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Mayor Lenahan Reflects on a Year as Oregon Mayor's Association President

Mayor Lenahan City Day - CopyNorth Plains Mayor Teri Lenahan served as the 2023 President of the Oregon Mayors Association (OMA), a voluntary association of persons who hold the office of mayor in any of Oregon’s cities. After completing her term, hear from her below on the impacts and benefits to North Plains and cities around the state.

What inspired you to serve as OMA President?
Every mayor has a different style, but one thing we all have in common is “love of our community”. My mayoral journey began over seven years ago with a vision to bring more awareness to North Plains, but more importantly, to create more unity, participation and connectedness within the city. The OMA has a similar vision of unity and connectedness and I felt right at home being a part of this amazing organization. Every town in Oregon has a story and every mayor I met told similar stories. I was inspired by the shared stories, challenges and wisdom from other Oregon mayors and not surprised by our similarities. I’m grateful my colleagues had the trust and confidence in me to be their leader in 2023. 

What are the top 3 initiatives the OMA accomplished or made progress on during your term?
The top OMA priority in 2023 was the Homelessness Taskforce Funding Proposal to address Homelessness in the State of Oregon. Here is the link to the proposal. oma_briefing_book_3-2-2023.pdf (oregonmayors.org).

I, along with my fellow Homelessness Taskforce members, presented this proposal to Governor Kotek and all of the state’s legislators to bring awareness about the complexity of homelessness that ALL Oregon cities are facing. The work of the OMA Taskforce is ongoing. Some cities have made progress on shelters while others are still struggling to find solutions. You can expect to see more advocacy from the OMA until we find a viable solution to end this humanitarian crisis. Two other initiatives that Oregon mayors continue to work on is local revenue solutions and property tax reform.

Which accomplishment are you most proud of and why?
A few years ago, when I was appointed to the OMA Board of Directors, I noticed there was no significant onboarding for mayors. I expressed my desire to create a better system so that we could help our newly elected mayors succeed in their leadership role. With the approval of the Board, we re-evaluated the training model for mayors and created the Oregon Mayors Handbook, Essential Leadership Skills for Mayors and the 25 Survival Tips for Newly Elected Mayors. I am very proud to have been instrumental in teaming up with my fellow mayors to provide a more robust orientation program for Oregon mayors.

What else would you like to share about your leadership and participation in the OMA?
Leadership in the OMA involves a diverse range of mayors, some of whom are natural leaders while others grow into the role. As an introvert who evolved into the position of mayor, I was able to share my unique perspective which allowed for more collaboration, knowledge-sharing and the opportunity to contribute to the betterment of the organization. Other mayors welcomed my honesty and showed more compassion for mayors who might not be the loudest in the room. To me, leadership is about lifting up those around you towards a shared vision. Building relationships with mayors from across the state of Oregon opened my eyes to similar issues we all face, and it reminds me that local governments have more in common than one might think. I am grateful for the opportunity to be myself as the OMA President, and the endearing friendships that I have made along the way will be with me forever.

Read the initial press release Mayor Lenahan 2023 Oregon Mayor’s Association President.