On the same day it was announced that Tom Greene had filed bankruptcy, the 58-year-old real estate agent turned Bend City Councilor, declared he would run for a Deschutes County Commission seat in next November's election.
"It's not my fault that real-estate industry has been so slow," Greene said during a phone interview. "No one out there will hire someone that's almost 60 years old," he added, noting that he had acquired the "public service bug."
The move to County Commissioner would certainly be a big financial step up for Greene. The base salary for commissioners is $80,033 per year while city councilors receive $2,400 per year for their time.
When asked if he was looking for a new job given the obvious toll the real estate market has taken on his own business, Greene answered in the negative.
"That's the wrong way to look at it," he said, though he did admit some voters might view his bankruptcy as a strike against him. Sitting on the Bend City Council has only "fueled his appetite" to work in public sector.
Greene, who was elected to the Bend City Council in 2008, has voted in favor of cutting the affordable housing fee—a fee which now charges builders one-fifth of 1 percent on construction projects, instead of one-third of 1 percent as it previously did. The real estate agent has also voted against putting the issue of an elected mayor to the voters as a ballot measure, a decidedly undemocratic position. Currently, city councilors appoint our mayor.
During Monday's phone interview, Greene noted that if elected next November he would endeavor to put Deschutes County workers back to work.
"Open up the forest, we got all this federal land," Greene said of the potential employment opportunities that rest in the surrounding landscape.
“There's so many opportunities, but there’s also lots of road blocks and federal rules that prohibit what we can do to get people back to work,” said Greene, presumably referring to environmental regulations.