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Kristin Dennis, Chief of Staff to Mayor Ted Wheeler, Will Become Chief of Staff at Metro

As Wheeler begins his second term, he’ll hire a new chief as part of a staff shake-up.

Kristin Dennis, chief of staff to Mayor Ted Wheeler, will leave City Hall on Feb. 3 to become chief of staff to Metro Council President Lynn Peterson.

"Kristin has been a valued member of my team for nearly seven years, starting during my tenure as state treasurer," Wheeler said in a statement. "She is a talented public servant, and has faced innumerable challenges with professionalism, ingenuity, and common sense. I am particularly grateful for the two years she has served as my chief of staff. This is an exciting opportunity for her, and I look forward to working with her in her new capacity."

Dennis became Wheeler's third chief of staff in February 2019, having previously served as deputy chief and, before that, as chief of staff when Wheeler was state treasurer. Dennis was instrumental in negotiating furloughs and compensation freezes with city employee unions last year as the pandemic took hold.

She and her new boss, Peterson, know each other from Lake Oswego, where both served on the city council in the 2000s, although not at the same time.

"Kristin Dennis has strong relationships with leaders at every level of government in Oregon,"  Peterson said in a statement. "She understands the needs of people and public agencies across greater Portland. Her skills, experience and knowledge make her an incredible addition to the Metro team."

Metro, which saw voters defeat its $4 billion transportation measure in November, has both big ambitions and an increasingly large and complex mission. It has become a regional funding source for housing and homelessness bond measures, in addition to its traditional roles as owner of the Oregon Zoo, Oregon Convention Center and Expo Center and its oversight of the region's transportation and land-use planning and solid waste and recycling programs.

Peterson's current chief, Paul Slyman, will move to another post inside Metro as general manager of major projects. Wheeler has not yet named Dennis' replacement.