Oregon Cities

Southern Oregon Coast city council appoints new mayor after leadership shakeup


On Tuesday night, the Brookings City Council appointed Isaac Hodges as its new mayor and Clayton Malmberg as city councilor.

Hodges has served on the council since last November and grew up in Brookings. He said he was concerned about having enough time to fulfill the duties of the role but eventually accepted, calling it “an honor.”

Malmberg also said he was honored during Tuesday’s special meeting.

“I appreciate the opportunity,” he said.

These two appointments are the final adjustments in the ongoing restructuring of the coastal town’s leadership.

Recalls inspired by city manager’s reinstatement

It began with the Nov. 7 special election, when City Councilors Ed Schreiber and Michelle Morosky and Mayor Ron Hedenskog were overwhelmingly recalled, with about 70% of residents voting in favor of recalling each official. The recall effort was inspired by the reinstatement of City Manager Janell Howard in January. She had been caught shoplifting from a Fred Meyer branch last year and was placed on paid administrative leave.

Related: Brookings City Council to appoint new members, rankling recall campaigners

The coastal city’s charter says if the number of vacancies on the council exceeds the number of members, those vacancies will be filled by a special election. With three of the council’s five members recalled, Brookings voters had expected there would be a special election to fill the vacated seats, and they would get to choose the council’s new members.

But before the election results were certified, Morosky and Hedenskog resigned. Since the council still had a quorum, its members were able to appoint a new member in mid-November, Kristi Fulton.

FILE - Ron Hedenskog was recalled in November 2023, and then resigned as mayor of Brookings, Ore.

FILE – Ron Hedenskog was recalled in November 2023, and then resigned as mayor of Brookings, Ore.

Erik Neumann / Jefferson Public Radio

A largely inexperienced city council

The city then solicited applications to fill the remaining two council seats, receiving 14 applicants. On Monday night, councilors interviewed candidates and chose Phoebe Pereda.

In her interview, Pereda said her goals as councilor would be “promoting transparency and accountability for both the council and the staff members, that we would be leaders and examples in that area.”

But the councilors were unable to pick someone amongst themselves to serve as mayor on Monday night, so they continued the meeting the following day.

They then selected Hodges from a largely inexperienced council.

“Our challenge is we have a new city council, a combined total of almost two years (of) experience,” Councilor Andy Martin said.

After more interview questions during Tuesday’s meeting, the council selected Malmberg, who is a member of the city’s Planning Commission, to fill the fifth and final city council seat.

“There has been a lot of friction, and there’ll be some things that come up, but as we move forward, let’s look for solutions, look to bring unity back to not just the city council but to the community,” Hodges said at the meeting’s conclusion.


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