Mary Beth Henry with Portland City Commissioners. Pictured from left: Randy Leonard, Amanda Fritz, Mary Beth Henry, Dan Saltzman, Nick Fish
The League of Oregon Cities has honored Mary Beth Henry, manager of the City of Portland's Office for Community Technology, with the Herman Kehrli Award for 2012. The award is given to a city employee who has made exceptional contributions to city government in Oregon, producing lasting benefits for their local community.
Henry has been a strong advocate for equal access to high speed Internet. People who can't easily get on the Internet are increasingly disadvantaged because they can't access important services and information sources. It's important because in the United States, unlike many other countries, progress toward universal high-speed broadband has been slow.
"Henry is recognized among her peers as a significant local government leader and expert in the telecommunications field," the league said in a press release.
"For more than 20 years, she has served as a tireless leader and advocate for local governments and public interest in technology issues, including advocating for community broadband, maintaining local control, and ensuring payment of fair rent by private companies using valuable public rights-of-way."
The award was presented during the League's 87th Annual Conference, held at the Salem Conference Center.
"I've always believed that our role as local government officials is to bring the proper amount of the future into the present," Henry said.
"Like the introduction of electricity, broadband internet is revolutionizing the world in which we live. Broadband has the potential to transform our communities. It has become a necessity vital to economic growth and livability in cities of all sizes."
In celebration, Mayor Sam Adams issued a special proclamation naming Wednesday Oct. 17, 2012, as Mary Beth Henry Day.