New Bend Mayor Gena Goodman-Campbell said Friday it’s important to fill at least one of the two vacant city council positions with someone who can represent communities not currently seen on the council.
City Councilor Rita Schenkelberg stepped down on Wednesday, the same day as former Mayor Sally Russell.
Schenkelberg, who uses the pronouns they and them, described themselves as the first queer, non-binary, POC in the council’s history. But they indicated that they had been the target of hurtful comments.
“One thing that I realized as I was working, as I was serving the community for the last year-and-a-half is that many parts of me is that many community members are not willing to look at, have conversations with or interact with in a respectful way,” they said Wednesday. “I am heavily disappointed by that.”
Mayor Goodman-Campbell was asked how important it is to find at least one new councilor to represent Bend’s BIPOC and LGBTQ communities.
“I think it’s really important to continue to expand what representation and leadership looks like in our community,” Goodman-Campbell said. “There are lots of ways that we can do that, so I really encourage anybody who has a different life experience than what they see represented on council right now to apply.”
Goodman-Campbell said she will not run for mayor in the next election. She will serve until Dec. 31. She has endorsed City Councilor Melanie Kebler for mayor.
Until then, two city council positions need to be filled.
People who are interested in filling the open positions can apply online through June 1. If fewer than 10 people apply, the entire council will interview all applicants. If more than 10 apply, a subcommittee of councilors will suggest candidates.