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Denyse McGriff vacates her previous seat to take mayoral position, which still leaves an opening.

Oregon City has been short on elected officials since April, but that could change soon with the appointment of a new city commissioner.Frank O'Donnell

Rachel Lyles Smith's last day as mayor was April 22, and Denyse McGriff has since filled the mayoral position, first as commission president, then by winning the Aug. 23 special election. With Oregon City's new mayor sworn in, the commissioner seat previously held by McGriff is vacant.

Oregon City has had to spend the past two months operating with a three-person commission, meaning it only took two elected officials to make decisions for the normally five-member commission.

City Commissioner Frank O'Donnell returned on Sept. 27 from a 60-day leave of absence to "fast track" the appointment process, saying he'd be happy to see someone sworn into office as soon as the commission votes for an applicant.

"There are critical issues coming up that need to be decided, and they need to be decided by qualified people," O'Donnell said.

Oregon City's four commission members are expected to interview applicants sometime during Oct. 18-28, at a time and date that will depend on the number of applicants and the availability of commission members. At least three out of the four members will have to agree on a candidate before the applicant is appointed.

The new commissioner is expected to take an oath of office at the beginning of the Nov. 2 commission meeting. But there's a slight chance that a commission vacancy could soon reappear if the commission appoints someone who's running in the November election and that person ends up winning the election.

O'Donnell is the only commissioner who isn't running in the November election. There are four non-commissioner citizens running for commissioner posts who could theoretically apply for the vacancy while mounting election campaigns at the same time.

With the option of running for a full four-year term in November 2024, the appointee will be expected to serve at least until the first city-commission meeting in January 2025.

Applications for appointment to the vacant commission position will be accepted until 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12.

Options for applying include submitting online at, downloading the form and returning it via email, mail, leaving it in the utility billing dropbox or dropping it off at the City Hall front desk, 625 Center St.

If you have any questions, contact City Recorder Jakob Wiley at 503-496-1509 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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