Silverton Oregon’s Crossdressing Mayor


Written by Janet

Now a bit of news of the strange……In any other town, he’d be turning heads and drawing jeers, but in Silverton, Oregon, it’s perfectly acceptable. Mayor Stu Rasmussen says most people don’t mind his cross dressing, they elected him afterall.

But one man says Mayor Rasmussen crossed the line when he showed up to a youth leadership meeting in a revealing mini-dress. The man filed a complaint, but Rasmussen says he thinks the complaint has nothing to do with his outfit. The man who filed it lost to Rasmussen in the mayoral race.

Silverton is a Willamette Valley farming community about 15 miles northeast of Salem.  

City Council member Stu Rasmussen ousted 16-year incumbent mayor Ken Hector on Tuesday.  Rasmussen has been quoted saying he’s heterosexual, but likes to “look like a female”.  

He previously served as Silverton’s mayor in the early 1990’s.  That was before he began cross-dressing openly.

Rasmussen says the people of Silverton have come to accept him for who he is.

Stu Rasmussen:  “It has been a very positive experience for me.  The town has embraced me as their native son, and I think the election results kind of show that.  I did win with a substantial majority.”

Rasmussen ran on a platform of slow-growth.  His gender identity did not become an issue in the campaign.

He’s co-owner of a local movie theater.  Just Out Magazine calls him the first openly trans-gender mayor of a U.S. city.



  1. newsdeskinternational

    Move over Stu Rasmussen, Melissa Sue Robinson is in the ready…..

    Brace yourself for Idaho’s version of Stu Rasmussen — or at least someone hoping to be. Melissa Sue Robinson is running in Nampa, Idaho’s mayoral race, hoping to unseat two-term incumbent in a staunchly conservative area.

    This isn’t unfamiliar territory for Robinson, who underwent gender reassignment surgery in 1998. In 2003, the 58-year-old (now celibate) telecommunications worker ran for mayor of Lansing (where her birth name Charles Edward Staelens Jr. was listed on the ballot, because of Michigan law requiring disclosure of previous names), and also ran for city council there.

    Now, her campaign team includes ex-wife, Linda, who’s campaign treasurer. The two, who were married for 17 years, still live together.

    But as this report tells it, voters aren’t so much concerned with Robinson being transgender, but with her being a Democrat. Not the worst scarlet letter a politico can wear, then, in a region that handed John McCain 67 percent of the vote.

  2. newsdeskinternational

    More news considering the mayor of Silverton Oregon….

    Annual charity ball set for Oct. 24

    Along with a new name, the Silverton Community Charity Ball will include some added pizazz this year. “People should dress as their wildest fantasy,” Mayor Stu Rasmussen said.

    Formerly known as the Mayor’s Ball, the event is held each year to raise money for local charities and projects in need of financial assistance.

    The fundraiser has generated more than $300,000 since its inception. Former mayor Ken Hector founded the event and conducted it for 16 years.

    Last year, according to the city’s finance department, the event netted $51,000. About 400 people were in attendance, Hector said.

    Money is raised through donations, the sale of auction items — which are donated by local businesses — and ticket sales. The ball is set for Saturday, Oct. 24 and major sponsors of the event are still wanted.

    “With the economy the way it is, sponsorships are down,” Rasmussen said. “But now that people have heard about (the event), they’re rallying and donations are starting to come in at a good rate.”

    In the past, money has been distributed to the Silverton Hospital Foundation, Silverton Community Aid (SACA) and the Silver Fox Foundation. Organizations make requests for funds and depending on how much is raised, the funds are dispersed accordingly.

    Chuck White, treasurer for the Silver Fox Foundation, which supports activities and causes in the community that serve youth, said the foundation usually receives about $1,000 from the event. Last year, the amount was increased to $2,000.

    “We specifically targeted those funds for scholarships for seniors graduating (Silverton High School),” he said.

    The foundation was able to give away two more scholarships than usual thanks to the Mayor’s Ball.

    The charity masquerade ball will be held at the Oregon Garden Main Pavilion and will include dinner, dancing, an auction, two bands — Tommy and the Killer Bees, and Billy and the Rockets — and a cash prize for best costume.

    “We’re describing this as a clothing required, costume optional event,” Rasmussen said with a laugh.

    Adding to the charitable theme of the event, Silverton area nonprofits will have the chance to sell 50/50 raffle tickets for their organizations. Each group will sell its own tickets and winners will be announced during a break in the music. The winner of each raffle will get 50 percent of the raffle sale and the organization will get the other half.

    Rasmussen said the name of the soiree was changed this year from the Mayor’s Ball to the Silverton Community Charity Ball because the latter more accurately reflects the purpose of the event.

    “It’s not about a person,” he said. “It’s about the community coming together to help local events and activities.”

