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Dirksen to make run for Metro Council

Mayor will not step down while he runs for regional seat
by: Patrick Cote <center> <b>Craig Dirksen</b></center>

Tigard Mayor Craig Dirksen said he is planning on making a run for Metro Council in 2012.

'The rumor is true,' Dirksen told The Times Friday morning. Dirksen, who has served as Tigard's mayor since 2003, has not yet filed for the seat, but confirmed that he will run for the regional position.

Metro, the Portland-area regional government, oversees land-use and transportation planning in Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah counties, as well as operates the Oregon Zoo.

Dirksen said that his near decade in office has shown him the importance of cooperation on regional issues.

'It amazes me how often I find myself at Metro trying to get the things done that need to be done,' Dirksen said. 'There's a lot of decisions that need to be made at that level and there's a need to have those decisions made and where that money will be spent.'

Dirksen will run for council position 3, currently held by outgoing Councilor Carl Hosticka.

Hosticka, who has represented District 3 since 2000, is term-limited and can't run for re-election.

District 3 represents portions of Washington and Clackamas counties including parts of Beaverton, Durham, King City, Sherwood, Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville.

Dirksen, a transportation advocate who serves on Metro's Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, said he is concerned about federal funding for transportation projects in the Portland area, such as the proposed high capacity transit line that could mean MAX light rail coming to Tigard.

That project is dependent on federal dollars, which might not be there in the future.

'As the federal government looks to get the deficit under control, what will that mean for projects that we have planned or projects we already have in line here in Portland?' Dirksen said. 'It will take a real dip in finances to make that work.'

Dirksen also has ideas for Metro's Urban Growth Boundary and rural reserves, and how the programs should be implemented in the future, he said.

Voters re-elected Dirksen in November to his second full term as Tigard mayor, and he said he doesn't plan to step down from his position while he campaigns for the Metro Council.

'That seemed to be the best way to go for continuity's sake,' Dirksen said.

Metro council candidates must first run in a non-partisan primary election in May before the general election in November 2012. If a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the primary vote, they are elected outright.

If he is elected in the May primary, that would allow the city time to put together a special mayoral election in time for November, Dirksen said.

'That will smooth the transition,' Dirksen said. 'It's easier to remain in place (as mayor) until that time.'

So far, Dirksen is the only candidate to announce a run for position 3.

Dirksen plans to make a formal announcement on Thursday, Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. at M and S Grill at Bridgeport Village, 17015 S.W. 72nd Ave.