Yachats council interviews candidates


Wednesday vote planned to select new councilor 

YACHATS — A day before they planned to vote on an appointment, members of the Yachats City Council spent Wednesday morning in individual interviews with three candidates to fill a vacant seat on the council.

Applicants Fran Morse, Anthony Muirhead and Jennifer Fredricksen individually spent about an hour Tuesday in front of Mayor Leslie Vaaler and councilors Mary Ellen O’Shaughnessey, Ann Stott and Greg Scott answering the following four questions:

• What do you view as the three greatest strengths of the community?

• What specific skills would you bring to the council?

• Where would you look for guidance when you make a decision about city issues?

• What is your understanding of the council’s role in Yachats government?

The seat available became vacant after then-councilor Vaaler earned the mayor’s seat during the November election and took the reins at the beginning of the year. The term of the appointed councilor will expire Dec. 31, 2022.

A fourth person, Holly Brandwen, also submitted an application for appointment prior to the Feb. 12 deadline. However, the council determined Brandwen cannot be considered for appointment due to the fact she lives outside the Yachats city limits.

In her council application, Morse, a retired psychologist, wrote that she was a part-time resident of the city from 2000 to 2006, a full-time resident from 2006 to 2014 and returned as a full-time resident in 2016. Morse says the most pressing issues the city faces include the completion of the Ocean View Drive project to protect the seaside neighborhood from erosion, communication with citizens, the completion of a water-usage study and policy, housing and a reorganization and preservation of the Yachats Commons building.

She’s previously served about two years each on the city’s planning and the parks and commons commissions, is a former president of the Friends of the Yachats Commons and was a facilitator for the Yachats adult programming task force.

“Throughout my working career, and more recently during my volunteer time in Yachats, I was called to deal with a great deal of conflict,” Morse wrote in her application. “I have a history of facilitating groups in resolving issues, and more importantly, then rebuilding the damaged relationships and group dynamics afterwards. It seems to me that this approach is needed at this time.”

Muirhead is the general manager of Yachats’ Adobe Resort, which has battled the city recently over a proposed lighting ordinance that could potentially force the resort to curb or even eliminate its marine lighting that illuminates the nearby shoreline and ocean. He’s been at the Adobe since 2014 and before that was in the hospitality industry in Bandon at multiple establishments.

“I’d like to be a consistent voice, not just a guest, when an issue directly affects the Adobe,” Muirhead wrote on his application. “I truly believe all of our businesses in town will need our support following the pandemic.

“I’m also someone that believes in listening and trying to understand before speaking an opinion. That can be useful in many challenges we face.”

Fredricksen is general manager of Yachats Brewing + Farm Store, and says she hopes to be a voice not only for the city’s business community, but for those who work in town.

“I want to represent the workers and our businesses,” Fredricksen wrote in her council application. “For me, this past year exposed the need for additional support for our workers. Lack of housing, cost of current housing are major concerns when looking to hire.”

The council is scheduled to make its appointment during its regular meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. today (Wednesday). To attend the virtual meeting, go to https://bit.ly/3u4wvjU.

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