Former mayor of Tigard and two-term Metro councilor Craig Dirksen says his political career will end next December, when his second and last term on the Metro Council expires.
Dirksen is eligible to run for a third term from Metro District 3, covering Portland's southwestern suburbs, excluding Lake Oswego and West Linn, in next year's primary election. But Dirksen said in an email Tuesday evening, Nov. 19, that he will not seek re-election to the Metro Council.
"At the end of my current term in December of 2020, it will have been my pleasure to serve District 3 residents as their representative to the regional government for eight years," Dirksen wrote. "Together with my prior service as City Councilor and Mayor of the City of Tigard, that adds up to 20 years as an elected official. Before my retirement from my professional career, I worked in engineering for 40 years, and I only became involved in local politics when I saw, in my community and the region, the need for leadership and ideas in the face of continued growth and challenges to our unparalleled quality of life. After 20 years, it's time to step down and allow myself and my wife Jackie to enter another phase of our lives, where we actually have the time to do all the things we would like to do without the limits of a busy schedule."
Dirksen was first elected to the Metro Council in 2012, running unopposed. Before that, he was mayor of Tigard, Washington County's third-largest city, from 2003 to 2012.
Dirksen was honored as Tigard's First Citizen in 2018, an annual award given by the Tigard Chamber of Commerce. He said at the time, "When I'm done at Metro, I'm done."
Tigard City Councilor Tom Anderson has already filed to run for Dirksen's position. Anderson said Wednesday, Nov. 20, that he had expected Dirksen to run for a third term, but when Dirksen told him he wasn't going to run again, he recommended that Anderson file early.
"Craig's a big-time name, and he would have been unopposed this time, I'm quite sure," Anderson said.
In his email, Dirksen recommended Anderson as "a worthy successor."
"Like me, he is a political moderate with a pragmatic view of things, who considers each issue on its own merits, without any particular preconceived ideology overshadowing his decisions," Dirksen wrote. "I believe his election to the Metro Council would continue to provide the balance and range of opinion needed as the region moves forward in fulfilling its responsibilities."
Anderson, a former Tigard planning commissioner, was elected to the City Council in 2016. He owns a local real estate agency and is active in the Rotary Club of Tigard.
"I would've been happy to stay on City Council, but this opportunity came up, and I feel that I can serve as effectively or more effectively with Metro," Anderson said Wednesday.
Anderson said with his land use and planning experience, he thinks serving on the Metro Council fits into his "wheelhouse," and he wants to be a voice for suburbs like Tigard in the process.
"First and foremost, you've got to be an advocate for District 3," Anderson said. "There are a bunch of smaller cities that get overshadowed, I think, by Portland. Most of the issues that Tigard deals with weekly is because we are a tier one suburb of Portland."
If a candidate wins an outright majority of the vote in the May primary, there will not be a contested general election. Otherwise, the top two vote-getters in May advance to the general election in November.
By Mark Miller
Washington County Editor
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