Welcome to Falls City

The race for mayor and city council in Falls City attracted seven candidates, two for mayor and five running to fill three seats on the council.

Itemizer-Observer staff report
FALLS CITY — The race for mayor and city council in Falls City attracted seven candidates, two for mayor and five running to fill three seats on the council. Mayor Jeremy Gordon, and councilors Dennis Sickles and TJ Bailey are the incumbents in the races.
Amy Houghtaling, a former mayor of Falls City, and candidates Paul Dasso and Sean Dasso would be new to the council if elected.
Jennifer Drill is a current city councilor, who is running for mayor against Gordon.
Drill sent information, but didn’t fill out a questionnaire before Tuesday’s deadline and Paul Sean Dasso didn’t respond to requests for a questionnaire.
Below you will find responses from Gordon, Sickles, Houghtaling and Bailey.
Mayor
Jeremy Gordon, 45
Employment history: Program Manager, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 7 years
Education: Green Bay East High School, University of Minnesota
Previous government service: Falls City Mayor 2017-present, Falls City Budget Committee 2017-present, Falls City Public Works Committee 2017-2019, Falls City Planning Commission 2017-present, Falls City School District Budget Committee 2020-present, Cherriots Special Transportation Fund Advisory Committee 2019-present, Oregon Mayors Association member 2017-present, Polk County Local Public Safety Coordinating Council 2020-present, Falls City Service Integration Team 2017-present, Polk Community Development Corporation Board Director 2017-present, Falls City Thrives Board Director 2019-presen
Campaign website/Facebook page: www.gowithgordon2020.com
How long have you lived in Falls City? Going on my sixth year
Why are you running for office?
I love Falls City and am proud to call it home. During my previous term, hundreds of Falls City residents came together to share their ideas for a community-wide vision for Falls City’s future while identifying the wonderful things they do not want changed. The entire town was invited to participate, and nobody was excluded. I believe this helped launch a new era of pride and participation in Falls City. I intend to continue to forge partnerships across the region and state, offer my experience, and bring people together to make real progress toward our vision. 
What are the critical issues facing the city? How would you address them if you are elected?
Continue to ensure community involvement in goal setting and visioning.
Continue progress toward the city’s sewer project. The design and environmental phase is nearing completion and we will shift to the construction phase soon. We must also make progress on projects identified in the Water Master Plan to ensure safe and secure water service.
Continue annual street improvements and partner with timber companies to offset costs associated with maintaining heavily trafficked timber throughways within city limits.
Slow traffic on both Main Streets and improve pedestrian safety. A Safe Routes to School grant was submitted to address pedestrian and traffic safety at N Main/Bridge/and Mitchell Streets and between the schools.
Continue partnerships to beautify and encourage a vibrant downtown that welcomes new local businesses and accommodates community events.
Explore utility assistance programs for seniors and others on fixed incomes to keep costs affordable.
What experience or talent would you bring to the office that would benefit the residents of Falls City?
The mayor is responsible for engaging community members and organizations about their desires and concerns, and in turn engaging partners in the region and state to help accomplish community goals. Mayors bring people and partners together through passionate and inclusive leadership. Connecting the city, businesses, and residents with resources and opportunities is critical. I have enjoyed involvement in area organizations around housing, economic development, transportation, public safety, and social services to directly benefit Falls City residents. I am thrilled about what the city has been able to accomplish.
Falls City is a gem within the county and state because of the hard work, pride and dedication of so many volunteers, businesses, and hard-working staff. I will continue to listen, bring people together, and work hard for the citizens of Falls City.
Anything else you wish to add?
Thanks to our volunteer city council and committees, the community Thanksgiving meal and Christmas Cheer/Toys for Tots volunteers, the food bank and produce giveaway volunteers, Falls City Thrives, FCSD, FCFD and the dedicated city staff for everything they do for all of us.
Jennifer Drill-Young
Drill-Young did not complete a questionnaire by deadline, but sent a flyer with information. She has served on the council for more than six years and has lived in Falls City for more than 15 years.
“Falls City is a beautiful, resourceful city that has been sustained by the people here in our community,” she said. “I will assist our citizens in maintaining this.”
City Council 
Dennis Sickles, 69
Employment History: Pope & Talbot  1972-1975; City of Falls City 1976-1978; OSU Extension Service 1978-1981; Labor Contractor 1981-2012; Falls City Schools 2012-Present
Education: Graduate Falls City High School (class of 1970), OCE 1970-1971, Chemeketa Community College 1972
Previous Government Service: Falls City School Board 1984-1988; Falls City Budget Committee 1991-Present; Falls City City Council 2015-Present.
How long have you lived in Falls City? 55 Years
Why are you running for office?
Falls City has made great progress in many areas in the last few years but there is a lot more that needs to be done. I would like the opportunity to continue working on the goals that we are working on.
What are the Critical issues facing the City. How would you address them?
1.) Waste Water Project- This Project is ongoing, We need to continue work on this and educate the community as it proceeds
2.) Code enforcement. This is an ongoing problem that requires thinking outside the box because of the lacking of funding.
3.) Bringing business to Falls City
4.) Street improvement
5.) Continue partnerships with neighboring cities and other government entities
Anything else you wish to add?
Falls City is a great place to live and raise your family. We have a lot to be proud of and good reason for optimism. I would love to continue serving the city in the capacity of City Councilor
Thank you.
Amy Houghtaling, 47