  3. newsdeskinternational

    Time to bring state politics home?

    Stu Rasmussen has been busy, he’s begun collecting signatures last week, to bring Oregon’s government to the 21st century….the plan is to make it easier for state legislators that is their home district…. to – With 1,000 signatures, the effort can qualify as a petition; Rasmussen hopes to collect the necessary signatures – 110,358 – by July 2010 to qualify his initiative for the November 2010 ballot.

    The amendment, Rasmussen said, would bring “accessibility to government to everybody in Oregon, not just the people within an hour’s drive of Salem.” He said he has noted that the farther people live from the state capital, the less likely they are to be satisfied with the government.

    Rasmussen explained that, especially toward the end of the session, legislative hearings can be scheduled with little more than an hour’s notice, making it difficult or impossible for constituents throughout most of the state to attend. Beyond requiring them to vote “while physically located at a publically-accessible place” in their home district, he wants legislators to switch to doing much of their official business from their local base.

    This could easily be done through video conferencing, used similarly by corporations around the world, he said. Legislators could hold meetings, receive public input and vote through that method, which would have a couple of added benefits: it would make it easier to potentially implement a system for the Legislature to meet each year (it currently meets biennially) and would make serving in the Legislature a possibility for more people, such as those who can’t effectively move to Salem for the entirety of the session.

    Rasmussen said he has met with the most resistance from existing lobbyists and politicians, but the idea seems to resonate with the general public. Although he admitted it would likely slow down the process of government at first, he thinks, in time, it could do the opposite.

  4. newsdeskinternational

    Now people are criticizing his choice of women’s attire…is there no pleasing the masses?

    Mayor Stu Rasmussen, 61, of Silverton, Oregon in the US elected last year even though he dresses openly as a woman, drew criticism from officials of a community group when he addressed students while wearing a miniskirt and a swimsuit top.

    Critics suggested that he should dress at least in “profession¬al” women’s clothes when speaking to youth groups

  5. newsdeskinternational

    Councilor eyes mayor seat

    The 2010 mayoral election is still seasons away, but already in Silverton the rumor mill is turning. And there is some truth to the rumors.

    Silverton City Councilor Kyle Palmer is planning to run for mayor, although he said it hasn’t been a very well-kept secret.

    Palmer, 43, is the practice manager of Silver Creek Animal Clinic. He is currently serving his sixth year on the council.

    This will be Palmer’s first campaign for Silverton mayor, but he has considered running the last two elections, he said.

    The first election came during his second year on the council.

    “I felt I wasn’t ready then and that I hadn’t had enough time on the council,” he said.

    But Palmer gave serious thought to running in the 2008 election between current Mayor Stu Rasmussen and former Mayor Ken Hector.

    At that time, however, Palmer was the chairman of the Bond Advisory Committee for the Silverton High School expansion.

    “I didn’t want to shortchange either in any way and so I decided I would re-run for council with an eye to this election,” he said.

    And he’s remained committed to that decision.

    According to the Oregon Secretary of State City Elections Manual, the filing period is between June 2 and Aug. 24.

    Mayor Stu Rasmussen will complete his third nonconsecutive term as mayor at the end of this year.

    He was elected twice before in the ’90s.

    Rasmussen said he is considering running again.

    Both Palmer and Rasmussen were born and raised in Silverton.

    Palmer graduated from Silverton High School in 1984, the same year Rasmussen was elected for his first term on the council.

    Although he hasn’t officially launched his campaign, Palmer said two issues have been on his mind for the past six years and remain important to him today.

    “One is how Silverton as a community is going to move into the future and handle growth, and how that relates to the city’s infrastructure,” he said. “How we move forward in terms of residential growth and development is a big concern for me.”

    His other focus involves senior citizens and youth in the community and how city government can create opportunities for both demographics.

    Palmer is currently a member of the Silverton YMCA Leadership Council, has served on several other community boards in the past and has organized and coached youth baseball for more than 20 years.

    “I live in this town and if I want the right to have input or judge how everything is done then I can’t do that from my couch,” he said.

    In Silverton, campaign signs typically start cropping up about 45 days prior to the election and public question-and-answer sessions are usually scheduled during that same time frame.

  6. newsdeskinternational

    It appears Silverton Oregon’s mayor Stu Rasmussen has gone to the chickens…..

    City Council votes to extend ban on keeping backyard hens

    Silverton has said enough is enough when it comes to backyard chickens.

    The Silverton councilors decided by a 5-2 vote Monday night to keep an existing ordinance against owning backyard hens on lots that are less than one acre. Silverton Mayor Stu Rasmussen and council member Kyle Palmer voted to change the ordinance.

