BEND, OR -- Bend's Mayor announced this week he will not seek re-election. Jim Clinton is the most senior member of the current City Council, having served for more than a decade; the last four as Mayor. He tells KBND News, "I decided that, even though I've maintained my dedication to the position for 12 years, I didn't think I could maintain it for another four years." Clinton adds, "I don't think anybody has ever been on the City Council for a whole bunch of consecutive terms. It's just a time in our system where people go on for a while, like a relay race, and then somebody else picks up the baton and goes forward. So, I think it's natural that I would step aside at this point."
Clinton says it's been an honor to serve the city, but admits he won't miss some of the trappings of the office because he doesn't consider himself a natural politician. "A lot of times we get into debates at the City Council and debates in the community that really are more aimed at scoring political points and winning over the opponent than actually advancing towards solutions for our city. That part of it is not so productive." He feels the city has made great progress in facilitating affordable housing projects and transportation and land use planning. But, he says it still falls short on public transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and road maintenance.
Former City Councilor Bruce Abernethy has already filed to run for Clinton's Position Four seat. Clinton says, "I actually talked to Bruce, quite a few months ago before he announced, and said things were looking really problematic for me for seeking another term, being as honest as I could. And, I certainly didn't discourage him from filing; it's not like we would be in opposition. So, that was not a factor at all."