Employment history: Falls City School District-Afterschool Program Director August 2008-Present, Owner Dallas City Cleaners 1/2012
Education: Woodrow Wilson High School 6/1991, Long Beach City College 12/94 AA degree, California State University Long Beach-BA degree in Social Work
Previous government experience: Falls City Mayor 2011-2014, Falls City Budget Committee 2011-2020, Falls City Public Works Committee 2011-2014, Falls City Historic Commission 2012-2020
Campaign phone: (503) 437-4799
How long have you lived in Falls City? 12 years
Why are you running for office?
I am running for city council because I like the direction the city is going in.  The city is currently updating our sewer infrastructure. The city is applying for grants to keep costs down for citizens. We need a new sewer system desperately. When I was Mayor we worked on and approved a wastewater plan. It will be an honor to help the plan come to fruition. Falls City is also moving forward in bringing resources to our community such as transportation, social service resources and access to Forestry lands. I am very passionate about bringing resources to the community.
What are the critical issues facing the city? How would you address them if you are elected?
There are many issues facing the city but I would say the top three are sewer and water infrastructure, maintaining a professional manager at city hall and the ability to welcome growth but still honor our building codes. I will help address these issues by reading council packets as these issues come up and be ready to ask questions and think outside of the box for solutions that have a minimal impact on the citizens. I will do my part by communicating with the manager about my questions and concerns prior to the council meetings so that the manager can be prepared and not feel put on the spot. That is a much more productive working relationship. Finally, the most important action is to listen to our constituents. Find out what is working and what isn’t working for our citizens.
What experience or talent would you bring to the office that would benefit the residents of Falls City?
I served as Falls City Mayor for 4 years. That was by far one of the hardest jobs I have had. It was a steep learning curve and I still use those skills and connections I made as Mayor in my current endeavors. Since then I have continued to stay connected to the city by being on the budget committee and Historic Landmark commission. Currently I am on a variety of boards which offer networking and experience in a professional setting. I have tried to choose my board participation based on what is needed in Falls City. Housing, health care and social services are a few of the topics we discuss at the meetings. I am also on the Sheriff Advisory team which helps strengthen our relationship with the City of Falls City.
Anything else you wish to add?
I have served the city in many different ways and I am looking forward to serving in this capacity for the first time. My family and I have been involved in many different volunteer opportunities with the city and we will continue to serve for this community.
TJ Bailey, 45   
Employment history:
Central School District: 2016-Present
Athena-Weston School District: 2015-2016
Central School District: 2005-2015
Gervais School District: 2001-2005
Children’s Farm Home: 1999-2001
YMCA of Portland, OR: 1998-1999
Education:
Masters Special Education 2004 Lewis & Clark College
Teaching Endorsement 2003 Western Oregon University
BS Health Education 1998 Western Oregon University
Previous government service:
Falls City Council, January 2020-present
Falls City Budget Committee, 2020-present
Falls City Planning Commission, 2020-present
Falls City Parks and Recreation Committee, 2020-present
Campaign phone: 541-231-7356
How long have you lived in Falls City?
My family and I have lived in Falls City for over three years.  However, with my wife being em-ployed with the school district we have been involved in the community for over 13 years.
Why are you running for office?
I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people in our community as a resi-dent, volunteer, and council member. I have heard many stories about what makes Falls City an amazing community.  I have also heard what residents want and need to continue making Falls City a great community to live in and raise a family. I want to be part of the process to make that vision come true for all residents.
What are the critical issues facing the city? How would you address them if you are elected?
Advocate for necessary community development resources for our seniors and youth.  This would include formation of a local senior advocacy committee to help with home improvements, trans-portation services, and social groups. For our youth, positive recreational activities and resources such as a skate park will provide positive engagement.
Continue progress towards the City’s sewer project.
Continue partnerships with our local businesses to help them expand and thrive.
Continue partnerships with our local school district to help meet the needs of our students, parents and teachers in the form of relationships, resources, and advocacy.
Provide safe routes to and from school for our students.
Improve traffic on both our Main Streets which will improve pedestrian safety.
What experience or talent would you bring to the office that would benefit the residents of Falls City?
As a city council and committee member, educator, athletic director and coach, I am equipped with the skills needed to have difficult, yet positive, conversations.  Building healthy and produc-tive relationships with diverse groups of people to find common ground toward common goals is a strength I will contribute on council.
I have a passion for advocating the needs for those who do not have a voice. My ability to build relationships, find resources, and make decisions that are equitable for our community members will be the basis for my decision making.
Having been part of the city council, I have a great understanding of what the city has accom-plished.  I also know what is left to be achieved and what it will take to meet our goals. Falls City is making huge progress and I want to continue to be part of this growth.
Anything else you wish to add?
I may not be from Falls City, but I love Falls City. I was raised in a small town, and understand my responsibility as a citizen and council member to create a community experience all our residents can be proud of. 

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