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Current city councilor has previously served as mayor twice during the past 30 years; says 'keep ball rolling'

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Steve UffelmanThey say things always come in threes.

That could become true for Steve Uffelman, who has recently thrown his hat in the ring for Prineville mayor. If elected, this would be his third time holding the office in the past 30 years.

Uffelman, who has held a position on the Prineville City Council since 2006, is hoping to step into the shoes of current mayor, Betty Roppe, who is retiring from the post.

"There are a lot of things going on (with the city)," Uffelman said, noting the continued development of recently acquired Barnes Butte land, increasing financial resources from electrical franchise fee collections, new business recruitment and more. "We have fairly common attitudes about the direction the city is going. Let's keep the ball rolling. She is retiring, and I want to keep the momentum we are building."

Uffelman, who is 72 and just celebrated his golden wedding anniversary with his wife, Jan, first ventured into city government in 1985. He was appointed to fill a council vacancy during a tumultuous year when election recalls whittled the seven-member board to just three.

Three years later, he ran to replace Mayor Wally Boe, another 1985 appointee, and won the uncontested bid. He held the position for a couple two-year terms before stepping away from the council.

He wouldn't stay away long, rejoining the governing body about a year later as a councilor. Then, in 1998, he once again sought the mayoral seat and handily won a two-person race. Like he had done 10 years earlier, Uffelman served two terms and stepped down in 2002.

"I am not a big fan of long-term positions as mayor," he said of his decision. "I think it is one of those positions that ought to rotate around, and different people ought to have an opportunity to serve and bring in different faces."

Again, Uffelman didn't stay out of city government for long. In 2006, he successfully won a seat as a city councilor. He has remained on the council ever since and has spent the past seven years as the council president.

During his years of city service, Uffelman has frequently held jobs that have taken away from his time for city government endeavors. He was a career pharmacist, retiring from the 40-year profession around 2009. A person who prefers to keep busy, he obtained his real estate license in 2011 and worked as a broker until retiring from that job at the end of 2017.

Now fully retired, save for his service as pastor of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Uffelman is hoping to fill the role of mayor with more time than ever to commit to the position.

If elected, Uffelman would like to continue focusing on bringing new industries to the community and the family wage jobs they tend to provide.

"A lot of it (his candidacy) is also making sure that we as a city be practical, proactive and judicious in how we choose to spend money," he said, "and keep the operation positive and take care of the needs of the community."

Uffelman is the first and only candidate thus far to file for the Prineville mayor position. The filing deadline for this office and three other council positions, which can be done at Prineville City Hall, is Aug. 28.

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