Oregon City's Denyse McGriff has filed in the August mayoral election and plans to run again less than three months later to serve a full four-year term as mayor.
"I'd be honored to continue serving this community I care for so much," McGriff said. "I will continue to serve and support my community whether or not I am elected mayor or not, but this is the right time to step up my commitment to Oregon City."
McGriff made the announcement during AM Extra's weekly Mayor Monday segment on May 9, hosted by KOIN 6 News reporters Emily Burris and Ken Boddie. During the segment McGriff also highlighted some recent successes by the city such as new parks and securing $2 million in federal funds expected to spur residential development downtown through the construction of a railroad quiet zone.
"That's going to allow for some interesting development there in downtown; we've really seen some revitalization in Oregon City," Burris said.
Former Mayor Rachel Lyles Smith resigned effective April 22, which elevated McGriff to interim mayor. McGriff's run for the mayoral position has garnered the support of her fellow commissioners who say that someone with City Commission experience should be mayor.
"Filling for the election was at the urging of my fellow commissioners that we needed to keep our team together and continue the good work we're doing together," McGriff said.
McGriff was unanimously appointed commission president during the Jan. 5 meeting of commissioners. In that role, McGriff has assumed mayoral duties of running city commission meetings and appointing citizens to advisory boards.
"I try to achieve collaboration in all that we do, and it's really important to me that we continue working with the community to get as much citizen input as possible in decisions," McGriff said. "The city has been through some ups and downs, and it was also important to me that we have stability."
During the May election, voters are being asked whether the city commission as a whole should appoint members of the Historic Review Board and Planning Commission, which are public bodies that often make final decisions in important land-use cases. Other proposed charter changes include removing term limits and electing the city commission candidates based on the two who receive the most votes during an election year, rather than having candidates run for numbered positions.
McGriff made history with her appointment by city commissioners in March 2019 to become the first person of color to serve on the Oregon City Commission, and then earned the support of voters in November 2020 to serve a full four-year term. Prior to serving in elected office, she chaired Oregon City's Planning Commission and the McLoughlin Neighborhood Association.
McGriff is retired after working as a city planner in cities across the state, including Tillamook and Oregon City. She spent the final 17 years of her career as a senior project manager for the Portland Development Commission.
One year prior to being elected commission president, in January 2021, commissioners also unanimously elected McGriff as chair of the Urban Renewal Commission. She continued to serve in that role until the URC recently elected Commissioner Frank O'Donnell as the new chair.
The city began accepting candidate filings on May 1 for the August election, and candidates for the November election can file paperwork starting June 1.
For more information on how to file for the upcoming elections, visit orcity.org/cityrecorder/city-commission-election.
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