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Election season presents West Linn with new management and new council leadership

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Andrew Mallory is running for mayor of West Linn.With a new city manager starting next month and a mayor of five years announcing he won't seek reelection in November, West Linn has the opportunity to redirect itself.

In heading to the ballot box this year, the people of West Linn are choosing who will join newly appointed City Manager Jerry Gabrielatos as the city works its way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, a massive police scandal and years of dysfunction and infighting among the city's elected officials.

As of this story's writing — with the filing deadline approaching on Aug. 25 — the city's three choices to lead that work as mayor are Jules Walters, Richard Sakelik and Andrew Mallory. But the mayor's position isn't the only one up for grabs this fall. Two other seats are on the ballot as well, meaning there could soon be an entire council majority of new faces.

Over the past two years, West Linn residents have gotten a fair look at what Sakelik and Walters are about. She was elected to her current council seat in 2018, and if she lost the mayoral race, would continue to serve until the end of her term in 2022.

Sakelik was elected in 2016 and his term expires at year's end.

Mallory, a resident of West Linn since 2016 and a member of the Transportation Advisory Board, doesn't have the same broad recognition.

"We need to change, and we need to change right now," Mallory said of the critical moment West Linn has found itself in.

A British man who moved to the United States in 2000, Mallory said it will be critical to reinvigorate the large voting bloc of West Linn citizens who seem to have lost interest in what's going on at City Hall.

"I don't blame those people for turning their backs," he said.

But this voting bloc, which he estimates to be around 15,000 people, will be critical to choosing the right person to lead West Linn into the future. Mallory said he realizes he may not be the best option.

"If someone else threw their hat in the ring at this point, and I thought they were either better qualified, brighter, or whatever it might be, I [would] step down in their favor," he said. "As things stand right now, I believe I am the only candidate for mayor that can affect the change that's needed."

Mallory added that from the little he knows about Walters, she makes an admirable candidate. He said he respects her dedication to schools and youth athletics but believes that someone new could better lead the city out of its present position.

"Given the current situation, my knowledge base and experience fits the bill as mayor more," he said.

Mallory's knowledge comes from three years on the City Council's Transportation Advisory Board and as a member of the Willamette Neighborhood Association.

His career has primarily centered around business. Most recently he's worked in sales with telecommunications companies CenturyLink and Ziply Fiber. He also owned a company, Safari Adventures, which operated out of Bend. Prior to that he ran a safari business in Gaborone, Botswana. He also ran a public relations firm in Gaborone.

Between 2008 and 2018, Mallory starred in the Oregon-based TV series, "Green Economy."

Though he thinks the council needs a clean slate of new representatives, Mallory said he believes he could work with Walters and Bill Relyea, who also has two more years left of his term.

Primarily, if elected, Mallory would like to fix the relationship between the city of West Linn and the people of West Linn.

"There is no more time for the luxury of bickering and moaning internally within the council and community," he said.

Mallory would also like the city and the region to make better use of the Willamette River for transportation. He called the river the city's most vital asset and said in coming years, it could be one solution to keeping the roads around the area from getting too clogged.

Mallory said he's also very interested in the city's plans for developing the waterfront, and lamented recent actions by council which tarnished the city's relationships with partners in revitalizing the old city hall building.

"It's a shame that we have left a bad flavor in the mouth of the Grand Ronde tribe. That troubles me a lot. We don't have time for this," he said. "We need to keep developing relationships with people that matter and take a more humble way of going about it."

As for dealing with troubles past and present at the West Linn Police Department, Mallory said, "the community needs to feel comfortable with its police chief."

He acknowledged that it will take time for investigations into the city's handling of the Michael Fesser case to play out, and said while those are going on, the community can think about what it wants from its police force. Mallory said from his experience, officers with WLPD are very kind and friendly, but action must be taken when officers cross the line.

Mallory, who has had his own run-in with the law, said he doesn't believe his 2008 DUI charge nor his possession of marijuana charges (which were dismissed) would inhibit his service to the city as mayor.

In 2008, Mallory was also held in contempt of court in Columbia County, according to court records, though he said he does not remember that charge.


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