Cascade Locks City Council puts off filling vacancy

Council can’t agree how to fill open seat

New Cascade Locks mayor Tom Cramblett takes the oath from Justice the Peace Cindy Mitchell.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
New Cascade Locks mayor Tom Cramblett takes the oath from Justice the Peace Cindy Mitchell.

Transition, and an accompanying stalemate, highlighted the Jan. 14 meeting of the Cascade Locks City Council.

Tom Cramblett presided over his first meeting as mayor, and it was the final meeting with interim city manager Paul Koch, who leaves the position this month. (He’ll assume the interim Cascade Locks Port manager job.)

New City Administrator Gordon Zimmerman was present — primarily as an observer — but he offered several pieces of advice.

Cramblett’s advancement to mayor opens a position on the council, and how to fill that post proved a sticking point for the six voting members, including Cramblett. He took the oath of office along with new councilors Glenda Groves and Bruce Fitzpatrick.

Staff had submitted a seven-option memorandum for how to proceed; the options included taking applications, putting it to a vote of the people, and offering the post to the candidate who had received the most votes among losing candidates in the November election. That would give former councilor Jeff Helfrich first crack at it, with Richard Randall runner-up.

A motion to appoint Helfrich, made by newly re-elected councilor Randy Holmstrom, reached a 3-3 stalemate. Councilors Mark Storm and Brad Lorang voted with Holmstrom, with Cramblett, Fitzpatrick and Groves opposing.

In turn, Groves moved to open the process up to applicants. The vote came to another 3-3 stalemate — the voting alignments unchanged.

“We all knew it may head this direction,” said Cramblett, who had openly called for defeat of Holmstrom’s motion.

“We’ll table this for now and have the staff get together and come up with something else on it,” Cramblett said. “For now, the vacancy doesn’t have a process for filling it.”

During the discussion of the “next in line” option, citizen Cody Steelman predicted such an appointee “would be recalled,” and former mayor George Fischer said, “What if I wanted to run? I couldn’t because you’d give preference.”

Citizen Arne Konenen urged the council to go the application route, saying it gives the panel the chance to find a person with “the best skill set” to match those of the current council members.

Citizen Cal Fick said, “There shouldn’t be a question. It ought to go to the next person (Helfrich or Randall) because that’s how the people voted.”

In other action, the five councilors and mayor were unanimous in taking up citizen Sandra Kelley’s request that it appoint three members of the citizen budget committee to also serve on the new council subcommittee on finance.

Kelley had told the council, “The citizens have the right to be involved in their government, particularly in a town that’s had so many ups and downs in terms of how they’ve handled their finances, and that’s this city for sure. The citizens are vested in what’s happening and why, and that includes what’s happened in the past.”

Groves asked, “Is there any reason we can’t have citizens involvement in the committee?”

Koch replied, “No reason at all; this is your committee and you can appoint whoever you would like.”

He added, “The issue is to get more people involved in knowing how the city operates and what it costs and what is it we do, so there is more knowledge and understanding.”

The city will accept applications for the citizen members of the finance subcommittee. Elected officials appointed to the committee are Groves, Fitzpatrick and Cramblett.

The council also appointed Fitzpatrick as council president.

Groves was the first one nominated, but she declined, saying, “I’m a newbie; I think it should be someone who has the experience.”

The next person nominated, Holmstrom, also declined, saying he lacked the time.

Fitzpatrick said he would make the same argument as Grove, “but I’ll do it if no one else will.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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