Trail Blazers: Stevie Stephens Burden, Mayor of Wheeler, Oregon
Stevie S. Burden is serving her fifth term as mayor of Wheeler, Oregon. Stevie is a Tillamook County native and has committed herself and her career to improving the lives of others.
As mayor, Stevie has most notably focused on local parks, community projects, and improving the city’s water systems. A pragmatist, she encourages civic responsibility and appreciates the commitment required overtime to bring vitality to a city. Stevie studied counseling and conflict resolution, working in substance abuse prevention programs in Native American communities from Wyoming to Oregon. Managing programs at the local, state, and national level for over thirty years, Stevie has been an advocate for those who deserve greater representation, someone who has dedicated her time, attention, and leadership skills to the prevention and treatment of substance abuse in Native American communities.
Stevie values her city, but also appreciates strength in solidarity with neighboring towns. She sees the Salmonberry trail as an opportunity to connect communities across the region as well as increase public access to the lands her constituents cherish. Her own family’s heritage can be traced back to the 1890s, and that family continues to grow in the region with her children and grandchildren, who are carrying forward her core values of ‘do no harm’ and public service.
Before the trail breaks ground, we should ask ourselves what communities outside of our own are we learning about and connecting with because of the Salmonberry Trail. To learn more about Stevie S. Burden’s perspective, read her piece, The Genocide of the American Indian, And Their Refusal to Die, featured in The Upper Left Edge, a writers blog for the “Community Intelligence of Oregon’s Coast and Beyond.”
FUN FACT: The city of Wheeler is known by its native community as Pukalani—“hole in the sky”—since the landscape provides protection from the majority of fog and wind that is predominant in the coastal climate.
“...I’m passionate about the Salmonberry [because] it will allow people in our community to have access to treasures like Botts Marsh that they really love.”
—Salmonberry Trail Community Leaders Video
“Cause no harm is the Buddhist philosophy. The ‘right’ philosophy—to do the right things, not further my own goals or platforms,”
—Stevie S. Burden (Tillamook Headlight Herald)