A new council member is now sitting on the Clatskanie City Council.
Bruce Holsey was sworn in on Wednesday, Dec. 4, replacing Willard Evenson, who had to terminate his term early due to health reasons. Holsey will fill out Evenson’s remaining term, which expires Dec. 31.
Holsey is the assistant chief at the Clatskanie Rural Fire Protection District, and also serves on the Columbia County 911 District Board and on the board for the Clatskanie Park & Recreation District.
Holsey joins five other council members: Toby Harris, Council President; Bruce Holma; Jean Sampson; Gary Jones and Jim Helmen.
When a council member resigns, that member’s replacement is not done via election, but through appointment by the sitting members of the city council, as the city charter states. According to Major Bob Brajcich, the other council members recommended Holsey, and then Brajcich approached him about accepting the position.
“I think he was kind of surprised when I approached him. I heard he was willing, and after talking to some of the council people I approached him,” Brajcich said. “I don’t think he’s surprised we appointed him. He’s a good, qualified person.”
Holsey said his willingness to serve stems from a desire to give back to the community in which he grew up.
“I have served on the Park and Rec board for quite a few years and now it is time to step it up a little bit,” Holsey said.
Brajcich said he believes Holsey’s position on the board for the Clatskanie Park & Recreation District is one specific reason he will be a good asset for the council.
“We have that relationship with the Park and Rec board between the city and it’s really nice to have someone with that background, so we can keep our communications open with them, so that’s a real advantage,” Brajcich said.
Holsey has attended two council meetings so far and has specific goals for what he wants to accomplish with the council in the future. The first, he said, would be to make sure the city is running effectively, which Holsey said it is currently doing so. Other tasks would include examining PERS and looking at working on the sewer treatment plant, Holsey said.
“This position will require some very big shoes to fill, so it will take me a while. It will be baby steps for me,” Holsey said.
In addition to being able to attend to issues in the city, Holsey said serving the city is its own reward.
“I live here. My kids grew up here. I grew up here. I work here and I love community service,” Holsey said.
Council members serve four-year terms, and terms are staggered so that every two years, three council members are up for re-election. For the November 2020 election, Council members Jones and Helmen will also be up for re-election.
“I’m hoping Bruce Holsey puts his name on the ballot. I’m hoping they [all] run again,” Brajcich said.