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Goodbye, Mayor Becky

After two terms as mayor and six years as a city councilor, Becky Arnold is stepping down from city government


Minutes into her first term as mayor, Becky Arnold had to call a state of emergency for Estacada.

“I got a call New Year’s Eve saying the city was flooding,” Arnold says. “Everything happened — just bam. It flooded our library, our waste water treatment plant, our streets, outside our community.”

Between handling the flood, replacing library and public works directors and transitioning city managers, early 2009 marked a tough stretch for the city of Estacada. But Arnold was there to lead the beloved city she had called home for 41 years.

“She’s a pillar in this community” said Sean Drinkwine, an Estacada city councilor. “You name it — the state park, library, Fourth of July, parades — she’s been a part of it.”

After serving six years as a city councilor and two terms as mayor of Estacada, Arnold will pass off her gavel at the end of 2012. A community celebration in Arnold’s honor is planned 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, at Estacada City Hall.

“I feel like I mothered a town and now it’s time for someone to step in and do it from another angle,” Arnold says. “You have to take risks. I really believe you need fresh people every few years. If it’s the same people over and over, you’re not stirring the pot and bringing new ideas.”

A longtime resident who moved to Estacada at age 11, Arnold was elected to Estacada City Council in 2003 before becoming mayor in January 2009. Along with serving as treasurer for the Estacada Chamber of Commerce, she served on the Estacada High School music department’s parent committee.

“When mom volunteers, the whole family volunteers,” Arnold, the mother of seven children and grandmother of 15 grandchildren, says with laugh. And indeed, her family has been a huge part of Arnold’s civic involvement — volunteering right beside her for numerous community events.

Arnold herself says she started out as a kid in Estacada who wanted to see change after witnessing the fall of the logging industry and the closing of the community mill.

In 1987, Arnold took a class at Clackamas Community College called Displaced Homemakers. That class changed her life. At the time, she was a 33-year-old single mother with four children and one on the way.

Her education catapulted Arnold into an office administration position before she went to work for Precision Castparts Corp. and then her stepfather’s business, Dean Holden Enterprises.

Family and community have always been at the forefront to Arnold’s dreams for Estacada.

“She thinks of everyone — young and old — in everything she does,” says Lisa Homan, community administrator of Whispering Pines Senior Village.

One of Arnold’s proudest accomplishments as mayor was the phase II construction of Wade Creek Park featuring the Estacada Skate Park, a project 10 years in the making that Arnold calls a dream come true.

“There is no age group you cannot find in that park,” Arnold says. I’m really proud of our kids and how they’ve stepped up to the plate (in caring for the park).” That was my big thing; now it's time for other big things.”

Along with the skate park, a number of highlights took place during Arnold’s terms in office, including the highway beautification project and town hall meetings that kept TriMet service in Estacada and addressed the concerns of homelessness in the community.

As Arnold can attest, a mayor’s evenings and weekends can quickly fill up with commitments.

Come 2013, she's excited to become more active in her church, Eagle Creek Four Square, and its laundry ministry that helps homeless people wash their clothes. She awaits spending time with her grandchildren, working in her flower garden and catching up on house projects.

She’s also working with a committee to bring the Luis Palau Association, an evangelist group, to Estacada for an event.

Arnold is hoping those next big things on the city’s agenda include an urban renewal project that attracts business, tourism and jobs. And while she’s stepping down as mayor, it’s clear to Arnold and the staff she’s worked with the past four years she won’t go too far away.

“I’ve worked with many mayors and I’ve never worked with someone who cares as much about her city and community as Becky does,” Bill Elliott, city manager, says.

Melanie Wagner, assistant to the city manager, adds, "She's up for anything and committed to the betterment of Estacada."

Becky Arnold extended her deepest gratitude to her husband, Tim, family members, friends, community members and the city of Estacada staff members she’s loved working with as a city councilor and mayor the past 10 years.




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