Woodburn's longest running mayor won't seek re-election
Woodburn Mayor Kathy Figley has announced she will not run for re-election this November, satisfied that she accomplished the goals she set out to meet 16 years ago.
"I'm one of those people who like to say, it's time," Figley said.
Figley has served eight terms in a row. She was a city councilor for 12 years prior, and was mentored for the position of mayor by former mayor Richard Jennings. When Figley ran for her first term in 2002 she had two major goals: upgrading the Interstate 5 interchange and adding industrial property west of I-5 to the Urban Growth Boundary.
"I thought from the get go, it's gonna take more than one term, it's gonna take two or three. And then with the economic downturn, it took a while to get done," Figley said.
The interchange project improved the intersection of Highways 214 and 219 at I-5, including a four-lane bridge over I-5 with bicycle lanes and wider sidewalks. The project began construction in 2013 and was completed in 2015.
The legal fight to expand the UGB took almost a decade and was finally completed in 2015. After the expansion was first approved the city had to fight against multiple appeals, Figley said.
"(The UGB) was appealed once in 2006 and once in 2011," she said. "I'm kind of bullheaded."
Now that those projects are finished, it's time for someone else to take the reins, Figley said.
"It's just a little more work than it used to be and not quite the fun it used to be," she admitted. "I've accomplished the two huge things I wanted to accomplish, so it's like, get yourself some more craft time, hobby time, girlfriend time."
Figley said she hopes to spend her free time knitting and spinning yarn, making jewelry, and caring for her basset hounds Rigo, Dianna and Toby.
"I do all kinds of fiber crafts and a little bit of jewelry," Figley said. "I want to get my spinning wheel back out and make some yarn. I've had some nice evenings in the backyard just getting out beads and wire and what have you."
Figley isn't done with politics and volunteering though. She will continue in her positions on the boards of the Boys & Girls Club and Woodburn Proud, and hopes to serve on the bond committee for the Woodburn Community Center.
Figley said the most difficult part about serving as mayor was seeing widespread apathy in the community toward major issues like the city budget, which is approaching $100 million, and uproar over seemingly trivial matters.
"You have people get very worked up about sometimes the darnedest things," she said. "You chalk it up to human nature and try to maintain some sense of humor about the stuff that is funny."
Ward 5 City Councilor Frank Lonergan has confirmed he is running for mayor now that Figley will not seek re-election.
"I wouldn't be running if Kathy was still running," Lonergan said.
Lonergan said he is running as a strong advocate for business, and is looking forward to the First Street improvement project, residential development and getting a community center built.
Lonergan's Ward 5 seat is open this November and city councilors Robert Carney, Ward 3, and Sharon Schaub, Ward 4, are also up for re-election.