Oregon City Council voted 6-0 with one abstention for Clint Wasserman to be council president during a reorganization meeting held before a committee of the whole meeting on Dec. 7.
Councilman Jerry Peach abstained from voting.
Councilman Terry Reeves nominated Wasserman, who was re-elected to a second term on Nov. 3. He was the top vote getter last month as well as in the Nov. 6 election of 2007.
Wasserman, a Democrat, replaces Councilman Mike Sheehy as president. Sheehy, who was re-elected Nov. 3, had been president of council for the last several years.
“First thing first, I want to thank Councilman Sheehy for mentoring me over the last couple of years, and his leadership as council president. It really taught me a lot taking me under your wing in my first term,” said Wasserman, 27, an attorney who lives at 1442 S. Coy Road.
Council also approved Wasserman’s proposal by a unanimous vote for the following city council committee assignments:
• Finance Committee: James Seaman, chairman; Members are Councilmen Sandy Bihn and Peach.
• Recreation Committee: Reeves, chairman. Members are Councilmen Dan Walendzak and Sheehy.
• Economic Development Committee: Peach, chairman. Members Seaman and Walendzak.
• Sewers and water Committee: Bihn, chairman. Members Wassserman and Seaman.
• Public Utilities and Environment Committee: Sheehy, chairman. Members, Bihn and Reeves.
• Safety Committee: chairman Wasserman. Members Sheehy and Peach.
• Drainage and Roads Committee: Walendzak, chairman. Members Reeves and Wasserman.
Also at the meeting:
Robert Marquette, chairman of the Oregon Health and Welfare Committee, told council that 241 needy families will receive Christmas baskets this year.
For the past 38 years, the Oregon Christmas basket program has served Oregon, Jerusalem Township, Curtice, and Harbor View, he said.
“I can’t tell you how many thousands of individuals and hundreds of families we have served. But this time of year, a time of giving around our holiday season, is of the utmost importance to our particular committee’s agenda,” he said.
The Christmas baskets will be passed out on December 16 to eligible families, he said.
“When I say Christmas baskets, it’s not a small little apple and banana basket. This is a full size grocery basket that can sometimes total up to $200-$300 in food products for the needy. The needy must pass residency requirements and an economic need requirement, which means the poverty level plus 20 percent. We have senior citizens who are living on a monthly income of $261, and that’s to pay for all non-food products they need, and pharmaceuticals. Sure they get food stamps but they can only buy food with that. They can’t buy their tissue paper, toilet paper, soap, anything like that. So this is where your Oregon Health and Welfare Committee comes in. We want to serve the communities that surround us, as well as Oregon for those that are in need,” said Marquette.
He noted many of the businesses, groups and organizations that have donated to the program, including the tons of canned food that the Oregon City Schools district has collected over the years.
“This year, we’ll probably have another ton to a ton-and-a-half of canned goods that the kids collect at the schools that we package in grocery bags we pass out. In addition to that, we purchase meats, dairy products, things like that. We’ve never used any tax dollars. It’s all donations,” he said.
He also noted that Bay Park Community Hospital last year donated 54 turkeys to needy families comprised of three and more, as well as $1,000 in cash for the committee to use. “They went way beyond,” he said.
Samsen’s Furniture in the Genoa area collected canned goods and has a Christmas tree program. The Press Newspapers donated free advertisement of when the committee would take applications for the baskets. And Schwitzer Farms and the House of Meats helped with food products, he said.
“Matthews Ford brings their vans and trucks to take things to Fountain Square, where we have 84 families waiting for Christmas baskets,” said Marquette.
The police and fire departments also donated bicycles to the program, and the Oregon Arts Council donated money raised from its music benefit.
Marquette also thanked the volunteers.
“Generally, our volunteers stay until they pass away. They are making a special dedication this year of the Christmas basket program to Bud Leiger, and Bob and Mabel Thompson, three of our special volunteers who passed away this past year. Bud and the Thompsons dedicated at least 15 years to this program. At this point, I invite council, if you haven’t been out there, to the water department on December 16 at 9 a.m., where we will be filling the baskets and running them out to the cars,” he said.
Jim Kwiatkowski, who heads the Oregon Arts Council, said the group raised $800 in money and foodstuffs for the committee. He presented Marquette with a $300 check at the meeting.
“I think that just speaks to the spirit of generosity that’s really prevalent in our community,” said Wasserman.