Lake Oswego resident Greg Macpherson has made it official: He will run for mayor in the 2012 election.
'I am undertaking this new public service because I see a city council that is too divided,' Macpherson said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon. 'Disagreement over public issues is not necessarily a bad thing. But the divisions on the council go beyond healthy debate and make it harder for Lake Oswego to achieve important goals.'
Macpherson's announcement follows Mayor Jack Hoffman's January decision to forego campaigning for a second term, in part because of the negative and personal tone public discourse has taken in recent years. City Manager Alex McIntyre also noted friction on the city council when he announced in January that he is leaving Lake Oswego for a job in Menlo Park, Calif.
After Hoffman bowed out of the race, Macpherson acknowledged he was 'seriously considering' running for the open seat.
'A lot of people in Lake Oswego have been urging me to run for mayor,' Macpherson said last week. 'I think that's because they see a city council that has become seriously divided on a range of issues. Having represented Lake Oswego in the Oregon Legislature, I have experience bringing people together to find good solutions to complex public issues. I think that experience and skill set could be of good use to the community.'
From 2003 to 2009, Macpherson represented Oregon House District 38, which includes Lake Oswego. In 2009, he was the Oregon Business Association's Statesman of the Year, an award recognizing achievements in public service, consensus building and finding solutions to critical state issues. A member of the Lake Oswego Rotary Club, he was the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce's 2007 Community Leader of the Year. He was appointed by the governor to his seat on the seven-member state Land Conservation and Development Commission.
He and his wife, Tory, have lived in Lake Oswego's Evergreen neighborhood since 2001.
'My work in the Oregon House of Representatives has been recognized for balanced and effective leadership in a partisan setting,' Macpherson said. 'That experience will help me bridge the divisions afflicting Lake Oswego's civic life.'
Following a Jan. 26 Lake Oswego Review article about Macpherson's possible campaign, a reader posted an online comment questioning whether Macpherson's position as a partner in Stoel Rives could lead to potential conflicts of interest if he is elected. The Portland law firm represents the Lake Oswego Corporation, which controls Oswego Lake.
Macpherson, who specializes in cases involving employee benefits, confirmed Lake Corp. is one of his firm's 'many clients.'
'When I am serving as mayor,' he said by email, 'I will abide by any restrictions of the Oregon Government Ethics Commission relating to decisions that affect firm clients. My service in the Oregon House of Representatives was recognized for maintaining high standards of ethical conduct.'
No one else has formally announced plans to run for mayor.
Council president Sally Moncrieff recently announced she will not run for re-election to her position. Councilors Mary Olson and Bill Tierney have said they're waiting until March to decide whether to seek another term.
The city's six councilors serve four-year terms and are elected at-large, with those receiving the most votes winning vacant seats. The mayor, who heads the council, also serves a four-year term. The election filing period opens in August.