Tigard Mayor John L. Cook taking reins at statewide association
John L. Cook will become president of the Oregon Mayors Association in 2018.
Cook's elevation comes as no surprise — like many such groups, the OMA operates on a system of selecting its next president a year in advance. Cook has been serving as president-elect while Redmond Mayor George Endicott is president. Once Endicott's term ends, Cook will take over; his designated successor for 2019 as president-elect is Dallas Mayor Brian Dalton.
"I'm just really humbled that the mayors voted and wanted me to be their president," Cook said. "I'm pretty sure I'm the first Tigard mayor to ever do that."
Tigard is the 12th most populous city in Oregon, Cook noted. Because of that, he said, he has found many other mayors look to him as a source for advice and guidance on issues facing their cities and councils.
"They take advice from me more than I do from them," Cook admitted. "But it's amazing how much I learn from what happens in Amity, or what happens in Eagle Point, or what happens in Rainier. They have some issues that we will run into. It's nice to … be able to speak to somebody about that."
The OMA is affiliated with but separate from the League of Oregon Cities, the president of which is currently the mayor of one of Tigard's neighbors: Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle.
While the League of Oregon Cities functions as a "dynamic resource hub" for cities in general, and its board officers include city councilors as well as mayors, the OMA is specific to Oregon mayors, providing a forum for them to meet with one another and a platform for them to speak collectively on common issues.
Cook joined the OMA board of directors at the same time as another neighboring-city mayor, Lou Ogden of Tualatin. Ogden will not be on next year's board as he runs for chairman of the Washington County Board of Commissioners. But Cook said he and Ogden shared a goal for guiding the association's future direction.
"Our main focus for improving the organization was to increase its education," Cook said. "And so for the most part we've expanded the seminars and teaching at the conference and then, in addition, tried to have more outreach where the mayors can call each other or contact each other to get ideas or help for things that they may have going on in their cities."
As president next year, Cook said he wants to bolster the OMA's voice in Salem, just as the League of Oregon Cities and Metropolitan Mayors Consortium lobby for their interests.
Cook will also serve as a non-voting board member for the League of Oregon Cities. He sits on the selection committee to hire a new executive director for the League as well, he added.
Much of Cook's role as president, though, will be in presiding over OMA board meetings — and planning the association's annual summer conference, which will be held next July in Florence.
At this year's OMA summer conference, Endicott married fellow Mayor Krisanna Clark of Sherwood in a surprise ceremony, in which Doyle served as best man. Clark — who now goes by her married name, Krisanna Clark-Endicott — resigned as Sherwood's mayor Monday, Oct. 2, announcing she intends to relocate her family to Redmond.