2021 Mayor's Corner
Anniversary of the First COVID Case in Oregon
Posted 2/28/21, 7:28 a.m
On the anniversary of the first COVID case in Oregon, we pause to honor the lives lost in our country and across the globe. COVID has infected over 21,000 Washington County community members with 212 individuals succumbing to the virus. Each individual left behind family, friends, and loved ones.
We pause today to recognize the health care workers who transformed into superheroes by administrating COVID tests, treating COVID patients, and showing compassion for the family and friends of individuals impacted by COVID. They are our role models. They deserve our virtual hugs and words of appreciation.
We also pause to reflect on what we learned in the last twelve months. I hope you learned, as I did, about the power of individual sacrifice. By wearing masks, social distancing, and being vaccinated, you chose to help the entire Tigard community fight the horrific impacts of the pandemic. You also chose to embrace the advice of public health experts over rumors and misinformation.
While the COVID vaccine is a ray of light, the financial and emotional impacts of COVID-19 remain a cloud in our community. You must be there to listen and help those who have lost a loved one or find themselves unemployed or struggle with the challenges of everyday life.
Your city government will do the same. In the last year, we supported 396 Tigard businesses with $3.5 million in Tigard CARES funding; partnered with eight community organizations to provide $200,000 in aid to Tigard residents through the Resident Aid Fund of Tigard; and provided $45,000 in Tigard AID funding to over 230 utility customers.
We are not done and we need to hear from you. Please reach out to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to share your story so we can look for ways to provide much-needed support for community members.
The Power of Community Organizations
Since the beginning of COVID-19, I’ve been involved in many discussions about how the City of Tigard can best support our community. A recurring theme from these conversations is the importance of supporting existing service providers. These nonprofits and faith-based groups face a shrinking volunteer base due to COVID precautions, just as the need and demand for services increased.
In April 2020, the City Council provided support by launching the Resident Aid Fund of Tigard (RAFT). The goal was to reflect our commitment to protecting, and providing stability for, our most vulnerable community members. By leveraging the expertise and capacity of community organizations, we ensured that aid got to those in need as quickly as possible. We saw this play out beautifully with the six organizations that received the first round of RAFT funding.
We built on the success of the first round of RAFT by allocating additional funds in January 2021. In the spirit of transparency, I want to highlight the five most recent RAFT recipients and how their work will benefit our community.
I became familiar with Family Promise of Tualatin Valley in 2016 when they formed to support homeless students in the Tigard-Tualatin School District (TTSD). Their work expanded beyond TTSD families during COVID. They have received a RAFT grant to fund eviction prevention and shelter diversion services. These vital services prevent at-risk households from losing their current housing and support those who have lost housing.
Down the street from City Hall, Just Compassion offers a safe environment and a community-centered response to the needs of those without homes in the Tigard area. Executive Director Vernon Baker has been instrumental in growing Just Compassion’s resource center for homeless adults. The center allows homeless adults a respite from the weather and offers nutritious meals, socialization, showers, and information about resources. I am delighted that Just Compassion will use the RAFT grant to open its resource center an additional day each week.
Seniors have been greatly affected by COVID-19. The Meals on Wheels People are doing their best to support this vulnerable population. The number of older adults using their services in Tigard has increased by 25 percent in the past 10 months. Many seniors who receive meals are living below the poverty line and lack access to healthy, fresh food. Through the RAFT grant, the Meals on Wheels People are able to continue supporting our seniors.
The Muslim Educational Trust is also addressing food insecurities exacerbated by COVID. Their staff works with 175 families (both Muslim and non-Muslim) in Tigard. They know the importance of being able to tell a family that they will not go hungry. I am heartened to know that the RAFT grant will be used to purchase culturally sensitive foods that families have accessed in the past.
Thirty Pacific Islander families are being supported by the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization. These families are struggling because of lost wages and are ineligible for government assistance. The RAFT grant will be used to pay for basic needs, energy assistance, and rent.
You, too, can help these organizations by volunteering your time and/or donating resources.
The COVID vaccine offers a light at the end of the tunnel. As a healthcare professional, I have received the vaccine and also administered it. I encourage every member of our community to get the vaccine when you have the opportunity.
I also know the vaccine will not eliminate all of the problems caused by the pandemic. I want to continue the dialogue with you on how the city can best support our community. Share your thoughts and answers with me at email@example.com or via phone at 503-810-0269. You are also invited to my next Fireside Chat on Thursday, March 4, at 6:30 p.m. on Facebook Live.
From exercising more to eating healthier, many of you made a New Year’s resolution for 2021. I also made a resolution, but it’s different than mine from years past. My resolution is not about me. It’s about our community.
