Former Troutdale mayor dies at 86

Paul Thalhofer, former Troutdale mayorPaul Thalhofer, the former longtime mayor and champion of all things Troutdale, died in Gresham on Thursday, Feb. 13.

Thalhofer died at the Village Health Care facility with family by his side. He was 86.

“He slipped into a coma earlier in the day and passed away in the afternoon,” said current Troutdale Mayor Doug Daoust in an email on the day of Thalhofer’s death.

“Paul had a full life, but this is a sad day in Troutdale,” the mayor said. Thalhofer battled pnemonia in the last year and was bedridden in recent months.

Born in Klamath Falls and raised in Prineville and Pendleton, Thalhofer played football at the University of Oregon and worked at an insurance agency for many years. He chose to live in Troutdale because it reminded him of the small-town feel he grew up with.

Thalhofer served as mayor for 16 years, preceded by more than 10 years on the City Council. He served on the council from 1982 to 1993, and was mayor from 1993 to the end of 2008.

For those who knew him, Thalhofer was both a mentor and great friend.

“He was an excellent mentor to me,” said Daoust, whose last conversation with the former mayor was 10 days before his death.

Daoust said the two had one of the best mayor-to-mayor talks in a long time. The conversation covered the things that were going on with the city today. Thalhofer would always reflect on his times as mayor, Daoust said.

“He was just giving me his thoughts.”

Daoust said Thalhofer always taught fellow councilors to do what’s right for the citizens of Troutdale.

Thalhofer was known for his keen sense of humor and his passionate advocacy for his city.

Councilor David Ripma remembers the two could disagree at council meetings, “even loudly,” but still go out afterward for a glass of wine.

“It’s just very sad to lose him,” Ripma said.

Ripma met Thalhofer after joining the council shortly after he became mayor in 1993.

“I knew him well all those years,” Ripma said. “He loved Troutdale, and Troutdale loved him.”

When Thalhofer retired, he provided this advice for anyone wanting to go into public service.

“Go into it with an attitude of making Troutdale a better place to live, not for selfish reasons. Work for all the citizens, not special interest groups. Legislation should benefit everyone. You really must be willing to make Troutdale a better place.”

The Gresham Outlook will publish details about plans for services as they become available.

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