Milwaukie Mayor Jeremy Ferguson announced Tuesday that he has pulled out of the race challenging Clackamas County Commissioner Jim Bernard to focus on immediate personal and family needs.
West Linn resident Justin Gombos filed Dec. 12 to become the third challenger for the seat, and Boring Community Planning Organization Chairman Steve Bates also has been running in the May primary race that will narrow the field to two candidates on the November ballot. Ferguson said he is not giving his support to any other candidate at this time.
Ferguson explained that his decision to withdraw from the race came after he saw the insignificance of first-world problems compared with third-world problems.
While I was on a recent humanitarian trip to Haiti, I decided that at this time there are ways in which I can more effectively help my family as well as the less fortunate, he said.
While there Nov. 29 through Dec. 12, he worked with health care professionals to teach rural Haitians about basic disease prevention as they treated nearly 1,000 for a variety of illnesses and injuries. There is one doctor for every 15,000 people in the country, so a single visit can cost the average Haitian a month of income.
Ferguson promised that he will continue to emphasize public service as a major part of his life. On his last trip, he met with the mayor of Mirebalais, a city close to the Fedja orphanage that was working on some expansion plans to ask for support from the local government organizations to allow the plans to move through.
Ferguson, who has not ruled out the possibility of a future political run, will continue to serve his term as mayor, a part-time elected volunteer position for which he could choose to run again in November. This announcement will shake up potential and current Milwaukie City Council members who had expected him to retire the city position. Before his term ends Dec. 31, he hopes to wrap up the citys project to remove Kellogg Dam, so fish and recreation can return to the streambed.
He said, There is still a lot of work to be done in Milwaukie. My goals are to finish the Wildlands Project, restore Kellogg Lake and continue to place the city on solid financial footing.
Ferguson ended his press release by thanking supporters of his campaign that began with an announcement in the Clackamas Review in July and a formal filing in October.
The backing of my family, friends and the community of Milwaukie made this possible to begin with, he said.