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As the City of Lincoln City prepares to fill the position of mayor during the May Special Election, next month the City Council will also be tasked with filling the vacant seat in Ward 1, left recently by Diana Hinton.

Hinton was re-elected to the city council position during the November 2020 election. The term lasts from Jan. 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2024.

Hinton made the emotional resignation announcement at the end of the regularly scheduled April 12 city council meeting. At the meeting, Hinton read aloud a letter she had wrote to the community.

“City council, staff, friends, neighbors and good citizens of Lincoln City,” Hinton began. “Tonight is my last city council meeting as my husband Joe and I have decided to move out of the area. This decision has been hard to make. After a year of COVID, which was followed quickly by the Echo Mountain fire, the importance of proximity to our family became even more evident. Our sons and their families have encouraged us to move closer to them so we can spend more time together.

“To our citizens: in these uneasy times it can be easy to slip into unkind words and posts. It is so important to care for each other with kindness. I saw you come together after the wildfire event to share what you had with those who lost so much.

“Consider, if you are able to and haven’t yet, to join others on the city’s committees. There is always a welcome mat out for you to step up to serve your city.

“As a small city, we are fortunate to have excellent staff who do their best to serve every day. We have a fabulous library, terrific trails and recreation facilities, excellent IT experts, strong financial stability (even now), public works that works, visioning for the future, visitor welcome mat, a new police building; all because of our dedicated employees who work with city council to make good decisions.

“Serving Lincoln City and my community has been a great pleasure and honor. I will miss all that it entails. I will greatly miss our friends, city staff and volunteers, community members and the beautiful environment in which we live. I will miss the council members greatly as we all are devoted to good debate, camaraderie, good humor and good governance. I ask that as council makes future decisions to, please-oh-please, consider livability as you deliberate.

“So after almost a decade of living here, another couple of years of owning a second home and before that over 30 years of visiting, it is time to leave. I have received so many heartfelt good wishes. Thank you for those and thank you for having me. Goodbye.”

After her letter, council members fought back tears and Council President Judy Casper read a poem she had wrote for Hinton. That poem is available to view here.

“We can’t quite say goodbye… It’s been wonderful working with you,” Casper said.

Since the resignation, council has not yet publicly discussed how they plan to fill the vacant seat. During the April 26 meeting, mayoral candidate Susan Wahlke submitted a public comment to the council urging them to postpone the decision until after the May election.

“That decision should not be made without a city mayor,” Wahlke said. “As a resident of Ward 1, I thank you for your consideration of my request.”

The next city council meeting is scheduled for May 10 at 6 p.m.

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