Mike Swaim

Oregon Mayor Mike Swaim

July 8, 1943 - December 17, 2019


Former Salem Mayor Mike Swaim argued his last jury trial a few weeks' back, but that doesn't mean he's retiring from his legal practice, or from caring about the community he has loved for more than three decades and represented for three terms. On the contrary, Swaim can be found most weekdays strolling the streets downtown with his wife, Kellie, and his 14-year-old dog, Kaia, who accompany him to work at his Cottage Street NE office each day. They all appear to savor the experience. The couple and their canine, a very patient yellow lab, are frequently stopped in crosswalks or on sidewalks by passing residents who recognize him and want to bend his ear about what's going on in the city today. They complain or compliment, but most don't move on without thanking Mike for his accessibility, and for being the "people's mayor."

Salem Statesman Journal

December 30, 2019

Former Salem Mayor Mike Swaim dies at 76: 'A good man who just loved this community'

Jonathan Bach
Capi Lynn

Mike Swaim

Former Salem Mayor Mike Swaim, known for trademark efforts to rein in urban growth and embrace diversity, died this month. He was 76.

Swaim suffered a stroke during heart surgery Dec. 12 at Salem Hospital, according to friends, family and neighbors. He was flown to Oregon Health & Science University, where he died Dec. 17. He was with family. "It has been most difficult, especially at this time of the year," his wife, Kellie Swaim, wrote in a letter mailed to the Statesman Journal. Mike Swaim won three mayoral terms in Salem, serving as the capital city's mayor from January 1997 to December 2002. "Mike loved to campaign and meet people door to door," Kellie Swaim wrote by email later. "He loved making speeches at rallies. He loved visiting all parts of the city and learning about every nook and cranny."

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