Well over a hundred people crowded City Hall on Wednesday to watch the swearing in of Bend’s first elected mayor in nearly a century.
New Mayor Sally Russell, re-elected City Councilor Barb Campbell and newly elected City Councilor Gena Goodman-Campbell took their oaths of office in a short meeting.
“I want everyone in this community to know that I am in,” Russell said. “I am in for the distance in this job.”
The meeting started with a performance of “America the Beautiful” by the Bend Children’s Choir. Beginning the meeting that way was a reminder that the work the City Council does is to make Bend better for children, Goodman-Campbell said.
She held her infant daughter, June, while taking her oath and said she looked forward to being able to tell June about what the city does.
“This is really about Bend’s future and what kind of future we’ll have for our next generation,” Goodman-Campbell said.
Campbell said she appreciated everyone in Bend who participated in the election. A little less than a year ago, she said, she was sitting on the council dais scolding voters because of low turnout in a special election on health care tax, but people participated in the 2018 general election in a level she hadn’t seen before.
She said she also appreciated every candidate who stepped up to run and hoped they continue to be involved in local politics.
“Every time somebody makes even an attempt, they’re able to change the conversation,” Campbell said. “When you hear a politician say that someone’s changing a conversation it kind of sounds like jargon, but it’s true.”
Councilor Bruce Abernethy, who has two years left in his term and has previously served as mayor, was unanimously selected as mayor pro tem. In that role, he’ll run meetings in Russell’s absence.
The City Council also officially declared a vacancy in Russell’s former City Council seat. The city has been accepting applications since late December, and 14 people have submitted applications so far. The deadline is 5 p.m. Friday.
“Ideally, from my point of view, somebody to fill this empty seat would be someone who can represent the entire community and really shows that they’re collaborative,” Russell said.
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