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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow COUNCIL APPOINTS RHODES


Insurance agent Art Rhodes was appointed Monday night to serve until the end of the year on the La Grande City Council.

He replaces Doug Winn, who resigned in March after moving outside the city. The city charter mandates that since there are more than two years remaining on Winn's term, an election must be held to fill out the full term.

Rhodes said during interviews with the council Monday that he would not run for the position in the November general election.

Rhodes was selected after he and Dan Stark each got two votes from among the five candidates. Rhodes won 4-2. Two other candidates received one vote each.

Fred Thornton, Mark Davidson and Sandra Sorrels also applied. None of those indicated if he or she would run in November to fill out the term, which expires Dec. 31, 2004.

"I'm looking forward to using my experience to help out until the end of the year," Rhodes said. "I'd like to encourage other business people to seek office."

Rhodes, as an agent for Valley Insurance who deals in commercial lines of insurance, said he saw no conflict with his job and serving on the council for such a short term. He has dealt with the city on insurance matters but is salaried in his job and said he sees no likelihood of financial gain from serving on the council. None of the city insurance policies will come up for renewal during his interim stint, he said.

The fact that Rhodes is from the business community prompted at least three councilors to vote for him in the second round. All had good words for Stark, who is director of the Regional Services Institute at Eastern Oregon University.

Rhodes has lived in La Grande since 1992, although he also lived in the community in 1979. He said his role on the council would be as a consensus builder.

"I see the council as representing the people of La Grande as a whole. It should be a policy-making body, not management."

He said that in this critical year of budget constraints, he felt he was in tune with the challenges facing the city.

Rhodes has been on the city budget committee, the Union County Planning Commission, the Union County Economic Development Board, the United Way Board, the CASA board, the Union County Health Care Council and the Friends of the Pool.

— Ray Linker

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