Juan Serratos, a longtime Woodburn resident who works for the Oregon Department of Justice, has been selected by Mayor Kathy Figley as the city councilor representing Ward I. He is replacing Melinda Veliz, who resigned in May.
His selection to the City Council is dependent on a council vote, which will take place at the July 24 City Council meeting. Figley expressed confidence that Serratos would be approved by the Council.
"I always share resumes and applications with the Council and my feedback from the Council has beenpositive," Figley said.
Figley said she was comfortable selecting Serratos even though he was the sole applicant for the position.
"I was very happy to find — especially since there was only one applicant — an applicant who is a good person and a well-qualified applicant," Figley said.
Serratos, who has a bachelor's degree in economics and a master's degree in public administration from Portland State University, works in the Division of Child Support in the Department of Justice, where he supervises a team of about 40 people that collect on child support.
He has lived in Woodburn for most of his life. He moved to the city from Guanajuato, Mexico in 1994 when he was 14 years old, and with the exception of a couple of years living in Portland, he's resided in Woodburn ever since.
"I'm attached to this city," Serratos said. "I plan to retire here."
He said he decided to apply for the councilor position because he wanted to become more involved in local government. He also named having two young daughters — who are ages 1 and 3 — as a reason for becoming more active in the city's decision-making.
"I really think and I really believe that as citizens, we need to get engaged," Serratos said.
He said his focuses on the Council will be bringing economic development to the city, encouraging more residents to become involved in the city's decision-making processes and maintaining safety in the city.
Serratos said that in regard to economic development, increasing awareness of Woodburn statewide will bring more development opportunity to the city.
"I would like people in the state to know this city as the diverse, inclusive community it is," Serratos said. "With a good perception of the city will come development in the city."
If Serratos is confirmed by the council, he will finish out the four-year term to which Melinda Veliz was elected, with his term ending in 2020.
"I'm very excited," he said. "I have the background in economics and politics. I'm excited to use what I know to serve the city and its residents."