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Ultimately, group chooses HVAC tech and former coast guardsman David Bajorin to serve out Jordan Tibbals' term

PMG SCREENSHOT: YOUTUBE - The council voted 4-1 to select Bajorin, and he will be sworn in Oct. 20.The Canby City Council on Wednesday, Oct. 6, selected David Bajorin as the next city councilor on a vote of 4-1.

The council selection, rather than an election, came as Jordan Tibbals resigned last month midterm to move out of state. Bajorin will now serve out the remainder of Tibbals' term, through Dec. 31, 2022, and must run and win a seat on the council in the November 2022 election to continue serving beyond that date.

PMG SCREENSHOT: FACEBOOK - The Canby City Council has selected David Bajorin to replace Jordan Tibbals on the council.By day, Bajorin is a heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician for Roth Heating & Cooling. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from Iona College, and he served 13 years with the U.S. Coast Guard. He said he was drawn to the council position because of his inclination toward service to others.

"That's why I joined the Coast Guard in the first place. I wanted to serve people, save lives," Bajorin said during his interview before the council Wednesday. "And this would be no different as far as I'm concerned. I'm interested in the idea of improving the world around me, no matter the odds. One of my biggest frustrations in life is promising talk without any follow-up action. So, my goal would simply be to get to work and make things happen that the city needs."

Bajorin also talked about the council working for the benefit of future generations and correcting issues such as bullying and division over politics.

"COVID seems to have brought out the worst in all of us," Bajorin said. "Whether because of stress, uncertainty or misinformation, some of our worst traits have come out in ways we never anticipated. We're better than that, and we all know it. The fires and the ice storm showed that in abundance. … It shouldn't take a disastrous act of nature to be in touch with our greatest qualities. We just need to work toward greater cohesion, stronger sense of community and less divisive behavior.

"Our city deserves that kind of unity of purpose and a City Council that stands behind the greatest good for the entire population of Canby. We can spend or save all the money in the world, but if we're fighting each other doing it, there's really no point."

Bajorin also said he would like to see more youth engagement at all levels of city government.

Eleven others applied to fill the council position including James Hieb, Jason Padden, Bri Condon, Brad Clark, Alan Gallagher, Mac Garrison, Mark Johnson, Cindy Lang, Daniel Owczarzak, Bryan Peterson and Amanda Short.

After all the interviews, Councilor Sarah Spoon moved to select Bajorin.

Councilor Chris Bangs quickly agreed with the selection noting that of the candidates, Bajorin was the only one to attend the previous council meeting and stand up for a youth, Spoon's child, who apparently was bullied in an online Facebook group called "Parents for Freedom at Canby Schools," formerly known as "Open Canby Schools" and "Kids First at Canby Schools."

The group administrator is Tyler Smith, a local attorney and attorney for the Newberg School Board, which recently banned LGBTQ+ and Black Lives Matter signage in schools.

Councilor Shawn Varwig, who has been considered a conservative member of the council, surprisingly joined the liberal majority in support of Bajorin and challenged the council to forget the past and move forward in unity and respect for one another. Councilor Greg Parker was the fourth vote for Bajorin.

Councilor Traci Hensley cast the dissenting vote.

"I just feel that we should have gone with Mr. Hieb because he was the constituents' choice in the election, and I am elected to represent our constituency, and so therefore I feel like I'm representing them now," Hensley said. "So that is why I'm voting no tonight."

Hensley was referencing the 2020 election, when out of six who ran for City Council, Hieb secured the fifth-most votes with only Padden behind him. The other four — Hensley, Spoon, Bangs and Tibbals — earned spots on the council.

"I just want to respond to that because I don't feel it's ignoring the will of the people," Spoon said. "Some of these people didn't run in the last election. It's not like the community had an opportunity to vote on them. … I just want to acknowledge that if every single one of these candidates had run for office, we would have a good feeling about how the general electorate felt about all the candidates. That wasn't the case."

With the majority vote, Bajorin will be sworn in at the Oct. 20 council meeting.

Kristen Wohlers
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