Itemizer-Observer staff report

DALLAS – The races for Dallas mayor and city council drew 16 candidates, three for mayor and 13 candidates for five seats up for election on Nov. 3. The I-O sent questionnaires to each of the candidates. Below you will find their responses. Due to the large number of candidates, we are printing responses over two weeks. Next week will feature the responses from council candidates Kirsten Collins, Kim Fitzgerald, Zach Leigh, Terry Crawford, Zachary Brehm, Darcy Irving and Kathryn Rhoades.


Brian Dalton, 72

Current employment: Owner, Dalton Land & Cattle Co.

Education: Dallas High School, Graduate, 1966; Colgate University, Hamilton, New York, BA in English, 1970; Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, Masters in Public Administration specializing in City Management, 1972; and Army Command and General Staff College, Graduate, 1986.

Previous government: Mayor, City of Dallas, 2011- Present; President, Oregon Mayors Association, 2019; Dallas City Council, 2001-2010 (Council President, 2009-2010); Regular US Army Officer, 1972-1993 (retired as an Lieutenant Colonel); and Management Intern, City of Dallas, Summer 1968.

Campaign phone number: 503-623-5406

Campaign website:

How long have you lived Dallas? 

In the Dallas area (apart from education and military service) — 72 years, 20 years within the city limits

Why are you running for office?

Being Mayor of Dallas is a great honor and responsibility.  I’m currently engaged in many consequential projects for the improvement of our community with several more on the horizon.  I am particularly focused on the success of our historic downtown as the cultural heart and soul of our community.  In this and many other areas, there is much left to do and I feel that it is important that I be here to help. 

What are the critical issues facing the city? How would you address them if elected?

Growth — Dallas is very popular, its charms guaranteeing continued robust population growth, particularly due to the work-from-home movement.  I will work ardently to ensure we accommodate this growth while still maintaining our cherished small-town feel.

Trust — In a tumultuous world, small cities like Dallas stand out for being responsive, innovative, competent and trusted by their citizens.  Government must be “us,” not “them.”

Cost-Efficiency — Dallas has excelled at providing a wide array of excellent services at a remarkably low cost for many years.    This is a delicate balance to maintain and I believe it is a noble pursuit. 

Prosperity — Dallas risks becoming the bedroom community for the workers in businesses in surrounding cities.  This is not a sustainable model.  We need more jobs right here in Dallas, and I will pursue this objective relentlessly. 

What experience or talent do you believe you would bring to the office that would benefit the city?

I have the education, experience, worldwide perspective (lived in London, Germany and Korea), foresight, family history of service to this community (in three centuries) and tirelessness to tackle every aspect of the daily demands of being your mayor.  I find the work exhilarating and revel in its promise of bringing us a better life.  My year as President of the Oregon Mayors Association brings with it the collective wisdom of the many successful communities around us to bear on our need to reinvigorate our unique culture. 

Anything else you wish to note about the position you are seeking?

Being mayor of Dallas is a remarkable privilege, some real work and occasionally fun.  I’d like to keep on doing it.  

Nancy Adams, 69

Employment: Retired in 2016 as publisher of the Polk County Itemizer-Observer in Dallas. Worked for Eagle Newspapers Inc., 1973 – 2016; 1973-1981 at the I-O; 1981 to 1994 publisher of the Molalla Pioneer; 1994 –2016 publisher of the I-O, along with serving other positions.

Education: Dallas High School June 1969 diploma; Oregon College of Education, now Western Oregon University, Monmouth – graduated June 1973 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and minor in Political Science.

Previous government service: Dallas Economic Development Commission 1994, served as chairperson from 1996 – 2016, Urban Renewal District Advisory Committee 2009 – present, Dallas 2030 Vision Committee 2014, Dallas Budget Committee 2017-present, current chairperson, Molalla City Council 1985 – 1989.

Campaign FACEBOOK:

How long have you lived in Dallas? I was born and raised in Dallas and have lived here for 56 years.

