is scheduled to be sworn in Jan. 3, 2023, along with incumbent councilors Matt Donohue, Ray Eder and Tony Astorga, who claimed the three seats open during the election.
Pfau told Our Town he looks forward to serving with fellow officials and adding his input to the diverse backgrounds and perspectives within City Hall.
“I think it’ll be a very positive and professional working relationship once we get into it,” he said.
According to final results published Dec. 5 by the Marion County Clerk’s Office, Donohue had 777 votes, Eder had 757 votes, Astorga had 543 votes and Pfau had 512 votes, followed by Justin Roney with 417 votes and Mary Franklin with 371 votes. The gap between Astorga, Pfau and Roney was too close to call on election night, and Astorga did not emerge as a likely winner until an election update two weeks later.
After ranking among the runners up, Pfau said he still saw an opportunity to serve if appointed to Wall’s former position, which becomes vacant when Wall begins his term as mayor in January. He ran unopposed for office Nov. 8. Wall, the former council president, was appointed Sept. 6 to fill the remaining term of late Mayor Don Fleck, who died suddenly in June.
Pfau was one of two applicants who sought to fill Wall’s seat, the other being local farmer and longtime resident Russel Hogue. Pfau’s application reflected sentiments he expressed on the campaign trail: that he believed in the city’s potential for economic growth and community development, and his 18 years of experience in public infrastructure would be an asset to the city. He has 10 years as a project manager for the State of Oregon.
The City Council pressed both candidates Dec. 5 with questions regarding their reasons for wanting to serve, their familiarity with budget documents and public disclosure laws, and areas where the city could improve. Ultimately the coundil voted to appoint Pfau.
Pfau said he does not expect to “jump in like a bull in a China shop” once he takes office, but instead to learn the dynamics of fellow officials and department heads.
“Like any good manager, you show up and you listen and try to figure out what’s going on first before you dive into it,” he said.
Pfau said he anticipates playing a role in water quality projects and long-term infrastructure planning, as well as more immediate goals like sidewalks and ADA accessibility improvements. More than anything, Pfau said he looks forward to playing a more central role in his community alongside wife Andrea Pfau, who serves on the Mt. Angel School District Board. He added he hopes residents feel comfortable approaching him with concerns.
“I look forward to serving on the council and doing what I can to both maintain and improve this town, and really working with everybody at the table,” he said.