1994: Former mayor accused of threatening city employee's job security

Photo Credit: ARCHIVE PHOTO - The caption to this 1954 photo read SPRINGWATER- Gilbert Shibley, one of Clackamas County's most advanced 4H youngsters has been growing this calf all year in preparation for entering it in the livestock competition at the Clackamas County Fair... Besides the livestock displays and the giant agricultural layout this year, fair board members said last week an expanded horse show, rodeo and hores racing i s on the entertainment schedule for the four-day fair.


A 23-year-old Estacada logger was committed to the state hospital in Salem after shooting a man in the hand during a quarrel.


The paper’s “Take It or Leave It” Column had some choice words for oil companies and Congress. Under the headline “We expected this” the paper read, “A study prepared for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, just released, indicates the winter oil shortage in the United States didn’t actually exist, that it was largely manipulated by oil companies as a means of gaining higher profits.”

After mentioning that Congress had refused to enact an excess profit tax on oil companies earlier in 1974, the paper stated that the national welfare and best interest of the people were not being served.

“The average citizen expects something more in the way of protection or regulation, if necessary, from Congress,” the column scolded.


Illegally dumped waste caused havoc at Estacada’s wastewater treatment plant.

Approximately 5,000 gallons of septic tank waste were illegally dumped into Estacada’s wastewater treatment system through a manhole cover.

In addition, a plant operator discovered 20-30 gallons of paint thinner in the system during a routine testing.

City Manager Duane Robinson said the septic tank dumping was done intentionally, but the paint thinner may have been poured down the drain by someone unaware that doing so was illegal and dangerous.

Robinson suspected the sewage dumping culprit was a septic tank outfit that had collected waste from rural homes, opened a manhole cover and dumped the waste to avoid the cost of transporting and dumping it elsewhere.

One such operation had been caught illegally dumping in Estacada four or five years earlier.


Public Works Superintendent Bill Strawn accused former Estacada Mayor Tom Nelson of threatening his job security unless he agreed to help a group that hoped to restructure Estacada’s government after fall elections.

Nelson was the leader of Citizens’ Voice, a political action committee opposed to the expansion of Estacada’s water system.

Nelson allegedly told Strawn that he had been unable to get information he wanted from city hall.

In a memo addressed to City Manager Shelley Jones, Strawn stated, “(Nelson) also indicated that if I wanted to continue my employment with the city after the fall elections, I would need to provide the information they wanted now, so they would not have to go through normal channels to obtain it.”

“I was stunned by his request and obvious threat to my job security,” Strawn’s memo continued. “I reported the incident to the city recorder that day and to the city manager and mayor that night. On July 15 (1994), I also reported the incident to the city attorney.”

Jones read the memo publicly at a city council meeting.

Nelson was in attendance. He told the paper that the allegation was “not entirely true” but declined to elaborate.

He didn’t confirm or deny any specific allegation made in the memo but said his remarks to Strawn had been misunderstood.

Citizens’ Voice was also distributing a weekly newsletter.

The most recent newsletter announced that it would sponsor an initiative to amend the city charter in an effort to eliminate the city manager’s position and combine it with the city recorder’s job.

The newsletter also urged citizens not to pay a recently-approved five percent increase in water rates, saying that the issue would be voted on in the fall.

Jones confirmed that Citizen’s Voice member Robert Santangelo had filed a petition for a referendum on the new water rates.


City Recorder Denise Carey received the Master Municipal Clerk designation through the International Institute of Municipal Clerks’ Master Municipal Clerk Academy.


As Estacada prepared to transition to having the Sandy Police Department as the main law enforcement provider for the city, Sandy Police Officers Sam Craven and Bill Wetherbee were selected to serve in Estacada on the recommendation of a panel made up of Estacada city leaders and a representative of the business community.

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