    “Having chickens when I was young, I can see why people would not want them in a house next to them,” said councilor Sherry Hoefel. “Chickens can be smelly and noisy. I can see it being an enforcement nightmare.”

    Rasmussen looked north for an example of how backyard hens are accepted. He said he spoke with vector control in Multnomah County and said the agency received 25 complaints in 2009. He also said eggs laid by the hens are a valuable food source for less affluent residents. Palmer, who manages a veterinary clinic, said his biggest concern was where to draw the line when it came to backyard livestock, but agreed that hens kept in well-maintained pens shouldn’t pose a problem.

  7. newsdeskinternational

    Book ‘Weird Oregon’ has local lore

    Bumper stickers proclaiming “Keep Portland Weird!” may be a frequent sight on the road, but when it comes to the bizarre, the metro area has no monopoly.

  8. newsdeskinternational

    ‘Coffee with Stu’ starts at Cafe Earth

    Silverton Mayor Stu Rasmussen will meet with the public the second and last Mondays of the month at the Silverton Green Store’s Cafe Earth, 201 E Main St.

    Coffee with Stu, as the event has been named, will feature casual conversations between the public and the mayor.

    The mayor said he is out and about a lot in town, but said he “can never be too accessible.”

    For more information, call (503) 602-1808.

  9. newsdeskinternational

    I still say he’d look better a redhead, and have a string of pearls….

  10. newsdeskinternational

    Three seek mayor’s seat

    The November general election filing deadline is drawing near, and so far in Silverton, three candidates are eyeing the mayor’s seat.

    Mayor Stu Rasmussen is seeking another term and Silverton City Councilors Judy Schmidt and Kyle Palmer also have filed for the position.

    According to the Oregon Secretary of State City Elections Manual, the filing period is between June 2 and Aug. 24.

    “A candidate has the opportunity to file by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 24,” said Janet Newport, assistant to the city manager in Silverton.

    Rasmussen will complete his third nonconsecutive term as mayor at the end of this year.

    He was elected twice before in the ’90s.

    Palmer said he has considered running in the past two elections. He is currently serving his sixth year on the council.

    Schmidt is serving her second year on the council.

    Three seats are vacant on the council and incumbents Bill Cummins and Randal Thomas are seeking re-election.

    In addition, Pam Altree and Gus Frederick will vie for one of the three open seats.

    Altree is co-owner of The Clothes Garden in Silverton and Frederick is a multimedia specialist for the Oregon Office of Private Health Partnerships.

    In the surrounding areas, paperwork is trickling in at a slower rate.

    In Mt. Angel, Mayor Rick Schiedler has filed for re-election.

    “One reason I’m running again is because we have a real good council and a great administrator,” he said. “If the water was muddy and there was turmoil I’d think twice, but things are running smooth.”

    There are three open seats on the Mt. Angel City Council.

    Incumbents Mike Donohue and Ray Eder have filed for re-election.

    In Scotts Mills, Mayor Ron Bielenberg is seeking a second term as mayor.

    “It really takes a couple of years to learn the job and to figure out how everything works and how to get things done,” he said. “So it makes sense to go for another term.”

    There are three open seats on the Scotts Mills City Council. Incumbent Arnold Koch has filed for re-election.

  11. newsdeskinternational

    Three candidates are vying for the mayor’s job — incumbent Stu Rasmussen and City Councilors Kyle Palmer and Judy Schmidt.

    In Mt. Angel, a contested race for City Council also is in the works.

    There are three open seats, and incumbents Mike Donohue, Ray Eder and Teresa Kintz are seeking re-election with Karl Bischoff as the sole challenger.

    Mayor Rick Schiedler is running unopposed as is Mayor Ron Bielenberg in Scotts Mills.

    There are three vacant seats on the Scotts Mills City Council and only one candidate filed for re-election, incumbent Arnold Koch.

    Sharon Ricks, Marion County elections supervisor, said write-ins will be tallied.

    Ricks said individuals elected by write-in are required to fill out an acceptance form if they wish to serve.

    “Or, if they do not want to serve, they will not complete the form and that will force a vacancy on the board,” she said.

    Ricks said some cities have charters defining alternative processes.

    “We certify the results to each city recorder and they manage the results according to their city charter,” Ricks said.

    Read more:

  12. newsdeskinternational

    Charity ball will benefit area groups

    Participants of this year’s Silverton Community Charity Ball will play more of a role in determining how the event’s proceeds are distributed.

    Formerly the Mayor’s Ball, the event benefits local nonprofits and community organizations.

    The ball is set for Saturday at The Oregon Garden Pavilion.

    “We are encouraging people to specify a charity when they make a donation, and we’ll distribute the proceeds in proportion,” Mayor Stu Rasmussen said.

    In addition, attendees will be asked to write checks directly to their organization of choice when paying for auction items.

