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The award was presented by Durham Mayor Gery Schirado, a past recipient, in Medford last weekend.

COURTESY PHOTOS: MIKE CULLY - King City Mayor Ken Gibson (center) was one of three Oregon mayors to receive the Mayors Leadership Award at an Aug. 3 conference.King City's mayor received statewide accolades, recognizing him for his leadership, at a recent conference.

Mayor Ken Gibson was one of three city leaders to receive the Mayors Leadership Award from the Oregon Mayors Association at its conference in Medford on Saturday, Aug. 3.

Gibson said he was surprised to receive the award. At least some King City employees knew about it beforehand, he said, but they kept it a secret until the ceremony.

"I had no idea it was coming," Gibson said.

Gibson has been mayor of King City since 2016. He's been on the City Council since 2008.

Although the award was presented to him for his leadership, Gibson said he considers it to be a team award.

"It's a recognition of the progress that we have made as a city, and it's a collective effort," Gibson said.

Gibson thinks he was chosen for the award because of the progress in King City. Originally founded as a 55-and-older community on Tigard's western flank, the city has grown and diversified in recent decades.

Gibson presided over the city's successful application to expand the urban growth boundary westward, giving King City the ability to grow further toward Southwest Roy Rogers Road.

"There was a lot of work that had to go into that. We had to develop a concept plan," Gibson noted. "We were successful in getting approved by Metro, and it was quite an accomplishment for such a small city. We knew what we wanted to do. We worked very hard as a team to make it a reality."

He added, "There were some people that were doubters. They didn't think that we'd be able to pull it off. But we did."

As King City has become more of a family town — the median age is still over 55, but as of 2017, about 45% of the population was under 55, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates — the City Council has become more diverse as well, with Gibson one of just three out of seven council members he describes as senior citizens.

"The council represents today's King City," Gibson said. "That's a good balance for what we are doing right now."

This is Gibson's first time receiving an award as mayor, he said.

"That's not what I'm in the business to do," Gibson added. "I'm in the business to make King City the best it can be."

Still, Gibson was touched by the honor, especially after Mayor Gery Schirado of nearby Durham, who was a Mayors Leadership Award recipient three years ago, choked up as he presented the award to his friend and fellow regional mayor.

"It was an emotional thing, and I just felt so much gratitude and support and well wishes from everybody in the room," Gibson said. "It was outstanding."

The two other honorees were Mayor Allan Duffy of Elgin and Mayor Jeff Gowing of Cottage Grove.

Another Portland-area mayor, Scott Burge of Scappoose, was recognized with an honorable mention.

Award recipients are selected by a judging committee based on their "exceptional leadership qualities," "considerable involvement in community affairs," "exceptional skill in helping to facilitate productive relationships" and role in helping other mayors "reach their full potential as community leaders."

By Mark Miller
Washington County Editor
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