The current Estacada mayoral term length is two years, compared to four year terms for city councilors.

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - On Monday, July 12, Estacada City Councilors met in-person for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During their first in-person meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Estacada City Councilors voted to allow citizens to consider expanding the mayoral term from two to four years in the November election.

Though the charter review committee, which was formed in June and consisted of seven Estacada citizens, recommended against any updates, councilors voted 6-0 to send the potential changes to the mayoral term to be considered by the voters during a meeting on Monday, July 12.

"I really recommend that since it's something that the people of Estacada would be voting on, that we put it on the ballot and let them choose what they want," Councilor Joel Litkie said.

Prior to the group voting to pose the question to voters, Councilor Charity Hughes asked about getting additional input from the community as a next step.

"I'm just curious what our community would like to do as far as a two year or four year (term)," she said.

Councilors Tenbush and Strobel noted that the charter review committee was a form of getting community input.

"We put those people in place to represent the community, and that's our community input," Tenbush said.

"I feel like the council, from a procedural standpoint, we did what we're supposed to do and what we're asked to do," Strobel added.

Councilor Katy Dunsmuir said that an election would be a valuable way to get community input.

"What I hear Councilor Hughes asking for is really what would be occurring on Nov. 2. That's going to be the most reliable way of asking the question to everybody at the same time," she said.

Estacada Mayor Sean Drinkwine said the role of mayor involves supporting the community.

"I don't know if you all remember what this last year was like, but I sure do. There was a pandemic and wildfires and an ice storm, and several other things in between, and your mayor was out there every single time," he said. "So no matter who's mayor or when they're mayor, give them the respect where respect is due. The mayor wants the same privilege you've given to these councilors when you elected them for four years to decide the fate of Estacada. You put your faith in them to make that choice, but to say that you wouldn't put it in your mayor, there's something wrong with that. Your mayor is just as important as every person sitting at that table. So I ask you to look at that, because that's really what we should be looking at. Is your mayor good for your city? Do you love what he does? Are you happy with your mayor, whoever that may be? Give him the respect due to a mayor. That's all I ask in this."

Multiple audience members clapped after Drinkwine's statement.

Dunsmuir made a motion to ask voters the question of amending the charter to expand the mayor's term from two to four years. It was unanimously approved.

Councilor Litkie proposed retroactively expanding Drinkwine's current mayoral term from two to four years, if it was legal to do so.

Estacada City Manager Denise Carey said the city's lawyer had said that was not legal, but she would check again.

Litkie, Hughes and Drinkwine voted yes on the motion, and Strobel, Dunsmuir and Tenbush voted no. Because it did not get a majority of votes, it will not move forward.

In other news from the Council meeting:

  • Councilors discussed several aspects of the city code, including ordinances pertaining to noxious weeds and vehicles parking on sidewalks and impeding pedestrians. They will consider several potential changes in the future, including increasing the fine for parking on the sidewalk.
  • Councilors voted to ask constituents about imposing a 3% tax on the sale of marijuana within city limits during the November election. Marijuana dispensaries are currently illegal within city limits, though an open house to gather community feedback on potential changes to this is scheduled for Monday, July 19, at Estacada City Hall, 475 S.E. Main St.
  • Hybrid meetings coming soon

    The July 12 Estacada City Council meeting was not broadcast on Zoom because the city is waiting on equipment to do so. Once it arrives, Council meetings will be in person and available on Zoom at {


    You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

    Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!