Metro's newest councilors take oath of office
In speeches pointing out the importance of regional collaboration, three Metro councilors took oaths of office at a ceremony Monday.
The three councilors, Sam Chase, Craig Dirksen and Bob Stacey, started their four-year terms at an inauguration at the Portland Center for Performing Arts, the Metro-managed arts center in downtown Portland.
Speaking to the crowd of about 150 people, the councilors all talked about the importance of regional endeavors in their inaugural remarks.
Dirksen, who served the last four years as mayor of Tigard, pointed out that his commute to Metro passes through three cities.
"Many of the issues and challenges I was facing as Tigard's mayor were not Tigard's problems alone, but were shared by most if not all of us in the region," Dirksen said.
He said he found himself defending Metro's existence often on the campaign, but noted that many of Metro's functions would be operated by some government entity even if Metro didn't exist. Those functions are managed by a directly-elected board, not a metropolitan planning organization appointed by mayors or a governor.
Dirksen said equity will be an important issue of his first term.
"We must ensure that we all bear the burdens and the blessings of those choices and decisions equally, not benefiting one group or area at the expense of any other," he said.
Chase, the director of a public health nonprofit, related experiences he had with helping homeless people transition to home ownership to the region's quest to improve jobs. He talked about a family that he helped find their first home in Clackamas County 20 years ago.
"That's where I really began to understand the power of jobs and housing and how important those are in building that pathway out of poverty," Chase said.
Stacey, too, talked about jobs, including the one he narrowly lost in 2010, when he ran for Metro Council President against Tom Hughes.
"Boy, am I happy to be here today," Stacey said in opening his remarks, drawing laughter.
But he quickly turned serious, lauding the Metro Council for working with the Port of Portland and business interests on brownfield redevelopment and for Metro's support of the Community Investment Initiative, which is studying how to pay for infrastructure around the region.
"We owe it to our grandchildren to do this work of economic development in a way that maintains the beautiful and productive farm and forest land surrounding our urban region, protects the natural world inside our cities as well as the outside and does our part to reduce the growing threat of climate change that threatens the planet," Stacey said.
The inauguration featured a gospel choir from De La Salle North High School and lion dancers from Madison High School.
Dignitaries attending the ceremony included Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle and City Councilor Marc San Soucie, Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax, Multnomah County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury, Washington County Commissioner Dick Schouten, Portland city commissioners Nick Fish, Amanda Fritz and Steve Novick, state Rep.-elect Jeff Reardon (D-Portland), former Metro Councilor Robert Liberty and TriMet general manager Neil McFarlane.
Metro news reporter Nick Christensen can be reached at email@example.com or 503-813-7583. Follow Metro on Twitter @oregonmetro.