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Councilor will serve remainder of year, step aside after November special election

PMG FILE PHOTO - Karylinn EcholsGresham has an interim mayor after council voted unanimously to promote someone from within their ranks Monday morning, June 29.

Karylinn Echols was appointed to the lead role during a special city council meeting after being nominated by a motion from Councilor Jerry Hinton and seconded by Councilor David Widmark.

"I look forward to working with each and every one of you as we get through the remainder of this year," Echols said.

Council telegraphed Monday's vote last week, when they voiced support for Echols stepping into the interim role. They delayed the decision to this week in order to allow for public comment on the matter.

The decision to name Echols interim mayor was made after the unexpected resignation of Shane Bemis Wednesday, June 17. Council had less than 30 days to name his interim successor by majority vote. With Echols being selected, she will now serve through the remainder of the year, before stepping aside for the person voted for by the public in the November election.

"She brings integrity, clarity and transparency to the city," Widmark said.

Echols has served as a Gresham City Councilor for 12 years, including two stints as council president. She was appointed to Position 3 in 2011 after being appointed to the role unanimously and winning a subsequent election. She also served a two-year stint in 2005.

Her background includes work in the public, private, education and nonprofit sectors. She previously served as the executive director of the Healthcare Hospitality Network, Inc. — a nationwide professional trade association.

She is a former board member and officer of the Gresham Center for the Arts Foundation, and a former board member and president of MetroEast Community Media.

While on council her priorities have included community livability, public safety, economic development, job growth and advancing Rockwood-West Gresham urban renewal.

Serving as interim mayor appears to be the end of Echols' political career. She said she will not seek reelection as either mayor or to her council seat, stating a desire to step away into a new phase of life. That decision mirrored Gresham Council's desire to name an interim mayor who would not be distracted by campaigning for the November Election.

Now Council has 30 days to appoint Echols' replacement for her vacant position.


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