A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Council names new member, snubs ex-mayor

Written January 26th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

Stacey Bartholomew, bottom right, was named to the city council following online interviews Tuesday night.

The Albany City Council has a new member from Ward 2. She is Stacey Bartholomew, who has spearheaded a group trying to build a community of tiny houses for the homeless.

The council selected her Tuesday to serve the two years remaining on the the term of former Councilor Alex Johnson II. The vote was 4-2 before the council then made it unanimous.

The selection snubbed former Mayor Sharon Konopa. The council discounted her 24 years of service on the council — and her demonstrated lifelong commitment to the betterment of her community — before she was narrowly defeated by Johnson last fall.

There were four candidates: Bartholomew, Konopa, Scott Lawley, and Amanda Dant. The council interviewed all four in an online special meeting, asking them softball questions that had been given to the candidates ahead of time. Lawley and Bartholomew were the top candidates of most of the council.

An initial motion by Councilman Ray Kopczynski to appoint Lawley was rejected, 2-4. Lawley, a mental health counselor, works at Linn-Benton Community College.

Bartholomew, a mental health professional by training, moved to Albany in 2015. She listed her job as assistant construction manager for Albany Area Habitat for Humanity.

She’s also president of Creating Housing Coalition, which strives to build a community — “Hub City Village” — of tiny houses in Albany to provide shelter for some of the city’s homeless.

You can watch the whole interview process and selection on YouTube and the city’s website.

Bartholomew will be sworn in Wednesday and join the council for its regular meeting Wednesday night. (hh)


27 responses to “Council names new member, snubs ex-mayor”

  1. Michael Thomson says:

    A lot of great words were said when this Council dedicated a room at the Library to Sharon Konopa just days ago. Was that bs or was tonight’s “interview” and decision the bs?

    • Mike says:

      Maybe both were fine. 1. Thank you for you dedication and service. 2. Thanks for your interest but we are looking for fresh ideas and new approaches.
      I’m looking forward to seeing what this new council can accomplish.

      • Albany YIMBY says:

        Exactly. Konopa needs to know when to retire with grace. She served for a long time and did a great service for the city. Now, enjoy some well-deserved retirement time.

        • Sharon Konopa says:

          I didn’t know there was a maximum age limit to serve on the city council, Albany YIMBY? I’m not eligible for Medicare yet! Councilor Dick Olsen is old enough to be my father! President Biden, former President Trump and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are a lot older than me, also!
          Sorry, I couldn’t resist!

          • Albany YIMBY says:

            Dear Ms. Konopa.

            You lost my vote the day you decided to defend free street car storage and homeowners’ prejudice above the right for people to be housed in Albany.

          • Deborah says:

            Thank you for your years of service and dedication to the community! Hopefully you will consider running again in the future as I’m sure you still have a lot to offer the city.

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Addition by subtraction.

  3. John Klock says:

    Let’s hear it for Stacey Bartholemew and the tiny houses project.

  4. James Engel says:

    Awww, new blood. So maybe Konopa won’t get her concrete river bank after all.

  5. Mac says:

    Sounds like Albany is headed towards turning into a total dump. Bernie Sanders would be proud of you all, of course he wouldn’t actually live here though, especially once it becomes a bigger low income (affordable housing), homeless (hand out) haven than it is. Already don’t get enough tax revenue, but they want lower property values and to provide more hand outs…. hmm

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Not sure where you get that idea. The tiny house village has not been formally proposed, let alone approved.

    • DSimpson says:

      I’m no Sanders apologist, but based on your comment, shouldn’t you be able to provide evidence that most of the state of Vermont is a “total dump” for it to make any sense?

    • HowlingCicada says:

      Unaffordability –> Insolvency –> Homelessness.

      It happened to many “respectable” people only a decade ago who lived beyond their means in order to keep up the kind of “appearances” that BANANAs (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) want govt. to impose on everyone.

      It happened less in relatively sane places like Albany than in places with greater belief in “fairytales of eternal economic growth” (quoting Greta Thunberg) like Las Vegas and Miami.

      It will happen again.

