Candidate says lack of elected office not a barrier
Shabba Woodley of Beaverton wants to include more people in Washington County's decision-making if he is elected chairman of its policy-making board of commissioners.
He says in his discussions ranging from ordinary citizens to county officials, he senses too many people feel left out of the loop.
"Some people want to be taken seriously. They want more face time and be able to speak their minds," Woodley said.
"There are a lot of things out there they don't get a response about. They feel they are dealing with things after the fact. They want to be invited to the table before decisions are made."
County government is led by five commissioners — a chair elected countywide and four members by districts, all on a nonpartisan basis — who oversee an annual budget topping $1 billion and about 2,000 employees. They also are the governing board for Clean Water Services, a separate agency responsible for wastewater treatment.
Woodley, 27, an account executive with Comcast, is one of two so far who has filed for the position that Andy Duyck is vacating at the end of his second term next year. Duyck will have been on the board a total of 24 years. The other filer is Kathryn Harrington, a Metro councilor.
Others who have announced for the position are Commissioner Bob Terry, who will vacate the District 4 seat; Ryan Deckert, a former state legislator and former Oregon Business Association president, and Tualatin Mayor Lou Ogden. There may be others.
Filing deadline for the May 15 primary is March 6.
Unlike Woodley, the others have been elected to public office.
"I'm not worried about that at all," Woodley said. "I think experience is a great partner, but at the same time, it's important for people to know they have options and they vote according to their ideals and the best person to fit Washington County.
"It's a great opportunity to make a lot of things happen."
Woodley has run for public office, but he lost (90 percent to 10 percent) in the 2016 Democratic primary to incumbent Suzanne Bonamici, who went on to win a third full term in the 1st District congressional seat.
Woodley said he learned not to rely on advertising or door-to-door campaigning. One is widespread but expensive, the other personal but impractical for covering the five-county district.
He is active in the Democratic Party and the board of the Oregon League of Minority Voters.
Washington County has not yet elected a minority-group member as a county commissioner. Glendora Claybrooks of Tualatin made a bid for the District 3 seat in 2016, but she lost to the eight-term incumbent, Roy Rogers.
Woodley said he wants to be a voice for those who get services from the county — women, people with disabilities, veterans — but are often overlooked.
"I want to be as fully inclusive as possible to make sure my ideas go through the rough and benefit as many people as possible," he said.
"I bring a lot of energy, not going with the existing formula."
A graduate of Madison High School in Portland, Woodley said, "I've been in a different walk of life" after his mother died and he had to care for a younger brother half time, then full time after he turned 20. The brother is now in college out of state.
Woodley said he has yet to develop positions on a range of issues, pending informal consultation with citizen advisers.
But he said he will offer ideas on such issues as the cost and availability of housing — and that the county government must do more than work with nonprofit agencies on small projects.
"We have to think outside the box," he said. "We can't just go back and forth with developers and hope they make one or two units affordable."