PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — A year after taking the oath of office as Oregon City’s mayor, Rachel Lyles Smith said she’ll be stepping down from the position so she and her husband can move out of state to be closer to their families.
Lyles Smith’s resignation will be effective April 22, she wrote to commissioners and the city manager on March 30.
Denyse McGriff, who took office this year as Oregon City Commission president, will serve as interim mayor following Lyles Smith’s resignation, until a special election can be held and a new mayor sworn in.
“I am resigning so that my husband and I can move out of state to be near our families,” Lyles Smith wrote in her resignation letter. “Over the last year our families have experienced multiple medical incidents that have heightened our awareness, desire and need to be near them. I think the last couple of years has reminded many of us the value of family and the irreplaceable time that can and should be spent with them. It is my desire to put family first and I can only hope that you would do the same for your family.”
Lyles Smith filled a seat that was vacated when citizens chose to recall the former mayor, Dan Holladay, in November 2020. As the now-recalled mayor started skipping regional meetings more frequently in 2020, Lyles Smith stepped up as commission president to serve in those roles.
“I am confident that new leaders will step up and serve Oregon City as they have done for many years,” she wrote. “One of my primary goals when I sought the mayor position following the recall election of 2020, was to restore leadership to the Commission and be the best example I could be for those who will come after me to serve our city.”
Lyles Smith took the oath of office on April 7 last year, after being elected to the position in special election on March 9, 2021. She earned 42% of the vote, 12 percentage points more than any of the four other candidates.
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“We have demonstrated the importance of having different viewpoints on issues while also respecting other’s opinions,” she wrote. “We have taken on tough issues and been bold in our decision-making. I am confident you will keep up the good work and represent Oregon City well in the months and years ahead.”
First elected to City Commission in 2018, Lyles Smith has worked for various state agencies since moving to Oregon in 2010. She grew up hunting and fishing in the “true, rural South,” in a Florida town with a population of about 2,000.
“The last three years serving on the City Commission have been an honor and privilege and filled with many great accomplishments that I am very proud of,” she wrote. “I still believe that we have one of the strongest, nonpartisan set of volunteers on the City Commission that this city has ever had.”
While serving as mayor, she worked with Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development. In leaving her mayoral position, she thanked the city’s staff for its hard work.
“It has been my job to be the face and representative for Oregon City. But my job is 100% dependent on city staff,” she wrote.
Lyles Smith closed her letter to the Oregon City officials by saying that she’s grateful for how they have given her a special place in her heart forever and many memories to take with her in the next chapter of her life. She wished Oregon City’s commission, staff and the city as a whole much success in the years to come.
During their April 6 meeting, city commissioners will discuss scheduling a special election so voters can pick a new mayor.