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Villebois resident Julie Fitzgerald decides to vie for the highest elected office in the city

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF WILSONVILLE - Fitzgerald

Former Wilsonville City Councilor Julie Fitzgerald is throwing her hat in the ring for the upcoming mayoral election.

Fitzgerald served on the council from 2013 to 2016 and said she decided not to run for a second term due to professional demands that included extensive travel.

Now, she said she has more time for the role in her current job as the executive director for the Oregon Zoo Foundation.

She is the first person to have their candidate filing approved by the city of Wilsonville for the mayoral election.

"The reason I want to run for mayor is I really love the city of Wilsonville and I want to be a strong leader in keeping this city a wonderful place to live, work and play, and that means a city that is equitable, just and civil to everyone who lives here," she said.

Fitzgerald told Pamplin Media Group in 2016 that some of her greatest accomplishments as a councilor included helping the city pass plans for Frog Pond residential neighborhoods and the Basalt Creek industrial area as well as jumpstarting the Wilsonville Citizens Academy.

She also thinks her professional experience as a leader in organizations like the Oregon Zoo Foundation, the Nature Conservancy and Oregon Health & Science University make her suitable for the role.

"I think that with my experience being a city councilor for four years and my career working in public service on quality of life in a number of ways, I have the skills and the passion and commitment to help Wilsonville achieve some incredible things," Fitzgerald said.

Recently, she provided council testimony in favor of the city's plan to foster more affordable housing in town and was against the successful May ballot measure that imposed term limits on councilors.

Two of her priorities if elected, Fitzgerald said, are providing more housing options in town and making sure the council serves the entire community, including minority populations.

Specifically, she said she wants to be a leader against racism.

"First of all, it would require learning to listen in a new way with the council and city and inviting more public participation so we can learn about areas that need change so we can create an anti-racist community," she said. "I don't think there's any one answer. It's a long period of listening and learning and working together."

Current Mayor Tim Knapp cannot run for another term due to the passage of the term limits ballot measure, meaning Wilsonville will have a new mayor for the first time since 2009. The election will take place in November and the new mayor will begin serving in January 2021.

Council President Kristin Akervall and Councilor Joann Linville's candidate filings for their respective seats, which also are up for grabs, have been approved. Now that her candidate filing is complete, Fitzgerald will need to collect at least 20 valid signatures in support of her candidacy by Aug. 18, which is the deadline for all applicants.

Wilsonville City Councilor Charlotte Lehan thought Fitzgerald would be a quality replacement for Knapp.

"I thought she was an excellent city councilor," said Lehan, who served alongside Fitzgerald for two years. "She was always extremely well prepared and very thoughtful in her deliberations. I think the city would be well served (to have her). And she has the experience of being on the council."


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