Colm Willis

Newsletter header


First I want to give you an update on the power shutoffs and fire activity. As you have probably heard we had increased winds from the east last night and, as a precaution, Pacific Power shut off electricity in the Santiam Canyon affecting just over 2,000 people.  In addition, PGE shut off power in Scotts Mills and Silver Falls affecting just over 1,000 people. Unlike two years ago there is not any known fire activity in the Santiam Canyon or the forest around Silver Falls and Scotts Mills. These power shut offs are simply to ensure that if a power line falls in the wind, it does not cause a fire. Power should be back on sometime Sunday. You can learn more here.

A grass fire did start last night near Vitae Springs Rd south of Salem. Just over 100 families were evacuated and we opened the fairgrounds to house some of their animals. Although the level 3 evacuation is still in effect, the local fire agencies are doing a great job. You can see an updated map of the evacuated areas here.

You may have noticed that our paving crews have been out repaving many of our rural roads this summer. If you have a nice black top to drive on you can thank the hard working crews at Marion County Public Works. Our primary treatment for our county roads is a chip seal. This is a very cost effective way to protect our roads and ensure that they last for years. It is more than twice as expensive to have to rebuild our roads than it is to maintain them with a chip seal.

Road repair

For many of our farmers it has been a busy summer and harvest is starting to wind down. Daniel Kuedell invited me to tour their mint farming operation this year. They have an incredible mint oil distilling operation. So the next time you brush your teeth, you can thank the hard work of Marion County farmers for that minty freshness you feel!

Harvesting crop

Labor day has come and gone, the kids are back at school and that means its campaign season! I want you to know that in addition to my own race for re-election I have endorsed Christine Drazan for Governor and Amy Queen for Marion County Circuit Court Judge. These two races are very important for our community. First of all, Governor Brown has caused enormous damage to our community with her decisions to close our small businesses and schools over the past two years and releasing dangerous criminals into our community. We need a governor who will support our small businesses, churches, schools and families, not harm them. Christine is that candidate. She is the only pro-life candidate in the race and the only parent. As governor she will fix so many of the problems that this administration has caused in our community. I hope you will join me in supporting Christine. You can learn more about her here.

Secondly, I am supporting Amy Queen for Circuit Court Judge. Amy has been a prosecutor in the Marion County District Attorney's office for 18 years. During that time she has worked hard to keep our community safe. You can learn more about her here.

Planting field signs

Recently, I had the privilege of touring the new YMCA in Salem. This new facility will be a great community resource for families and kids in Salem. It was fun to see some old friends, as well. So many people in our community came together to bring this beloved icon in Salem back to its former glory. I had the privilege of bumping into Diane Freres, one of these wonderful people.

Touring new YMCA building

Commissioner Bethell, Undersheriff Wood, our LEAD navigator Hank Crapser, soon to be state representative Ed Diehl, Salem City Council Candidate Deana Gwyn and I recently visited the state penitentiary. Even when folks serve their full sentences, when they are released, they come back to our community. Our community corrections team works very hard to connect these folks with housing, jobs and supervision to ensure they don't commit any more crimes in Marion County. The staff at Oregon Corrections was very helpful and helped us to understand how we can connect better with them to keep our community safe.

State Penitentiary

Finally, I want to thank you for your support for my re-election. If you have contributed to my campaign and haven't received a thank you yet, please know I am still working through all the donations. I didn't forget about you! Because of your support we raised nearly $20,040 last month. As a result, I am only $11,373 from completing my budget for this campaign. It is because of you that we are on the path to winning this election and continuing to see our values in county government. If you haven't made a contribution yet, please consider doing so. Your support is critical to me over these final sixty days.

It is an honor to serve as your county commissioner.

God bless,

-- Colm


get updates