At the January 7 board meeting, six finalists chosen for the vacant board position gave presentations and answered questions from the board to make their final case.
All of the board was present except for Jason Kropf, who through "the legendary powers of Skype," as board chair Ted Schoenborn put it, was able to get his questions in and hear from the candidates that way. However, the process wasn't without its own drama.
- Brianna Brey
- The Bend Park and Recreation District office.
After each candidate presented, each member of the board voted for their first and second choices. The first vote resulted in a tie between Amy Fraley and Deb Schoen—something it seemed the board hadn't planned for.
During the second vote, board members wrote down their first choice between Fraley and Schoen—which led to another tie. It was clear the board didn't have a plan for what would happen incase of a tied vote. Opting to try to find a quick solution, Schoenborn told his fellow board members, "I am willing to change my vote."
After voting for a third time, Deb Schoen was finally elected to the board—so one could assume that Schoenborn originally voted for Fraley.
- Submitted by Deb Schoen
- Deb Schoen brings 40 years of experience in Parks and Recreation to Bend.
Each of the candidates were qualified to serve on the board in one way or another, but Schoen in particular has had a successful 40-year-run working with the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation Department.
"I'm excited to bring my energy, enthusiasm and experience to ensure our community continues to receive the upmost value for their tax dollars," Schoen said during her opening presentation. "I've seen first hand how park and recreation systems can prevail the entire infrastructure of communities to be stronger, and more resilient in areas of health and wellness, equity and social conservation."
Each of the applicants focused time during their presentations to talk about accessibility and equity regarding parks and recreation in the community, which included ideas around trail connectivity, expanding programs and working to provide underserved communities with more recreational outlets. Schoen indicated she agreed.
"The district needs to work to eliminate areas that keep individuals from participating well beyond financial considerations. So many lessons were learned during my time managing a mobile outreach recreation program," said Schoen. "With the best intentions many mistakes were made, but the lessons learned led to a deep understanding of the importance of building relationships with the organizations that already have the trust of the community members we serve."
Schoen also previously served as an ADA Transition Plan Coordinator, has had experience with analyzing data, available resources and finances from her time as Treasurer of Oregon Recreation and Park Association, which adds to her already extensive background working within government organizations.
Schoen will be sworn on in during the January 21 board meeting.
"Schoen" means "good" in German—and now with two board members having the word in their last names... can we assume the new board is going to be "double good?"