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Community honors outgoing Estacada mayor


Arnold hoping to finish college after leaving office

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Former Mayor Bob Austen was among those celebrating outgoing Mayor Becky Arnolds service to the city. Becky Arnold still remembers the first major test that she faced as mayor of Estacada. She literally had just taken office when she received a phone call shortly after midnight from City Manager William Elliott informing her that she needed to declare a flooding emergency.

Arnold is wrapping up her stint as mayor, with City Councilor Brent Dodrill set to assume that position next month. Her involvement in Estacada city government began approximately 10 years ago, when she was elected to the council.

A farewell event was held for Arnold on Tuesday, Dec. 4, at City Hall. About 40 people were in attendance within the first half-hour of the celebration. They included staff members from the city, the library, the U.S. Forest Service ranger district office in Estacada and the fire station.

Clackamas County Commissioner Jim Bernard also stopped by to pay his respects. Dodrill was there, along with recent council appointee Rob Gaskill, other members of that body and former mayor Bob Austen.

Four generations of Arnold’s family were there to show their support, with many meaningful embraces exchanged amid a backdrop of holiday decorations. Arnold was moved to tears on multiple occasions, and attendees expressed their appreciation by scrawling positive messages for her on a dry erase board.

Once she’s out of office, Arnold still plans to stay busy. She will fulfill a longtime dream of earning her associate's degree from Clackamas Community College.

“I’ve always wanted to finish that degree,” she said. “But it has been on hold for me.”

Arnold attended college in her mid-30s as a single mom but ultimately had to choose work instead. She had just two classes remaining to meet the degree requirements, and is receiving a scholarship to complete her studies.

CCC Foundation Executive Director Greg Fitzgerald insisted that Arnold finish her degree and helped arrange for the scholarship. He was also at Tuesday’s farewell event.

If all goes according to plan, Arnold should be set to graduate this spring.

Although she’s “excited” about the prospect of returning to school, Arnold admits that her departure from city government is bittersweet.

“I hold Estacada in my heart,” Arnold said.