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January 5th, 2011 NIGEL JAQUISS | News Stories
 

Metro Traffic

The political fallout from a Councilor’s surprise resignation.

     
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Metro Councilor Robert Liberty’s resignation this week creates an intriguing scenario—that the three men who fought hard for the Council presidency in May could all be serving together.

Former 1000 Friends of Oregon Executive Director Bob Stacey told WW he wanted Liberty’s job even before the University of Oregon’s Sustainable Cities Initiative officially announced Liberty’s hiring on Jan. 3.

Councilor Rex Burkholder, who finished third in the May primary behind Stacey and the eventual winner in the president’s race—former Hillsboro Mayor Tom Hughes—remains on the seven-person council. Burkholder upset plans by Liberty and his new employer to announce the news of Liberty’s departure first by tweeting that news Monday morning to his 229 Twitter followers.

If Stacey joins the Council, he’ll also have to reconcile with Burkholder.

As the May primary progressed, Burkholder’s exchanges with Stacey grew increasingly testy. After the primary, Burkholder failed to endorse Stacey, a fellow Portland liberal. And Burkholder’s wife, Lydia Rich, urged supporters in the general election to “write in Rex.”

Two others mentioned as potential Liberty replacements are Oregon Transportation Commissioner Gail Achterman and state Rep. Jules Bailey (D-Southeast Portland).

Achterman, 61, clashed with some Metro councilors over their opposition to the Columbia River Crossing bridge project. Bailey, 31, is a strong planner and enviro but says he doesn’t want the job.

 
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