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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Just the small town life she wants

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Just the small town life she wants

Marsha O'Dell ().
Marsha O'Dell ().

By T.L. Petersen

Observer Staff Writer

IMBLER When Marsha ODell and her husband, Marty, moved to Imbler two years ago with their 11-year-old daughter, Katie, Marsha knew she wanted to be involved in her community.

But she hadnt quite counted on what happened last week.

ODell, still speaking with her native Georgians smooth, easy-flowing tones, was sworn in as the citys newest mayor.

The job, ODell says, is both rewarding and sometimes frustrating, but worth the effort for her new home.

Imbler is wonderful. I love it, and I wont trade. Its friendly. I havent met one mean person here, she says. But she admits she hasnt had a chance to really test her new duties yet in a controversial situation. Still, she really cant imagine mean here.

ODell decided to become a member of the Imbler City Council a year ago because if any changes happened, or new things came here, and if I cared enough, Id know what was happening. Id see what was going on.

The mayor didnt have a background in politics. Shed worked in California as a civilian with the military while her husband was in the service.

Once arrived in Imbler, ODell decided that if she was willing to serve the community, she had the time. Marty ODell works with high-performance motors, and Marsha has been helping on Gary Posts farm.

Imbler has several projects under way that ODell thinks will serve the community. Were working currently on having a sewage system, she said. Two grants have been received to fund citizen surveys.

ODell is concerned that many private septic systems are nearing the end of their lifespans, and without a community sewage system, any new business development in Imbler is held up.

On a topic that has been under discussion for several years, though, she said, I dont see us putting in storm drains.

Again, considering what is needed, what can be funded and what is currently feasible, the city council has put storm drains on hold for the time being, ODell said. But its not a dead issue, certainly.

Yet as ODell identifies the issues ahead for Imbler, one draws her attention with a passion.

Speeding through Imbler.

The community was able to get state approval to lower the speed limit through Imbler. But enforcing the slower limit is still a daily

problem.

Were trying to look at ways to deal with it, ODell said. She thinks that Imbler residents know how close the school is to Highway 82, that they know how many older residents walk to the post office and store and cafe, and how often school children hurry to the store for a snack.

But Imbler, ODell notes, has a lot of people driving through on their way from one place to another. And driving too fast.

People become complacent about speeding, she says. They dont think.

ODell is urging her fellow citizens to take action to keep Imbler the community it is and can be.

Id like to hear a little bit more about what citizens have to offer the community, she says. I want to know what they feel is important.

And as a new politician, ODell is already discovering that some problems are easier to deal with than others.

Honestly, I think getting in sewage and drainage will be easier to handle, even though its not something that impacts on lives or is as endangering as speeding, she says.

With only days under her belt as mayor, ODell knows there is much ahead she has to learn. But so far shes pleased with the home shes found.

This is eye-opening, but I like it, she says, explaining shes already been to a class about sewage systems in La Grande.

Oh, and next time a trip takes you through Imbler, the mayor has a message: Slow down.

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