My New Year’s resolution for 2021 is to help the entire Tigard community thrive coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our country, state, and community have been ravaged by COVID-19. In 2020, 336,000 Americans died from COVID. Of those deaths, 1,440 were Oregonians, 140 of whom were members of the Washington County community.
This new year brings new life and new opportunities. We will remain vigilant in following public health protocols. At the same time, we will focus on helping our community thrive. Our actions will be guided by our vision to be an equitable community that is walkable, healthy, and accessible for everyone.
We will thrive by ensuring that every member of the community continues to have the basic services they need. In 2020, we provided $29,000 in financial assistance to over 160 utility customers. We have expanded the program to include tenants of multi-family and commercial complexes within our service area. This assistance will remain available through June 30, 2021 at least, and we will waive late fees and water shut offs through April 2021.
We will thrive by working with our community partners. Non-profits and faith-based groups played major roles in supporting community members since the beginning of the pandemic. We recognized the importance of these groups by supporting them with a total of $100,000. The six community groups leveraged the funds to maximize food assistance for seniors, food boxes for students and their families, and housing services to community members at risk of experiencing houselessness. In January 2021, the Council will discuss additional opportunities to support our community partners.
We will thrive by fostering a healthy business community. In 2020, we provided $3.4 million in business assistance and promoted 89 businesses through the Shop Tigard campaign. We are not done. We will continue to work together with the business community to keep current businesses in Tigard and position them to flourish in the future.
We will thrive by evaluating our public safety practices. We must ensure that our Police Department reflects the values of our community. To do so, we have empaneled the 16-member Public Safety Advisory Board (PSAB) to provide recommendations on topics ranging from body cameras to the use of force. The PSAB will meet throughout 2021 and engage the community in its discussions.
We will only thrive with your involvement. We want and need to hear from you — what support do you need, what support do local businesses need, and what support do community groups need? You can share your answers with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 503-810-0269. You are also invited to my next virtual Fireside Chat on Thursday, January 7, at 6:30 p.m. on Facebook Live.
2020 Mayor's Corner
Ensuring that utilities remain accessible and affordable to our residents and businesses is critically important. I want to make sure that you are aware of the financial assistance that is available directly from the City of Tigard and encourage you to take advantage of it if necessary.
Since the beginning of COVID-19, the City Council has approved $2.2 million in customer assistance as part of the Tigard AID Program. Over 185 customers have received Tigard AID funding so far. This means that 185 community members have had one fewer bill to pay and one fewer thing to worry about when they wake up in the morning. I am proud of the impact of the Tigard AID program, but I also know that we have reached only a small percentage of our those in need.
As a city, we are re-energizing our outreach efforts to ensure every eligible utility customer knows about the financial assistance available. You can determine if you’re eligible for funding at https://www.tigard-or.gov/aid/. If you are, I strongly encourage you to apply.
I want everyone to be part of the outreach efforts, whether or not you are apply for funding. I ask that you share three simple messages with your neighbors, friends, and family in Tigard:
- We have expanded our financial assistance to multifamily tenants in apartments as well as commercial tenants.
- We have extended utility bill assistance to June 30, 2021.
- We have extended a waiver of late fees and water shut-off actions to April 1, 2021.
By sharing this message, you will directly help those in our community who are struggling with difficult decisions about whether to pay their utility bill or pay for another essential item for their family.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has not gone away, and as long as COVID-19 remains, the Tigard City Council will support those in need. Tigard AID, Tigard CARES, and Tigard RAFT were created at the beginning of the pandemic after we heard from you. I would like to hear from you again about how the city can best support you during COVID-19. I can be reached at email@example.com or via phone at 503-810-0269. You are also invited to a virtual Fireside Chat on Thursday, December 3 at 6:30 p.m. on Facebook Live.
Our current response, and any future response, will further build a community that is more equitable, more inclusive, and more hopeful for generations to come.
The Power of Your Vote
As Americans, we have the opportunity and privilege of voting. Not only is it our right, it is our duty. It’s a simple yet powerful act. A single vote has decided an election numerous times in small and large cities, in urban and suburban areas, and on the East and West coasts. Want recent proof?
In 2019, a Boston City Council race was decided by a single vote, with Julia Mejia beating Alejandra St. Guillen 22,492 votes to 22,491 votes.
A Hickory, North Carolina, council primary in 2019 ended in a tie and, as a result, was decided by a coin flip.
Think about it — the outcomes of those elections would’ve been different had one person not voted because they believed their vote didn’t matter, or they didn’t think they knew enough about the issues. Every vote matters, and that’s especially true in local elections.
