I came across a Facebook post from one of Portland’s current charter commissioners, Ryan Lizanecz, where he shared a little of his experience over the past year: “I’ve learned so much about what it means to serve your community and listen to various perspectives on contentious issues … The state of politics in our city right now is beyond draining … We need regular folks who care about their neighbors to step up and do the hard work outside of political circles.”

Curious, I went looking to see if any other commissioners shared insights into their experience over the past year. I found two others:

Marcques Houston said in his post, “I am extremely grateful for this experience and all that I have learned … This has been one of the most rewarding, draining, fulfilling, frustrating, and thought-provoking experiences of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Shay Stewart-Bouley said, “While I have been pretty open with my deep disdain for the overall process of serving in public office, I am also filled with gratitude for the experience of meeting and working with my fellow Commissioners … .”

I am grateful to all three for sharing a window into their experience. I suspect, from their words, they walked into the process with eyes wide open only to leave it deeply disillusioned. I hope the disappointment wasn’t caused by any single individual whose purpose was not to represent the citizens of Portland but to take up all the oxygen in the room.

Patrick Chandler

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