    Rasmussen is hoping people get carried away when it comes to bidding on auction items, which include gift certificates, a necklace made by local artist Teresa Burgett and a red bench from the Red Bench in Silverton.

    “I would really like to turn this into a legendary auction where $25 turns into $500, because the money is going to a really good cause,” Rasmussen said.

    The Mayor’s Ball was founded 18 years ago by former Mayor Ken Hector.

    In past years, it has raised as much as $60,000 for community organizations.

    When Rasmussen was elected mayor two years ago, he changed the name of the event to the Silverton Community Charity Ball.

    Last year, he said the event generated about $5,000 for local nonprofits.

    Rasmussen said he was happy with the turnout to his first ball and he is hoping for the same participation level this year.

    “If we can do better, it will be the frosting on the cake,” he said.

    The mayor said that with the economy in even worse shape than last year, he has reduced the door ticket price from $30 to $19.

    Tickets purchased in advance are $15.

    A Silverton High School jazz group will open the evening’s entertainment, and Billy and the Rockets will follow with ’50s music.

    Costumes are optional, although that may not always be the case.

    “A lot of people wanted a gangster or Lady Gaga-themed party, so maybe if I’m still mayor next year, we’ll do that.”

  13. newsdeskinternational
  14. newsdeskinternational

    For all of you Silverton Oregon Cross dressing mayor fans:

    Stu Rasmussen is retaining the seat of mayor….

    Rasmussen will return as mayor

    Silverton has returned incumbent Stu Rasmussen to the mayor’s office.
    It was a close race with Stu Rasmussen, 62, holding the lead, according to late returns.

    This will be his fourth nonconsecutive term.

    Challenger Judy Schmidt, 60, was next in line with Kyle Palmer, 44, close behind.
    “Well, of course I’m pleased,” Rasmussen said. “But I consider it somewhat of a mixed blessing because I still have the same council with what I consider a lack of fiscal prudence.”

    Palmer and Schmidt serve on the Silverton City Council.

    Palmer said the experience has been incredible and worth every minute.

    “We decided to campaign positively and on issues, not personalities,” Palmer said. “That wasn’t a decision shared by everybody, but it was our decision and it’s the only way I would ever want to win an office.”

    Voters chose from a pool of nine candidates for three at-large seats on the council.
    Incumbents Bill Cummins and Randal Thomas took the lead with Scott Walker coming in third.

  15. newsdeskinternational

    Silverton City Council censures mayor

    The Silverton City Council voted Monday to censure Mayor Stu Rasmussen, alleging he violated council protocol.
    This is the second time the openly transgendered mayor has been officially reprimanded.
    Rasmussen was censured in 2009 after a complaint was filed about his attire at a youth leadership training event.
    Citing the council protocol manual on Monday, Councilor Kyle Palmer said the mayor violated protocol by “speaking in a manner that undermines the integrity or motives of the council” because of a difference in opinion.
    The mayor recently made several comments to local media about his disapproval of council and city staff decisions.
    Rasmussen said he was exercising his right to free speech.
    The council disagreed, voting 5-1 in favor of the reprimand. Rasmussen was the lone dissenter.
    “Naturally, I’m opposed,” he said.
    Councilor Randal Thomas was absent.
    Read more about this story in Wednesday’s Appeal Tribune.

    Statesman Journal

  16. newsdeskinternational

    So what if he doesn’t approve of the council? How many do you actually think in every city does? Hell, I even think the council members we have here are idiots…..that’s called politics, and keeping the public interested.

  17. Janet

    Morning fire causes extensive damage to Silverton’s Palace Theater

    The theater is owned by Rasmussen…..

    Could a faulty popcorn machine be the culprit in a early morning fire that tore through Silverton’s historic Palace Theater? That’s the theory of the theater’s owner as fire crews worked to tamp down the blaze in the 200-block of North Water Street.

  18. Janet

    Candidates gather at town-hall meeting

    Nine candidates for public office took the stage at Silverton High School on Oct. 9 to answer 19 audience questions and present a case for why they most deserved residents’ votes come Election Day, Nov. 6.

    All four mayoral candidates — Kyle Palmer, Stu Rasmussen, Jim Squires and Scott Walker — were present at the forum.

    Statesman Journal

  19. Janet

    so, shows the mentality of voters, doesn’t it?

    Rasmussen leading in re-election bid as mayor of Silverton

    Stu Rasmussen has survived his fifth mayoral election and will remain mayor of Silverton for at least two more years, according to early election returns.

    Statesman Journal

  20. Janet

    Transgender mayor auctions off shoes for city

    The nation’s first openly transgender mayor is now opening his closet doors to get cash for his city.


  1. Silverton Oregon’s cross dressing mayor loses bid for 4th term | Newsdesk International

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