Sixty-one years after the City of Tigard was incorporated, residents have finally elected their first female mayor: Heidi Lueb. This follows the five-person City Council becoming majority female for the first time a couple of years ago.
With four years on the City Council under her belt, Lueb is ready to tackle the challenges her new job entails. “From talking to people in the community, I know what their priorities are and what I want to work on,” said Lueb, who has also talked to other mayors around the state. “Houselessness must be addressed by partnering with other cities and agencies and to come up with solutions.
“This includes offering wrap-around services that include the faith-based organizations and non-profits that do this day-in and day-out. The Oregon Mayors Association has come up with recommendations, and every corner of the state needs to tackle this issue depending on what their situation is.”
Other issues Lueb wants to tackle are the high cost of housing and sustainability. “There should be equal access to services,” she said. “To deal with the climate crisis, we all need to take steps from the city on down.”
Also on Lueb’s radar is getting the Police Department ranks filled. “There is a lot on the table,” she said.
Lueb and her husband Brian moved to Tigard in 2016, and a couple of years later, she applied to join the city’s Budget Committee. While being interviewed for the position, she learned that the City Council would soon be appointing someone to fill an open seat on the council. Lueb was appointed to the Budget Committee and was sworn in in January 2019 but immediately applied for the council position and was appointed to that seat the same month.
“Technically, I can say I have experience serving on a city committee, but for practical purposes, no,” said Lueb, who was elected to a four-year term on the City Council in November 2020 and became council president in January 2021. She compared the learning curve after joining the City Council to “drinking from a fire hose.”
Mayor Jason Snider was planning to run for mayor again in November, and Lueb said, “I had no intention of running for mayor. It was not even on my radar.” But earlier this year, the City Council determined that Snider was term-limited, so Lueb had to make the decision to run for mayor fairly quickly.
She also had to resign from the council earlier this year when she decided to run for mayor. “I was all in,” Lueb said. “I was either going to be a lot busier or I was going to have a lot of time on my hands.”
“Busy” is probably a good description of her life. Working as head of finance at Thesis, a Certified B Corp digital agency, Lueb said she knew when she decided to run for mayor that she had to find a way to do both. “I must maintain a full-time job,” Lueb said. “I have bills and a mortgage to pay. But my company is community-minded and supported me being on the City Council, and they thought it was wonderful that I wanted to run for mayor. That sometimes means coming back to work after my daughter goes to bed.”
Lueb has a 2-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, whose first public photo op was in Lueb’s arms as she dropped her ballot in a ballot box for the November 2020 election. “I think she was about a week old there,” Lueb said. “I want to bring her with me to some events. She is very social and loves to talk to people. I think she will officially be Tigard’s First Toddler.”
During the campaign, the Luebs moved in September to a new house in River Terrace on Bull Mountain. “In our old house, my husband and I didn’t have dedicated office space, which we really needed,” Lueb explained.
Lueb, who is a four-time Ironman, stopped running when COVID-19 hit. “I was in great shape at the beginning of the pandemic, and I am looking forward to my life settling into a routine so I can run again,” she said. “My daughter loves to ride in the jogging stroller.”
But one thing she might have to give up is coaching. She is a certified USA triathlon coach, working with young athletes for the past eight years. While she plans to keep her certification, “I will have to evaluate whether I have the appropriate capacity to keep coaching or not,” she said.
Lueb grew up in Central Point, Ore., and earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a focus on accounting and a political science minor from the University of Oregon and a master’s degree in kinesiology from Texas Woman’s University.
“I’m really excited to serve as mayor,” Lueb added. “Being the city’s first female mayor has implications for my daughter, and I want her to see that it is part of my life. Some moms have reached out to me to say that their daughters were following the mayor’s race and were excited when I won.”