BEND, OR -- Bend's three new City Councilors were sworn in at Wednesday night's meeting, followed by the election of Casey Roats as Mayor.
Roats tells KBND News he is humbled by the vote of confidence. "I didn't campaign to be mayor. I had a conversation with a couple of colleagues and was fortunate enough to have their trust that I would do what hopefully will be a good job. I think it's important to know that it was a leap of faith for this group, in particular, to take what could be a slightly different direction. I'm excited to be a part of this Council. I will be leading the meetings, but I'm still just one of seven in our system." Roats adds, "I'm happy to help run efficient meetings that will hopefully be timely and productive. We'll make sure that the minority opinion is respected, but that the will of the majority is enacted. And, I may not find myself in the majority on a good number of issues and I understand that. But, I'll work hard to find common ground and be a part of the majority when I can." Roats was elected to Council in 2014 amid controversy over his residency. Lawsuits filed over the issue were later dropped.
Fellow City Councilor Sally Russell was re-elected to her seat in November. She had expressed a desire to become Mayor, but she lacked the support of enough of Council. "Between November eighth and today - this is politics in Bend; this is how we choose our mayor. Sooner or later, you figure out whether or not you have the votes or not to become Mayor." She tells KBND News, "I told Casey I would be happy to be Pro Tem again, in that position. I didn't have the votes to be mayor this time, and so I'm thrilled to be in a leadership position for this city."
Mayor Roats says he wants to get back to basics, "I want the people of Bend to realize City Council is focused on the core services we provide. I think we could spend a good year making sure that people understand we are focused on the streets, and we are focused on permitting, planning and really the core services and utilities that we provide. Of course, we'll take other issues into account. We've spent a lot of time working on a lot of global issues here locally and I'm looking forward to a renewed focus on some of the things that are kind of the nuts and bolts of what a city government does."
Mayor Pro Tem Russell was sworn in, Wednesday, along with newly elected Councilors Bill Moseley and Justin Livingston, and Bruce Abernethy, who returns to Council after eight years in the private sector.