First Black leader of major Portland-area city must hit ground running at the start of new year

PMG FILE PHOTO - Travis Stovall remained on top after an automatic recount.After a tight race featuring five unique candidates, and an automatic recount delaying any official celebrations, Gresham finally can call someone mayor.

Travis Stovall, a small-business owner and community leader, will step into the top position in Gresham after a successful mayoral race. He brings a community-oriented mindset to City Hall, and a fresh perspective as someone who has never held public office before.

"It is such an honor to be Gresham's next mayor," Stovall said. "I want to thank the voters and my supporters for getting my campaign across the finish line."

"Together we will help make Gresham a stronger, more vibrant and equitable city," he added.

While Stovall took an early lead in the election, the results remained in flux as the gap narrowed with every update. Councilor Eddy Morales kept things close, and a difference of 13 votes led to the recount. That process ended Wednesday, Dec. 2, leading to the official declaration of Stovall's victory. Both candidates lost two votes in the recount, keeping the same margin of victory.

Stovall now steps into a role that was left vacant by Shane Bemis' unexpected resignation earlier this year, and temporarily filled by Councilor Karylinn Echols who was appointed by her peers. Stovall will take the reins at the start of the new year, and will have to hit the ground running.

"With the $13-plus million budget shortfall, as well as helping Gresham businesses and workers get back to work to recover from the impact of COVID, I'm ready to work with the community to address these issues," he said.

Stovall, who is the first Black mayor of a major Portland-area city, plans to address racial injustices, get Gresham businesses and employees back to work post-COVID, build more affordable housing for all income levels, and address community safety.

"I thank my opponents for their willingness to run campaigns and their commitment to our city, especially Councilor Morales who will be working alongside me on the City Council," Stovall said.

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