Hermiston Mayor Bob Severson was flown by air ambulance to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, Wash., early Friday morning after suffering a major heart attack. Severson was listed in critical condition Friday evening, according to a hospital spokesman Delt Clark.
According to Hermiston firefighter Lt. Scott Cahill, medics were dispatched to Severson’s residence at 9:18 a.m. on Friday and departed to the hospital at 9:41 a.m. He was later air-lifted to Kadlec hospital.
“We were dispatched on a call for a difficulty breathing call,” Cahill said. Severson was transported by ambulance to Good Shepherd Medical Center and then airlifted to Kadlec Regional Medical Center.
Hermiston City Manager Ed Brookshier said Severson has had heart problems in the past and the city is waiting to hear some reports about the mayor.
“I am sure I speak for the rest of the city employees when I say that we are all praying for Bob,” Brookshier said. “Even though the mayor has been dealing with health issues in recent years, each time he has returned to work quickly and has fulfilled the duties of mayor, sometimes under difficult circumstances.”
Severson, who moved to Hermiston in 1970 to operate a grocery store, became the town’s mayor in 2000. Severson underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2007.
According to reports, Severson went to Kadlec in 2007 for a simple procedure, but his doctor detected a more serious problem and ordered the open-heart surgery immediately.
Councilor Jackie Meyers said, “Our hearts go out to Bob Severson and his family during this difficult time.”
Hermiston mayor-elect Dave Drotzmann said he was informed of Severson’s condition by various community members.
“If there is an emergent need for medical assistance, I hope he recovers as quickly as possible,” Drotzmann said. “He is a valuable asset to our city …”
City councilor Lori Davis grew up in Hermiston and remembers hanging out at Severson’s grocery store as a child.
“I’ve known Bob for years and years,” Davis said. “I was really devastated to hear that he was ill.”
Severson has three children with wife Jan: John and Mark Severson, and Roberta Hansen.
According to reports, Jan and Mark are with their pastor.
Hermiston has a council-manager form of government, in which all powers of the city are vested in the city council. The council is made up of eight elected Hermiston residents and hires a city manager, to manage all of the day-to-day decisions.
The mayor is elected separately, and only votes in the event of a tie. The mayor appoints committee members and signs ordinances and contracts for the city.
This story originally appeared in East Oregonian.