end City Councilor Rita Schenkelberg (they/them) announced they're resigning from the Bend City Council at its next regular meeting on May 18 just a week after Bend Mayor Sally Russell announced she’ll resign on the same date.
Voters elected Schenkelberg to office in 2020 to a term that expires in December 2024. Schenkelberg told The Bulletin they’re leaving because it’s become too difficult to balance the responsibilities of the council with their work as a mental health counselor, and the intense harassment they’re subject to. Schenkelberg is the first openly nonbinary member of City Council and said they’ve been misgendered by members of the public since coming out as nonbinary months ago.
City Council will have 30 days to fill Schenkelberg’s seat, and likely another after it appoints a new mayor. All of Bend’s City Councilors must decline the mayorship before a member of the public is eligible, while any resident of Bend can apply to fill vacant City Council seats.