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Hillsboro City Council President Kyle Allen says he hopes to help his colleagues be the best councilors they can be.

PMG FILE PHOTO: - Kyle Allen was unanimously elected Hillsboro City Council president on Jan. 5.Hillsboro has a new City Council president.

The seven-member council unanimously elected City Councilor Kyle Allen president at its first regular meeting of the year on Jan. 5.

As council president, Allen is responsible for presiding over meetings in the absence of the mayor and acting as mayor if the mayor is unable to perform duties, the city charter says.

The role had been occupied by Fred Nachtigal since 2019, as the council elects a president at the first meeting of every odd-numbered year. Nachtigal was unable to seek re-election last year due to Hillsboro's term limits.

Allen, who serves in Ward 2, Position A, is in his second term on the council after being elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. He is the second-longest-serving member of the council behind Mayor Steve Callaway, who was first elected to the council in 2010 and then elected mayor in 2016.

Allen is a lifelong Oregonian who works at Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center as the school-based dental operations manager.

"I think it is a great honor that they (elected) me, and it shows their trust in me to lead them," he said. "That is something that means a tremendous amount to me."

Allen said he is prepared to act as mayor if required. But he added that he thinks the role of council president reinforces other responsibilities on the City Council that aren't explicitly spelled out in the city charter.

"It's going to be important to me to keep the council very well informed so that we can make the best decisions possible," he said. "That becomes increasingly important in this year, 2021, as we turn the corner on the pandemic and focus on recovery."

In addition to supporting residents' pandemic recovery, Allen said it will be important to make progress on issues such as housing, homelessness, public safety reform, and diversity, equity and inclusion this year.

He said he also thinks it's important for the council president to help facilitate open and productive dialogue about issues that come before the council.

Allen's collaborative approach to the council was a primary reason City Councilor Beach Pace made a motion to elect Allen council president on Jan. 5, Pace said.

"What I appreciate about him is his focus on teamwork," she said. "And making sure that everyone is heard."

Pace said it's sometimes difficult to know where Allen stands on a topic because he helps the council discuss and scrutinize issues holistically. He is always respectful of differing opinions, she said.

"He wants to bring us together, at least in discussion," Pace said, adding that bringing the council together doesn't necessarily mean Allen always seeks consensus.

Allen said he looks forward to the council's upcoming annual retreat when councilors will conduct goal-setting meetings.

"I promise (the council) that I will do the very best job that I can do in this role to be supportive of them and their efforts to be the best councilors they can," Allen said.

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