Larry Cooper, a Fairview city councilor and longtime Portland businessman, died during the Christmas holiday from a heart attack, his family announced Monday.
Funeral arrangements were unavailable at press time.
Fairview Mayor Mike Weatherby said the news 'really hit me hard.' He said Cooper brought a wealth of experience, knowledge and understanding of regional government to the council as a former Metro councilor, as well as personal connections to many officials. He also took an interest in seeing the business community work with the city, Weatherby said.
'I depended on him both as a colleague and a close friend,' Weatherby said. 'It's hard to imagine his passing.'
Fairview City Councilor Steve Owen said he was stunned by the news, adding that he had many conversations with Cooper about city issues and life in general.
City Councilor Barbara Jones said it was a pleasure to work with Cooper, who cared deeply for the community and was able to bring people together. Together, they worked on organizing the annual Chili On the Green festival, she said.
Cooper owned Cooper Tractor and Equipment, a small family business specializing in spare parts for construction machinery and diesel truck engine parts. He was raised in Portland and attended Mt. Tabor Grade School, Washington High School and Portland State University, according to Multnomah County Elections.
Cooper, a Fairview resident since 2001, was originally appointed to the Fairview City Council in January 2004. He was reappointed in 2005 and then elected in 2006 and 2010.
During his time on the council, Cooper supported bringing the USS Ranger to Chinook Landing, installing red-light cameras at busy intersections, studying the possibilities of consolidating the cities of Fairview, Troutdale and Wood Village, and creating a Multnomah County coordinating committee for transportation and planning issues.
Cooper strongly believed that East County's small cities could accomplish a lot by working together, Weatherby said.
Cooper opposed the proposed casino and entertainment complex in neighboring Wood Village and was critical of Metro when it got involved in local cities' issues or when it wasted taxpayers' money, such as on purchasing open space it could not take care of, Weatherby said.
'You pretty much knew where Larry stood on a subject,' Owen said. 'I think he always tried to do what was best for the community at large.'
In addition to the City Council, Cooper served on several committees and boards and was Fairview's liaison to the East Multnomah County Transportation Committee, which coordinates transportation planning in East County.
Cooper served on the Multnomah County Drainage District board for 14 years, including three years as president of the board of supervisors. He also served on the Metro Council from 1984 to 1988.
He served as an alternate on Metro Regional Government's Metro Policy Advisory Committee and on the Fairview Economic Development Committee.
'He's really going to be missed by the community,' Jones said.
Cooper's term expires in December 2014. Under the Fairview City Charter, the City Council selects someone to fill any vacancies on the council.