Meet Sally Russell. Bend Strong.

Like many Bend citizens, grit is in my blood. It’s something I’m proud of and part of who I am. I believe leadership grit means being both tough and fair-minded, willing to take a strong stand for what’s right, yet humble enough to carefully consider other points of view. 

That’s the approach I will take as the next mayor of Bend. 

Grit comes naturally to me from my mother, a third-generation Oregonian, who many years ago stood firm and would not be silenced, bullied or sidelined in her commitment to help protect Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge. As a pioneering leader, mom withstood criticism that she was too sentimental and not strong enough to succeed. But she persisted, working tirelessly to prove the naysayers wrong. Through community building and inclusiveness, she blazed the trail to create Friends of the Columbia Gorge, the leading organization working to preserve and protect one of Oregon’s most treasured places.

My mom believed that actions speak louder than words, and so do I. Leaders work for change. They are unwavering in their commitment to put the needs of others first. They rise to meet challenges and prove their determination by opening doors and working cooperatively to find better solutions. 

Having lived in the Bend community for nearly 20 years, I know what it means to be “Bend strong.” As mayor, it’s why you can be sure that I will be a fierce and tireless leader working hard for brighter future for all Bend citizens. 


We live in Bend for many reasons. It’s an amazing place with an exceptional quality of life. As a passionate kiteboarder, Nordic skier, mountain biker and gardener, I love this community, raised my daughters here and appreciate all the opportunities it offers. It’s the place I’ve lived and have been dedicated to serving most of my life.

Yet, I also see the massive growing pains, tough challenges and decisions that must be made for Bend to thrive. 

We need smart growth and wise land use. We must improve our transportation systems and increase options for safe, clean and affordable housing. Our future depends on a viable, resilient economy and healthy environment that benefits everyone, not just some. 

These are major issues that require strong leadership and that’s why I’m running for mayor. I love this city and believe it deserves a full-time, dedicated leader who has the experience, passion and ability to move Bend forward, while also ensuring the values we hold dear are protected and supported.


Bend deserves a mayor who will do the hard work necessary to make change happen. That’s why, for example, when I heard recently from concerned citizens about noisy garbage trucks on their streets, I rode along on the pick-up routes to get to the heart of the issue and find a solution.

That’s just one example of my philosophy: Moving Bend forward requires rolling up the sleeves, working hard and finding collaborative approaches to solve problems. We must build consensus and reach common ground to make progress. My track record proves I’m a leader who will do just that by listening to your concerns and fighting for what’s right for the Bend community. 


  •  Being elected twice to serve on City Council (2012 and 2016, currently serving a second term).
  •  Serving as Mayor Pro Tem (Vice Mayor) in January 2015 and again January 2017.
  •  Serving on Bend Planning Commission (1990-1998), including as chair for two years. 
  •  Overseeing dozens of Bend planning projects, from NW Crossing to Old Mill, incorporating new ideas with the mission to create neighborhoods instead of suburbs–complete communities with accessible services, restaurants, grocery stores and entertainment/recreational opportunities. 
  •  Serving as Chair on the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project, and also on the Bend MPO (Bend Metropolitan Planning Organization). 
  • Selected as member of the Oregon DOT Transportation Growth Management Commission (TGM) and Oregon Outdoor Recreation Initiative Leadership Team.
  • Holding leadership and board positions on the Tower Theatre Board of Directors, the Cascade Festival of Music and Cascade Cycling Classic.
  • Serving as Director of Marketing for Broken Top Limited Partnership.
  • Spearheading several mountain bike event races, including Cascade Chainbreaker and the Big Fat Tour
  • Recently winning a grueling (mountain bike marathon race in Germany) 
  • Serving as a founding member of the Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA).
  • Working as the coordinator of the Deschutes County Committee on Recreation Assets, (created by Senator Wyden in 2007 to promote recreation projects throughout Deschutes County).
  • Serving as founding member of the Galveston Avenue Revitalization Committee (2010).
  • Graduating with an MBA degree from Portland State. Earning undergraduate degree from Smith College.