The Big Cheese: Appointing or electing Bend's mayor

Oran Teater asks why Bend, Oregon doesn't elect its mayor.

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Before heading off into the City Council retirement sunset, former councilor and mayor Oran Teater yet again brought up the question of why Bend doesn’t have an elected rather than an appointed Mayor.

Teater is absolutely spot on with his question, which is essentially pertinent this week, considering Jeff Eager was sworn in as mayor at last night's city council meeting.

Currently, the mayor’s role is strictly ceremonial. He or she runs the council meetings, signs official documents, cuts ribbons at openings and represents the city at social and governmental functions.

An elected Mayor would have to run on a platform and once in office try to guide the council on implementing that platform. This simply makes sense.

It’s no surprise that Bend is the only Oregon city of some size that still appoints its mayor. So, let’s get up to speed and make the position of Bend mayor an elected one.

And while we’re at it, why not consider altering the city charter to have four council positions elected by district. There would be Northwest, Southwest, Northeast and Southeast districts with two at-large seats and the mayor’s position. The idea is to give people in the various districts better representation.

Will either happen? Doubtful as ceremonial title holders don’t pose a threat to anyone and districting is scary.

Photo: City of Bend


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