Paulina Cockrum has resigned as mayor of Gearhart, citing personal reasons.
In a letter to the City Council, staff, the Planning Commission, volunteer fire department and residents, she said the resignation was effective last Thursday.
“It has been my pleasure to serve on the Planning Commission 2008-2015, City Council 2015-2020, and truly an honor to serve as mayor for the past year and a half,” she said in an email statement. “Together we have accomplished great things.”
The resignation comes after the failure of a contentious $14.5 million bond measure to fund a new firehouse and police station on land north of the city.
“Some Gearhart residents have argued that this isn’t a good time to ask the voters for a bond to build a new fire-police station,” she said in presenting plans to voters. “I say, ‘If not now, when?’”
Originally from Seattle, Cockrum was a nurse at Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria and selected by the governor to serve on a work group for criteria for coordinated care organizations.
The former planning commissioner was appointed by Mayor Dianne Widdop to fill the unexpired term of City Councilor John Duncan in District 3 after Duncan’s death in 2015.
She serves on the city’s Community Emergency Response Team.
Cockrum ran unopposed for mayor in 2020 after Matt Brown announced he would not seek reelection. She received 96% of votes cast, winning nearly 950 votes out of the city’s 1,500 registered voters.
After the election she said her goals included “getting past the COVID-19 pandemic and the turmoil of the national election and look forward to the future.”
At the time said she hoped to prioritize the needs of firefighters and implement the city’s hazard mitigation plan.
“There is no shortage of great things we can work on for all of our residents to preserve the Gearhart we love,” Cockrum said.
During her time as mayor, Gearhart finished its parks master plan, began development of a children’s play area at Centennial Park, limited contractor working hours, endorsed a Gearhart ZIP code and passed zoning amendments designed to assist downtown businesses.
As council president, Kerry Smith will serve as interim mayor.
Vacant seats are filled by appointment by a majority vote of the remaining members of the council. The appointee’s term of office begins immediately on appointment and continues through the unexpired term of their predecessor.