The Bend City Council held a meeting on Wednesday, May 18. This was the last meeting that Mayor Sally Russell and Rita Schenkelberg attended as they both stepped down. City Councilor Rita Schenkelberg was the first to discuss their resignation. Schenkelberg stated that they were stepping down due to the complex hardships.
They then went on to thank people of color and of the trans and queer community for supporting them.
They said with understandable emotion, “This was a difficult decision to declare my resignation. It was challenging to see multiple members degrade my identity. I have been targeted multiple times at City Council meetings for many things that are just me.”
Photo By: Walter
Left; former Bend city Mayor Sally Russell, Middle: Mayor Gena Goodman Campbell, Right; former councilwoman Rita Schenkelberg.
Councilwoman Melanie Kebler spoke to Schenkelberg, stating, “It was an honor to serve with you, and I am sorry this is how it has ended. Thank you for your value and voice and how much you have done to improve this community. I recognize how challenging it is to be a change-maker and be in front taking the lead, and we will truly miss you.”
Councilwoman Megan Perkins also expressed her emotions regarding Schenkelberg’s resignation.
“My heart is broken. I look back on when we had our Zoom meeting, and we asked you how we could support you, and I am so so sorry that I have failed you and have not been able to support you; I’m so sorry,” Perkins said.
Former Mayor Sally Russell was next as she resigned just five months before the reelections in November. She stated that she was stepping down due to the hardships of what she had gone through and the exhaustion caused by it. She then talked about what she wanted for the council’s future.
“The council could serve by changing its charters and incorporated boards,” Russel said.
She also mentioned that she had not always been perfect but had always tried her best. After Mayor Russell was done speaking, the council opened for comments from council members.
Councilwoman Barb Campbell stated that Russel was like a sister to her.
“She is the person who has made me feel supported, and I am grateful for her service,” Campbell said.
Anthony Broadman, a councilman at the time of his statement, said, “I know how much you love this city, and I am truly grateful for your mentorship.”
After listening to what their colleges had to say, Russell and Schenkelberg stepped away from the council, officially resigning.
In November, Gena Goodman Cambell, Mayor Pro-Tem, was voted in as mayor until the elections. Broadman became the new Mayor Pro-Tem also until elections in November.
Photo By: Walter – Gena Goodman Campbell (right) gets sworn in as mayor of Bend Oregon