City Councilor Gordon retiring

By Jane Stebbins, Pilot staff writer December 11, 2012 10:28 pm

Dave Gordon is retiring from the Brookings City Council after eight years behind the dais.

The council presented him with a plaque honoring his work at its Monday meeting.

“A little history about Dave,” said City Manager Gary Milliman, reading off the councilman’s accomplishments. “This is your life.”

The New York native, who majored in accounting and business administration at Pace College and City College of New York, was drafted into the Army in 1965, serving four years as a commissioned officer and receiving an honorable discharge in 1969 with the rank of captain.

He joined the high-tech industry that year and spent 33 years with various electronic firms as a sales and marketing director.

Gordon and his wife, Jean, moved to Brookings from Santa Cruz, Calif., in July 2002 and purchased Copy-All Printing.

He was then elected to the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce board, volunteered on the Brookings Park and Recreation Commission, appointed to the Brookings-Harbor Youth Association board, elected to the board of directors of the local chapter of the Vietnam Veterans Association and joined Rotary of Brookings-Harbor.

He ran for city council in 2004 and was ready to step down at the end of his term in 2008 due to health reasons, said Mayor Ron Hedenskog.

“No one ran for his seat – not even Dave,” Hedenskog said. “But Dave announced that even though he was having health problems, if people wrote him in, he’d take the seat.”

“I didn’t want to go through another campaign,” Gordon said. “I told (former mayor) Larry Anderson if he’d stick around, I’d stick around.”

Gordon was the write-in candidate of choice that year.

During his time on the council, he lent his expertise to land-use planning and the health and safety of the city’s citizens, Milliman continued.

Gordon was Volunteer of the Year in 2007-2008 and has served as the council liaison with the American Music Festival, the watershed council, the Local Public Safety Coordinating Committee, Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative, the city Planning Commission and the Del Norte Airport Commission. He has been a board member of the Border Coast Regional Airport Authority since 2008.

He will stay on at the Border Coast Regional Airport Authority until the city council finds a replacement, Hedenskog said.

Gordon says it’s his fourth retirement: first from the military, then the electronics industry, then his business, and now the civic arena.

“Maybe this one’s permanent,” he said.

“A lot of things have taken place in eight years,” Hedenskog said, as the council chuckled in remembrance. “You got to tackle the couplet argument (a proposal to reroute southbound 101 traffic onto Railroad Street), the sludge (the city used to dump its sludge near Gardner Ridge, garnering the ire of neighbors), and HW3 (water issues with Harbor Hills) – that was controversial. You’ve been the linchpin for good, steady, solid growth in our community.”

Gordon was instrumental in getting the city’s Police Department staffed to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“That’s very important for our community,” Gordon said. “After spending time with them one evening … they do an outstanding job. The citizens have no idea.”

In his mind, however, the highlight of his tenure was the council’s hiring Milliman.

“We went through a number of city managers before, and none of which had the background or ability to do what Gary’s done for the community,” he said.

Gordon said serving on the council has been a privilege and learning experience.

He commended Milliman, the city staff, volunteers, his wife and former mayor Larry Anderson for cooperation and innovative ideas in leading the city.

“We’ve worked well over the years,” Gordon said. “And we’ve realized and understand our role as policy makers and oversight, and let the staff perform and implement — get out of their way and let them do the job — and they were successful.”

He suggested the county pursue a county manager-based form of government to tackle its fiscal problems.

“It’s been a collaborative effort,” he said of the city’s successes. “None of us have any scars on our knuckles. We’ve said our piece, and did it civilly. I hope I’ve made a positive contribution to the city.”

Now, he plans to rest a bit, although people are already hounding him to help with health-network issues.

“I haven’t figured that out,” he said of his retirement. “I want to do more photography, maybe take some online classes. We’ll see what happens.”