Why are you running for office? To be involved in furthering the growth of our city and expansion of our business community and to share my deep love for my hometown. My parents Curtis and Charlotte Lamb were active in serving our community over the years and raised their children, Peggy, Warren, and I, to be passionate in our service to others and our community.

What are the critical issues facing the city? How would you address them if elected?

The adopted Dallas Strategic Plan of July 20, 2020 - reflects my feelings on priority issues. I want to be part of keeping the momentum going and reaching these goals. 

Street Maintenance Plan — Focus on repair, improvement of Dallas’ street infrastructure. The city has done an excellent job in doing some major needed repairs, the budget does not have enough dollars to take care of all street needs.

Water Storage — need for added water storage to serve all Dallas customers is necessary for future service needs and growth.

Public Safety Services —needed is shared public safety facilities for fire/police in the community for current and long-term operational needs. Key elements to keep our personnel current in training for their safety and the citizens they protect.

Focus on Dallas Businesses — enhance relationships with businesses, business association groups. Needed conversation with the businesses to provide a plan that helps every business.

What experience or talent do you believe you would bring to the office that would benefit the city?

I have developed a collaborative leadership style, good listening skills and vision to see both sides of the conversation. Skills I learned from running the local newspaper and working with current and prior business owners, county, and city leaders who guided and mentored me. My greatest teachers were my parents, Curtis, and Charlotte Lamb. Curt served as Dallas Area Chamber Manager for many years. In retirement he and wife Charlotte Lamb, owned Bresler’s 33 Flavors Ice Cream in Dallas.

I currently serve as vice-president of the Dallas Retirement Village Board of Directors. Past president of Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce, and Kiwanis Club; honored by Dallas Chamber of Commerce as Good Samaritan, First Citizen and Exceptional Family of the Year- Lamb Family. Past president of Molalla Chamber of Commerce and was honored to be Molalla Citizen of the Year and the Molalla Kiwanis Club Citizen of the Year.

Anything else you wish to note about the position you are seeking?

Dallas is a wonderful community filled with people who step up to help our community grow and to lend a hand when a project needs doing, or someone needs a helping hand. I love Dallas and want to share my experience, diligence, positive leadership style as Mayor of Dallas.

James “Jim” Robertson, 57

Employment: Oregon Employment Department 1 ½ years; Dallas Walmart Asst Manager 1 year and U.S. Navy (Retired Master Chief) 35 years

Education:  Smithton MO High School Grad 1982; Diablo Valley College AA 1998; Trident University BS Business Administration 2009 Magna Cum Laude; and Trident University MBA Human Resources Management 2011 Cum Laude

Previous government service: City Streets Citizen Council 2018

Campaign website:

How long have you lived in Dallas? 19 years (20 in January)

Why are you running for office?

I want to help Dallas flourish and I want to ensure that everyone benefits from this prosperity. I will listen to the citizens and bring those concerns to the city council.

I would like to see more family friendly events and activities for our kids and grandkids. I will give recommendations to the council based on my conversations with citizens.

I would like Dallas to become a city of balanced growth by considering residential growth in relation to business growth. I want to encourage new businesses to join our town, providing more jobs and better quality of life for all.

What are the critical issues facing the city? How would you address them if elected?

Dallas & Polk County have amazing Law Enforcement Teams.  That being said, the population in Dallas has increased tremendously over the last 10+ years and our Police force has had limited growth.  We need to ensure that our city is safe and that is going to be done by increasing our police presence throughout the city as well as equipping them with needed safety and survival equipment. 

We also need to look at our other first responders, Fire and EMS.  We are in need of improvements within their facilities to keep them safe so that they can respond to emergency needs of the community.

Dallas is a fantastic place to live, and we are truly blessed with our first responders.  We need to take care of them just as they take care of us.  May they all be safe and return home to families at the end of their shifts.

What experience or talent do you believe you would bring to the office that would benefit the city?

