Oscar W. “Biff” Traber III took over as Corvallis mayor Monday night.
Traber, a retired software executive who served two terms as city councilor for Ward 8, defeated Josh Gulliver in November’s election.
Traber succeeds Julie Manning, who chose not to seek re-election for a second four-year term.
As he prepared to take office, Traber agreed to an email interview.
Gazette-Times: Any thoughts on how you hope to approach the position?
Traber: Primarily, I want to work with all those involved in a decision, issue or task to achieve the best result possible. This means collecting various inputs, fostering conversation and seeking a common ground wherever possible. One personal step is to have regular interactions with various members of the community. On the council, I hope to lead meetings in a way to inform the council and enable them to deliberate as effectively as possible.
G-T: What did you learn from working with Mayor Manning?
B.T.: I have learned a tremendous amount from Mayor Manning as well as Mayors (Charlie) Tomlinson and (Charles) Vars. As successful mayors in their own terms, I have sought advice from each of the three. I hope to pick up best practices from each. Mayor Manning has been the biggest influence as we have worked on our transition.
Over the next weeks and months, we will all see how well I have learned to manage meetings, appoint people to boards and commissions, deal with areas of conflict and represent Corvallis as the great city it is.
G-T: What do you see as the toughest challenges facing the council and the city in the next two-year term?
B.T.: Near term, the challenges are hiring a new city manager, working through the early phases of the process to update the OSU District Plan, and preparing another sustainable budget all while forming a new council/mayor team.
In the long term, I think the city needs to update its vision and planning documents. The form of and the priorities in this process will depend on the goals the council sets. With that foundation, the challenge will be building an active community dialogue to achieve representative vision and plans.
G-T: Any surprises that you found as you were preparing to take office?
B.T.: Not yet. I expect those will occur as I get more into actually doing the job.