After falling just 17 votes short of becoming mayor 2018, Susan Wahlke is now set to be sworn in as Lincoln City mayor in June.
Lincoln City opted to fill the vacancy Sen. Dick Anderson left as mayor by way of special election. On May 18, the votes were tallied by the Lincoln County Clerk’s Office and with 99 percent of the votes counted, Wahlke was well ahead of the four other candidates.
In the unofficial results, Wahlke received 1,159 votes, followed by Riley Hoagland with 703 votes. Former mayor Don Williams accounted for 430 votes, Fernando Garza received 258 votes and John Forse had 28 votes.
As she prepares to be named Lincoln City’s third female mayor, Wahlke reflected on her involvement with the city. Her interest first started when filming city council and planning commission meetings. And after getting involved in several community happenings like Chamber of Commerce events, Kiwanis Club, Backpacks For Kids program and several others, Wahlke felt like she could be a resource to the city.
“I stay busy and have been involved in the city’s welfare for a long time. It’s a wonderful place,” Wahlke told The News Guard.
Throughout her time in Lincoln City, Wahlke has worked with several of the city councilors through various jobs and community clubs. She’s looking forward to collaborating with them.
“I think all us will work really well together,” Wahlke said.
Among the things Wahlke hopes to address right away include filling some of the vacant posting such as city manager and the Ward I seat left by Diana Hinton.
“It could be an election, but I think we need someone on board before that,” Wahlke said of the open seat on city council. “Elections are a cost to the city. And it won’t be just (council) picking someone. We will be asking for applicants and conducting interviews to find the best candidate.”
As for the city manager position, Wahlke is thankful to have former city manager David Hawker to help with the process.
Also on her mayor to-do list is managing illegal fireworks in Lincoln city.
“As we welcome people back to Lincoln City we need to ask them to behave,” she said. “Fireworks are a very scary thing and we have a drought again… We don’t want another Echo Mountain situation again.”
Wahlke said she will be pushing for fireworks enforcement.
Additionally, Wahlke wants to see progress with the sale of city owned properties.
“We need to return those properties to the tax roll in a responsible way,” she said. “We need developers who can see our vision for those properties, because there’s a whole lot of them.”
Finally, Wahlke wants to be more in tuned with the people of Lincoln City.
“I want to provide a welcoming opportunity to citizens to come speak with me about issues,” she said. “I’m looking forward to city hall reopening to give the public a place to come and speak.”
As Wahlke looks to be sworn in as mayor during the June 14 city council meeting, she is not only looking to fill out the remainder of Sen. Anderson’s term. She is also hoping to be elected for a full-term in 2022 and hopes this time as mayor will show the citizens of Lincoln City what that will look like.
“I’m not throwing my signs away,” Wahlke said. “I like serving the city and representing the city. This has been my home for almost 30 years.
“But I want to thank everyone for turning out to vote. We had a better turnout in Lincoln City than the county did as a whole. Thank you to everyone that voted for me and I hope to live up to your expectations.”
The Lincoln County Clerk’s office reported a 29.66 percent turnout for the county as a whole as they’ve counted 11,342 votes as of their second report on May 18. The following are some of the other unofficial results in the contested races within Lincoln County:
Lincoln County School District, Zone 3
Lance Vanderbeck - 2218
Ron Beck - 1399
Erica R Wilson - 1789
Mike Rawles - 4063
Lincoln County School
District, Zone 4
Peter Vince - 6853
Stephen Vogel - 2274
Lincoln County School
District, Zone 5
Senitila McKinley - 7213
Eric Goss - 2205
Central Oregon Coast Fire & Rescue District, Position 2
Todd E Holt - 395
Peter Carlich - 393
Dave Brooks - 178
Kathryn Menefee - 406
Greg Dunn - 247
North Lincoln Fire & Rescue District, Position 5
Eric Creighton - 561
Dan Drayton - 1346
Nancy Oksenholt - 1068
Seal Rock Rural Fire Protection District, Position 1
Larry Henson - 364
Paul Rimola - 528
Seal Rock Rural Fire Protection District, Position 4
Michael Burt - 537
S D Skip Smith - 88
David Oliver - 276
Measure 21-199 – North Lincoln Fire & Rescue District – North Lincoln Fire & Rescue District Local Option Levy Measure
Yes - 1660
No - 1682
Measure 21-200 – Kernville-Gleneden Beach-Lincoln Beach Water District - Renewal of Current Local Option Tax For Capital Projects
Yes - 53
No - 181
Measure 21-201 – East Lincoln County Fire & Rescue District - Authorizes General Obligation Bond to Improve Service Delivery
Yes - 179
No - 260
Measure 21-202 – Seal Rock Rural Fire Protection District - Five-Year Local Option Levy to Replace Current Staffing Levy
Yes - 433
No - 594