Former Beaverton leader Betty Bode dies
Beaverton mayors past and present paid tribute to Betty Bode, who spent 16 years on the City Council before illness forced her to retire at the start of the year.
Bode died on Saturday, Aug. 17. She was 72 and had depended on oxygen for more than two years to ease her breathing.
Funeral arrangements had not been announced as of Monday.
She was a career public health nurse who ran the Beaverton branch of the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Clinic and was an outspoken advocate for health care.
She was on the Human Rights Advisory Commission and the Planning Commission before she won the first of four City Council terms in 2002, when Rob Drake was mayor.
"Her public service career was a perfect example of how to serve others and make a positive impact for Beaverton residents," Drake said in a statement. "Thank you for your service, Betty!"
Drake is now Cornelius city manager.
Bode supported Drake for re-election as mayor in 2008, when Drake lost to Denny Doyle, who is still mayor. Doyle was elected to the council in 1994.
Doyle acknowledged Monday that he and Bode didn't always see eye to eye during their years together.
"Betty and I would disagree. It would last about three and a half minutes. But we agreed upon 98% of things," Doyle said. "It was fun to have a disagreement and know it was going to be OK when it was over, because that's not always the case in politics."
In 2010, Bode's challenger for her council seat was Mark Fagin, who won support from two other sitting councilors, Cate Arnold and Marc San Soucie. Bode defeated Fagin, who went on to win a different council seat in 2012.
In 2014, she was unopposed for her final term.
"She gave a lot of time and energy to the city in a lot of different ways," Doyle said. "People should remember her accomplishments in helping people who needed help."
In 2017, Bode developed symptoms of lung disease that eventually would claim her life.
"I really admired how she refused to accept the doctor saying it's going to be over fairly quickly," Doyle said. "She tried different medications and she never lost her sense of humor during this process, at least not with me."
In early 2018, Bode announced via video she would not seek re-election. Bode stopped attending council meetings in person, though she did participate in some meetings by telephone.
On June 12, 2018, she made her final appearance in person at a council meeting — but it was not for ceremonial reasons.
After two rounds of public comment for and against it — and a third round that same night — Bode spoke and voted for an ordinance to ban car camping on city streets while she advocated a safe-parking program for those whose cars serve as home.
"To me it showed that despite her physical challenges, she cared enough to come and do her civic duty," Doyle recalled. "She was aware of what was going on at the meetings, so that (appearance) was pretty impressive."
The vote was 4-1, Councilor Lacey Beaty the sole dissenter.
After she left office, Beaverton did create a safe-parking program.
Bode was a dissenter on two city priorities of recent years. While she supported a new building for the Beaverton Police Department, she expressed concern about dispersing city services away from downtown. The Public Safety Center, which voters approved a $35 million bond for in 2016, is at Allen and Hall boulevards.
Bode also raised questions about the financing and operation of the proposed Center for the Arts, named after major donor Patricia Reser. Ground is planned to be broken near The Round/City Hall this fall after center advocates reach their fundraising target; the city's share will come from lodging taxes.
At her final meeting on Dec. 4, Bode acknowledged that she was at odds sometimes with the mayor and councilors — although in a rare show of unity, she joined Doyle and four other councilors to endorse Laura Mitchell, who won 55 percent in the May primary to win Bode's council seat.
"I have found working with elected officials to be most interesting, because each one of us brings a commitment to the city, and yet we pursue different avenues to getting there," Bode said via telephone at that council meeting.
NOTE: Updated with comments from Mayor Denny Doyle; adds background.
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)