Longtime Bend councilor won’t seek reelection

Longtime Bend City Councilor Bruce Abernethy announced Sunday he will not seek reelection in November.

“While thoroughly enjoying the work and the camaraderie (with fellow Councilors and dedicated City staff), I have decided that at this time in my life I need a break and want to begin to scale things back a bit,” he said in a statement.

Abernethy will have served on the council for 12 years by the time his replacement takes over in January. He was first elected in 2000, served two four-year terms, then was re-elected in 2016.

“This announcement is being made now to provide plenty of time for civic-minded people to begin thinking about whether they, too, might want to pursue this unique opportunity,” he said. “Being on City Council is an amazing learning experience and I am happy to talk to any potential candidate on what is involved in both campaigning and then being an effective member of City Council.”

Abernethy is busy outside the council, serving as a board member of Central Oregon Community College. He has also served on the boards of Bend-La Pine Schools and the Bend Park and Recreation District.

Bruce’s top issues include affordable housing and homelessness. He has been involved in educational initiatives including Children’s Forest of Central Oregon, Camp Tamarack (outdoor school), Better Together, Cascades Commitment and TeachOregon.

In the email announcing his decision Sunday, Abernethy said he would be in Eugene today with several others from Bend, including Deschutes County DA John Hummel to meet with folks there who are addressing homelessness.

“Our hope is that we will learn and be able to identify some projects and approaches in addressing homelessness that could be successful here in Central Oregon,” he said.

The Bend City Council could look significantly different in 2021 with four seats up for election.

“Looking ahead, I recognize there are still 10 months left in my term and I’m excited to continue tackling many of the critical issues facing this rapidly growing City – transportation, homelessness, public safety, economic development, and climate change to name just a few,” Abernethy said.

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