City News

Mayor-Elect Julie Hoy says she’s “building the ramp” to lead Salem

This story was updated following a clarification from city officials about the election timeline for a Ward 6 councilor.

With the election over and victory clear, Julie Hoy is getting ready to move into the Salem mayor’s office.

Hoy, a Salem city councilor, defeated Mayor Chris Hoy based on nearly complete election results.

She said in a Thursday interview that she’s looking forward to starting her term and that she will spend the next seven months preparing for the role.

“It’s what I call building the ramp. Getting the pieces in place, and the people,” she said. “I want to do it differently than it’s been done. So it’s required more preparation, which is okay with me.”

Tallies as of Thursday afternoon show Julie Hoy holds 56.1% of the vote. Marion County Elections will post updated results Thursday evening, by around 7 p.m.

Julie Hoy, who also owns Geppetto’s Italian Restaurant, will be sworn in to the unpaid position in January. The two Hoys are not related.

She said her campaign’s focus remains unchanged on overhauling the way the city budgets, addressing homelessness and improving public safety.

During the campaign, she did not provide details on how she would pursue those objectives. Instead, she said she wants to improve relations with the county leaders who provide some of the services and learn more about the city’s needs first.

Julie Hoy won a hotly contested mayoral race where Salem business and real estate interests contributed nearly $300,000 to unseat the sitting mayor after his unpopular effort last summer to impose a payroll tax on Salem workers.

Chris Hoy said in his election night speech on Tuesday, May 21, that he knew voting for the tax might make him a one-term mayor. But he said he doesn’t regret his vote to impose the tax.

He has not yet publicly conceded the race, and Julie Hoy said that as of Thursday afternoon she hasn’t heard from him. He hasn’t responded to Salem Reporter’s repeated requests for comment.

The mayor is a voting member of city council who presides over its meetings, and also appoints council members to city boards and commissions. Aside from those responsibilities, the mayor has no more authority over city affairs than city councilors.

The mayor, however, does get an office at City Hall in space shared with City Manager Keith Stahley.

Julie Hoy said she plans to take a look at the existing committee and board appointments.

“Some seem to run without issue, and then others seem to have more issues. And I want to figure out what’s at the heart of that, and how to make things run more smoothly and efficiently,” she said.

She singled out for her attention the the city Budget Committee, which is appointed by the Salem City Council, according to state law. As a councilor, she serves on the committee.

“I just feel like they don’t get a lot of information and it all lands in one fell swoop. It’s a big demand in a short amount of time, so I feel like we need to make changes to the annual process of how the budget is presented,” she said.

Because her term on city council isn’t up until December 2026, her ward 6 seat in east Salem will become vacant. Filling it will require a special election in May 2025, according to city spokeswoman Elizabeth Kennedy-Wong. 

Candidates can file to run for the seat starting in January, but the city encourages anyone who’s interested in running to get in touch with the City Recorder’s Office early to get more information.

Hoy said she had a few people in mind to support to replace her, but that she didn’t want to name them yet.

She said she’s been having fun since Tuesday, and has been encouraged by community members telling her she had compelled them to vote for the first time in years.

“I am such a person of hope, and I have felt a real boost of hope and joy in the community and around it all. It’s what I live for,” she said.

Contact reporter Abbey McDonald: [email protected] or 503-575-1251

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Abbey McDonald joined the Salem Reporter in 2022. She previously worked as the business reporter at The Astorian, where she covered labor issues, health care and social services. A University of Oregon grad, she has also reported for the Malheur Enterprise, The News-Review and Willamette Week.