City administrator gets job at Portland Metro

Ashland officials announced on Wednesday that City Administrator Martha Bennett has accepted the position of chief operating officer for Portland Metro.

Bennett will continue to work for the city of Ashland through October.

Mayor John Stromberg and the City Council will seek an interim administrator and will begin a recruitment process with the goal of appointing a new chief in spring 2012, officials said.

"This is both an exciting and sad time for me," Bennett said in a statement. "I truly love Ashland, and I believe our city government delivers high-quality services that contribute to the community's amazing quality of life."

Bennett said she is grateful to the elected officials who afforded her a chance to live and work in Ashland. She also appreciates the many community groups, businesses and citizens with whom she has worked, she said. "One of the joys of working in Ashland is that people are truly passionate and engaged in their community," Bennett said.

Stromberg said Bennett will be missed.

"While I am very happy for Martha and look forward to her success with this new chapter in her life, I and the entire council will miss her very much," he said in a statement. "She has been such an asset to the organization and to our community and, like all of us with the city, I have greatly enjoyed working with her these past years."

Bennett became Ashland's city administrator in 2006.

Metro, a regional body, works across jurisdictional lines on issues that include transportation, land use, sustainability, recreation, tourism and other issues. It's in charge of everything from garbage collection to running the Oregon Zoo, and its budget is about four times the size of Ashland's — $385 million.

Bennett was chosen as one of four finalists out of 56 applicants in July. The Metro Council will consider Bennett's appointment on Sept. 8.

Before coming to Ashland, Bennett was the executive director for the Columbia Gorge Commission. She worked with cities, six county governments and residents from Oregon and Washington to protect the area's scenery and other natural resources.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.

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