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Four Damascus City Council hopefuls interviewed

Damascus city councilor interviewed candidates for a vacant council seat councilor during the council's Thursday, Aug. 15, meeting.

The seat has been vacant since Mary Wescott’s abrupt resignation at the May 24 meeting in which the council accepted the resignation of embattled City Manager Greg Baker.

During the past two months, the remaining six councilors have reached a stalemate on the city’s comprehensive plan due to split votes.

The new councilor could serve as a swing vote on a variety of issues.

Here’s a brief look at each of the four candidates who applied for the empty seat and highlights from their interviews.

David Hadley

Hadley worked as a detective at the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office for 24 years and is now a self-employed investigator. He has also worked as a background investigator at the Portland Police Bureau and honorably retired from the U.S. Navy after serving for 18 years.

In his application, Hadley said he has “a history of calm, persuasive leadership in difficult circumstances where individuals of diverse opinions are required to reach a common goal.”

During Thursday’s interview, Hadley emphasized the importance of family, community and personal integrity.

Hadley said he has not had time to attend many city council meetings but has watched them all online.

During the interview, Hadley also expressed concern regarding the divisive council, but said he was optimistic about the future.

“I know that seven people can get together and move in the right direction,” Hadley said. “We need to set personalities aside…and check our egos at the door.”

At the meeting, Hadley described the council as having a “negative aura,” especially concerning the comprehensive plan, but said he believes it can be fixed.

“A lot of people have put time and energy into this,” Hadley said. “No document is perfect, but it can change.”

If elected, Hadley said he would bring a lot of passion and research knowledge to the council.

Michael Hammons

Hammons has worked as a realtor for 22 years and serves on the city's transportation committee and planning commission. In his application, Hammons said he is mostly centered seeing that the city's comprehensive plan is adopted, and is interested in the appointment as a city council member because he “very much would like to help implement the vision the property owners envision for the highest and best use of their property while keeping fees to a minimum and design standards at their highest.”

During Thursday’s interview, Hammons said he is frustrated with the current state of affairs and wants residents’ voices to be heard. “I am trying everything I can to get people what they want,” Hammons said. “I want to finalize the comprehensive plan.” He also said he has three priorities when it comes to redesigning the future of the city: focusing on the southern arterial road, the sewer to McDonalds and launching a design competition for the area.

“I don’t take no for an answer,” Hammons said. “I’ve been an activist in Damascus since I got here.”

Council President Andrew Jackman questioned Hammons about his residency during the interview. Hammons said he does not own property in Damascus, but lives there.

Alexander Hayes

Hayes is entering his second year at Warner Pacific College, where he is majoring in pre-law and American studies. He has volunteered on the successful re-election campaign for Rep. Bill Kennemer, R-Oregon City, and founded his college's Constitution Club.

Hayes works for two radio stations, competes in local golf tournaments and is a member of a college church group.

In his application, Hayes said he is interested in becoming a city councilor because he wants to help “continue the growth and development of this energetic little city for the benefit of all who call Damascus, Oregon, their home.”

During Thursday’s interview, Hayes emphasized that he would bring a younger perspective to the council.

“I don’t have as much experience, but I’m willing to work and improve,” Hayes said.

Hayes said he believes in bipartisan politics and likes to break down a situation and look at it from both sides.

He also said that Damascus needs to foster business growth in order to become a model city and he would like to amplify parks and recreation offerings and services.

“I don’t believe personal property rights should be infringed upon, but we should take into account the public and private outlook,” said Hayes.

 

Daniel Tomlinson

 Tomlinson works as a medical imaging manager and financial advisor. He is also a small farm owner and serves on the city's finance and budget committees. In the past, Tomlinson has volunteered as a church treasurer, youth leader and 4-H leader in Clackamas County.

In his application, Tomlinson said he would offer the city council and community “a thoughtful decision-making approach (and would) build consensus and work as a team member.”

Tomlinson has lived in Damascus for 15 years and said during Thursday’s interview that he has an interest in seeing Damascus grow and move forward.

“I want to move towards strategic, long-range planning,” Tomlinson said. “I’m inclined to stay as a city at this point. But it needs to be a fact-based decision.”

He would like to focus on transparency and making sure the public has access to information.

During the interview, Tomlinson said the recently imposed spending limit is too restrictive and financing the comprehensive plan is a multi-year issue. However, Tomlinson said he needs to know what the plan is before determining finances.

“My issue has been: Show me the facts,” Tomlinson said. “I’d like to see that and then make a decision.”



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