This upcoming November election is about so much more than the presidential race. You will also be deciding among seven candidates vying for two positions on the Tigard City Council. I am grateful to the seven candidates — Ben Edtl, Ethan Erickson, David “Jerry” Hahn, Heidi Lueb, Jeanette Shaw, Marc Woodard, and Kevin Wright — for embracing this leadership opportunity. (Learn more about the candidates in the Washington County Voters' Pamphlet.)
I believe that the city council election is the most important choice on the ballot. (Yes, I actually said that.) Simply put, the city has a greater influence on your day-to-day life than any other governmental entity.
The Tigard City Council knows what the community needs during an emergency. During Covid-19, we have been on the frontlines in hearing about what the community needs and acting to address these needs. We responded by supporting local businesses with Tigard CARES, utility customers with Tigard AID, and nonprofits that serve vulnerable community members with Tigard RAFT.
The Tigard City Council is responsible for services that directly affect your life — like drinking water, parks and trails, streets and sidewalks, and public safety. As questions and concerns grew nationally about policing, we heard from more than 500 community members about ensuring a George Floyd-type incident does not happen in Tigard. Your city council responded immediately by creating a Public Safety Advisory Board that will systematically and thoughtfully review our policing practices over the next 12 to 18 months.
The Tigard City Council is responsible for wisely spending your money. In 2019, we completed a performance audit of city services and created a City Report Card to communicate our successes and challenges. This is important because there are examples of cities where elected officials failed in their fiduciary responsibilities, leading to short- and long-term challenges, including the elimination of services.
You should consider these immense community responsibilities when you vote for council candidates.
Voting is easy. Registered voters will begin receiving ballots on Wednesday, October 14th. You can return your ballot by mail, or find an official elections drop box (there’s one in the City Hall parking lot). The last day that you can mail your ballot is Wednesday, October 28th. After this date, ballots must be put into an official elections drop box.
Your opportunity and privilege to be involved in our powerful democracy doesn’t end with voting. I invite you to apply to join one of the boards and committees that are recruiting new members.
I welcome the chance to discuss these opportunities with you. As always, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 503-810-0269.
Since I challenged Tigard to help eliminate institutional racism within our community, I’ve received a range of responses, from “This is long overdue” to “Racism doesn’t exist.” To that I say, yes, this IS long overdue, and yes, racism DOES indeed exist, here and elsewhere.
Just because you or I have not experienced racism firsthand does not mean we can deny its existence. Years, decades, and centuries upon which we can reflect upon prove otherwise. While it might be true that you and I are not personally responsible for what occurred over the last hundred-plus years, it is our responsibility to know what happened in the past (history), and to understand how those actions and decisions have repercussions and effects today.
Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets. Unfortunately, discrimination exists in systems that, intentionally or not, protect the well-being, health, and wealth of some and systematically hinder these things for others. Examples of such systems include: health care, education, housing, finance, and criminal justice — systems that disproportionately disfavor people of color and, even more acutely, Black people.
Embedded racial inequities produce unequal opportunities. Data confirm this fact.
- Compared with white Americans, Black Americans are 2 to 3 times more likely to die during childbirth.
- Black Americans are dying of COVID-19 at twice the rate of white Americans.
- Nationally, Latinx Americans experience infection at almost 3 times the rate of white Americans and hospitalization rates at nearly 5 times the rate of white Americans. Latinx residents in Washington County make up 15 percent of our population, but account for 54 percent of total Covid-19 infections as of 8/9/20. This is twice the rate of infection for white residents in Washington County.
- Nationally, predominantly non-white school districts receive $23 billion less than predominantly white districts, despite serving similar numbers of students.
- In the 2017-18 school year, the national adjusted cohort graduation rate was 89 percent for white students, 81 percent for Hispanic students, 79 percent for Black students, and 74 percent for American Indian/Alaska Native students.
- A Black family earning $157K per year is less likely to qualify for a home loan than a white family earning $40K.
- Black Americans experience the highest loan application denial rates. One in 4 Blacks will be denied a conventional loan application, as compared to 1 in 10 whites.
- Owning a home is one of the main ways people build wealth. Nearly 75 percent of white households own their home, compared to 44 percent of Black households.
- As of 2016, the average Black American family had total wealth of $17,600 — about one-tenth the wealth of the average white American family, which stands at $171,000.
- The typical Black household earns a fraction of the typical white household — just 59 cents for every dollar.
- The rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans was much higher than that of any other ethnicity.
- Black Americans are 2.5 times more likely than whites to be killed by police.
Racial inequality has become normalized in our society. Silence is not an option. Inaction is morally unacceptable.
This is a pivotal time in our country. We need to seize this moment and create momentum to change our systems and get better results. When I see facts — such as those I mentioned above — I am compelled to act, and that is what I am doing.
