Former Sherwood police chief beats four-term mayor, Keith Mays

by: JAIME VALDEZ - Bill Middleton spent a quiet night at home watching election results Tuesday night with his wife Margaret. Middleton edged out incumbent Keith Mays, who has served as mayor since 2005.Bill Middleton, Sherwood’s former police chief, edged out incumbent Mayor Keith Mays Tuesday night to become the city’s newest mayor.

At 10 p.m. Tuesday, Middleton was ahead of Mays, 2,748 votes to 2,079.

Reached by telephone shortly after the initial results came in, Middleton said he was spending a quiet evening with his wife, dog and cats, uneasy about declaring a victory too soon.

“I’d like to wait and see,” he said. “I’m very happy with the way it is now.”

Middleton said he spent the last day of his campaign chatting with people over coffee at the Marjorie Stewart Senior Center and taking down his campaign signs.

Middleton, who served as the city’s police chief for 13 years, said he walked the entire city since Aug. 7, knocking on almost every door. He went through several pairs of shoes.

Over at the Hungry Raccoon Design Studio in Old Town, Mays supporters gathered to watch the results come in.

“The early numbers are disappointing,” said Mays, after seeing the initial tally flash on the Washington County Elections Division’s website.

“Hang in there; it will be good,” said one supporter who had to leave early.

Mays, who is vice president of Electric Wood Systems & Forest Industry Supply, LLC, has served as Sherwood mayor since 2005. He previously served as the president of the Sherwood City Council for four years and is currently president of the Oregon Mayors Association.

Earlier this year, Middleton announced his plans to retire as police chief of the city of Carlton and said he would be retiring from the U.S. Army as well.

In May 2008, Middleton made headlines by filing a $1.5 million lawsuit against the city, claiming Sherwood leaders purposely demoted him while he was serving on active duty in the U.S. Army Reserves. The city has consistently said he wasn’t demoted, but in 2009, the suit against the city was settled for $250,000. The city said the settlement was not an admission of guilt, paying only $2,500 in out-of-pocket costs, the deductable for the insurance premiums. Middleton said he was giving the money to local charities and civic groups.

The former chief later told his story on the weekly news magazine show “60 Minutes” in a segment involving people who had returned from military service and were having problems with their employers.

Middleton estimates he spent only $2,500 during his mayoral campaign.

Sherwood voters also approved the annexation of 300 acres of property touching the current city limits in what’s generally referred to as the Tonquin Employment Area. The plan for the area is to create a light-industrial zone for production-type employment. The property in question involves roughly 30 tax lots, which range in size from less than an acre to 90 acres. Approval means that property owners who want to be annexed can apply to the city with the city conducting at least one public hearing on that piece of property.

Also, three unchallenged members of the Sherwood City Council — Krissana Clark, Robyn Folsom and Linda Henderson — were returned to their seats.

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