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Bend City Councilor Rita Schenkelberg resigning; council to discuss mayor, council vacancies Wednesday night

Bend City Councilor Rita Schenkelberg
City of Bend
Bend City Councilor Rita Schenkelberg

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bend City Councilor Rita Schenkelberg has informed the city and colleagues of plans to resign this week, a decision coming a week after Mayor Sally Russell said she, too, is leaving her position as of Wednesday night's meeting.

Here's the email Schenkelberg, who was elected in the fall of 2020, sent to colleagues on Monday afternoon:

"Dear fellow city councilors and city staff, 

"I am writing to inform you of my resignation as of the May 18th, 2022, meeting. I am grateful for all the support I have received during my time in office. I have learned so much and was grateful to bring ideas forward which weren't previously discussed. Thank you to all the staff who took time to explain and navigate topics with me. Thank you to all the staff who invited me to see where they work and share about their positions and responsibilities. 

"Thank you to my fellow city councilors. I am grateful to you all. Thank you for teaching me about local government and the nuances of our position. 

"I am unable to meet the expectations of my full-time job and being a city councilor. The pressure to be the first queer, non-binary, poc was not sustainable for me. My hope is that the thoughts and ideas I have brought forward can help inform future decisions. 

"Thank you everyone again, 

Rita Schenkelberg (They/Them)- City Councilor"

The City Charter and recently revised city council rules says a vacancy in the council shall be filled within 30 days by appointment by the council, but if the council does not fill the vacancy by an appointment within 30 days, then the vacancy gets filled at the next election, which would be in November.

It also outlines that if the council doesn't fill a mayoral vacancy through appointment of one of the other councilors, that council vacancy process would apply to that position as well.

City councilors will have a discussion of the vacancies and potential mayor appointment at the end of Wednesday night's council meeting, as well as declaration of a council vacancy, if necessary, and selection of a subcommittee to oversee the appointment process.

KTVZ news sources

Comments

48 Comments

  1. It’s too bad people cant play nice and treat others as they wish to be treated themselves.

    It’s also too bad Rita didnt fully grasp the full weight of her choice to run. While I have sympathy, a queer person must know that the verbal abuse they would face will go beyond the norm. Best to think it through before you run.

  2. Rita can point fingers wherever they want but it seems to me an inexperienced 30-year-old quitting because they didn’t know City Council would demand so much time is exactly the reason Rita shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

    Also, Rita saying they were “embarrassed” by all us locals being rightfully opposed to the current homeless takeover didn’t help their standing any.

    1. You may remember that according to her it is the ‘entitled’ locals that are making it hard for the camp trailer utilizing nomadic travelers.

    2. What’s with all of the “I” this and “I” that in her resignation letter? Shouldn’t it be “we”? They/them/her/whatever pronoun Rita is using to get attention today aside, good riddance to bad rubbish. Leadership is more than a wearing a Jersey and putting your butt in a chair.

  3. As the only City Councilor who actually has to work to pay rent, this is a loss, despite the fact I’m opposed on almost every issue.

    More idle rich people incoming.

    Waiting for Kebler to appoint Luke Richter to a slot so he won’t run ads against her in the election….

    Bets?

  4. I’ve had a chance to watch her during several council meetings, the one’s that went on into the night. You could see she was becoming disengaged and acted almost put upon as the meetings wore on . I remember thinking no way she’ll tough this out.

    1. We were a huge distraction for her. She did not understand that this role was to serve. Shameful tenure but glad she finally saw the writing on the wall. Her greatest contribution- leaving!

  5. She was met with some very concerned community members and it had less to do with her gender identity and more about her advocacy for the homeless. She used her position to protest – sitting for the pledge of allegiance and wearing a Kaepernick jersey to a council meeting. She felt the train wreck of tents on 2nd street was just the homeless doing the best the could with the situation they had need given. She was a Socialist – stating again at a council meeting- that homelessness is an example of the failures of Capitalism. She campaigned as a queer women of color, which should have raised red flags!- and what she really was was a far left socialist with her own agenda with no concern for Bend as a community. I won’t be sorry to see her go.

    1. Fantasy meets reality and reality won. if there was any pressure on her about identity and sexual preference, it didn’t come from the public, it came from what she said and did.

        1. The fact that someone so unqualified even got elected just shows how many feelings based voters we have. This disaster was the perfect example of absolutely no logic or reason used whatsoever.

  6. I will wish her well but this is a good day for Bend. She is an immature individual and has not served us well. She will go down in history as ONE of the individuals who have destroyed this town. She did not do good work and now we get to listen to Perkins now lecture us about how bad we are as a community. Bye, Rita! We are NOT grateful for your service but genuinely grateful you are leaving. Thank you for that! It was a nice try as you head out the door to blame your POC and LGBTQ status instead of the sheer incompetence, lack of maturity and YOUR disrespect for US!

  7. While I appreciate her service to the Bend community. I could care less about her being “queer”, “POC”, “NON Binary” at all. That’s her private business and no one else’s. Why people feel the need to voice their personal business is beyond me? She’s all of those things she states so be it and be happy. The general public doesn’t care about her sexual or gender choices and as a public servant keep that stuff to yourself like every other person does.

