By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Yamhill hires police chief

Ossie Bladine / News-Register
City recorder Lori Gilmore swears in Greg Graven as Yamhill s new police chief. He had worked with former chief Gordon Rise for more than 16 years.

He was named interim chief Aug. 1 following the sudden death of Gordon Rise, who had been chief for 26 years. The council decided Wednesday night to make his hiring permanent immediately instead of going through a search process.

Graven has been an officer in Yamhill for 16 years, eight months. He started his career in 1991 as a reserve officer in Monmouth while studying criminal justice and psychology. Law enforcement is a tradition in his family — his grandfather was a Multnomah County sheriff in the 1960s and his father was a detective with the Gresham Police Department.

Numerous people spoke in favor of Graven during the council meeting. They praised his professionalism, knowledge of Yamhill, compassion for its young people and commitment to the town — all traits he shared with Rise, they said. They said Rise had hoped Graven would become chief after he retired and was grooming him for the job.

Council members agreed with the citizens. Rita Gilmore noted, “I’ve never heard anything but good about Greg. I would be honored to have him step in.”

Amity Police Chief Dan Brown also spoke on Graven’s behalf. He said he has the “utmost respect and utmost confidence” in him. And if Graven has any questions while adjusting to the role, Brown joked, “he’s got me on speed dial.”

After the council gave its unanimous approval, the crowd applauded and Graven was sworn in as chief.

He is working with the department’s other officer, Travis Van Cleave, and its volunteer reserves, to cover the city in the wake of Rise’s death from natural causes. Now that he has been named chief, he said his first order of business is hiring another officer to bring the department to full staffing.

He also will take on a project Rise had been working on — winning accreditation for Yamhill’s police department through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. To become accredited, a police department must show that it meets a rigorous set of standards, Graven said.

In other business Wednesday night, the Yamhill City Council:

n Gave its blessing to a group of citizens who proposed naming the Yamhill Skate Park in honor of the late John Cox.

Cox, who died recently at age 27, was one of the core group of young teens that worked tirelessly to create the skate park in Beulah Park, friends said. Although they faced community opposition at first, friends said, the boys came to council meetings, drew up plans for the park and gathered donations to augment a $250 grant from SOLV.

Friends said they want to put up a marker in Cox’s name. In addition, they hope to clean up the park, fix cracks in the concrete and perhaps expand it for a new generation.

n Agreed to offer to sell a long, thin city-owned tax lot to its two neighbors, which would give them better access to their properties and solve the problem of what to do about the site’s apple trees. The site is located on Balm Street between Azalea and Buttercup streets.

n Told the owner of property at 417 N. Olive St. that he must keep his trailer loaded with scrap materials hidden from neighbors’ view.

n Heard that the Public Works Department has had to fix several leaks recently in the line that brings water into the city from the reservoir. In addition, Public Works Director Richard Howard said there have been problems with two water meters recently, causing huge flows of water that dropped reservoir levels dramatically.



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