I have over 35 years of government experience, federal and state, along with over 20 years of leadership and management experience.   I have worked with very diverse populations and know that regardless of background, everyone has a voice and everyone has something to contribute.  Every voice is valid and every opinion needs to be heard.  In addition to that, here are some of my experiences, talents and skills: 

• Honorably discharged U.S Navy veteran (Master Chief)

• Honesty, Integrity, Commitment

• Conflict resolution

• Operations/Project Management

• Handling staffing issues and concerns

• Managing staffs of 15 to 3,000 personnel

• Communication with all levels of an organization

• Budget preparation for annual budgets of over $500K

• Developing program rules and policies

• Ability to complete tight deadlines in a stressful environment

• Working with diverse populations

• Creating and facilitating presentations to small and large groups

• Developing long- and short-range goals and plans

Anything else you wish to note about the position you are seeking?

As a 19+ year resident and 35-year Navy veteran with kids and grandkids here, I ask “what will Dallas look like for them?” With focused efforts we can make Dallas a destination. If we come together, talk and work together, we can make Dallas better because Dallas deserves better!

City Council

Kenneth L. Woods, Jr., 71 (incumbent)

Employment:  Owner/Agent, Craven-Woods Insurance in Dallas since 1981

Education:  Graduated Dallas High School 1967, attended Southern Oregon University, Chemeketa Community College, and Western Oregon University.

Previous government service: Dallas City Council 1983-present.  President Dallas Rotary club 1986-87 & 1987-88.  President Dallas Chamber of Commerce 1984.  Dallas Budget Committee 1983-present.  Dallas City Council President 2001-09.  Dallas Economic Development Commission 1983-2010 (chair 1994-96).  Dallas Park & Recreation Board 1995-2002 (chair 1997-2002).  Mid-Willamette Valley Regional Strategy Board, Council of Government (COG) 1996-99.  Mid-Willamette Valley Area Commission on Transportation (MWACT) 1997-present, chair 2008-present.  Local Officials Transportation Advisory Committee 1999-2005.  League of Oregon Transportation Policy Committee 1999-present, current chair.  CIS Board of Trustees 2006-present (past chair).

Campaign phone number: 503-871-0056

How long have you lived in Dallas:  61 years.

Why are you running for office?

 I see the City on the verge of growing both in population and in the business community.  Over the past 30+ years we have upgraded the city transportation system, renovation of the water and sewer systems, and the creation of a downtown revitalization program that focuses on community priorities for preserving our history, central city, and building a vibrant downtown.  Our new city manager has many great ideas and plans for the city.  As we continue to grow and attract new commercial development and business, I want to contribute as the city council merges these changes into the city.

What are the critical issues facing the city?

It is the city council’s fiduciary responsibility to maintain a balanced budget and spend monies wisely for the betterment of the city and its citizens, now and for the future.

There are three major items I would like to see completed before I’m through serving on the City Council: 1) Increase our water supply for our future needs, 2) find a way to fund and complete neighborhood street improvements, & 3) public safety shared facilities (new facilities for the police, fire, & EMT departments) in the 900 block on SE Jefferson Street that the City already owns.

What experience do you bring?

I bring leadership and historical knowledge to the table.  I helped several worthwhile projects in Dallas over the years including a new Senior Center, improvements to downtown infrastructure including sidewalks, trees and décor, a new library, continued improvements to the city parks and continued construction of the Rickreall Creek Trail system, purchase of property around the watershed reservoir to protect the city’s water supply, a new park and recreation facilities including tennis courts, skate board facility, new soccer and baseball fields, and Aquatic Center.  I chair several regional and statewide transportation committees, and have networked, formed partnerships, and have made many connections directing state and federal monies and grants to our community. I helped obtain $19.1 million from ODOT for the Rickreall Interchange, and $2+ million from ODOT for the North Dallas Intersection project, and funds for a new Levens Street bridge, just to name a few mega projects.

Anything else?

