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GRESHAM, Ore. -- The City of Gresham today announced two high-level appointments to the Gresham Police Department in the wake of a national search for a new Police Chief, after the retirement of former Police Chief Craig Junginger in June.
Former Gresham Deputy Chief and current Interim Police Chief Robin Sells has been appointed Police Chief, and will focus on operational issues and maintaining the department's excellent performance. In addition, Corey Falls, the current Jackson County Sheriff and former Deputy Police Chief in Ashland, has been asked to join the City of Gresham as Director of Police Services and 21st Century Policing.
In this role, Falls will report directly to the City Manager and will focus on the strategic planning and implementation of 21st Century policing initiatives in the department, including data-driven approaches to improving police services. Additionally, he will build upon and expand community outreach and listening opportunities focused on police services, crime prevention, intervention, and livability.
"Every time we have a high level vacancy, it presents an opportunity to take a global look at our current needs, and design an approach that will best achieve the service and community outcomes we desire," said City Manager Erik Kvarsten. "This structure will ensure that we maintain excellent day-to-day services while also fulfilling our obligation to consider the shifting terrain in law enforcement, continue to instill deep community relationships, and forge national best practices."
Sells initially joined the Gresham Police Department in 2015 as Deputy Chief, and began serving as Interim Chief in the spring of 2016. Sells has more than thirty years of law enforcement experience in Oregon and California, having served in nearly every position within law enforcement.
"I am incredibly honored to continue serving the City of Gresham as Police Chief, especially in this new structure," Sells said. "Modern law enforcement demands new and creative approaches, and this structure puts Gresham at the forefront of innovation. This is an outstanding community and a top-notch department poised for continued progress."
A southern Oregon native, Falls has eighteen years of law enforcement experience, and an accomplished academic vitae, currently wrapping up his doctorate in Business Administration.
"I'm extremely excited to join the team and take part in this innovative approach to policing the City of Gresham is implementing. I look forward to working with Chief Sells and City leadership to continue the great service the City provides," said Falls.
GRESHAM, Ore. -- Join your friends and neighbors to celebrate the start of the holiday season in historic downtown Gresham, where a variety of fun, family friendly festivities all lead up to the grand finale--the lighting of the City's 60-foot ponderosa pine at the 25th annual Spirit of Christmas event, Saturday, Nov. 26. The free festivities start at 4:45 p.m. with Santa's parade through historic downtown Gresham, leading to the Arts Plaza where music and treats begin at 5 p.m. The tree is lit promptly at 6 p.m.
"There's no better place to be than the heart of downtown Gresham to kick off the Christmas season," said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis. "Every year, I'm delighted to see so many families and people of all ages and from all walks of life coming together at Spirit of Christmas to laugh, dance and enjoy the holidays as well as this great community."
Santa will join us from the North Pole to lead a parade to the Arts Plaza, along with some of his reindeer friends and Bumble, the (friendly) Abominable Snow Monster. The parade, accompanied by the Gresham Fire and Police Departments, begins at 4:45 p.m. at the Gresham History Museum, 410 N Main. The community is welcome to watch or join in!
At the Arts Plaza, located at 401 NE Second St., Santa will greet the crowd, listen to the children's wish lists, pose for photos and assist Mayor Bemis in leading the countdown to the tree lighting. Live music performances include Gresham Arthur Academy, SALT Academy, and Salvation Army Youth Corp Band. Free cocoa, hot cider, hot dogs, candy canes, popcorn and more will be served, thanks to our generous sponsors.
At the event, the City will collect canned goods to support Fill-a-Bag food drive. Last year, the residents of East County donated more than 555,000 pounds of food for the needy. Just $.05 buys one pound of food, so bring that spare change, too.
This annual event is made possible by local businesses. Special thanks to our Gold sponsors, Gresham Station, MetroEast Community Media, and Riverview Community Bank, and our Silver sponsors, Fred Meyer, Frontier, Gresham Ford, Greater Gresham Baptist Church, Kohler Meyers O'Halloran, Inc. (KMO), Nicholas Restaurant, Office Depot, The Outlook/Pamplin Media Group, Servpro of Gresham and U.S. World Class Taekwondo.
The Spirit of Christmas is being held on Small Business Saturday. The Historic Downtown Business Association (www.ExploreGresham.com) is hosting a variety of family-friendly activities downtown activities before and after the tree lighting:
10 a.m.-4 p.m. -- Photos with Santa at the Gresham History Museum
2--4 p.m. -- Multiple business open houses, as follows
* A Cajun Life: Blooms of Christmas festive flower arrangements
* Anderson Martial Arts: Board breaking, face painting
* Bella Cupcake: Decorate your own mini cupcake
* Blondies Pizza: Pizza dough activity
* Café Delirium: Phone calls to the North Pole
* Feather Your Nest: Ornament making
* Frenzi: Decorate tree ornaments
* Gresham Library: Craft activity
* iCandy: Gingerbread cookie decorating
* KMO: Children's craft
* SALT Academy: Dance class every 15 minutes
* St. Henry's Church: Advent paper chain making
* USWC Taekwondo: Kid's wonderland with crafts, bounce house, obstacle course and more!
6 p.m. -- Countdown to the tree lighting at the Arts Plaza
6:30--9:30 p.m. -- Live jazz music at Hoppy Brewer
Visit www.GreshamOregon.gov/SpiritofChristmas for more information.