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Dodrill says he's got the experience

Brent Dodrill, one of two candidates for mayor, has spent six years as a city councilor


by: PHOTO BY JEFF SPIEGEL - Brent Dodrill is the head pastor at Estacada First Baptist Church and after six years as a city councilor, he has entered the race for mayor.Brent Dodrill says it's his experience as a city councilor that makes him the right person to step into the role as Estacada's next mayor.

Raised in Denver, Dodrill attended school at Western Bible College, where he met his wife, Kim, and eventually earned his degree.

After graduation, Dodrill and his wife moved to her hometown of Estacada and were married in 1980. Aside from a few years in Baker City, the pair have been here ever since.

Despite having a Biblical degree, Dodrill started work in construction for his father-in-law, who had been a contractor for 40 years.

After learning the trade from him, Dodrill eventually branched off and started his own company, then later shifted gears by entering into ministry work.

His time at First Baptist Church in Estacada began as a part-time youth pastor, but over the years he moved up the ranks and eventually was hired into the senior pastor position. He has been the head pastor there for 22 years.

While being the pastor of one of the largest churches in town is a position that entails plenty of community involvement to begin with, Dodrill slowly began plugging himself into places where he felt needed in the community.

“I started by volunteering on some of the committees,” he said. “I was involved in the infrastructure committee for a little bit of time, and was also involved in some community groups like Estacada Together and the Estacada Community Foundation for a number of years.

“That all got me into community involvement beyond just the church and so it seemed natural to run for city councilor six years ago."

Dodrill views his seat on the council as a way to serve the city and to demonstrate a commitment to making short- and long-term decisions that are in the best interests of the city.

Dodrill was elected in 2006 and then re-elected in 2010.

He's hoping to succeed Mayor Becky Arnold, who has opted against running for re-election. Dodrill faces challenger Pat Watkins in the November election.

“I believe that having someone step into the mayor position with years of experience on City Council is helpful,” he said. “I have six years of City Council experience that would allow me to step into that role and to know city government at a deeper level.”

With all that in mind, Dodrill also has a vision for where he’d like to see Estacada go in the next few years.

“We’re making some great strides in developing an organization that can revitalize downtown. While we talked about it for years, we now have some pretty firm plans in place and a funding mechanism available,” he said. “I’m excited about that and I would love to see those changes in downtown begin to take shape to revitalize that area and to see the businesses fill back in.”

As for what he’ll do to make Estacada a more attractive place for businesses to come, Dodrill will focus on the city’s codes and ordinances.

In particular, he’s prepared to look at any codes or ordinances that are outdated or cumbersome to businesses.

Another major issue facing the city in the near future is the waste water plant, which has presented major issues to the city lately and needs to be resolved quickly.

One other issue that Dodrill sees coming up in the next few years is safety within the city and how the city provides law enforcement to the town.

“We contract with Clackamas County and that contract and its cost goes up every year,” he said. “We always need to revisit whether that’s the best possible way to provide protection and there could be some point when it becomes feasible to have a local police department. Lots of people would love to see that happen, but it’s not possible right now.”

In addition to his strong relationship with the existing City Council, Dodrill also cites his relationship with city manager Bill Elliot and current Mayor Arnold as positive assets.

“I think Becky has done a great job as mayor and I wouldn’t be running if she were running again because I would support her,” he said. “It’s a difficult role and she has put in a lot of time.”

This amount of time is another reason Dodrill feels he is well-positioned for the mayor's office, given his flexible schedule as pastor.

“Time commitment is an issue with everyone’s job, and what’s nice about my particular job is that its flexible so I don’t have set hours,” he said.

Despite all that time, however, Dodrill says you won’t see him campaigning with his name on signs around town.

“When you start campaigning it starts feeling really political and I see this as a service opportunity,” he said. “I’ve been here almost 30 years and so people know me and if they have a good opinion of me, they’ll probably vote for me, and if they have a poor opinion then they’ll vote against me.

“The most important job of the mayor is to represent Estacada as the personality or face behind the city, so it’s important that I represent the city well at both the state and community level. I’m also trying to, by example, show that there’s a way to resolve issues without being critical or demeaning.”



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