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Former planning, city commissioner: 'I would be a hypocrite if I ran against him in 2018 and did not step up now.'

Lifelong Oregon City resident Damon Mabee, 57, Damon Mabeeannounced that he will file for the special March mayoral election to replace Dan Holladay, who was recalled from the position on Nov. 10.

"I would be a hypocrite if I ran against him in 2018 and did not step up now," Mabee said. "Dan was recalled for the very attitude that caused me to challenge him. I hope the people of Oregon City are now willing to have a mayor that listens and respects their opinion, and will be clear in why they are making decisions."

Holladay won reelection in 2018 with 50.35% of the vote after Mabee failed to submit a Voters' Pamphlet statement on time. Mabee said he won't make that same mistake twice.

"One of the highlights of my intent is to make sure I don't miss that deadline," he said.

Mabee said that he signed the recall petition but intentionally kept a low profile about Holladay until the recall election results came in to avoid the appearance of advocating for the recall for personal reasons.

"I wanted it to be a pure recall," he said.

Mabee has been registered a substitute teacher in the Oregon City School District for 13 years, while also working as a security guard with Allied Universal since 2014. He said that he's worked full-time as a security guard since March because the school district hasn't called on him as a substitute teacher since the beginning of the pandemic.

Mabee served as a city commissioner from 2005-08, as a member of Oregon City's Planning Commission from 2011-18, and on the Budget Committee and South Fork Water Board. As a commissioner, Mabee supported property annexation requests into Oregon City to boost development and increase the city's tax revenue. He helped stabilize the city's budget by advocating that Oregon City annex into the Clackamas Fire District.

Under his tenure, the city adopted the Transportation Utility Fee, now called the Pavement Maintenance Utility Fee, starting out at $4.50 per month, and now up to $13.79 per month for residential addresses. Mabee was careful to include a provision in the new fee for residents receiving assistance from the state to receive a reduction or waiver of the street fee.

As a planning commissioner, Mabee reluctantly voted in favor of a controversial plan to annex property in the Park Place Neighborhood because of the $3,500 per-home police fee that was proposed. He's a supporter of the city's charter amendment giving citizens the right to final approval of annexation requests and says Oregon City should be doing what it can to fight the state's attempt to override that right.

"Why doesn't the state make a master charter for every city, and then say we can't do anything unless they tell us we can?" Mabee asked. "We need to draw the line somewhere on home rule, and annexations seem like the place to do it."

Mabee said that he supported the recent expansion of Waterboard Park charter protections to include a portion of the park that had been occupied by public works. Mabee said he hopes the city prioritizes improvements on the more than 25 acres of Waterboard Park and other parks throughout the city with deferred maintenance.

During his tenure as mayor, Mabee hopes to usher in progress on three stalled development projects he sees as key to the future of Oregon City: the Rossman Landfill site, the Beavercreek Concept area and the Willamette Falls Legacy Project. He would support regulating trees on private properties if the city would split arborist costs with property owners 50-50.

"In general, I support large trees being protected, but there needs to be something in it for the owner," Mabee said. "My biggest problem with government in general is unfunded mandates."

Prior to working for OCSD, Mabee represented a labor union after his honorable discharge as an officer in the U.S. Navy, serving in Desert Storm.


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