Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Councilor Cox declines to seek fourth term in office


Longtime councilor and former planning commissioner steps aside to allow another resident to run

Woodburn City Councilor Jim Cox will not seek a fourth term in the November general election, he announced last week.

Though he had previously filed the initial paperwork for a re-election bid, he had made it clear, including in comments during a city council meeting, that he would step aside if another qualified candidate came forward.

In a letter to friends and supporters last week, which was obtained by the Independent, Cox wrote that such a scenario had indeed come to pass.

He said he had had a long conversation with a woman from his district, Ward 4, who was interested in the position, but who ultimately decided she had too many prior commitments to take it on.

“So, shortly thereafter I picked up the necessary paperwork and filed my declaration of candidacy. I had not yet obtained the 20 necessary signatures on a nominating petition to make my candidacy ‘official,’ and I am now not going to do so,” he wrote. “Lo and behold, this person contacted me very recently and said she had resolved the issues that initially caused her to decline, and that she was now interested and willing to serve.”

The candidate in question was later confirmed to be Sharon Schaub, general manager of The Estates Golf &?Country Club, a 55-plus residential community in Woodburn, and also a member of the city’s budget committee.

Cox, an Estates resident, said he has worked with Schaub for several years and has been impressed with her abilities.

“She’s a very competent woman,”?he said. “I’ve had excellent dealings with her. She’s intelligent, involved and interested. and I think she’ll get along just fine with everyone.”

It was also confirmed recently that Mayor Kathy Figley had filed initial paperwork to seek re-election to her post. Filing for mayor and Woodburn City Council seats in wards 3, 4 and 5 will remain open through Aug. 26.

Cox, 84, an attorney who still practices part-time, has spent 12 years on the council and six years before that on the planning commission. He admitted it would be with mixed emotions that he would leave the council at the end of this year.

“I like the work, I like the job, and I am still interested, but man, I’m getting old,”?he said with a laugh.

As one of the primary motivations for his decision not to seek re-election, his letter had cited the fact that he would be 88 at the end of a fourth term.

He said he and his wife would like to travel more, and it’s easier to plan vacations without having to schedule around twice-monthly meetings at City Hall.

He also said that he plans to stay involved in “important city issues.”

“I’ll just be sitting out in the audience and throwing rocks at them instead of the other way around,”?he joked.

Asked about his legacy on the council, Cox said he had strived to be someone who “wasn’t always willing to take things at face value.”

“Sometimes, I got off on tangents, but nevertheless, I’m glad I did that sort of thing,” he said. “I asked the hard questions and looked beyond the surface of the various things before us.”

Several of his colleagues on the board seemed to share that assessment of his service.

“He did it his way,” said?Councilor Pete McCallum, who served on the council during all three of?Cox’s terms. “He is just an invaluable member of the council. He brought a great deal of balance to it, and made councilors past and present look at things in different light.

“Even when the decision seemed obvious, he would show there was another side to the story.”

McCallum, who also announced his retirement from the council at the end of this term, said that even at the times he and Cox butted heads, he appreciated the other man’s perspective.

“I’ll miss our conversations, or conflicts — whatever you want to call it,” he chuckled. “Somewhere, I hope we’ll have our own discussions that involve the city or county or state, even after both of us leave the council. It’s always been fun to chat with him.”

Figley echoed the sentiments at last week’s meeting, praising Cox for “the energy and integrity and intellectual acumen you’ve brought to many things, where I?think our deliberations were better for you having been a part of them.”

For more information about filing for a local election, call the city recorder at 503-980-6318 or visit www.ci.woodburn.or.us/?q=recorder.

Tyler Francke covers all things Woodburn. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-765-1195.