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Council leans toward selecting Councilor Karylinn Echols for leading role Monday, June 29

PMG FILE PHOTO - Gresham City Council voiced support to name Councilor Karylinn Echols, left, as Greshams interim mayor during a meeting next week. Gresham City Council has voiced a strong preference to name an interim mayor from within its ranks during an emergency meeting Monday, June 22 — though a vote was delayed until next week to allow for transparency and public input.

During the meeting a majority of council said they would support Councilor Karylinn Echols serving as Gresham's interim mayor. It was an option voiced by Councilor Jerry Hinton and seconded by Echols.

"She knows the staff, the issues and the city," Hinton said. "Councilor Echols has served with dedication and loyalty."

Echols accepted the nomination with the caveat she will not seek reelection in November as either a city councilor or mayor. She has served as a Gresham City Councilor for 12 years, including two stints as council president. During the meeting she stressed the importance of moving forward quickly to provide unity within city leadership.

"It's time for the work to get done — we have a lot ahead of us," Echols said.

A vote is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. Monday, June 29, to name an interim mayor — filling the void left by the unexpected resignation of Shane Bemis Wednesday, June 17. Even the Gresham City Council was surprised to learn of the resignation, reading about it via a lengthy Facebook post alongside the rest of the community the night before Bemis stepped down.

"All I know is what anyone else knows — which is what (Bemis) wrote on his Facebook page," Echols said. "He has served this community long and with a depth of passion and commitment that is sometimes hard to find."

During the meeting Councilor Eddy Morales spoke to rumors that members of council may have contributed to Bemis' decision to resign.

"No one on this council had anything to do with his immediate resignation — we were all surprised," Morales said.

Council has less than a 30 days to name an interim successor by majority vote. Whomever is selected will fill the seat immediately, serving through the remainder of the year, before stepping aside for the person voted for by the public during the November election.

The interim mayor must be a registered voter, have lived in Gresham for at least one year, cannot be a city employee, and cannot hold two public offices as once. Councilors all agreed that whomever they select should not be considering running for the role in November.

During the meeting, Councilor David Widmark said the last time this process occurred was in the 1980s, and that at the time the interim mayor was a councilmember.

If Echols is appointed, Gresham Council will then have 30 days to appoint her replacement on council.


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