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Mayor, four council candidates on Nov. 8 ballot

EAGLE POINT — Come November, mayor Bob Russell is headed for his fourth and final term as the city's top official, while four candidates — two incumbents and two newcomers — are campaigning for three at-large City Council positions. The top three vote-getters will win seats.

Russell, running unopposed, is facing a term limit. He  said the final two of the eight years he is able to serve are the ideal amount of time to allow him to finish some existing projects and work for other needed improvements around town. Russell, running unopposed, said it was almost "bittersweet" that he was running for his final term as mayor.

"I'm having a great time and it's been such a pleasure to be part of such a great group of people who are so dedicated to the future and betterment of Eagle Point," Russell said. "We're respectful of one another, but we have different opinions and, at the end of the day, we're all in it because we all want what's best for the city of Eagle Point."

Projects Russell hopes to see through include a number of public safety projects, work on the downtown and a $2 million overhaul to the city's entrance along Highway 62 and Linn Road which, he said, currently does not allude to the presence of a nearby city.

"Right now, the first impression people get, driving into Eagle Point is, 'Is there something past this area?' It's a bit of an eyesore right now, and it will not be once we're done with it," Russell said.

Joining Russell in bids for re-election, councilmen Aaron Prunty and Bill Fierke will seek their second four-year terms while newcomers Michael Stanek and James Mannenbach seek a seat at the table. Council member Wayne Brown, appointed in 2011 and reelected in 2012, is not seeking re-election.

Fierke, a retired executive of Wenger Corporation in Minnesota who was appointed for two years in 2010, then re-elected in 2012, said he looked forward to four more years volunteering his time for such "a well-run city." He said he felt proud of the work being done by "such a great council and a great city staff."

"Every one of them bring a little something different that really helps the city," Fierke said. "It's a very diverse group with people from different experiences — small business, sales and marketing, governmental affairs.

"I think what I bring to the table is that I had over 40 years in business and was in charge of a lot of things that directly equate to a city in terms of human resources, IT, safety, environmental management," he said. "I feel like I still have a lot to contribute."

Prunty, elected to the council in 2012, said his appreciation for local government, "where the rubber meets the road," found him wanting to serve another term to continue working on everything from infrastructure and development to downtown revitalization.

"I think we've been getting a lot of positive things done in the community and want to see some of those projects through in another term," Prunty said.

Newcomer James Mannenbach said he threw his name in the hat to give back to the community he grew up in. A physical therapist, Mannenbach has been involved in everything from the Upper Rogue Rotary and the city Parks and Recreation Commission to the economic development commission, among others.

"I was raised here in Eagle Point and I'm involved with raising my family here. I just want to give back a little to ensure Eagle Point is a thriving community," he said. "I feel that Eagle Point is run very solidly and I just want to continue that and be part of that."

Michael Stanek serves on the city Budget Committee, the Parks and Recreation Commission and the public advisory committee for the regional Metropolitan Planning Organization. He is a  quality manager for Varney Manufacturing.

"I am running for City Council because I am passionate about this city and it is important to me to be involved in the efforts to sustain, preserve and continuously improve this beautiful place for the youth, who will one day fill our shoes," Stanek said, noting he would listen to community concerns and work to support law enforcement, public works and city officials.

— Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com.