Eight hopefuls in the running for Metro Council vacancy

Posted by on February 10th, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Obama - Kitzhaber rally in Portland-5

Bob Stacey has his work cut out for him
in bid for vacant Metro Council spot.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Metro has received eight applications for the vacant Council spot left open by the resignation of Robert Liberty last month. As our regional government that plays a fundamental role in transportation investments and land-use policy, the process for deciding who gets the spot is worth our attention.

Here are the eight applicants (taken from Metro press release):

Bike Master Plan open house - SE-23

Kenneth Heggem
  • Martha Dibblee, a retired health physicist and consultant who has served on the Energy Facility Siting Council and the board of the Climate Trust.
  • Kenneth Heggem, a sales representative with Columbia Northwest Heating and board member of the Woodstock Neighborhood Association.
  • Jonathan Levine, a former project manager with the University of Western States.
  • Walt Nichols, a bookkeeper with Watson Plumbing Co. and chair of the Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association. Nichols was an unsuccessful candidate for Portland City Council in 2010.
  • Alesia Reese, a clerk with the U.S. Postal Service and member of the Parkrose School District board. She is also chair of the Woodland Park Neighborhood Association and the East Portland Parks Coalition.
  • Barbara Roberts, former Oregon Governor.
  • Bob Shiprack, a labor relations consultant for Pac/West Communications and a former executive secretary of the Oregon State Building Trades Council. He served six terms in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1983 to 1995.
  • Bob Stacey, a consultant and former executive director of 1000 Friends of Oregon. He also served as chief of staff to Congressman Earl Blumenauer and as executive director of policy and planning for TriMet. Stacey was an unsuccessful candidate for Metro Council President in 2010.

It’s a very interesting list with a diverse range of candidates. The two I’m most familiar with are Bob Stacey and Kenneth Heggem. I interviewed Stacey during his run for Metro President, which he very narrowly lost. He’s also a former leader of non-profit land-use policy group 1000 Friends of Oregon. I met Heggem at a Bicycle Master Plan Open House back in May 2009.

Here’s how the process will play out to make the selection…

Existing members of Metro Council will interview all applicants at a public meeting on Wednesday, February 16th at David Douglas High School (15000 SE 130th). Public testimony is welcome. After that testimony, Metro will decide whether to appoint a new councilor or to invite a group of finalists to appear in a public debate (to happen on February 22nd). If the debate option is chosen, Metro will vote on the appointment at its regular meeting on February 24th.

You can learn more about the appointment process on Metro’s website.

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Spencer Boomhower
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I’m (still) pulling for Bob Stacey. It was painful to see him come so close to winning the Metro President race after running such a good campaign.

Metro needs his voice, and this is a second chance for that to happen.

Bob is smart, articulate, and his values seem – more so than any other candidate’s – aligned with Metro’s mission of protecting the region’s land, and quality of life.

Bob is a natural successor to Robert Liberty. They share similar backgrounds, and similar values. With all the respect he’s garnered in his time on the council, Robert is a tough act to follow, but Bob’s the guy to do it.

Bob’s principled opposition to the CRC (and support for more affordable alternatives to it) would provide necessary balance to the more pro-CRC views of other Council members like Rex Burkholder and Tom Hughes. Metro needs a reasoned voice questioning the CRC, especially now, with the departure of Robert Liberty.

Bob, Rex, and Tom all ran great campaigns for Metro President. Probably many voters wished they could have checked “all of the above.” The closest they’ll ever come to getting their wish would be to see the Council appoint Bob to take Robert’s place in the District 6 seat.

And that gets to the strongest argument in Bob’s favor: the will of the voters. While Bob was just edged out for Metro President by a thousand votes or so across three counties, he took Multnomah County in a big way, and won 58% of the votes in District 6. The Council can best demonstrate their respect for the will of District 6 voters by appointing Bob Stacey as Robert Liberty’s replacement. I can’t imagine District 6 voters like myself and my neighbors being satisfied with any other outcome.

Finally, bikes: I think Bob’s support for good land use and livability naturally translates into support for bikeable places. But I think my sense of Bob’s enthusiasm for bike infrastructure was solidified at an event at his campaign HQ. After leaving the event I discovered a flat on my bike, and after fixing the flat I came back in to clean up. Upon hearing about my flat, Bob announced something to the effect of: “It’s because there’s glass in the bike lanes! The solution is separate grade cycle tracks, like they have in Europe.” I liked the sounds of that. I’m sure he could go into vastly more detail about his thinking on bikes, but that comment seemed to me all the more telling and sincere for being so spontaneous.

Hart Noecker
Guest

After working with so many dedicated people last year for Bob’s campaign, it feels a little strange to once again be saying, “Bob Stacey for METRO!” While some of the others sound good, Bob is still the clear choice to represent the values of this district.

Jonathan Gordon
Guest
Jonathan Gordon

I wonder if no one else is commenting because Spencer and Hart said all there is to say. I just wanted to echo in a “me too and ditto”. Bob Stacey for Metro!