State Sen. Jackie Dingfelder is resigning to join Mayor Charlie Hales' staff.
Dingfelder, who was first elected to the Legislature in 2000, represents parts of Northeast and Southeast Portland. She is known as one the Capitol's strongest environmental voices and chairs the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
Hales brings Dingfelder in on the heels of his public safety advisor, Baruti Artharee's resignation but she is unlikely to take Artharee's police liaison assignment.
Here is Hales' statement on his newest staffer:
“I am delighted that Senator Dingfelder is joining my team,” Hales said. “She brings a diverse portfolio of academic and professional expertise to us on sustainability, planning, social justice, and environmental issues. Her political and policy background will be a huge asset for us and for the city. Soon all of Portland will know what District 23 already knows about her effectiveness!”
Dingfelder was just re-elected last year, so her departure from one of the Legislature's safest seats will set off a scramble as either State Rep. Michael Dembrow or Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, whose House districts are in Dingfelder's, will likely replace her. The Multnomah County Commission will pick Dingfelder's successor.
Update, 2:55 pm: Dembrow was not immediately available for comment. Keny-Guyer says if Dembrow, who entered the Legislature before she did, wants Dingfelder's seat, she will not challenge him.
"Michael and Jackie have both been great mentors to me," Keny-Guyer says. "We all hold town halls together and have strong relationships."
Update, 3:07 pm: Hales spokeswoman KC Cowan says Dingfelder will make $85,000 a year. That's more than quadruple her legislative salary of $21,936.
Cowan says Dingfelder will join a senior policy staff consisting of chief of staff Gail Shibley and policy directors Ed McNamara and Josh Alpert. Hales still hasn't chosen her assignments.
Dingfelder is not replacing Artharee, but Noah Siegel—who left the mayor's office last month.
"We still have to replace Baruti," Cowan says. "So we're actively working on that."