I want to make Dallas a better place to live for my children and grandchildren.  In 1999 I received the Mid-Valley Regional Strategy board leadership award.  In 1995 I received the Dallas Chamber’s First Citizen award.  In 2015 I received the COG’s VanDenBosch Regional Leadership Award.

Rodney Dunham, 57

Employment: Retired Dallas Police Department; Private Investigator and part-time instructor at the Oregon Public Safety Academy.

Education: Graduate Dallas High School, AA degree from Chemeketa Comm College.

 Previous government service: Multiple committees and task force positions while working for the City of Dallas.

 Campaign phone number: 503-510-2309.

 How long have you lived in Dallas? 54 years

 Why are you running for office?

 After a career of public service in Dallas, I feel I could provide a balanced and unique perspective to the City. I have lived in Dallas almost my entire life and want to give back to the community where I was raised, and I raised my family. I enjoy living in Dallas and all that it offers. I want to provide the same opportunity for others to enjoy this wonderful and safe community.

 What are the critical issues facing the city? How would you address them if elected?

There are several issues facing the city in the coming years. With the rapid growth in the city, we need to be planning for the future, specifically regarding water and sewer. We need to make sure we have the resources for our future generations, which means making plans now on how we are going to have these resources available when they are needed.

We need to be working on making sure our streets are repaired and maintained on a regular schedule.

We need to encourage businesses to come to Dallas and to the downtown core area. We need businesses which encourage people to come to Dallas for “Experiences”, or as a destination.

We need to work on the overall livability of Dallas, which in part means, we need to make sure our Fire and Police Departments have what they need to keep us safe in the future.

What experience or talent do you believe you would bring to the office that would benefit the city?

I have been working with the community for over 30 years in some fashion. I began working for the City of Dallas when I was 15 years old at the Dallas City Pool. I enjoy working with people and committees to achieve common goals. I have a well-rounded perspective on the city and have worked with many of the citizens in one aspect or another while living and working in Dallas.  I work well with others and I am willing to put in the time to get the job done. I am fiscally conservative and want to make sure our financial resources are used the best way possible.

Tawnya Kreft, 39

Employment: Administrative assistant, 7.5 years

Education: Oregon State University, BA Intercultural Relations, 2005

Previous government: Dallas City Budget Committee, 2019- 2020 and Dallas Parks and Rec Committee, 2019-2020

Campaign phone number: (503) 383- 9178

Campaign website:

How long have you lived in Dallas? 8.5 years

Why are you running for office?

I believe a strong community is anchored in a spirit of collaboration. I have the skills and experience to connect various segments in Dallas, to find shared objectives, to help develop solutions. I listen, I am connected to our community, I work hard, and I take action.

What are the critical issues facing the city? How would you address them if elected?

Dallas needs a new public safety building and to continue the revitalization project downtown.

Dallas continues to have improved livability due to the Dallas Aquatic Center and the Dallas Public Library (for every $1 spent the Return-on-Investment for your local library is around $5).*

We can also help small businesses grow, which will turn into more jobs and less financial instability for both residents and the city.

The city of Dallas needs to seek out federal grants to improve early childhood education and other supports for families. Improved and available early childhood education is directly linked to preventing homelessness.

Housing issues need to be addressed. Homes and apartments built on vacant/underutilized land are cost-effective.

What experience or talent do you believe you would bring to the office that would benefit the city?

After college I completed national service with AmeriCorps VISTA as a program coordinator for Albany Partnership for Housing and Community Development. I’m trained in not-for-profit management, technical writing and grant writing. I completed an internship with the Public Health Department  in conjunction with the CDC. I am a board member of Friends of the Dallas Public Library. As a tour guide I learned how to present to groups.

My grandfather (a miner, construction worker and cowboy) taught me the value of hard work, honesty, integrity and to be tenacious. He taught me when individuals pull together there is nothing they cannot accomplish.

Anything else you wish to note about the position you are seeking?

In Dallas occasionally elections come down to a handful of votes. Registration takes two minutes online,  or voter registration form available at; library, post office,  DHS and elections office. Your voice matters. Please contact me at, email or FB me for phone #.

