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Introducing your Westfir and Oakridge mayors

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By GEORGE CUSTER/Editor  —  With nearly all of the votes counted, we at The Herald feel that it is time to introduce your elected mayors. Neither are new to the area. In fact, Westfir Mayor D’Lynn Williams is a local native with extensive roots in the community. Oakridge Mayor-elect Bryan Cutchen is no stranger to City Hall, either. Bryan served as Oakridge City Administrator for over two and a half years before resigning from the position due to conflicts with the existing council and mayor.

Following are interviews and written responses to specific questions that will hopefully give our readership a more close-up and personal look at the two people who will be charged with overseeing the governmental functions of our two sister cities.

Westfir Mayor D’Lynn Williams

Mayor Williams, what made you decide to run for mayor? 

“I enjoyed volunteering as a Westfir city councilor since 2015 and now have more time to devote to the City.”

Please name the three biggest challenges you believe you face as incoming mayor?

“Code enforcement is causing lots of issues right now, and we’re working on solutions.”

“Funding is another issue; we’re looking for grants or low-interest loans to build a fire station/city hall.  The current building needs lots of work and replacement of the building seems to be the best investment.”

“The City plans to use existing Federal ARPA funds to inventory the City’s water and sewer lines, and to replace any problem lines with the funding.”

What would you hope to have accomplished in the next two years as mayor? 

“My term is only for 2 years but my goal is to move forward, improving City services while retaining our smalltown character.”

“I hope the community will become more cohesive and develop community goals through Town Halls or other activities.”

“The City is soliciting for volunteers to help guide Westfir’s future, continue traditional celebrations such as the Bridge Lighting Festival, and to reinvigorate the Neighborhood Watch program.”

“The City will have a fire station/city hall located within City limits funded by grants or low-interest loans.”

“The boat launch area at the southern edge of Westfir city limits will be improved.  Grant proposals with partners list removing invasive vegetation and replacing it with native species planted by local volunteers and students.  Another grant proposal lists hardening the boat ramp, installing an ADA restroom and building an information kiosk.  The Portal is often full and an extra public restroom is needed.”

Please tell our readers three things that most people don’t know about you.

“My Mom lived at Camp 3 up the North Fork when she was little and my Grandma and great-Grandma were camp cooks; my great-Grandpa ran the donkey on the incline in the 1930’s.”

“My maternal Grandpa ran the loader just above the railroad trestle that dumped logs into the North Fork for Hines Mill in the 1960’s.”

“I picked crops to help pay for school clothes and for spending money.  My paternal grandparents operated a berry farm next door, and a bean field was located across the street.  My top bean picking day was 340 pounds, I carried my own 50-pound bags to be weighed.  I was paid 2.5 cents per pound of beans.”

D’Lynn, I know most people around Westfir and Oakridge know you retired from the U.S. Forest Service. However, would you also please tell us a bit more about yourself; where are you from originally, current family, hobbies, professional background, education, and anything else you feel comfortable with?

“I was born in Pleasant Hill, Oregon as the oldest child and the only girl.  I have 2 daughters who live in Cottage Grove with their families, and a son who lives here in Oakridge.  I have 7 grandchildren.  I was very fortunate to start working for the Rigdon Ranger District at Flat Creek at 19 years old as a clerk.  I accepted the job prior to finishing my business degree at Lane Community College.  I moved up through the ranks, learning new things each time. I was a receptionist, purchasing agent, hydrological technician and biological technician, all while raising our kids in the community.  I met my first husband (Mike) at the office, and we were married 30 years before I lost him.  I was widowed 8 years then remarried.  My second husband (Russ) died of cancer in January.  I retired early from the Forest Service after 40 years.”

“I love working with kids of all ages, and really enjoyed helping with the YCC program and teaching environmental education classes for many years.  I also enjoy gardening, sewing & quilting, singing and playing piano for my church.  I love learning new things, and I’m definitely learning a lot in this position!”

Oakridge Mayor-elect Bryan Cutchen

Bryan, what made you decide to run for mayor?

“When I came to the job as City Administrator, Oakridge had significant challenges. I identified the most significant issues during my time here and began to implement changes to rectify these critical issues. Since leaving the position, I want to continue the effort to carry these initiatives to fruition. I saw the most effective way to do this was by running for the office of Oakridge mayor and winning.”

Name the 3 biggest challenges you believe you face as incoming mayor?

  1. Restore financial stability to Oakridge.
  2. Funding improvements to city infrastructure and essential city services.
  3. Bringing the city council together to focus on achieving the goals as set forth in the current Oakridge Strategic Plan.

 

What do you hope to have accomplished in the next 4 years?

  1. Use the Oakridge strategic plan as a roadmap to success.
  2. Draw further retail, service, recreation, and manufacturing businesses to the city.
  3. Working with Lane County, develop a sustainable solution to our ambulance transportation service which doesn’t reduce response time.
  4. Revise zoning, law enforcement ordinances to improve enforcement and increase development.
  5. Engage external agencies effectively to better support the City of Oakridge.
  6. Make Oakridge a more livable and safer place.

 

How do you plan to relate to your constituents.

It’s a multi-pronged approach:

    1. Be accessible by holding listening sessions around town.
    2. Have open door sessions at city hall.
    3. Make city business information available online.
    4. Make monthly newsletters available at public gathering centers to those without online access.
    5. Be accessible for public comment at city council meetings.

Bryan, I know most people around Westfir and Oakridge know you retired from the U.S. Navy. However, would you also please tell us a bit more about yourself; where are you from originally, current family, hobbies, professional background, education, and anything else you feel comfortable with.

“I served over 31 years in the Navy, retiring in 2014. As a commercial pilot, I flew for Delta Air Lines and PSA Airlines.
Calling Brunswick, Maine home, I graduated from Maine Maritime Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nautical Science and I am a Wall of Honor recipient. I hold a Master of Arts degree in Strategic Studies from Air War College. I’m married to artist Terrilyn “Sissy” Rosenberg Cutchen and we have two children, Lieutenant Max Cutchen, USN and Lieutenant Annie Cutchen, USN.”

Bryan is the founder and principal of Cutchen Consulting and Communications, LLC, a firm providing consulting services focused on leadership, management, and strategic planning.

Bryan says he is an avid reader and enjoys hiking and sailing.

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