Five candidates a tp fill four vacant City Council seats: Jim Gourley

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

Jim Gourley says he is happy with where he sees the city of Sweet Home going.

“I think things are going in a very good direction,” he said. “I think our focus with the downtown revitalization is going great. The group that’s working on that is a great undertaking.”

He also praises the beautification efforts taking place, and the city’s replacement of the water treatment plant and sewer lines are underway even if he doesn’t like the price, he said. “I think right now we’re focused where we need to be.

“Anything further we can do to help businesses locate in the community is something else we might be able to do.”

One of the reasons people should vote for him “is I look at things for the city (in terms) of what is best for the city, not just individuals or groups,” Gourley said. He added that doesn’t carry preconceived notions into the decision-making process, listening to the arguments and deciding what is the right thing to do.

“I’ve lived here all my life,” he said. “I know what the issues are. I have no one single issue that I’m trying to change. I love the city of Sweet Home and will do anything in my power to better this city.”

Probably the most controversial subject since the last election two years ago was the council’s decision to permit Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments in commercial establishments.

Gourley supported that ordinance.

“Originally, I wanted to make sure we had all our t’s crossed and our i’s dotted and that we weren’t going into something we were going to be sorry for in a short period of time,” he said. It is something the city is able to control, and it will return to the council for review.

Gourley said his top budget priority is police services.

“But our police are funded from levies,” he said, and that means police funding is most susceptible to “compression,” an effect created by 1990’s Measure Five that reduces the amount of the levy.

Overall, Gourley said, “I think city budgets are full of issues that are very necessary to the citizenry, and it’s very difficult to just sit down and talk about what’s more important than another without sitting down and looking at what the issues are at the time.”

Still, if the city faces financial difficulties, “police would be the highest priority,” he said.

Gourley, 51, is married to Lisa. They have four children, James, Kimberly, Cindy and Laura, and two grandchildren, Abby and Mahala.

Gourley grew up in Cascadia and graduated from Sweet Home High School. He attended Linn-Benton Community College and completed a four-year apprenticeship program as a millwright. He started working with a construction local union out of Portland before going to work at James River in Halsey 21 years ago. That later became Pope and Talbot and most recently Cascade Pacific Pulp.

He was first elected to the City Council 16 years ago and served two years as mayor.