Former Oregon Gov. Barbara Roberts was selected to fill the vacancy on the Metro Council, earning five of the six votes from the sitting members of the board.
Roberts, whose last-minute application came at the urging of some members of the council, will be sworn in as the new District 6 councilor at the Feb. 24 Metro Council meeting.
At a hearing Wednesday night that featured interviews of the candidates for the position, Roberts contended that she can be an effective councilor despite having no intention of running to retain the seat in next year's election.
"I will have time to make a difference here," she said. "Then I'd like to see the voters of District 6 look at the candidates running in 2012, or 2011 as they start running, and make a decision about a brand new councilor for their district."
The council was clearly swayed by Roberts' experience in statewide office, and Roberts emphasized leadership and experience as the reasons she should be chosen for the board. When Councilor Rex Burkholder brought up the notion of a charter review, Roberts deadpanned that "There's nothing much more fun than a charter review."
She chaired a Metro charter review committee a decade ago.
Council President Tom Hughes cast the lone vote for the other finalist for the position, Bob Shiprack. In his testimony Wednesday, Shiprack talked about small-scale needs and emphasized developing relationships with underrepresented communities.
About 15 people testified at Wednesday night's public hearing, held at the David Douglas School District offices in East Portland. Nine of those who testified spoke in favor of Shiprack, with two more supporting Woodstock community activist Kenny Heggem and two offering general thoughts on the position.
In the initial round of voting, all six councilors voted to move Roberts forward to the final ballot and councilors Kathryn Harrington, Shirley Craddick, Carl Hosticka and Hughes voted to advance Shiprack. Councilor Carlotta Collette cast the lone vote to advance Woodland Park Neighborhood Association Chair Alesia Reese. Two votes were required to move a candidate forward from the initial round.
Councilors then wrote in their choices – only Hughes wrote in Shiprack – resulting in the 5-1 vote. Hosticka presented a symbolic motion to appoint Roberts, which was supported unanimously by the council.
The seat became open following the Jan. 15 resignation of Robert Liberty, who left to head a program at the University of Oregon.