      • Albany YIMBY says:

        Are you suggesting that the homeless would actually prefer to live in a house if they could afford it? how you dare! /s

  6. Katherine says:

    I attended the “Creating Coalition Housing” fundraiser last year before Covid-19. It’s a well thought out plan that is ambitious and has worked in other cities such as Eugene. I can hear the negative comments now regarding this comparison. It is far from becoming a reality until they can secure the land to build on. Homelessness is a real and GROWING problem. This new member can speak to it firsthand. Some folks need a leg up and not a hand out. Ho wmany of us know or interact with the homeless? Let’s show some empathy especially those homeless with children. Do we even have a shelter in this city for them? Our new mayor made it clear it was a priority when he ran. I’m sure Sharon Konopa will be active in our great community for years to come. She is very civic minded.

    • Mac says:

      My God! Yeah, let’s strive to be like Eugene! Where your kids can see the junkies passed out under the overpass in between begging and shooting up. Quit kidding yourselves, many (most) of these people got themselves into their situation and the only time they wake up and have any desire to do otherwise is when they’ve got their fix and are ready to break out some windows to support defunding the police. No one made them stick that needle in their arm.

      • Chaim Uri says:

        1. Many of the homeless people are not drug addicts.
        2. Do you know anything about opioid addiction & pharma’s roll in the current crisis?
        3. What’s this have to do with window breaking & “defunding” police?

  7. Scott Bruslind says:

    I signed up to volunteer for the Creating Housing Coalition, even though I live in Lacomb. I’ve known Stacey for many years, having had her kids in my Sunday School classes in Corvallis.
    Anyway, I’d like to pitch this idea here, first. An hh-today.com exclusive. Maybe, with your help she’ll return my phone calls.
    In addition to the fine project of clustered tiny homes. I propose a different course: distributed, subsidized rental units. This integrated program would properly build-out Accessory Dwelling Units, deferring the increased real estate tax assessment for as long as the ADU meets several criteria.:
    1) Design is vetted by qualified team of designers, planners, real estate professionals, neighborhood activists who create a Best Practices guidebook. Favorable loan terms would then be available (wonder who might have that kind of pocketbook?)
    2) Deferment of tax and System Development Fees would last as long as the renter is a low income (previously homeless?) or the rent is below market rate. Details tbd, could be sliding scale over time.
    3) Landlord and tenant agree to participate in a affinity group to keep ahead of inevitable issues that will arise as density increases. Also agree to binding arbitration (it’ll be in the fine print at the bottom of the contract that nobody reads.)
    Albany could atone for years of stonewalling HB2001 and lead the pack in creating affordable housing and managing it well.
    A good starting place is to revisit the good work done at the passing of HB2001.

    • Albany YIMBY says:

      HB2001 is fantastic and will bring a lot of economic activity to the city, once it is in place. Many people in this town seems to think having a suburban layout like Vegas or Phoenix is better than having a town like Alexandria, VA or Savannah, GA.

      Check which ones have a better quality of life, walkability and are more beautiful.

      • Gothic Albany says:

        HB2001 is all about trickle down housing. Portland is destroyed, HB2001 lets greedy developers destroy the rest of the state. HB2001 is the perfect cure for those that hate the idea of being able to build equity an a single family home and long for the ability to pay rent until their dying day.

        I encourage you to watch this video:

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          Very last sentence (audio) say it all:
          “As more people move to Portland, and policies are implemented to support increased density, Portland will continue to experience neighborhood change.”

          We many not like it, but since people *WILL* continue to move to Portland (and Albany), your solution to the problem is.? HB2001 forces cities to deal with the change in a plausible way IMO. The city has been given time to come up with reasonable plans to do so. (And if we don’t, the State will force/mandate its “vision” of what happens.)

        • Albany YIMBY says:

          I’m intrigued to why do you think that Portland is destroyed. In what regard? What’s the evidence and data that makes you claim that?

          • Sharon Konopa says:

            Albany YIMBY, you seem to think Portland is not “destroyed”? Read and watch the news. They were just rated on the bottom of the list for livable cities in the U.S. You evidently have not visited Portland in a long time. Please take a drive to the big city! You might like it so well and decide to move there!

  8. sonamata says:

    If most of the council is on board with the mayor’s prioritizing new housing development, the Sharon snub is not surprising given her stance during the ADU battle. I’m surprised and disappointed that the one person who actually ran for city council was snubbed though. Bad look.

  9. Faith says:

    Poor piece of journalism. All of paragraph 3 and the term “softball questions” seem to express the writer’s point of view. Do better, Hasso Hering.


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