Conversations Between Community Leader

Sentinel Editor,

Read with delight the letters to the editor in the recent Sentinel. Actually made it all the way through them. In recent years articles such as letters to the editor have become so negative that I quit reading them, because they serve no purpose. So, I say, the recent letters were delightful.

I, too, have had very good luck in all my dealings with City Manager Richard Myers.  I came to the community in 1975 and started working downtown with city leaders and officials in 1978. In my training and job duties, I have been responsible to OSHA, Department of Environmental Quality, managing up to 58 people, adhering to union agreements, and in the end, getting the job done.

Through this, I learned that people in positions such as the city manager have many stipulations  that they must adhere to. The sad part, many times is, they are bound by some rule or law to keep them from speaking the whole truth, to explain their position.

Through the years in working with the present city manager regarding the merger of the fire departments of Creswell, city of CG, and South Lane Rural, I found Richard to be very professional, matter of fact, and able to explain the difference between city responsibility and citizen responsibility. Through that process I found him to be quite helpful in ideas and suggestions.  

The same with the hospital bankruptcy and closure, and my membership on the new hospital board to build and open a new hospital. Again, Richard was easy to speak with, ideas and opinions. The carousel is another project, and again Richard was careful to explain that the city did not have a responsibility to build the carousel, but was very helpful and supportive with advice.

When it was suggested we needed a Welcome Center at the CG airport, again, conversation with Richard, not negative, explaining this was not a city project, but a citizen project, and ready with suggestions and advice on maybe how to do it.

Simple conversations between community leaders.

In 2019, I was called back to BMD and again started working with Richard. I found him to be extremely helpful and supportive. Again, it is not a city project, but a citizen project. We were so proud to claim we were an all volunteer organization. 

COVID came along in 2020, and everything was shut down. In 2021, the BMD committee was forced to hold off until six weeks before the event to make any decisions as to what we could/couldn’t do.  This was mandated by the governor’s office and health department.  

When the decision was made, Coiner Park was out, but we might be able to hold it downtown. The hurry up decision was made. I had the city’s help in putting the first ore cart together and getting the rules and regulations in place. And a tremendous hand from Richard, his staff, and the city of Cottage Grove utility workers. 

As a promoter of tourism, and knowing the dollars it brings to the community, I am very supportive of things such as money spent on the only covered RR bridge west of the Mississippi.

There are so many things that Richard took the point on, took some heat at the time, but proved to be successful. And a betterment, on the whole, for the community of Cottage Grove, which he serves.

The Armory was one that I was personally on the fence on. I thought it would be a never-ending money pit.  But IF I had voted, I would have voted to buy the Armory and support Richard. I believe this facility will go down in history as being a very proper move for the city of CG.

The effluent water system for the golf course is another success story, from what I can see. Silverton and other cities have done basically the same thing. Are there  things I could pick at Richard about – yes.  But it is a very small minority of the leadership and achievements that he has brought to the city managers’ office.

I can only echo what former Mayor Gowing said in his letter – Richard was always on board to give a helping hand. I may point to one thing – his participation in helping with the BMD parade with Sharon Jean – his behind the scenes hands on help has fostered many activities and functions that will live long after you and I are gone.

Don Williams, Cottage Grove, Ore.