Lebanon city councilor Rebecca Grizzle will step down from her post this fall.
The city of Lebanon on Thursday issued a press release advertising an upcoming vacancy in Ward 2 and requesting qualified residents to apply for the position.
In an interview Friday, Grizzle confirmed that she is the councilor who is vacating her position. She said that in February of this year she and her husband, Eldon, began the process of selling their home and moving to a new home. The new home is in Ward 3.
Grizzle is allowed to finish her current term, which runs through Dec. 31, 2024, but she believes stepping down is the right choice.
“This was always intended in my mind to be my last term anyway,” Grizzle said. “Let me step down and let somebody else finish this term and get some experience under their belt before they have to run. It was just time.”
She said her goals in running for election a year ago were to help the city get through the COVID-19 pandemic and to see a city manager put in place. The COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted and Nancy Brewer has settled in as the interim city manager, so Grizzle felt comfortable stepping aside.
In addition to serving on the council, Grizzle is also the executive director of the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce. Grizzle said she welcomes having more time to focus on those responsibilities, but she does not think the two positions created a conflict of interest.
The only direct financial link between the city and the Chamber of Commerce is that the city allots some of its hotel room taxes to funding a visitor center, which the Chamber of Commerce operates. That funding has been in place for many years.
“We operate the visitor center on behalf of the city and it is our pleasure to do so,” Grizzle said.
The Chamber of Commerce also acts as a pass through for some hotel tax funds, directing support to local businesses involved in tourism.
Grizzle has served two separate stints on the council, on both occasions stepping up at a time when she felt her ward was not being represented well. In her first term on council she worked with Mayor Ken Toombs and City Manager John Hitt.
“They really set the pace and the tone in Lebanon that set the ball rolling,” Grizzle said. “I played a role in that and I’m very proud of that.”
Both the library and the justice center were built during her time in office and the city successfully campaigned for placement of the medical school.
“What a blessing that has been for the city. It then helped LBCC move their health disciplines to Lebanon. Lebanon has thrived,” Grizzle said. “Lebanon’s a shining jewel in Oregon, I think.”
With the social distancing rules being relaxed, Grizzle said the Chamber of Commerce is working to make up for lost time. Several events which had been postponed are being rescheduled for this fall, including the Biz Expo and the Distinguished Service Awards.