JOE BERNEY, 68
Birthplace: Vancouver, Washington (We lived in Beaverton OR, but this was the closest Kaiser facility.)
Marital status: Married
Spouse: Madeleine Berney, retired educator
Children: Six adult children, attended public schools; four grandchildren, three here in Springfield.
Residence neighborhood: Thurston.
Education: BA, Economics and Secondary Teaching Credential, 1975, UC Santa Cruz
Occupation(s): High school teacher; low-moderate income multi-family housing developer; business-education non-profit director; business owner/operator and County Commissioner
Current employer: Lane County
Public sector experience: Education; county government
Private sector experience: Broccoli processing and cold storage; training; construction
Elected office held: Springfield’s County Commissioner, 2019-current; Lane ESD Board, 2000-08
Berney: Drive local investment in less divisive culture
After retiring from my construction company (which specialized in and built over $140M in clean energy commercial and industrial retrofits) I saw a lot of partisan politics but little being accomplished. I divested myself of my business interests, ran for office and brought a breadth of experience in the private, public and non-profit sectors to the job.
I’ve demonstrated I have the experience, networks, relationships and vision to get things done. Since becoming Springfield’s commissioner I’ve changed county purchasing priorities to local businesses which hire local people with good paying jobs. Now tens of millions of dollars stay in the community each year where local banks and credit unions can loan to business and homeowners here in the county. This is solid public policy that helps build back the middle class.
I am doing the same thing at Short Mountain. An agreement with local businesses will invest north of $30M of private funds to build industrial recycling and create energy out of organic waste. New jobs, clean energy and decreasing the county’s carbon footprint--smart partnerships with business to achieve social goals.
Since 2020 we’ve dealt with two unprecedented crises, huge events that required an immense amount of coordination. We know that decisive leadership, a skilled county staff and working with community partners can truly serve the public interest in an emergency.
Those relationships and my quick action also helped save 86 Springfield residents from another kind of emergency – pending eviction from their manufactured home park. They are now the proud owners of the Filbert Grove Cooperative.
Frankly, I’m worried about the divisive political climate and will fight to keep a compassionate, rational and practical business perspective when making policy decisions.
That’s why most of Springfield’s elected officials support me, and why I’ve earned endorsements ranging from local businesses to virtually all the building trades.
Because I bring people together and get things done.
Read the Q&A between both candidates here.