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Incumbent faces former mayor in Yamhill

Chuck Mitchell says there is unfinished city business to attend to

YAMHILL — Mayor Paula Terp is facing a challenge from Chuck Mitchell, a former mayor, in her bid to retain Yamhill’s top city office.

Terp, elected mayor after eight years of service on the city council, is just finishing her first-two year term. She was chosen at Yamhill’s community caucus to represent the city ticket at the polls.

Mitchell is seeking to return to the post he held for two terms a decade ago. He filed as an independent.

He explained his interest this way: “Some of the things I wanted to see done last time have not been completed.”

Mitchell, first elected when he was 30, said he developed a six-year plan when he took office. It included developing a new water treatment plant with a 500,000 storage tank and working with ODOT to have sidewalks installed along Main Street in front of the grade school, both of which were accomplished while he was still in office.

But Yamhill still has unmet needs, he said, including the rebuilding of Highway 47 through town. He said periodic patching isn’t sufficient.

Mitchell said he knows how to network and how to obtain state funds for city projects.

“With my experience, I know how to get things done,” he said. “I know who to talk to and where the money’s at.”

Mitchell grew up in Yamhill. After graduating from Yamhill-Carlton High School, he earned a degree in geography at the University of Idaho.

He was working as a project manager when he served as mayor before. “I took a lot of vacation days to drive to Salem and to attend events on the city’s behalf,” he said.

He is now making his living as a general contractor, building and remodeling houses. He said that job gives him more flexibility to coach youth soccer, attend events with his wife and children, Ellie, 7, and Jack, 5, and, if elected, tend to city business.

Terp said things are going well under her leadership, so there is no need for a change. “My goal is to keep everything running smoothly, in a positive and forward direction, and try to stay ahead of the curve,” she said.

She said she has enjoyed the almost-two years she’s spent in the mayor’s chair, just as she enjoyed serving on the council for the previous eight years, and the budget committee before that.

She sought office because she grew up in a family that was very public service-minded. “It was always expected we would find ways to give back to our communities,” she said.

One of Terp’s proudest recent accomplishments is updating and improving city’s website.

Now, she said, “It’s a great tool for everyone to find information.” She knows it’s working, she said, because she receives many e-mails through the “Ask the Mayor” link.

Someday, she said, she hopes Yamhill can build a new city hall. The long-range project, now in the planning stages, would provide more space for the police department, city administration and public uses, and it would be more efficient and environmentally friendly.

“But we won’t do it until  we have the money,” she said. “We’re not going to tax people for a new city hall, at least while I’m mayor we’re not.”

Finances have been a challenge in Yamhill, just as in every city, but she thinks the city is in “fairly good shape, covering everything we need to.”

Terp and her husband moved to Yamhill in 1988, as she was finishing her degree in secondary education from Western Oregon University. They moved to Newberg in 1990, but returned to Yamhill in 1993 to raise their two children.

She works as an administrative assistant at the Providence Newberg Medical Center. She previously served as office manager for a family practice physician.

Two council seats also are open in Yamhill.

Selected for the city ticket were council incumbent Jo Weinstein and council hopeful Rita Gilmore. In addition, Steve Gordon has filed as an independent.

The council races are run on an at-large rather than head-to-head basis. The two candidates receiving the most votes will be seated.


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