After 2017 'home run,' Dunsmuir Mayor envisions future successes

Steve Gerace
Dunsmuir Mayor Bruce Deutsch, left, Vice Mayor Mari C Shanta and City Manager Mark Brannigan during a recent City Council meeting. By Giovanni Lamanna

New Dunsmuir Mayor Bruce Deutsch says the town “hit a home run” in 2017 when they hired city manager Mark Brannigan.

And Deutsch expressed optimism that more big hits will be delivered in 2018, possibly including a new trail to Mossbrae Falls.

Deutsch, who served as vice mayor last year, pointed out that at the city was looking for a city manager at the start of 2017, something they had been doing fairly regularly in recent years.

He called the hiring of Brannigan, “the biggest success” of 2017.

Other successes, according to Deutsch, included the passing of a cannabis ordinance, the start of a series of workshops designed to help the town develop a budget “that reflects the priorities of the community,” and the “cohesive spirit” that developed in 2017 on the city council.

Deutsch praised the city’s cannabis task force for its work on the ordinance that was recently passed. He said the task force was led by then Mayor Bryce Craig, council member Mari C Shanta, and Brannigan.

“They developed an ordinance that everybody feels good about,” Deutsch said, pointing to key elements in the ordinance such as: allowing three retail shops and commercial cannabis growing outside of the downtown historic district; and “they agreed on the idea of a plan that would create revenue while managing it appropriately.

“People came together and found consensus,” Deutsch said.

Dunsmuir has had a medical cannabis dispensary for several years, and the process for the start of recreational cannabis shops is continuing regarding such issues as zoning, the application process, transportation, and manufacturing.

Deutsch said “Dunsmuir is open to the idea of both recreational and medical cannabis retail stores.”

He said the city is also exploring the idea of putting warehouses on property it owns east of the airport, which could tie in with cannabis businesses and possibly raise revenue.

He gave credit to Brannigan for the start of the series of workshops that is designed to help with the city’s budget.

About 35 people attended the recent “visioning workshop” and provided input, according to Deutsch.

He said a second round of “slivers of dreams and priorities” will be gathered during the next workshop to be “worked into a vision statement.” 

That next workshop is scheduled for Jan. 17 at 5 p.m.

“We’ve got good energy going on there,” Deutsch said. “There’s a buzz about Dunsmuir and the way people are working together.”

He pointed to the “cohesive spirit” that developed in 2017 on the city council. “We do our work, understand our role, and don’t squabble.”

He pointed to the rotation of council members into the mayor’s role, and how “each of the mayors has added to what the previous one had done.”

Deutsch is now the fourth member of the current city council to serve as mayor, following two terms by Dave Keisler and one term each by Josh Spurlock and Bryce Craig.

Deutsch served as vice mayor in 2016 before being chosen to serve as mayor this year, while council member Mari C. Shanta moved into the vice mayor role.

Mossbrae Falls trail

Deutsch described the possibility of establishing a trail to Mossbrae Falls as an exciting goal that could come to fruition this year.

He said Keisler started “pulling stakeholders together” for the effort in 2015, and it continued the past two years when Spurlock and Craig were mayor.

Much effort was made to come to an agreement for use of property owned by the St. Germain Foundation, but the city has moved away from that.

Last year, the City submitted a proposal prepared by Tom Hesseldenz and Associates to Union Pacific Railroad “To Construct and Maintain a Public Trail Along the Upper Sacramento River to Mossbrae Falls.” The proposed trail would bypass St. Germain Foundation property and keep hikers off the railroad tracks.

It would start at Hedgecreek Falls, include a bridge to the west side of the river, then follow the river below the railroad tracks.

It’s estimated that the project would cost about $520,000, and Deutsch said $275,000 has already been raised, including $250,000 from an anonymous donor.

He believes the trail could be ready to go this summer.

Council member Craig reported at the Dec. 7 city council meeting that the city was continuing to wait for a response to the proposal after it was sent to UP and needed to be reviewed by the Omaha real estate department.

The complete proposal is posted on the City’s website at:

Other 2018 goals

The City’s cannabis task force is continuing in 2018, and Deutsch said housing and economic development are big items on the council’s things to do list.

He said figuring out a way to have more affordable housing is “the number one issue,” and the City hopes to attract “small to medium sized tech companies and millennial families.” Ways of making that happen are being explored, including talks Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Richard Dinges is having with investors, according to Deutsch.