Paul Trahan, 73

Employment: Retired in 2013 as Vice President for FiFE Group 13+years in Dallas.

Education: Radford High School 1966 diploma; The George Washington University graduated 1974 –a Bachelor of Science degree in Education.

Previous government service: Dallas Economic Development Commission current , Urban Renewal District Advisory Committee 2009 – present, Dallas Citizen advisory for the City Charter revision Dallas Budget Committee 2017-present, Elected to the Dallas City Council 2016.

Campaign phone number: (503) 383-5043

 How long have you lived in the area you will represent? 20 + years

Why are you running for office?

I’m running for re-election because there are items that still need Closure such as Public Safety (police station), Fire Department needs and developing a marketing plan to attract commerce to Dallas.

What are the critical issues facing the city? How would you address them if elected?

Traffic issues.  I would have the Planning Commission work on long range planning so we have a complete transportation system plan (TSP). 

Street Maintenance Plan – work with consultants on a street maintenance plan that is affordable.

Water Storage – Work to ensure that there is sufficient water to accommodate the growth in Dallas.   

Public Safety Services – need new police building large enough to provide training. 

Focus on Dallas Businesses – enhance relationships with businesses, business association groups. Needed conversation with the businesses to provide a plan that helps every business.

What experience or talent do you believe you would bring to the office that would benefit the city?

I have over 40 years in land development residential, commercial and industrial.  This knowledge would help with feasibilities for commercial and industrial.

Anything else you wish to note about the position you are seeking?

I served in the US Navy.  Dallas is our home now and I am willing to serve to do what is necessary to maintain the lifestyle that our residents expect.

Debbie Virden, 52

Employment: Community Volunteer/Domestic Goddess-Middle & High School English and Social Studies Teacher until 10/2019.

Education: AAOT-Chemeketa Community College; B.S.-Liberal Studies/History-Oregon State University; MAT-Social Studies, Middle Level Education, English-Western Oregon University 2006.

Campaign website:

How long have you lived in Dallas? Several years, regular visitor, 1 year as a homeowner in Dallas.

Why are you running for office?

I am running for Dallas City Council because I know my skills in research, economics, critical-thinking, advocacy, and teamwork will be a valuable asset to the Council. I am not afraid to speak my mind, am genuinely interested in other perspectives, and am looking forward to respectful, open debates on the decisions Dallas is currently facing. As we move forward together, as a close-knit community, it is imperative that we pause to evaluate how our plans are taking shape. We have a great challenge in balancing the need for growth with the desire to keep our small town wonderful.

What are the critical issues facing the city? How would you address them if elected?

I see a future for Dallas including more community activities that bring citizens of all ages and backgrounds together.

We have a quaint downtown district that definitely needs some sprucing up, as well as some empty store fronts we need to be filled with thriving businesses.

Dallas also needs jobs, so I’m hoping that we can attract more medium-scale employers to provide them.

Another major concern of mine is the increase in homeless people; sleeping, intoxicated, wandering, and openly using drugs on our sidewalks and trail system, in the parks, and through various neighborhoods. This is the time to put a hard stop to that. Having moved to Dallas from Salem, I can predict an explosion of it, if it isn’t stopped directly. We need to partner with the county and state to address this problem.

What experience or talent do you believe you would bring to the office that would benefit the city?

Having been a middle and high school Social Studies and English teacher since 2004, I have many years of experience with research, planning, evaluating, and adjusting plans, as needed. Working in a very liberally-minded school district for many of those years has also given me a stronger conservative voice, while remaining professional and respectful of other viewpoints. I am also highly trained and experienced in conflict resolution. Many voices need to be heard, all need to be respected, and all citizens must be properly represented.

Anything else you wish to note about the position you are seeking?

The taxpayers of Dallas need to be properly represented by being heard. If elected, I intend to regularly schedule “listening forums,” so that the City is aware of what our residents and business owners want and need. I am very encouraged by the interest in this year’s election.

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