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Bend councilors pick 7 finalists for open seat


The Bend City Council met Tuesday evening to review a large field of citizens wishing to fill the vacant seventh seat on the council, and narrowed the field considerably.

Councilors started the night with a list of 33 candidates, and whittled it down to seven.

Those seven finalists are Kerani Mitchell, Kori Sparks, Andrew Davis, James Dorofi, Charles Allen, Kathy Austin and Christopher Piper.

They’ll now be interviewed for the position next Monday by councilors..

Mayor Sally Russell, whose election to mayor opened up the vacancy, said it’s a fast process, but a big decision to make.

She said it’s important to go through this process in order to make the right choice.

“I really hope it’s somebody who represents everybody in Bend, and I hope it’s somebody who is collaborative,” Russell said. “I hope it’s somebody who brings a fresh and balanced voice, and somebody who we can really bring in and on the ground running really quickly.”

Russell and Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Abernethy will now come up with a list of questions to be asked of the council candidates.

Two of those candidates were at the meeting and spoke to NewsChannel 21 Tuesday night.

Kerani Mitchell is an accounting associate for a nonprofit and Kathy Austin is an architect specializing in affordable housing.

Both said they are excited about the opportunity and hope they can make a difference if chosen.

“The process was a wonderful opportunity to get unrepresented voices into the mix, to share different perspectives around Bend, especially voices that are not currently represented,” Mitchell said. “And it’s truly an honor to be one of the finalists for an interview, considering the quality and the diversity of the applicants.”

Austin said, “It’s really important who’s on the council, and especially since this wasn’t an election, and people aren’t electing the person for this position, I think this is the best way to go to be open as possible.” .

Both finalists said they hope they can help to shape a positive future and vision for Bend, if they are chosen.

The position could be decided by Monday as well if councilors are able to come to a decision. The city charter gives them 30 days to fill a vacancy, once it’s declared.

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