Maya Angelou once said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
I have been learning, and I now know better — and that is why I am committed to doing better. This is not easy work, but it is necessary. This journey to eliminate racism and ensure equity will be difficult and awkward, and we will stumble. But not trying is far worse.
I urge you to join me on the journey. On the city’s YouTube channel — Racial Equity playlist, begin (or continue) learning by watching videos, including REAL Action: Advancing Racial Equity in Local Government and Race in Oregon History: A Historical Perspective.
Learning from others is also a part of the journey. The Racial Unity Book Club offers this opportunity. Members are reading books such as So You Want to Talk About Race (2018) by Ijeoma Oluo and The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845) by Frederick Douglass, and hosting virtual discussions about what they’re learning.
Whether one-on-one or in a group, I welcome the chance to discuss our city’s journey with you. I can be reached at email@example.com or via phone 503-810-0269. I also invite you to participate in this month’s Virtual Fireside Chat on Thursday, September 3, at 6:30 p.m. on Facebook Live.
I learned a lot in June.
I learned from Abdi Mohamoud, Matt Brown, and Sarah Gentry — organizers of the Student March for Black Lives. They spoke passionately about the presence of hate speech in our community, and how we must end racism together — in the streets, in classrooms, and at the family dinner table.
I learned from hosting virtual listening sessions. Chief McAlpine and I heard from hundreds of community members. We heard appreciation for the men and women of the Police Department, but also a need to look inward at systemic racism in the Police Department and our city government. We agree with you, and we have already begun this critical work.
I learned from your emails, phone calls, and letters. You rightfully have questions about body cameras, officer training, the Police Department budget, #8CantWait, and use of force policies. We are, and will continue to be, transparent in responding to your questions. You can find answers to community questions on this webpage: https://www.tigard-or.gov/community_for_all/
I learned from my fellow councilors. During each Council meeting in June, we discussed racism in Tigard, and how we can do better. The Council will continue to listen and learn but, more importantly, we will act. As we navigate these difficult topics and discussions, we know that we must act to transform our city to end systemic racism.
I learned from those who insist that the status quo should be our future. In Tigard, we celebrate our differences, experiences, and perspectives. We know that dismantling systemic racism will not be easy and may not be embraced by every member of our community. But let me be clear: We will move forward. We will move forward, with all perspectives in mind, to eliminate institutional racism and ensure equity within our community.
I have a lot more to learn. This learning goes beyond the walls of City Hall. I will work side-by-side with community members to engage all voices, problem-solve creatively, and build trust. As we do this, it is imperative that we hear from members of our community who have been most affected by inequities.
As a city, we have a lot to learn. We will be neither complicit nor silent in the City of Tigard. Rather, we will be vigilant and deliberate as we seek to ensure that no member of our community experiences discrimination or injustice in any form.
I would be grateful to hear your thoughts, ideas, and concerns. You can share your ideas via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone or text (503-810-0269). I also invite you to participate in this month’s Virtual Fireside Chat on Thursday, August 6, at 6:30 p.m. on Facebook Live.
Special Message from the Mayor
Posted: June 3, 2020
Like so many in Tigard and across our nation, I am horrified by and angry about the senseless death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25th. Black people in the United States have lost their lives under a system of racial injustice for centuries. Smartphone videos in recent years have shown to the whole world what Black Americans and other people of color have reported for decades. Police brutality is unacceptable in Ferguson, it is unacceptable in Minneapolis and it is unacceptable in any community—Tigard included. It cannot continue.
Systemic racism and discrimination exist in Tigard and in communities throughout the country—about this there can be no doubt. We must not and will not turn a blind eye to the existence of racism and discrimination—nor will we choose silence or inaction because to do so is to perpetuate them. And that is morally unacceptable.
When I became mayor in 2018, my first message to the community focused on creating a Tigard for everyone. This goal has not changed. Hurtful, hateful and discriminatory actions are not acceptable in our community. This is reflected in our refreshed city vision, ”To be an equitable community for everyone.”
I am a middle-aged, straight white male. I am in a position of leadership, and I work hard to understand my privilege and unconscious bias. At the same time, I acknowledge and accept that my background and experiences limit my ability to identify and address our community’s racial inequities. I will offer ideas for meaningful, intentional action to remove barriers to inclusion and equality so that every member of the Tigard community feels safe and can thrive. But I need and want your help to build a joint community effort that reflects our shared concerns and values.
