PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A big political change is happening in Aumsville — a small town just outside Salem.
Voters in the city of about 4,000 residents have replaced their city council with several millennials — including a new mayor.
The mayor-till-January has been in city government for about 20 years. This past summer voters got upset about a new fee on their water bills. The $12 a month fee was to help pay for 24/7 police coverage in Aumsvile.
The soon-to-be mayor, 32-year-old Derek Clevenger, was behind a petition that led to the recall of three of the six members of the council in July.
“If you had told me in January of this year that 11 months later I would be mayor of Aumsville, I would have told you you were crazy,” Clevenger said.
City Councilors Lorie Walters, Kevin Crawford and Trina Lee were recalled.
The other councilors were replaced by Angelica Ceja and Nico Casarez, both in their 30s. They say they plan to shake things up.
“With that growth we are getting younger people in that have different wants and desires from their city government and that’s reflected in this election,” Clevenger said.
Turnout was high in the election — some voters told KOIN 6 News they had never been involved in politics before this, but the water bill fee upset them and they voted for change.
Clevenger doesn’t have political experience but is a former defense contractor and he has already been meeting with the city administrator to review the budget.
Caserez does have political experience — he was elected to city council at age 19 and lost a run at mayor in 2016.
“I think we will be outside the box,” he said. “We are more listeners and people will be more involved.”