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Departing mayors – 10 of them – leave contributions in metro area

Ten of the Portland area's 25 incorporated cities will be served by a new mayor beginning in 2009, creating not only an immediate transition of leadership within each community - but also significant shifts of influence throughout the region.

Most of these mayors are retiring. They are: Tom Potter of Portland; Judie Hammerstad of Lake Oswego; Norm King of West Linn; Rob Drake of Beaverton; Tom Hughes of Hillsboro; Paul Thalhofer of Troutdale; Dee Wescott of Damascus and Teri Branstitre of Banks. Meanwhile, Charlotte Lehan of Wilsonville and Jim Bernard of Milwaukie are moving on to county government service.

We didn't always agree with these many mayors, but we believe each brought unique skills and qualities to his or her office that should be appreciated.

Potter brought a sense of 'everyman' civic connectedness to his office that had been missing. Both Drake and Hughes consistently showed regional partners that common sense and a willingness to hear all sides before making a decision are valuable leadership traits.

Thalhofer was the longtime conscience of Troutdale and advocated that small communities do not play second fiddle to the region's bigger cities.

Wescott was the first mayor of the newly formed city of Damascus. He set a good example of community service well before being voted in as mayor in 2004.

Hammerstad, who couldn't run again because of term limits, ends several decades of municipal, education, county and state service and showed others that you can accomplish important things when working together for a common goal. King helped end municipal chaos in West Linn. Bernard, Lehan and Wescott worked hard and effectively to serve their respective cities and help Clackamas County become a larger regional player. Branstitre proved that even the region's smallest cities deserve their own elected mayor.