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Bowerman says goodbye to City Council

Councilor will officially leave office Aug. 31; applications for her replacement are now being accepted

BOWERMANThere was cake and presents but no further explanation Tuesday night for the sudden departure of Karen Bowerman from the Lake Oswego City Council.

Bowerman said goodbye to her fellow councilors with a short statement that referred to the general direction of the city, but she did not elaborate on the health concerns she mentioned July 7 when she announced her intention to resign.

“In 2011, we came to Lake Oswego with great anticipation for that sense of community that we pride ourselves on in Lake Oswego,” Bowerman said, “and so to each and every one of the councilors, and to the staff, I just wish for you the greatest success in the world, for building that sense of community. Because that’s what Lake Oswego must be all about. Thank you for doing that. I know that you will.”

Asked before Tuesday’s council meeting if the evening was bittersweet, Bowerman simply nodded and said, “It is.”

When she told a stunned council earlier this month that she would resign, a tearful Bowerman said her reasons for leaving were more personal than philosophical.

“As an individual, health drives the decision that my family has reached, and that decision affects where we shall live,” she said. “Accordingly, I will be submitting my resignation from council.”

She told The Review on Tuesday that she “hoped to know more by the end of the month.”

Bowerman formally resigned in a letter to Mayor Kent Studebaker on July 13. She will officially leave office on Aug. 31, before the council returns from its month-long hiatus. She was elected in 2012 to serve through Dec. 31, 2016.

On Tuesday, Studebaker called Bowerman “a tremendous asset to the city.”

“You have always thoroughly read and studied all the material before the council, and have asked good questions,” he said. “You are well-informed, and you have always interacted with a cordial, collegial attitude. Thank you for that.”

Bowerman’s face was obscured from public view for part of the night by a large bouquet of flowers that waited for her at her council seat. Studebaker also gave her a plaque commemorating her service to the city, and Councilor Skip O’Neill presented her with roses and a book about Lake Oswego, signed by council members.

“You will be missed,” Councilor Jackie Manz told Bowerman. “I thank you for your mentorship, and help, during my first seven months on council. And for always taking my calls.”

“You’ve been a great example to me, as a new councilor,” Councilor Joe Buck said, “the way you prepared for meetings, the way you conduct yourself during meetings. I’ll miss you here, and I wish you the best of luck going forward.”

The session was followed by a private gathering, during which cake was served and Bowerman said she would read a poem she had written about her fellow councilors.

In her prepared statement earlier this month, Bowerman cited her concerns about the direction of the city, saying “life in Lake Oswego is taking on a character of a more dense profile, and from my vantage point, village character is not reflected in our decision-making processes, and we are not addressing all the issues, the real issues, of quality of life.”

She and her family reportedly intend to move from Lake Oswego, but she said her personal ties with the city are “profound and shall continue.” She is the first councilor to resign since Mike Kehoe departed for California in August 2013. But she would be the fifth in recent memory to leave Lake Oswego altogether either during or after their term in office.

Seen as a prominent conservative voice on the council, Bowerman also proved herself ambitious in the political realm. She ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners in 2014, less than a year after she was elected to the council.

Bowerman brought decades of experience in the public and private sectors to the job, including more than 30 years in higher education as the dean of the College of Business and Public Administration at California State University, San Bernadino, where she was named dean emeritus.

Bowerman earned a Ph.D. in Administration from Texas A&M University and a master’s in Speech Communication from Kansas University. She is the co-author of several textbooks on business leadership.

On Tuesday, the council revisited the procedure for filling Bowerman’s seat. Under Resolution 14-64, finalized last November, the city will post a notice of recruitment on the city’s website, in city publications and in The Review. Candidates are invited to apply online, with the option of including a cover letter and resume.

In the event fewer than 10 applications are received, all candidates will be interviewed by the entire council. If there are 10 or more candidates, the council will appoint a three-member committee to recommend a final list for the full council to review.

After interviewing those finalists, the council will vote to appoint a replacement to fill out the rest of Bowerman’s term.

In addition to information on educational, professional and vocational background, the online application asks candidates to explain why they would like to serve on council, how their skills complement or add to the council, and which issues they want the council to consider while they serve.

On Tuesday, Studebaker added two additional questions: “What do you believe are the biggest issues facing the city in the coming year and why?” and “As a councilor who also sits on the budget committee, please describe how you would prioritize discretionary spending and its associated costs.”

The application can be found at www.ci.oswego.or.us/boc/webforms/city-council-application. Applications must be received by Aug. 20 and will be reviewed by the council at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Sept. 1.

For more information, potential applicants are asked to contact City Recorder Anne-Marie Simpson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-534-4225.

Contact Saundra Sorenson at 503-636-1281 ext. 107 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..