Tigard has taken concrete steps in the right direction, such as our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and our creation of a Strategic Plan that focuses on our city values to be equitable and inclusive; these, though, are simply first steps. We are embarking on a longer, deeper journey. And I am confident that our broader community has the insights and wisdom necessary for Tigard to take meaningful, intentional action. I realize we may not finish this in my time as mayor. Nevertheless, today I challenge the entire Tigard community to join us on this seriously important journey, to accomplish the following:
- Eliminate institutional racism and ensure equity within all city operations and structures
- Eliminate institutional racism and ensure equity within the Tigard community
- Improve the lived experience of all persons of color in Tigard such that everyone enjoys the safety and privilege that white men do today
I want to hear from you about how we can best tackle these objectives. I particularly would appreciate hearing from people of color in our community. This is a difficult but very necessary conversation. It’s a conversation that we must have to become a community in which everyone has access, feels welcomed and heard, safe, and can thrive without having to fear the very institutions that should be protecting everyone.
In the meantime, Chief McAlpine and I will continue to take any and all concerns about the performance of our police officers seriously and ensure they are investigated thoroughly. We will pay particularly close attention to complaints raised by and about persons of color while being transparent and accountable.
I would be grateful to hear your thoughts, ideas and concerns. You can share your ideas via email (email@example.com) and via phone or text at 503-810-0269. And if there’s a conversation or event that you would like me to attend, please invite me so I can listen and learn.
This statement is but the beginning of a much-needed and long overdue dialogue in our community. With your help, we can turn these conversations into actions that will make the Tigard of tomorrow a place in which everyone can flourish and feel fully at home.
Last, I want to sincerely thank the multiple Black leaders in our community that provided input and feedback on this statement and plan.
Speak Up, Tigard!
This is an important time in our community. We are battling a global pandemic. We are making important financial decisions about how to support individuals, businesses and nonprofits during COVID-19. We are working on several major projects — SW Corridor, Universal Plaza and Tigard Triangle. And, the Tigard community just approved a Police Services levy.
With this in mind, I expected (and hoped) to hear from a wide range of the Tigard community during public testimony for the city’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year. The community was invited to submit feedback via email and over the phone, and at virtual office hours held by the Finance Director. In total, we heard from just two community members.
This is disappointing. We want and need you to be involved in the decision-making process.
At the State of the City, I announced a bold goal of connecting with every single member of the Tigard community. My goal has not changed. I am committed to leading a government that not only listens but works side-by-side with the community. With your participation and input, we can make more-informed decisions that are reflective of the entire community.
I challenge you to speak up — What do you love about Tigard? What could be improved? What do you want to hear more about? Here’s how you can speak up and get involved in our community.
Attend a (Virtual) Fireside Chat: I invite you to a Fireside Chat on Thursday, June 4, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Facebook Live. The City Council will host a similar virtual opportunity on Thursday, June 18, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Facebook Live (https://www.facebook.com/CityofTigard).
Call. Email. Text. My phone number is 503-810-0269. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Out of City Hall, Into Your Neighborhood. Once it becomes safe to do so, we will come to you. Invite us to your event, whether it’s a neighborhood picnic or a business luncheon. It’s as easy as sending an email to CouncilMail@tigard-or.gov.
Submit Public Testimony. Many important decisions will be weighed by the City Council in the coming months. You can share your opinion from the comfort of your own home by visiting https://www.tigard-or.gov/comments/index.php.
Your Tigard. The city’s engagement platform is open 24/7/365. You can learn about volunteer opportunities, share feedback on construction projects or post a creative solution on the Community Ideas Board.
By speaking up, you will join us on a journey of exploring creative solutions, engaging in meaningful dialogue and shaping the future of our Tigard.
Ensuring your health and safety remains the top priority for the City Council and staff. Generous contributions from the following businesses and community members have helped the women and men of the Tigard Police Department stay safe:
Axon | Costco | Country Financial | Fish-Field | Flowers by Donna | Home Depot | Jacto | Jennifer Larsen | Lowes | Northwest Christian Church | Rose City Distilling | Sally Kirchoff | Sonrise Church | Target | Tina Skiles
I’ve heard from you about your safety concerns, especially after this headline — ‘Tigard Police Note Dramatic Increase in Burglaries’ — began making the rounds. I want to let you know how we are addressing these threats, and that the Police Department is committed to fulfilling its mission “to protect and serve all who live, play and work in Tigard.”
Officers are patrolling around closed businesses. Unfortunately, a few bad actors are committing ‘crimes of opportunity’ by targeting businesses that are closed. A 60 percent increase in burglaries was reported during the first half of April compared to the same time last year. You can help by reporting suspicious activity, like loitering in business areas, by calling 911 to report crimes in progress or calling 503-629-0111 to report other suspected crimes.
Officers are responding to more disturbance calls, ranging from reports of domestic violence and threats to loud arguments. There’s been a 31 percent increase in these types of calls compared to the same time last year. This is not the Tigard way. We ask that you continue to call for assistance when you are concerned for your own or someone else’s safety. We will hold people accountable for criminal acts.