    1. Why do you care to show the world your personal business of being a straight heteronormative regressive who doesn’t understand gender identity?

      1. Why should any public servant scream from the rooftops about their gender? No one (but you SparklyFairyDust) cares. We can’t help it that ‘they’ are so insecure about their life that screaming, pointing and blaming is all that they can do. Move on – nothing to see here SparklyFairyDust. Move on.

      2. Please tell me how you infer I said ANYTHING about being anything other than a commenter on here? Never once do I mention or ever have mentioned my sexual preferences EVER. If I need to use that information to validate myself then something is very very wrong but, I suspect you have no information to offer.

        1. You simply having an issue with their gender is enough inference. You don’t have to consider expressing the private issue of your gender simply because you happen to fall into the stereotypical male/female character that was issued upon you on birth.

      1. Watch out Barney, you’re gonna get cancelled by the all loving all caring wokesters for mis gendering someone that lives on the victim card LOL

  8. Playing the victim card is out of fashion Rita, and it doesn’t look good on you. Your personal life and sexual preference, like mine, are your own business. Good luck going forward.

  9. Poor thing didn’t get it’s way way so “I’m just going to quit.” “They” can take their homeless agenda to LA, Portland, Seattle, and deal with the feces and needles and typhoid which LA dealt with a few years ago. Clearly “they” don’t understand the told of guiding a city regardless of whatever label they identify as, and who really cares ? Maybe “they need a course in public health.

  10. I believe Rita Schenkelberg spoke the truth–as she and an increasing no. of Americans regard it to be.

    (I know I am not using her preferred pronoun, as I am a bit too old to change in that way, but certainly recognize the ways in which language can be an oppressive force.)

    Rita did not support the continued existence of the 2nd St. campsite, as several here seem to be saying, but did vote along with the rest of the City Council to have it cleared–a decision which I strongly opposed.

    There is no telling how many hateful messages she received as a City Councilor. In today’s Bulletin article Rita recalled one incident of being attacked verbally in public.

    She correctly called out the few people who were making hateful comments about our unsheltered neighbors–those were the ones she was referencing when she made her well known statement about being “embarrassed.” (Anyone who cares can find that City Council meeting on the City of Bend website and judge for themselves the character of some of those testifying that evening.)

    She also correctly identified failure at the Federal level for our current crisis of homelessness; the government at one time invested far more in housing than it does now.

    I am going to miss Rita; to me she had the potential for being an independent thinker not afraid of speaking her mind. I do hope the Council finds a replacement with at least a tenth of her courage.

    1. Courage? How about lack of knowledge, maturity, compassion for the entire community? She has acted like a brat- so glad she sent herself to her room. She failed us time and time again and should have never been elected in the first place.

    2. You can miss her Bill, the rest of us won’t. She chose to have her little tantrums, the Kap jersey, sitting for our Pledge…… good riddance

  11. Idealistic ambition and naivety don’t always make for the best approach. I had several email exchanges with the councilor and her personal agenda was more important than listening to her constituents. Homelessness problems are solvable in central Oregon with the enforcement of existing codes and ordenace to protect the community from grifters and public safety issues

  12. Ms. Schenkelberg, as likely as not, is resigning because with no prior experience in city, county, or state government and after 15 or so months on the council she is “frustrated” that her announced reasons for running in the first place haven’t just magically happened.

    She and the other “progressive”, leftist councilors have discovered they were not elected to rule but to serve. “Councilor Rita Schenkelberg was elected in 2020 after running on a left-leaning platform to champion diversity, equity and inclusion.
    “I want money to go to the houseless community. I want money to go to building housing. I want money to go to an independent review board of the chief of police,” Schenkelberg said.” – https://www.opb.org/…/bend-sues-activist-in-public…/

    1. I understand that this might be a little too much for you to comprehend. But Ms. is not a gender neutral way of referring to someone. Please go back to 1950.

  13. Many of the above comments only serve to amplify the ignorance that Rita was up against. People blatantly disregarding Rita’s pronouns, people not even having the consideration to try and understand. You are all brainwashed into a system of two. Hating on homeless, hating on poor people, hating on everyone who isn’t stuck in your black&white television show from the 1950s.
    All these people claiming that this land is theirs when their ancestors were the original “Californians.” Just because you conned and killed people to stand on the land you call “yours” doesn’t make you right. This land is destined to continue to be taken over, over and over, just as your colonizer ancestors did to the natives. It is the natural cycle of life.

    1. Untrue! The reason Rita is so disliked is because they never listened to the people, espoused their own extremism, and failed to connect with who they were suppose the serve. Rita caused harm to our community and even people inside the council and at the city have remarked privately how ill-prepared they were!

  14. The same people on here commenting on the “immaturity” of Rita in their protests on city council are probably some of the same people who rooted for the J6 insurrectionists and slap “Trump 2024” stickers on their bumpers.

    Who’s the immature one?

  15. So, what’s with all of the “I” this and “I” that in the resignation letter? Shouldn’t it be “we” Does Rita get to flip flop on her/his/whatever pronouns, but we need to determine at that instant what the current proper nomenclature is? Please explain.
    ..

    And politically……buh bye.

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