By Jordan Wolfe
After 48 years and 9 months, Dale Stockton, Mayor of Nehalem, is retiring from public service.
On May 9, Stockton announced that he would be resigning immediately from his position.
“In 1963, when I first got on, I told one of the other councilors, ‘you gotta get rid of these old guys.’ Now we’re one of them,” Stockton said. “It’s time we try to let the young kids have all the fun.”
The City of Nehalem names Stockton as one of the longest serving council members in the state of Oregon.
Because of his role as President of the Council, Stockton said he became mayor, after the death of Mayor Shirley Kalkhoven in March 2015.
Reflecting on his service to the city of Nehalem, Stockton said, “One of the biggest accomplishments has been building the new City Hall. I didn’t think I’d live long enough to see it.”
Finished in October 2013, Stockton said that the city sold timber off of the 990-acres Nehalem owns.
“We’ve done things we would never have been able to do without it,” he said. “I think we were able to put a million dollars into NCRD before a bond passed.
“Don’t sell the timberland. It’s Nehalem’s lifeblood.”
Stockton added that the city is debt-free with money in the bank, thanks to the land. He warned that if it is ever sold, someone will come back to haunt them.
Dale Shafer, city manager for Nehalem, said “Dale Stockton has given many many years to the community and served on many different boards. We will miss his leadership and his decisions.”
She added that one of her favorite stories about Stockton occurred during Nehalem’s Centennial, in 1999.
“The ladies of Nehalem made this beautiful quilt and Dale went in with a friend to buy that amazing quilt and hang it up in City Hall. Shirley Kalkhoven had Joe Hayes build a case for it.”
Shafer added that the quilt has the signatures of Governor John Kitzhaber and President Bill Clinton on it, among others.
“You can’t replace someone like him. He has definitely earned his retirement.”
Spending his youth in Portland, Stockton said he moved to Nehalem from Butte, Montana in 1960. His family had purchased Nehalem Lumber Company in 1958 and he said they needed help badly.
“I wouldn’t have moved anywhere else after living here.”
With plans of relaxing at home and fishing on the Deschutes River, at a friend’s house in Maupin, Stockton said he is looking forward to his retirement.
“Nehalem has been a great place to raise our five kids. This is a great easy-going town and a comfortable place to live. Thanks for being the community you are.”