Officers are balancing high priority calls happening simultaneously. On the afternoon of April 24, officers responded to three separate instances occurring around the same time - an individual who was suicidal discharged a weapon, a suspect in a purse snatching escaped custody near Main Street, and a DUII crash occurred on Main Street. We will be nimble in deploying our limited resources to crimes in progress that threaten your safety.
Officers are watching the roads for excessive speeding, and they will pull you over. Fewer cars on the road is not a license to speed. Reports of excessive speeding are far too common. In April, officers cited drivers going 127 mph and 97 mph, respectively, near I-5 and Highway 217. Irresponsible driving endangers everyone.
Officers are responding to reports of scammers. The Police have received multiple complaints about scammers who are claiming to have hacked into computers and threatening to share compromising videos. Do not respond to these emails. These types of emails should be reported directly to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
I am grateful that Chief McAlpine is leading our response against these threats to ensure the safety of our community. I hope you will join me in recognizing the Chief’s three-year anniversary with the city.
In these uncertain times, it’s especially important that I hear from you — what challenges you are facing, how the city can help, and who the unsung heroes in our community are. As always, I can be reached at email@example.com.
Stay home, save lives! Thank you for following the advice of public health experts for the greater good of the Tigard community, the region, and the state.
City staff is doing the same. With city buildings temporarily closed, staff members are embracing telecommuting with tools like Microsoft Teams, a telecommuting tracking app, virtual desktop, and Zoom meetings.
Our work continues because it is essential to your quality of life. We continue to issue building permits, offer e-library cards, maintain sewer lines, supply clean drinking water, and ensure our community is safe.
Ensuring a safe community cannot be done by telecommuting. It requires face-to-face interactions between police officers and community members. Our officers risk their health and safety every day. They don’t know who will answer the door during a welfare check or who’s behind the wheel in a speeding vehicle.
In the last month, as our community has worked to slow the spread of the coronavirus, officers have been balancing their ‘normal work load’ with responding to the impacts of the coronavirus on the community. Completing their normal work load creates the highest level of livability possible for the entire community.
Responding to incidents like the following three requires additional time and precautions to ensure officer safety.
- On March 18, community members reported that multiple people were standing around an overturned black Ford Explorer, screaming and throwing glass. As officers arrived, the suspects fled the scene. With assistance from other area police departments, officers located the suspects, who were in possession of firearms, narcotics, and cash.
- In early March, a man was reported to be suspiciously looking into car windows at an apartment complex. Officers located the suspect, who was driving a stolen truck, and arrested him for the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, theft, and possession of a controlled substance. Officers filled over 40 evidence bags of stolen items, including car parts, power tools, and clothing.
- Officers responded to a suspicious death at a Tigard hotel on March 6. An individual who had checked into the hotel was found deceased in his room. Officers spent countless hours investigating and processing the scene. They continue to investigate this incident and ask that anyone who may have seen or heard anything, call the tip line at 503-718-COPS (2677) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Successful policing during this unprecedented time requires the support of the entire community. I join the Tigard Police in thanking Rose City Distilling. This Tigard-based company has shown their support by manufacturing and then supplying our officers with hand sanitizer. This donation plays a key role in allowing our officers to maintain their safety and health while protecting your quality of life.
Everyone Counts in Tigard
My message to you this month is simple: Everyone counts in Tigard.
This may be the most important Census ever for Tigard, but the risk of an undercount is also greater than ever. An undercount would result in Tigard neighborhoods being shortchanged on funding for everything from affordable housing to public safety.
In 2010, approximately 75 percent of the Tigard community completed the Census. I challenge you to help Tigard do better in 2020 and ensure that we are the city in the Portland metro area with the highest percentage of completed Census forms.
I know there are concerns in the community about participating in the Census. Please know that your privacy is protected. It's against the law for the U.S. Census Bureau to release any information that could identify you or your household. Your responses will contribute to vital city-wide data.
Collecting the data is important for you, your family, and our community. Here’s why:
An undercount in Tigard could translate to a loss of adequate representation. Population counts from the Census drive redistricting and how many representatives we have at the state and national levels.
The Census affects your everyday quality of life. Think about the issues most important to you: high-quality education for your kids; transportation to get you where you need to go; and health care to keep you and your family well. Each of these programs is allocated funding based on Census data.
Billions of dollars in economic activity are determined based on Census data. Businesses use Census data to decide where to build factories, offices, and stores. These all represent jobs. Real-estate developers use the Census to determine where to build new homes and which neighborhoods to revitalize. Having a complete count of Tigard will lead to more business and employment opportunities for our community.
It is my job as a community leader to make the Census easy on you. We are hosting a Census Kickoff Party on Wednesday, April 1, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Tigard Library. Census representatives will be on hand to answer questions and help you complete the Census questionnaire. We’ll also have food, family activities, and entertainment.
