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Shetterly out

Lane Shetterly

Lane Shetterly

That Lane Shetterly isn’t an Oregon household name is a little amazing, and suggests the difficulty – his resignation now announced – Governor Ted Kulongoski may have in replacing him.

Chosen in 2004 to head the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, he settled into office just as Measure 37, which upended key parts of the agency’s mission, was being passed, and becoming the highest-profile issue in the state. That alone would have been enough trouble for many people to handle. Atop that, Shetterly had another prospective problem spot. He was a Republican, a Republican legislator (one of the declining numbers of moderates) appointed to the directorate by a Democratic governor. Had he slipped seriously, on his trek through the hurricane, maybe Kulongoski would have felt some loyalty and tried to help, but neither political party would have had a great interest in going out of their way on his behalf.

He never really did seem to slip up, though. He seemed to manage the department with caution and care – two excellent attributes under the circumstances – and when he spoke in public, he projected openness and also measured his words. He entered into no big public squabbles. We recall an instance interviewing him during one of the Measure 37 transition points; his responses were clear and comprehensible and met the questions, open without being so casual as to trip any land mines.

If the new Measure 49, revising 37, passes this year, Shetterly’s management at LCD may be one of the reasons.

Formerly a state House member from Dallas, he is returning to his family’s law practice (Shetterly Irick & Ozias: his father was a firm founder, and he worked there too for many years) in that city. Kulongoski’s task now is no less clear but may be more difficult: Finding someone who can maintain so sure a track in the months ahead.

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