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Longtime college administrator Joann Linville is Wilsonville's new city councilor


Joann Linville wants you to know that she doesn't care much for politics.

Yet, after a unanimous vote to appoint her as the newest Wilsonville city councilor at a Sept. 5 meeting, Linville finds herself in a position of political power.

For her, this new circumstance arose because of encouragement from the Charbonneau community, her years working to perfect policy at public institutions and boards and her time serving on the City of Wilsonville's Development Review Board.

She says she wants to do what's best for the Wilsonville community in her new role.

"I think first and foremost I care about this community. I care about citizens input. I care about good policy. I don't care much for politics," Linville said. "My decisions will be influenced hopefully by what is in the best interest of the community."

Linville grew up in Portland but recalls passing Wilsonville during her childhood "long before anything was here" on her way to a relatives' home in Donald.

She then attained a degree in nursing and a master's degree in teaching at the University of Washington and went on to teach nursing at Mount Hood Community College and then at Lane Community College and Bellingham Technical College.

"I loved working with students. When I took my first real full time teaching appointment at Lane I wasn't sure that was where I wanted to be but within a few months working with students, watching the lightbulb come on and having them excited about learning I got hooked and I couldn't get out," she said.

Linville then took a job at the Bellingham college as an administrator, which she said was derided by some of her colleagues. But she wasn't deterred.

"From my perspective if I could help faculty become better teachers then I could influence more students and do it from a different perspective," she said.

Linville went on to become the vice president for student services and then the vice president for learning services at Arizona Western College for the final 10 years of her career. She viewed part of her role as helping professors with subject matter expertise become better teachers and developed workshops and other programs to facilitate that.

"We had to design those programs to teach them how you design curriculum, how do you lay out a logical sequence of learning over a period of time, how do you write the test, how do you do good grading, how do you deal with student discipline," Linville said. "Those are things that I saw as my job to help deans and department chairs do."

She also served on the Yuma Regional Medical Center Board of Directors for eight years.

"I also understand the difference between administration and management and policymaking.

As an administrator, we worked closely with our board of directions, who were our policymaking board. There is a line at which those folk make policy and the managers and administrators are responsible for carrying it out," Linville said.

Upon retirement, Linville moved to Charbonneau and has since become involved in various activities. She was on the board of the Charbonneau Women's Association and is the vice president of the Charbonneau Women's Golf Association, volunteers for the Oregon Golf Association and has served on a number of other Charbonneau committees. Not to mention, she is the chair of one of the City's two DRBs.

"In every community where I have lived I have tried to find a place to volunteer," she said. "It's just giving back to the community. The other is a bit of a selfish thing in that I learn every time I do that."

Upon Stevens' decision to resign from council, Linville said many Charbonneau residents were worried that the elected body would not include a person who represents Charbonneau's interests. So some Charbonnau residents asked her if she would apply for the open position.

"My road to this position came out of a lot of encouragement from my community, from people who are in leadership roles here, some of the members of the board of Charbonneau Country Club, friends and neighbors," Linville said.

Linville first interviewed with Mayor Tim Knapp and Councilor Kristin Akervall, was selected as one of five finalists and then interviewed in front of the council during a public meeting.

Even Wilsonville Councilor Ben West, the lone person not to rank Linville as his first choice to replace Stevens (she was his second choice), acknowledged that Linville displayed the most knowledge of City policy during the interview process. And Linville said she accumulated such knowledge from not only the DRB but also as maybe one of the few Wilsonville residents who regularly tunes in to council meetings and work sessions.

"That tells you how much free time I had," Linville said.

Linville was happy to be sitting at home rather than in the council chamber during West's selection process diatribe, where he accused the rest of the council of bias, but was heartened that the council unanimously voted for her appointment.

"I'm actually very humbled that I received a unanimous vote for selection. I know there were some very qualified candidates," she said.

Some issues on the top of Linville's agenda and on the minds of Charbonneau residents include advocating for the City of Wilsonville and Clackamas County to be added to the intergovernmental agreement pertaining to Aurora Airport planning and nudging the Oregon Department of Transportation and other elected bodies to add an I-5 southbound auxiliary lane, which is designed to ease traffic congestion.

She appreciated that the City encouraged public input during her time on the DRB and expressed a willingness to listen to others during the interview process.

"When decisions have to be made I'm not afraid to make them but at every opportunity if people can be involved in and contribute to the decision then that's the process I would like to use," Linville said. "I would like to think I have a little bit of a sense of humor. I take my work very seriously but I don't take myself very seriously."

Linville will be sworn into the council at the Sept. 16 meeting and her term will last through 2020. She said she is not sure whether she will run for her second term. For now, though, Knapp and the other councilors are happy to welcome her aboard.

"I think Joann Linville is a very strong candidate for council in her professional experience throughout her life, in her ability to listen, to assimilate and apply information in an appropriate way," Knapp said. "I'm very pleased to be able to invite Joann Linville onto the Wilsonville City Council. I think she will be a great councilor, effective councilor and effective representative of our community."

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