You may also contact me directly with Census-related questions at email@example.com or 503-810-0269. I invite you to bring your Census questions to the next Fireside Chat on Thursday, March 5, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Tapphoria, 13815 SW Pacific Highway.
At the State of the City address, I highlighted the heroic actions of the Tigard Police Department. Some in the audience were surprised to learn about the positive impacts that officers have on our lives every day.
I want to use this month’s column to spotlight three more officers who have been instrumental in keeping Tigard safe and secure.
Last November, Officer Brett Adamski responded to a reported overdose where a 24-year-old male was unresponsive and not breathing. Officer Adamski correctly assessed the situation and administered Naloxone, which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. When there was no response, Officer Adamski administered a second dose, which revived the young man. Officer Adamski’s quick actions directly saved a life.
Thank you, Officer Adamski!
The Commercial Crimes Unit is an important part of protecting the valuable assets of Tigard businesses. In 2019, the team tirelessly worked to solve a gift card scam that sought to defraud retail stores in the Tigard area of millions of dollars. As a result, seven individuals, who stole more than 300 Apple devices, were indicted on 67 felony charges.
Thank you, Commercial Crimes Unit!
As a father, I am confident in our future because of individuals like Detective Kristan Rinell who are connecting with our youth. Recently, Detective Rinell collaborated with Parks and Recreation to host a “Be That Girl” class. Twenty-two girls from 10 to 18 years old were taught verbal and physical self-defense techniques. Detective Rinell provided a safe space for the participants to have honest conversations and develop tools to help find their inner voices.
Thank you, Detective Rinell!
I hope to share similar stories from the Tigard Police every year. However, a recent performance audit should give us pause. According to the audit, eight additional officers are needed to continue providing the police response that you expect and to keep our community safe in the future. I invite you to the next Fireside Chat on Thursday, Feb. 6, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Tigard Taphouse, 9230 SW Burnham Street, where you can learn more about potential solutions to this community challenge. Learn more at https://www.tigard-or.gov/tigard_levy/.
When I Think About Our Community
Before looking forward to 2020, I want to look back at December. My month was characterized by one word — celebrations. I attended many celebrations throughout our community, where I witnessed the power of how our celebrations define our community. Our celebrations reflect both who we are as a community and what we want to become. In Tigard, our celebrations reflect a commitment to becoming one of the most connected, inclusive cities in the Northwest.
Here’s how this played out in 2019, and what to expect in 2020.
When people think about our community, I want them to think about hundreds of people gathering on a cold December night to start a new tradition. A tradition in which we celebrate Hanukkah with a 9-foot tall menorah in Liberty Park. The menorah represents the ideal of universal enlightenment and the importance of freedom of religion for everyone.
When people think about our community, I want them to think about the Avon Street neighbors and city staff member Joanne Bengtson. These dynamic community leaders started a new community tradition, the Holiday Lights Walk — a tradition that in just four years has grown in attendance from 10 people to over 1,000.
When people think about our community, I want them to think about the many smiles — young and old — lighting up the night at the Holiday Tree Lighting. Our downtown leaders have grown this event into one of regional significance, and one that ensures Santa receives a warm welcome in Tigard.
In 2020, when people think about our community, I want them to think about faith-based leaders, non-profit leaders, and city leaders coming together monthly for the Community Roundtable. This is a gathering where community leaders tackle difficult topics ranging from homelessness to inclusiveness.
In 2020, when people think about our community, I want them to think about Latino community members getting their first-ever Hop Pass. By partnering with Centro Cultural and St. Anthony’s Church for ¡Ahorre con TriMet!, we will make it easier for everyone in our community to access public transportation.
In 2020, when people talk about our community, I want them to think about neighbors, business owners, library staff, and others starting their day with ‘Coffee and Conversation’ at the Tigard Library. I am excited about the future possibilities that will come from the connections built during this informal gathering.
In 2020, when people talk about our community, I want them to think about our community gathering to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision and legacy, and learning from one another in a facilitated conversation about cultivating a community for everyone.
In 2020, when people talk about our community, I want them to think about you. I want them to think about the role you played in advancing our commitment to being a community for everyone.
I invite you to learn how to be a community influencer at the next Fireside Chat on Jan. 2, 6:30 p.m. at Tigard Library Houghton Room or at the State of the City address “Late Night in Tigard” on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, from 6-8 p.m. at Broadway Rose Theater.
2019 Mayor's Corner
A Safe & Secure Tigard
Our community values safe and welcoming neighborhoods. Whether it’s in downtown, in your neighborhood, or on the Fanno Creek Trail, safety is essential to your quality of life. You conveyed this message during recent conversations about a ballot measure to fund ten additional police officers.
