An Ashland city councilman and chamber president discuss their personal and professional partnership.
Dennis Slattery | Sandra Slattery
D.S.: City Council member, city of Ashland; associate professor, Southern Oregon University; member, SOU Board of Trustees.
Born and raised: Alaska native villages, including Beaver and Shungnak, “where the caribou came through by the millions.”
D.S.: “My parents were teachers, and we lived in the same manner as they did, using sled dogs, hunting and fishing for our food. It was a great way and time to grow up.”
S.S.: Executive director, Ashland Chamber of Commerce.
Born: Long Beach, California
How we met
Ashland Hills Inn | Mid-'80s
D.S.: “I was employed at the Ashland Hills Inn working my way up through management. Sandra was planning an event. We became best friends for 10 years before we came together romantically.”
S.S.: “I was an administrative assistant at the Chamber. Ashland Hills was the location for our key events. The first thing I noticed was how friendly and kind he was, with a great sense of humor and clever wit. Also, tall and handsome!”
D.S.: “The anniversary of our first kiss is December 2, 1991. She gets roses every year, one for each year. It’s getting more and more expensive!”
S.S.: “We recently watched our wedding video again, and what stands out are the dear friends and family we gathered for a small wedding.”
D.S.: “She was stunningly beautiful.”
D.S.: “Teaching is deeply fulfilling. When it comes to the City Council and the Board of Trustees, these are the things that make a place a home. There is great satisfaction in working on the complex issues of a community and adding value.”
S.S.: “I love bringing people together to address complex and challenging issues, to not shy away from the really tough topics but step up to them and believe there are solutions.”
D.S.: “We talk about everything. We love road trips; we don’t listen to music or anything else, just to each other. “
S.S.: “We respect each other’s opinions and perspectives and solve problems together.”
S.S.: “Many of the people we work with on community affairs have also become our dear friends, which serves to enrich both our personal and professional lives.”
D.S.: “People tend to see us as one unit, a partnership, and we are.”
S.S.: “We served as Santa and Mrs. Claus in the annual Festival of Light Parade. We collaborated on the affiliation of our community hospital into the Asante network. We negotiated for almost a year an agreement with the Asante leadership to take over our hospital, which was in danger of bankruptcy. I represented the Ashland Hospital Foundation as president of the foundation board, and Dennis represented the Ashland City Council.”
D.S.: “To leave a whole and well-functioning community for the next generation.”
S.S.: “Bringing more minds to the table to work on solutions is a role that I enjoy and hope to do more of in the future to benefit the community as a whole. It’s for the greater good and so rewarding.”
A version of this article appears in the February issue of Oregon Business.