Former Councilor, Planning Commission Chair Appointed to City Council

Former Canby city councilor and current Planning Commission Chair Jason Padden has been appointed to the City Council to fill the unexpired term of Councilor Sarah Spoon, who announced her resignation earlier this month.

Padden was previously elected to serve on the council in the November 2008 general election, but he stepped down midway through his term due to work commitments — something he has in more recent years called “one of the biggest mistakes of my life.”

“I don’t know if It was the biggest mistake of my life, but it was one of the top ones,” he told the Current this week. “I would never do it again.”

He has since sought to return to the council at least four times since 2019 alone, including three previous appointments and in the 2020 general election, but was unsuccessful until now. Padden has also served as chair of the Canby Budget Committee for at least the past four years and as chair of the Planning Commission chair since January.

“I am excited and honored to be back on City Council,” he said. “There are a number of significant projects that will get underway in the next two years, and I will do my best to represent the citizens of this community through those projects.”

As has been the case for previous vacancies, the field was crowded, with seven applicants originally applying for the position — though two withdrew before the interviews were held at the December 21 meeting.

In addition to Padden, the applicants included Canby Planning Commissioner Dan Ewert, Craig Lewelling, who ran unsuccessfully for council in November, capturing more than 2,100 votes but finishing sixth in the seven-person field; property manager Megan Fraction and retired U.S. State Department ambassador and policy advisor Thomas Pierce.

Councilor Chris Bangs moved for Padden’s appointment, saying he had recommended him for a previous vacancy.

“I’m making this motion mostly because I can’t move to appoint all five,” Bangs joked. “I’d be honored to serve with all five of the applicants today. I think all of them offered great advantages to our city.”

The motion to appoint Padden was approved 3-2, with councilors Traci Hensley and Shawn Varwig opposed, and Spoon abstaining.

“I understand while some in the community are happy to see me back on council, others are not,” Padden said. “With as tumultuous as things have been in the last few years with the council, this is to be expected. I can only hope that the countless hours I have dedicated to serving the community through various government organizations at the city level prove that I am up to the task.

“I encourage folks with questions or concerns to reach out to me. I look forward to hitting the ground running in the new year.”

Per Bangs’ motion, Padden’s appointment was effective upon Spoon’s resignation on December 22. He was sworn in on January 3, the same day he submitted his resignations from the budget committee and Planning Commission.

“Because City Council serves as the quasi-judicial board for appeals to Planning Commission decisions, I cannot be part of both,” he said.

His first official council meeting will be on January 4, when new councilors James Davis and Herman Maldonado, who were elected in November, will take their oaths, along with Councilor Shawn Varwig, who won a second term.

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