Freshly retired union official Bob Shiprack has thrown his hat into the ring to fill an open seat on the Metro Council, the regional government that coordinates land-use and transportation planning in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties.
Shiprack, 60, retired Oct. 1 after 25 years as executive secretary-treasurer of the Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council.
In January, Metro Councilor Robert Liberty announced that he would be leaving before the end of his term — January 2013 — to take a job at the University of Oregon. Because fewer than two years remain in his term, the seat will be filled by appointment of the five remaining Metro councilors and Metro president.
“I’m seeking the seat because I would like to see a change in the style of leaders representing District 6,” Shiprack told the Labor Press.
Liberty, a former staff attorney for the environmental group 1000 Friends of Oregon, has often been at odds with construction unions because of his staunch advocacy for conservative land development. He also opposes the Columbia River Crossing, a huge job-producer for construction workers.
Immediately after Liberty announced his departure (effective Jan. 15), his next-door neighbor Bob Stacey, who lost the November election for Metro president, said he wanted the job. Stacey is a former director of 1000 Friends of Oregon.
Shiprack said residents of District 6, which includes portions of Northeast, Southeast and Southwest Portland, “know that jobs are still the number one issue in the Metro area, and value a new councilor with experience that can help bring more jobs to our region. They want a councilor who will be a uniter — someone who has experience building broad coalitions around controversial issues.”
Shiprack is a former six-term state legislator and past chair of the state’s Energy Facility Siting Council. He was born and raised in Southeast Portland, which happens to be in District 6, although Metro hadn’t been created yet.
The Metro Council is expected to declare a vacancy at its meeting Jan. 20 (after this issue went to press). Once it does, candidates will have four weeks to apply for the part-time post that pays $37,774 year. After the application period ends, the Council will hold a public meeting, at which time councilors will interview applicants and invite members of the public to speak.
The current Metro Council is comprised of President Tom Hughes and Councilors Shirley Craddick, Carlotta Collette, Carl Hosticka, Kathryn Harrington, and Rex Burkholder.
(Editor’s Note: A month after retiring, Bob Shiprack was diagnosed with colon cancer. Because a colonoscopy caught the cancer early, doctors were able to remove it surgically, with no need for chemotherapy or radiation. He told the Labor Press last week that he is cancer-free and recovering nicely. He wants to remind everyone not to put off having a colonoscopy when they are of age, typically after turning 50 years old.)