Council back to full strength with appointment
In a unanimous vote Sept. 17 the Newberg City Council approved Elise Yarnell Hollamon's appointment for the District 1 vacancy, returning the council to full strength after operating with five councilors for several months.
In July, councilor Matthew Murray stepped down from the council after moving out of the district, leaving the seat vacant until two residents applied to fill the spot.
Hollamon and Buddy Cook, who has also filed for mayor in November's general election, were the two applicants for the open council spot.
Yarnell Hollamon, 29, who will be sworn in at the Oct. 1 council meeting, studied political science at Eastern University in Pennsylvania. Through her coursework she developed an understanding of social justice and mentors who taught her how to serve, she said, adding that the experience led her to want to serve in public service and a public capacity in her future.
"I really didn't think that this would be a reality until later in life," she said. "I think that we are in a special time here in Newberg where there is a lot of work and visioning of the future and I think that there's a lot of momentum and energy around involvement with the younger professional crowd. I feel valued by the city that we have an equal voice and I think that I will be a learning curve for a while, but I think that I'll bring to the table of what isn't there from a different demographic perspective."
Hollamon did become involved in serving and headed up the Community Wellness Collective group to create awareness of mental health and substance abuse needs, help to provide access to existing services and identify gaps in the services. The group started a collaborative effort with providers throughout Yamhill County to provide better access to the communities. She works as the mental health clinic manager at Providence Medical Group.
"By working with the budget committee, I feel like I learned the expertise of the city staff and I was impressed with the knowledge of our city staff and their expertise and stewardship of resources," Hollamon said. "I'm really excited to be able to bring some level of financial understanding to the group. I served on the city budget committee this year and I have a pretty good understanding of where we're at as a city and where we need to make progress for the city."
Hollamon is also a member of the Young Professionals of Yamhill County, which focuses on volunteerism and giving back to the community.
Ultimately, she said she wants to "be a bridge between citizens and the city and to help the citizens to understand what the city does for us and to be a reciprocal voice back to the city of where people want amplified services or to decrease services and to really be able to give a recommendation on both sides," she said.