The Hillsboro City Council's decision will be made at its first meeting in February

The Hillsboro City Council has a big decision coming up, and some local residents are hoping they'll side with them.

On Jan. 3, the city declared a vacancy on the city council after newly sworn-in Mayor Steve Callaway took over earlier this month.

Several people have already filed to fill Callaway's old Council seat, but outspoken critics in Hillsboro and beyond are asking the city to appoint someone of a diverse background to the council when it makes its decision next month.

The council is currently made up exclusively of white men. The makeup of the council changed this month after former Councilor Olga Acuña's departure. Nearly 40 percent of Hillsboro residents are not ethnically white.

Addressing the council last week, 50-year resident Jaime Rodriguez said he's seen the city grow and diversify a great deal in his life, but added that Hillsboro "has so much more to grow."

"Consider the vision you have for the city," he said, noting what he identified as a lack of accurate ethnic representation on council. "Diverse communities bring ideas. All we want is to be represented with a voice."

Demographically, nearly one-quarter of residents are Latino, 10 percent are Asian, and roughly 2 percent are Black.

So what's the council to do?

When speaking to a group of city leaders and business owners on Tuesday Callaway was asked about the upcoming council appointment and what residents should know about the council's decision-making process.

"It's truly about picking the right person that is going to serve Hillsboro well," he said. "I'd like to see somebody who would use these next two years as an opportunity to grow and then run for re-election in 2018."

Currently, there are six applicants with 10 days left to apply.

"Somebody who's involved in our community — familiar with our community — is very important," Callaway said of the new prospective councilor. "(Particularly) somebody (who) has experience with boards, commissions, or committees ... so that you understand how to work with others and work toward consensus and toward common goals."

By Travis Loose
Reporter, Hillsboro Tribune
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