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Ferguson steps down as Milwaukie mayor

Jeremy Ferguson announced Thursday evening that is stepping down as Milwaukie mayor after he “was offered a great job opportunity that involves a considerable amount of time out of state.”

Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO - FergusonRepublic Services has a presence in Portland, but Ferguson has been increasingly working in Seattle in his company’s business that helps divert recyclables out of the waste stream. He said it was “the kind of job, as the Godfather would say, that's an offer you can’t refuse,” so he maintained his volunteer role on City Council as long as possible.

“Over the past months I've been doing both, but it's a schedule that is ultimately not sustainable for me and my family,” he said.

Out of the 20 years he’s been a Milwaukie citizen, Ferguson has been either on Budget Committee or mayor for nine of those years. He’s been proud to raise a family in Milwaukie, cut ribbons for numerous openings, march in dozens of parades, and coach for Milwaukie Junior Baseball and ASA softball.

“I think that the city of Milwaukie is in a stronger position than it was when I took office,” Ferguson said. “They’ve been an exceptionally successful six years, with net employment growth in the city even as many other communities struggled, and substantial endeavors like Klein Point Overlook, Safe Routes to School, and Riverfront Park Phase II substantially underway.”

Ferguson acknowledges that the past six years were also occasionally tough and bumpy for Milwaukie, but he’s relieved that voters bailed out the city’s $4 million debt to TriMet by passing a bond last year.

“We've had to make some hard decisions as a community about our city finances during a recession, and with the advent of the Orange Line, we are a city in transition,” he said. “But our shared struggles and successes have made us a stronger community for it... And the turnout at last week's council swearing-in ceremony reassures me that while I will miss the everyday business of Milwaukie, I know you are left in good hands.”

Since he has “great optimism for the future of Milwaukie,” he regrets that he won’t be able to be a part of its development in a mayoral capacity. Ferguson has a second home in west Seattle where his expects to live the majority of the time, so he plans to become a Seattle-area voter. Since he will continue to be a Milwaukie property owner, however, he plans to testify at Milwaukie City Council meetings as often as his schedule allows.

“I definitely have a vested interest in how Milwaukie is shaped,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson wrote to city officials that he officially steps down at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20, immediately prior to the City Council meeting that he doesn’t plan to attend.

As prescribed by City Charter, City Council is convening a special meeting at 4:55 p.m. on Jan. 20, before its regularly scheduled work session at City Hall to elect a City Council chairperson, in the absence of the mayor and council president positions. The chairperson will convene the work session at 5 p.m., and the regular session at 7 p.m., where the first order of business is to elect a City Council president who will act as presiding officer in council meeting until an interim mayor is appointed. City Council can operate for 30 days without a mayor, so they have some time to decide next steps.

Council is expected to discuss alternatives for seating a mayor through the remainder of the term through January 2019. An interim mayor may be appointed until a mayor is elected on an upcoming ballot.

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