Gervais mayor won't seek re-election
Gervais Mayor Shanti Platt announced she will not seek re-election after her current term expires in 2020.
Platt has been one of the longest-serving mayors in city history, having won seven consecutive elections dating back to 2006. But after 13 years, Platt said she's ready to step aside for the next generation of civic leaders to take the city forward.
"I'm getting ready to phase out. This is my last term," Platt said while speaking at the Woodburn Area Chamber of Commerce's quarterly lunch forum in March. "I want to see that younger leadership coming up that has that zest for getting out there, taking what has been built up for them and moving it the next step up."
Platt first took office succeeding previous mayor, Joe Simmons, who served one term in 2004. Platt previously had served on the Marion County Children's Family Commission before taking office, where she was re-elected six consecutive times.
Platt recalled the state of Gervais when she first took office, noting that the city lacked direction and needed to identify basic infrastructure for the citizens who lived there before seeking to attract outside investors to the community.
"I ran for mayor on the idea of looking into the idea of what wasn't working and looking into Gervais overall as an extension of my family," she said. "So how do I take care of my family first before I start looking at building up business and what wasn't there?"
Platt sought to rally the community's civic leaders to identify what goals they wanted to set for the city in both the short and long term, working slowly but steadily toward improving the city's downtown corridor.
"We've had to develop a bicycle safety route before we could get grants to get sidewalks so our kids could walk to school," she saidf. "Our streets have improved. We've built a downtown area that we're proud of, and we can have festivals there."
While she agrees there is plenty of work left to do, she's excited the city has reached a point where it is becoming an attractive destination for businesses, such as the recently built Dollar General, which has given community members access to basic groceries without having to drive out of town.
As the community ages, Platt has heard wishes for other amenities such as dental or medical professionals, as well as for commercial enterprises like restaurants and coffee businesses.
The vacant building across from Dollar General that formerly housed Fiber Fab, which consolidated with another company and moved its facility to Washington several years ago, has received interest as a potential multi-use building. Platt also would like to see further revitaization of the downtown corridor, but after serving as mayor for nearly the entire 21st century, she's eager to pass the baton to a new leader to serve as steward for the coming decade.
"(I'm) really listening to and watching what's happening with that generation behind me that's coming in to the age where they have real influence and power and the ability to learn that, so I'm hoping to mentor somebody into that position," she said.