Ruth Burleigh joined city government in 1974 as a councilwoman; served three years as mayor from 1978 through 1981

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BEND, Ore. — Bend’s first woman mayor has turned 90. Ruth Burleigh was working at a hospital in Portland in 1946 when she heard about a job in Bend. She took that job, raised a family there and got involved in politics through her community service work.

The Bulletin reports ( ) Burleigh celebrated her 90th birthday last month at the northwest Bend home she has lived in for 50 years.

In the 1970s, Bend formed a chapter of the League of Women Voters in Bend. With experience in bookkeeping for her late husband’s small business, she became the chapter’s treasurer.

When a position opened up on the all-male city commission, she was encouraged to join the council in 1974.

She was chosen by her fellow commissioners as the first female mayor of Bend in 1978. She served another one-year term in 1981.

It was an important time for Bend’s infrastructure, when the city was building its first sewage system.

She quit the commission in 1986 but has stayed active over the years, currently serving on a library committee.