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Monday update: Council President Kathy Hyzy is on track to lose by 42 votes, but a lot could still happen in race for city's top seat

Kathy Hyzy and Lisa Batey

Milwaukie City Councilor Lisa Batey on election night had 54%, but as additional votes were counted last week, Batey's lead narrowed to less than 51%. Batey had 50.32% to Council President Kathy Hyzy's 48.89% as of Sunday, Nov. 13.

On Monday, Nov. 14, Batey's lead narrowed further to just 49.84% to Hyzy's 49.38%. The winning candidate may get less than 50% due to about 70 voters writing in alternative choices.

"This is far more dramatic than any election Milwaukie has had in a long time," Hyzy said.

More mail-in ballots with Nov. 8 postmarks still have to be counted in the election that Batey leads by 42 votes in a city of more than 21,000 population. Both candidates could also contact voters whose signatures were determined to not match in an effort to get their votes counted.

Tuesday, Nov. 29, is the deadline for voters to resolve signature issues on their ballots, such as non-matching signatures, or voters who forgot to sign their ballots. Those votes are expected to be counted by Wednesday, Nov. 30.

Turnout has been high countywide, presumably due to increased interest in the gubernatorial race. In Milwaukie, City Council members encouraged voters to turn out for the Congressional race that was competitive for the first time in over a decade.

Why does the mayoral race matter? Hyzy says that she respects her opponent and enjoyed working with her on council, but Hyzy sees herself as stronger in terms of issues of equity, transportation and housing. Batey, for her part, would prioritize the needs of current residents over what she considers to be loftier goals in some areas.

Stakes are high for their personal political futures, as both women are reaching the end of their first term on the City Council. Whichever candidate does not win the mayoral election will have to step down from public office in January.

Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba is vacating his city position at the end of the year to run for state representative, prompting the two other City Council members to vie for the Nov. 8 vote of citizens to fill his seat.

On July 29, Batey announced a mayoral run just after retiring as an employee of the federal government. Within a year of buying her home in Milwaukie in 2002, she began serving as chair of the Island Station neighborhood association.

Batey says that her decades of experience in Milwaukie politics makes her stand out the most from her opponent in the mayoral race. Hyzy moved to Milwaukie in 2014 and was first elected in 2018.

Batey served on the Milwaukie Planning Commission for more than nine years, including three years as chair, before being elected to city council in 2014, along with her "Ladies of Milwaukie" running mate, Karin Power, who went on be elected as a state representative in 2016.

Batey earlier served on Milwaukie's Citizens Utility Advisory Board and from 2011-18 as a member of the board of Celebrate Milwaukie, Inc., the community nonprofit that oversees the Milwaukie Farmers Market.

Since 2015, Batey has served on the board of the North Clackamas Watersheds Council, where she helped advocate for removal of the Kellogg Dam. In 2018, she joined the board of the newly-formed Milwaukie Parks Foundation.

Batey served as the city council's liaison to various regional committees, including the Regional Water Providers Consortium and the Clackamas Fire District.

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Batey lived in seven states and three foreign countries before moving to Milwaukie. She has received a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University and a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

One of Batey's proudest achievements was reviving a process that led to the adoption of the Spring Park Master Plan and construction of a pocket park with play area and picnic tables near the park entrance on 19th Avenue. She has organized approximately 20 clean-up events in Spring Park over the years, including four years of SOLVE Earth Day cleanups that each removed a dumpster of invasive plant material and a pickup load of garbage.

Hyzy has sought to increase the availability of different types of housing, at different price points, throughout the city during Milwaukie's Comprehensive Plan process.

Hyzy has dedicated her work as council president to increasing attention to equity and inclusion in major planning decisions. She embraces Milwaukie's 2040 Vision goal to create a community that's entirely livable and equitable for everyone.

Drawing on her professional work in environmental nonprofits, Hyzy has helped raise the profile of the city's focus on climate action both in Milwaukie and throughout the state. She serves as vice-chair of the League of Oregon Cities' energy and environment committee, which helps set the agenda for cities lobbying the Oregon Legislature.

Hyzy's equity concerns were central to the recent work of the city's Community Advisory Committee for the downtown renewal area. With Hyzy as chair, the committee developed a plan to engage more than $9.8 million generated by tax-increment financing to spur downtown business, build additional units of affordable housing, and provide other amenities to increase walkability and livability throughout the renewal area.

Hyzy is Milwaukie's representative to the Clackamas County Coordinating Committee, which originally brought the cities of Clackamas County together to discuss transportation funding. She has successfully advocated for the committee's scope to include housing and economic development. In 2021 she was appointed to the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, where she advocates for Clackamas County transportation needs and fights for increased funding for transit, bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

Prior to her election to City Council in 2018, she served as communications director for the Island Station Neighborhood District Association and as a member of Milwaukie's Climate Action Plan Committee. She has also been active with the Friends of Elk Rock Island/Spring Park.

After getting her bachelor's degree in sociology and creative writing from Linfield College in 1997, Hyzy earned a master's degree in environmental studies from the University of Montana. She's a graduate of Battle Ground High School in Clark County, Washington.

Hyzy spent five years as the executive director of Western Friend, a small nonprofit publishing and community outreach organization for Quakers (the Religious Society of Friends).


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