Ann Lininger ends speculation about contested BCC seat

Lehan wants to keep chair seat with Lininger's return to private sector

Ann Lininger, who has served as a Clackamas County commissioner for two-and-a-half years, announced last week that she will not run for the chair position or seek re-election to her current seat in the 2012 election cycle. Speculation abounded about Lininger's next move after former commissioner Martha Schrader announced last month that she would be running again for the seat.

Chair Charlotte Lehan then announced she would run for chair, a reverse from her public statements when she was appointed to the position vacated by Lynn Peterson in March. Lehan said that she had private conversations in which Lininger had indicated interest in the chair position, so Lehan had planned to switch seats.

But Lininger said her personal pressures became too great, wanting to work more closely with the local business community while continuing to be a public servant, wife and mother of two.

After being appointed to the seat in January 2009 to replace Schrader, Lininger easily won the seat in last November's election against Jim Needham. Lininger would have had to run again after two years, because Schrader left to run for the State Legislature before completing more than half a term.

Starting in 2013 Lininger hopes to return to the private sector, where she would like to use her experience as an attorney for nonprofits and project financing skills. She pledges to keep working hard over her final 19 months as commissioner to continue advocating for policies that safeguard vulnerable families and seniors.

'At this point in my life, I feel like I can do up to two big things well,' she said. 'I want to focus my energy on being a great county commissioner and a great parent/family member. I cannot undertake another major campaign right now without compromising my top two priorities.'

Earlier this year, she gave up her post negotiating with Milwaukie over sewer issues to Commissioner Paul Savas. She outlined her pride in a list of accomplishments in a press release last week, which include redirecting $1 million in funds from administrative and other uses to help low-income families and seniors.

In the social services realm that became her signature focus on the commission, Lininger helped launch a domestic violence response initiative and advocated for the approval of funds to create a health clinic and mental health crisis center.

'I was originally intending to support Ann for chair since I thought she was running, but her decision to not run at all came as a surprise,' Lehan said. 'Once she had made that decision, it was an easy decision for me to say that I would run for chair.'

She added that its 'always awkward to know when you're going to announce' candidacy for a position.

'I just turned 60 in January, so I consider that I have at least five years left in me,' Lehan said.