SPRINGFIELD, Ore.--When Mike Eyster learned that his former opponent, Christine Lundberg, had suddenly resigned as Springfield's mayor, his first reaction was shock.
“My next reaction was, 'Gosh, I hope she's okay,' because I realized it must be something fairly dramatic to cause her to decide to resign,” Eyster said on Sunday.
Lundberg defeated Eyster in the May primary. Now, as the city council begins its search for her replacement, he says the process should be transparent.
“I certainly don't believe the consideration should be restricted,” Eyster said. “We have a lot of well-qualified people in the community who might well be willing to serve."
Eyster said it was too soon to know if he would run for mayor again, or if he wished to be considered as interim mayor.
Section 20 of the city charter says this:
“A vacancy in the Council or in the position of Mayor shall be filled by appointment by a majority of the Council. The appointee’s term of office runs from the time of his or her qualification for the office after the appointment and shall continue until the beginning of the year following the next general biennial election and until a successor is qualified. The successor for the unexpired term shall be chosen at the next general biennial election after said appointment. During a Council member’s disability to serve on the Council or during the member’s excused absence from the City, a majority of the other members of the Council may by appointment fill the vacancy pro tem.”
This means that the city council will appoint an interim mayor by majority vote.
The term of the interim mayor will last until a successor is elected by the vote. An official with the City of Springfield said that it's possible that the public would be able to vote on a new mayor as early as November, though the city council has yet to make a decision.
Over the decade Lundberg served as mayor, many in the community say Springfield has transformed.
Josh Matthews owns Lovely Cafe in downtown and said he never imagined owning a business in a place he avoided while growing up.
“The fact that when I was a kid my family didn't come down here and then me coming back starting a family, this was our number one go-to place that says a lot how much it changed,” Matthews said.
Lundberg declined to comment when contacted by KEZI 9 News.