Robert Liberty leaving Metro for UO job
- Jim Redden
- Portland Tribune - News
Update: Bob Stacey seeking appointment to vacancy
Metro Councilor Robert Liberty is resigning halfway through his term to become the first executive director of the Sustainable Cities Initiative at the University of Oregon.
In an e-mail sent to friends on Monday, Liberty called the job 'an exciting new position and new program that will allow me to continue my 30-year effort to build livable, sustainable and equitable communities.'
In the e-mail, Liberty said his last day on the Metro Council will be Jan. 15. He said the council will select a replacement to serve the last two years of his term representing the residents of District 6, which includes portions of Northeast, Southeast and Southwest Portland.
Former Metro President candidate Bob Stacey is actively pursuing the position. He spent part of Monday calling current and members of the council, including incoming President Tom Hughes, who narrowly defeated Stacey for the position in the November general election.
"I learned during the campaign that I can work with Tom," says Stacey, who estimates he pulled about 58 percent of the vote in Liberty's district.
Liberty, a former director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, is an outspoken environmentalist who has been one of the most outspoken critics of the proposal for the Columbia River Crossing replacement Interstate 5 bridge project between Portland and Vancouver, Wash. He has also been a strong advocate for requiring a mix of housing in all parts of the three-county area served by Metro.
Liberty is the second council member to leave before the end of his term in the past few months. President David Bragdon resigned last August to become director of the Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability in New York City.
Liberty was elected to his second term in 2007 and took the oath of office in early January 2008. Because he will serve more than half his term, the council will seek applicants and hold a hearing in his district before choosing a replacement.
The university's three-year-old Sustainable Cities Initiative in Eugene is an initiative that works to improve urban livability and protect the environment.
HERE IS THE E-MAIL ROBERT LIBERTY SENT ON MONDAY:
I am pleased to announce my selection as the first Executive Director of the Sustainable Cities Initiative at the University of Oregon. As described in the attached media advisory, this is an exciting new position and new program that will allow me to continue my 30-year effort to build livable, sustainable and equitable communities.
I am planning to serve my last day as a member of the Metro Council on January 15. The Council will select the person to fill out the last two years of my term as the representative of residents in Metro Council District 6.
I appreciate the support and interest you have taken in my work at Metro over the last six years. I believe I have provided new ideas and leadership on a range of issues on behalf of all of you.
I contributed to shifting the regional emphasis from urban development on productive farmland, forestland and natural areas around our urban growth boundary, to reinvesting in neighborhoods we already have. I have worked with architects, neighborhood leaders and developers to explore new ways of providing for the region's growth that enriches, rather than diminishes, existing neighborhoods
I made it a point to speak up on issues relating to the economic opportunities and quality of life of minorities and families of modest means and of the areas of our region that are struggling. I added these perspectives into aspects of the Natural Areas Bond Measure, into transportation planning decisions and most recently in planning for greater housing choice in new and existing communities.
I worked hard to reform transportation decision-making, from the project level to the regional system level. My views did not always prevail, but I believe I have raised awareness. Perhaps in some modest ways, I prepared the ground for the reforms that I am confident we will have to make in a world of financial and environmental limits.
More recently, I enjoyed working with leaders in the business community and nonprofit organizations on the effort to create a regional consensus around the highest priority investments we should be making in the region. If done well, this can be an important effort to improve the region's economic health and increase economic opportunities for working class people while maintaining our high standards for protecting the environment and promoting innovations in urban development.
In more modest ways, I contributed to Metro's efforts to update the Oregon Zoo's facilities and enhance its conservation and education work and making sure citizens have a voice in Metro's regional work.
I offered the support for leadership by other members of the Council on issues of solid waste, natural areas protection and the success of our visitor and meeting facilities.
I enjoyed working with the citizens in my district and the region, other elected officials (where I enjoyed the debate and dialogue on the Metro Policy Advisory Committee) the staff here at Metro and my colleagues on the Metro Council. In my new role, I will take the lessons I have learned during the past six years and put them to good use in other parts of Oregon, around the nation and in other parts of the world.
Thank you again for your support. You have my best wishes for your continuing participation in the efforts to keep this region a place we are proud to call home. I am sure our paths will cross many times in the years ahead.