County Officials Sworn In for 2021
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, January 06, 2021
Fai, Rogers take oaths for four-year terms; Garrett sworn in as sheriff
Washington County commissioners Nafisa Fai and Roy Rogers were sworn into office Tuesday as part of a virtual ceremony to start their new four-year terms on the board. Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett was also sworn in for his third four-year term.
The oaths of office for all three officials were administered by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
Rogers took the oath of office to represent the county’s third commissioner district, including the cities of Durham, King City, Sherwood, Tigard, Tualatin and parts of Wilsonville. The county leader, who participated in his first swearing in ceremony in 1985, is the longest-serving county commissioner in Oregon. Commissioner Rogers is a past city councilor and mayor of Tualatin and a certified public accountant with an active practice in Tigard.
In remarks given just after being sworn in, Rogers reflected on the early days of his tenure on the board, when the county government established its first strategic plan in partnership with the cities, special districts and nonprofits serving the same Washington County community. Roger’s entry on the board also occurred at the start of dramatic economic development and job growth in the county. “We’ve been titled the economic engine of the state. It’s been jobs and it’s been prosperity and it’s been really a good atmosphere for folks to live here and to play here and to seek maybe their lifetime goals of being here,” said Rogers, who contrasted those days with the struggle the community is facing under the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’ll be judged not by the pandemic, because that certainly was not our making, but how we address it,” added Rogers. “I would encourage us all to figure out creative ways to come out of this recession, to come out of this dilemma so that it is just not a few that make it through, but all of us who make it through.”
Fai took the oath to represent the county’s first commissioner district, including the communities of Aloha, Beaverton and Cooper Mountain. A refugee from Somalia, Fai has lived in Oregon for over 22 years. She has spent the majority of her career working in public health, first at the American Red Cross and then through roles in county government and at a statewide nonprofit leading chronic disease prevention programs. In addition to her work in public health, Fai owns a small business based in Beaverton. Through her business, she founded the Pan African Festival, where she unites Oregonians from all backgrounds to celebrate cultural, economic and social vitality and support for emerging, small businesses.
“This feels so surreal that a refugee girl from Somalia is now an elected official in Oregon,” said Fai after taking the oath of office. “And I am so glad that it is Washington County that made this history.” Fai reflected on the lack of diverse representation among the county’s leadership over time, dating back before Oregon became a state. She also reflected on the hope offered by the 2020 election outcome, including the election of Kamala Harris as the nation’s first Black woman vice president. “I ran to be a commissioner that will challenge the explicit and implicit biases in our systems and practices. I ran to be a commissioner that will challenge how we address the housing affordability crisis and the transportation congestion, all while centering racial justice and economic prosperity,” said Fai. “My vision for Washington County and my priorities as your commissioner, are to tackle the affordable housing crisis and to address the root causes of poverty, to level the playing field for everyone. My second priority is to alleviate traffic congestion. And lastly, I want to make sure Washington County is a prosperous, inclusive and safe place for everyone. I promise to work hard to make this a reality in Washington County for everyone.”
Garrett took the oath to serve the entire county as the elected director of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the countywide provider of jail services, many investigative and other law enforcement services and primary police protection within some smaller Washington County cities and in all the areas that lie outside of the cities. The Sheriff’s Office has 637 full-time equivalent employees and an annual budget of $133.1 million. Garrett has been with the Sheriff's Office since 1988 when he started as a recruit deputy in the Patrol Division. Since then, he has held every uniformed rank and earned state certification in both police and corrections. Garrett holds a bachelor's degree from Oregon State University and a master's degree from Portland State University. He also served in the United States Army Reserve, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was deployed twice since 2003, including a year in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom on a provincial reconstruction team.
Garrett expressed enthusiasm about continuing to work with Rogers and called Fai’s addition to the board “a terrific step forward.” Garrett then shared these words “I want to thank voters in having the confidence in me to continue to serve as their sheriff. I think it is important as individuals, organizations and communities that we know what’s worth fighting for. And 2020 made us all think about this as we found ourselves fighting for equity, community, fighting for safety, fighting for change and really fighting for the core democratic process. As your sheriff, I fight for our community's crime victims and survivors, particularly those vulnerable to being victimized, including seniors, domestic abuse survivors and our at-risk children; for public safety services that are just, fair, and equitable; for community trust through professional public safety service, excellent training and partnerships; and for our staff who, many of them, put their lives on the line daily with the community's best interests at heart. We have some significant challenges and opportunities in public safety and I am excited to work in partnership to address them in the future.”
The two commissioners help compose a five-member board led by a chairperson who is elected countywide. The board sets county policy and gives direction to a professional county administrator and departmental staff. Washington County has 2,230 full-time-equivalent employees, an annual operating budget of $740.2 million and a total annual budget of $1.4 billion.
The board of county commissioners also serves as the board of directors of Clean Water Services, a public utility committed to protecting water resources in the Tualatin River Watershed.
Media Contact:Philip Bransford, Communications Officer