Don Ware has served as city councilman, newspaper editor
BROWNSVILLE — Mayor Don Ware of Brownsville was one of two mayors to receive a Mayor’s Leadership Award on July 27 during the closing banquet of the Oregon Mayors Association Summer Conference in Corvallis.
Fairview Mayor Mike Weatherby also was honored at the banquet.
Ware, 77, is currently serving his second term as mayor and also served on the Brownsville City Council in the early 1990s. As editor of Brownsville’s newspaper, The Times, however, he has long been involved in and acquainted with city matters.
“I looked around when nobody was running and thought, shoot, I know everything,” Ware joked of his initial election.
The award is given each year to candidates who demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities that contribute to lasting benefits in their communities, who show exceptional skill in creating productive relationships within the governing body and city employees, and who help other Oregon mayors reach their full potential.
Cynthia Choat, mayor of Halsey, nominated Ware for the award and thanked him for his guidance after she won the office last fall. She highlighted his other areas of community service: Welcome Wagon greeter, Lions Club member, Sharing Hands United Way volunteer, Chamber of Commerce member, Friends of the Library member and library volunteer, city foundation chairman, and member and former board member of the Christian Church, among many others.
Ware and his wife, Wannell, have five children and six grandchildren.
“When I think about the mayor, I am reminded of the movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’” Choat wrote. “What would our lives and communities be like if Mayor Ware had not been born — much different and certainly not as good? Mayor Ware has made a valuable contribution to Oregon with dedication of time and energy in pursuit of making his community and ours the best they can be!”
In Brownsville, elected service is volunteer service — although the city did pay for Ware’s dinner, he noted.
Ware said he knew something was up because City Administrator Scott McDowell called him and insisted he attend the banquet, but didn’t know exactly what he was to receive.
“I was a little bit surprised,” he said. “It was quite an honor, really.”
Ware said McDowell helps make the job easy by resolving issues before they become problems or else by having solutions ready to go. That also makes it easier, he said, to keep his newspaper life separate from his elective service.
On the job, Ware said he particularly loves to welcome tourists who come from Japan to visit the city, where the movie “Stand By Me” was filmed. Council meetings are also a great part of the job, he said, thanks to the members themselves.
“Our council works well together. We do differ on issues, but without rancor, so our meetings are directed and enjoyable,” he said, adding with a chuckle: “’Course, I get to run them. I think they’re extremely well-run.”