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Matthews beats out Soltz for Final Salem City Council Spot

Written by Luis Ramirez on Jun. 19th, 2024
Featured Image photo for Matthews beats out Soltz for Final Salem City Council Spot

The race to win the Ward 3 Salem City Council position has finally been announced after nearly a month of waiting.

Shane Matthews beat out Nathan Soltz by 42 votes in the tightest race in this year’s election cycle. 

Matthews, a real estate agent, ran for office for the first time and accumulated 2,153 votes. Soltz, a law student at Lewis & Clark Law School and a legislative chief of staff had 2,093 votes. Despite being such a close race, it did not meet the requirements for a recount, where the race would have to be within 0.20 percent.

“It took a long time to finally win and we’ve been checking the Secretary of State website since May 21,” Matthews said. “It took almost a month, but I now have a huge weight off my shoulders, and am excited that that this process is over and starting the new work of learning the job.” 

 The empty seat on the Salem City Council will represent the Faye Wright Neighborhood, Southeast Mill Creek and Fairview Park and is an unpaid position. 

“My term won’t start until January so my intention is to spend the next several months trying to learn as much as I can,” Matthews said. I started reaching out to the councilors, some that will stay on and others that will no longer be on council. I want to gather as much as information as I can.”

The close race wasn’t called until June 17, almost a full month since election night (May 21).

Matthews had never thought about running before, but saw a need to help his community.

“There were two big catalysts for me wanting to run for office,” Matthews said. “My mail kept getting stolen at my home and when I tried to make a police report, they were so backed up they couldn’t help me out. Second was that I was against a payroll tax that the councilors voted to impose. It failed with an 82 percent vote so the community wasn’t behind the tax.”

Matthews is the owner of Matthews Real Estate, Inc. and serves on the Citizen Review Board for the Oregon Department of Justice to review DHS (Department of Human Services) cases. A graduate of McKay High School and Western Oregon University, he has made the Salem area his lifelong home along with his family of five.  

“I ran on several different points, but my main one is that we have a crime problem in Salem,” Matthews said. “We’ve seen an uptick in petty and heavy crimes and we need to get it under control. We also need to do a better job at measuring for what success looks like. If you are going to spend money, it needs to have a measurable success on either side.”

Matthews won’t take office until January, but hopes to make an immediate impact upon entering public service. 

“Most of the major problems are full city problems and the homeless issue is a big one,” Matthews said. “We haven’t seen the results from the housing first model that we need to. The homeless issue comes back to if we’re going to spend money, I want to see if it’s being successful. You have to look at the actual success and be data driven.”

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