Last updated on March 5, 2023
Given my recent articles about the North Bend School District, everyone knows I have a laser focus on what’s going on in that town. Unfortunately, there are even more troubling signs and I’m not quite sure what to make of them. I’ll try to lay out the information I’ve found and let you make your own decision.
On September 22nd, 2020, the North Bend City Council hired David A. Milliron as the new City Manager. His resume can be found here. After some recent events, I started looking into Mr. Milliron’s past. It turns out that he has been removed as City Manger of three different cities before being hired in North Bend. The first removal stemmed from his purportedly “impersonating a police officer” while the City Manager of Stockbridge, Georgia.
This is bad enough, but Mr. Milliron was also fired as the City Manager of Villa Rica, Georgia and later Danville, Kentucky.
It seems pretty clear that Mr. Milliron should never have been hired by North Bend, but this type of thing is all too common in local government.
On July 30th, 2021, the North Bend Police Officers’ Association sent a letter to Mayor Jessica Engelke saying that their membership had a unanimous no-confidence vote against Mr. Milliron and demanded that he resign.
You can read the letter yourself, but it basically claims that Mr. Milliron was once again sticking his nose in police business that he had no authority over. He even seems to have angered Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier. The letter also claims many other instances of misconduct, mismanagement and harassment.
On September 23rd, 2021, Mayor Jessica Engelke announced the city will be hiring “an outside consultant capable of performing a 360-degree review of our police department, policies, and practices.“
Then on October 6th, 2021, North Bend Police Chief Robert Kappelman and Captain Curt Bennett abruptly announced their retirements, effective at 5pm that same day. I’ve never met Chief Kappelman, but have worked with Captain Bennett many times in my prior job and know him to be an honorable man. Oregon is a right-to-work-state, and no notice is required, but it is highly irregular for members of a police department command staff to resign in this manner. This, coupled with the letter from the NBPOA, indicates to me that there is a serious problem.
On October 8th, 2021, Mr. Milliron requested the assistance of the Coos Bay Police Department due to the resignations of Kappelman and Bennett.
I am friends with many members of the North Bend Police Department, and was a Reserve Officer myself for a short time. I both worked for and was a supervisor of multiple people who currently work for NBPD or worked there recently. The vast majority of them are honest hard-working individuals who I would not hesitate to trust my life to again. Because of the actions of the North Bend City Council, NBPD has lost many good people. At least two left to join Coos Bay Police, two more left to join Confederated Tribes Police and one just recently moved to Myrtle Point Police. Others have resigned or retired like Kappelman and Bennett. Turnover is a fact of life, but turnover on the level that NBPD has seen in recent years is indicative of a deeper issue.
The fact that Mr. Milliron and North Bend School District Superintendent Kevin Bogatin were both hired in the last two years concerns me greatly. North Bend has always been considered a better run city than Coos Bay. Their schools were better, their police were better and their City Council didn’t go in for some of the hair-brained ideas of their sister city. This has changed in recent years. It’s well-known in the bay area that Coos Bay has wanted to annex North Bend in the past. I don’t know if the current situation has anything to do with this, but it certainly doesn’t look good on the surface.
I’m putting this information out there in hopes that the residents of North Bend will start asking some hard questions. Go to your City Council meetings, write letters and show that you are engaged. If this entire saga is a series of unrelated mistakes, you can fix them. If it is an attempt to undermine the city, you can fix that too.
Like my friends at Citizens Restoring Liberty say, “You are the leader you’ve been waiting for.”
-Matthew Wilbanks (Editor @ Dailyresister.com)