The Times' endorsement in the race for Sherwood mayor goes to incumbent Keith Mays

Sherwood voters will soon decide on the next mayor in one of the more interesting mayoral races in the city’s recent history.

In one corner is a seasoned, progressive mayor who is seeking election for his fourth term. In the other is a popular, former police chief who also served his country with the U.S. Army during deployments in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Incumbent Mayor Keith Mays says he’s proud of the strides the city has made in recent years, including the establishment of a permanent water supply that draws from the Willamette River and enhancement of a community partnership with the Sherwood School District.

Bill Middleton, who served as Sherwood’s chief of police for 13 years, says he wants to bring more transparency to the city budget and to citizens when it comes to the decision-making process.

During his tenure as chief, Middleton was a capable and likeable leader who was fiscally responsible. He most recently retired from the city of Carlton as its police chief and from his service with the U.S. Army Reserves.

Middleton sued the city in 2008 for $1.5 million, saying he was demoted while serving on active duty in the U.S. Army Reserves. The city settled the suit for $250,000, and Middleton donated the money to nonprofit and school groups. City officials say Middleton was never demoted and admitted no guilt in the settlement.

While we admire Middleton, what this race really comes down to is experience. We believe Mays clearly rises to the top when it comes to overseeing a city of 18,000 residents. A partner in two private companies, Mays has proven he is capable of taking the city to the next level.

His recent accomplishments include hiring new City Manager Joe Gall, a seasoned professional who most recently ran the city of Fairview. The selection process also showed Sherwood’s up-and-coming regional status by attracting a field of more than 80 applicants.

In the last decade, the city has grown by leaps and bounds in the professionalism of its staff, which bodes well to anyone seeking help in the planning, public works and parks departments.

That’s not to say that Mays isn’t perceived at times to be autocratic, but he does have the ability to get things done, showing he’s a major player when it comes to getting Sherwood recognized at a regional level. Not only is he vice chairman of the Washington County Coordinating Committee (a group of local mayors that meets regularly to discuss transportation issues and make recommendations to the Washington County Board of Commissioners), he also is the current president of the Oregon Mayors Association. He helped co-found the Regional Mayors Group, which meets monthly to advocate for issues important to local cities.

All those positions allow the city to be at the table when it comes to discussing a variety of important issues involving growth and the always high-stake transportation issues of the region. He has played a lead role when Washington County released $10.5 million in Major Streets Transportation Improvement Program funds to expand the often-congested Tualatin-Sherwood Road to five lanes. In addition, he’s on several transportation groups, including serving as a representative for Metro’s Planning Advisory Committee.

From an economic-development standpoint, Mays has been on board during the redevelopment of the Old Town area. The Old Cannery Plaza is already up and running with plans under way to build two apartment complexes and a community center.

We urge voters to re-elect Keith Mays as Sherwood’s mayor.

Sherwood voters will also be asked if they’ll approve annexation of 300 acres of property in what’s known as the Tonquin Employment Area. The plan is to create a light-industrial zone for future production-type employment. The area in question is along what will soon be the extension of 124th Avenue, south of Tualatin Sherwood Road, which will eventually punch through to Tonquin Road. Approval will help support the future economic viability of the area. We encourage voters to support Measure 34-202 and vote “yes.”

Three Sherwood City Council seats, those held by Krissana Clark, Robyn Folsom and Linda Henderson, are also on the November ballot. The races are open and unchallenged. All three candidates have proven themselves as capable leaders and should be returned to their positions.

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