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Longtime activist talks about why she first ran for office, and her hopes for the council's future.

FILE PHOTO - City Councilor Betty BodeTwenty-six years ago, I responded to a little request in the "Your City" newsletter asking for volunteers with human rights experience to start a human rights advisory committee for the city.

Even though I was working full-time in Salem, the topic was so closely aligned with my core values, that I was interested. Little did I know, the doors that would open to me and what opportunities would come as a result of my choice to get more involved.

I have never thought of any of the time, travel and long meetings as work. I just wanted to give that extra measure of energy to the city I called home. After seven years on the Human Rights Committee, and Planning Commission, I took the leap of faith to serve the community in a broader role and ran for City Council.

I outlined the qualities that I would bring to the Council in my very first campaign brochure: open, honest and prepared. I listed six major areas to focus on: transportation, quality schools, balanced land use planning, business development, affordable housing, support for the arts and the Beaverton Library.

The work is not complete, the challenges going forward are just as daunting today as they were when I first ran.

However, my time serving as a city councilor is coming to an end. For the past year, I have been experiencing powerful health issues that have impacted my world, my energy level and my ability to serve. So I will leave the Council at the end of this current term, December 2018.

It is with so many mixed emotions that I must say goodbye and thank you for allowing me the great privilege to be creative and honest in working to give all of us a better place, a safer place to call home.

Being a city councilor has been an extraordinary experience. It has meant more to me than I can find the words to convey. I have always taken seriously my responsibility to be a voice for those who cannot make it to a City Council meeting. I fought against "group think" and tried to stand-up for what I believed was right. I advocated for balancing the budget, living within our means, while at the same time providing a voice for the less fortunate within our community.

And I never forgot the promises I made in my first brochure: to be open, honest and prepared. As we look to the future, I encourage you to expect nothing less from your elected leaders.

Please keep in mind that a city councilor is there for you, to serve you, and to make our city better.

I will miss the energy and compassion that flows in and out of City Hall and I will miss the many friends and community members I have come to know. I wish all of you the very best as the work to make Beaverton even better continues in the years to come.

Goodbye and thank you — with a big heart.

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