The City Council is proposing a local option levy to maintain a safe and secure Tigard at the lowest cost possible. The council is currently considering a levy that would cost the average Tigard homeowner 25 cents a day.
I want to highlight a few characteristics of what a safe and secure Tigard could mean to you.
A safe and secure Tigard has a police department that can handle multiple emergencies at the same time.
We are at a critical time for the Tigard Police Department. As our city has grown, our police resources have not.
The result: Tigard Police resources are at capacity. When three officers are minimum staffing, our city can safely handle only one major incident occurring simultaneously. This is unacceptable in 2019 with a city population of 54,000.
A safe and secure Tigard equips officers with de-escalation strategies for individuals suffering from mental crises. Mental illness in Tigard does not discriminate. Individuals from all backgrounds and of all economic means are affected. Every Tigard police officer must receive advanced training in crisis intervention to further hone their skills, allowing them to more effectively and safely respond to individuals in crisis.
A safe and secure Tigard allocates resources to connect individuals experience homelessness with services. Homelessness is a critical issue affecting everyone in our community — residents, homeowners, business owners, and visitors. Our police need the resources to provide short-term options while also connecting individuals experiencing homeless individuals to permanent solutions. To accomplish this, officers need the time to interact with individuals experiencing homelessness, identify solutions, and link them to community resources.
I ask you to consider whether this vision for a safe and secure Tigard aligns with your values and those of our community.
You can share your thoughts in person at my next Fireside Chat on Thursday, Dec. 5, 6:30 p.m. at Symposium Coffee (12345 SW Main St, Tigard), In addition, I can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Walkable. Healthy. Inclusive.
In 2014, the Ice Bucket Challenge swept the globe, Frozen became the highest-grossing animated movie of all time, and the City of Tigard started a journey to become a healthier, more connected, inclusive community.
I am proud of the work that we have done together as a city, bound by our vision and with an eye toward the future. Five years into our journey, I want to share a few numbers that highlight the positive impacts all around Tigard.
2,827 students have engaged with our “Safe Routes to School” program by walking to school, getting helmets fitted and participating in safety programs. In support of the program, we worked with parents, school staff, and the school district to develop school-specific action plans that identify barriers to walking and biking, and that prioritize strategies to reduce the barriers.
81 community members have opted into Volunteer Tigard! This initiative creates volunteer opportunities for community members to put their talents and energies into improving the community’s quality of life. So far, five projects have been completed, ranging from installing Born Learning trail signs to assisting an elderly resident with yard work. The impact of Volunteer Tigard! is best summed up by a family member of the elderly resident:
“The transformation of the yard is unbelievable. Every volunteer worked hard and was kind. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! The Police Chief made my daughter’s day by helping with the effort. Today is a day that she will not forget!”
61 curb ramps were replaced to improve accessibility for wheelchairs, walkers, and motorized scooters. We are also developing an implementation plan to make the City of Tigard’s building facilities, parks, trails, and public right-of-way accessible to all.
12 Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper (inexpensive and high-impact) projects have been completed. These range from the 135th Avenue sidewalk gap completion to the ‘A Walk Thru Time’ mural. And there’s good news: You can help by providing your input on our next project by sending project ideas to email@example.com.
5 cities and 3 school districts, including Tigard, partnered on The Multi-Equity Summit. The Summit, attended by over 350 people (100 from Tigard, including City Council President Goodhouse and myself), is the beginning of a community conversation about the barriers that prevent some people from fully benefiting from and participating in the rich quality of life that our communities have to offer. To truly become a community for all, we must work tirelessly to eliminate these barriers.
While celebrating our successes is important, it’s equally important to re-engage you in charting our path forward for the next five years. We need your help to know whether we’re on track, what we’re missing and even what you think we should perhaps stop doing. You can share your opinions via a brief survey at https://www.engage.tigard-or.gov/.
You can also share your thoughts in person at my next Fireside Chat on Thursday, Nov. 7, 6:30 p.m. at Hops on Tap, 15660 SW Pacific Hwy (between Petco and Safeway). In addition, I can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keeping Tigard Safe
Your message has been received. You expect our city to be proactive in keeping the community safe and maintaining a high quality of life for everyone in Tigard. I have heard this from you at the Street Fair, Fireside Chats, and on social media.
I am keenly aware that the Tigard Police Department plays a key role in helping us meet your expectations. Please know that the Tigard Police have found creative solutions time and again, despite constrained resources, including:
Red Means Stop:
Without question, there is no substitute for strong police visibility near highly traveled intersections. But police can’t be everywhere at all times. We must use proven tools like photo traffic enforcement, which arrives this fall at three collision-prone intersections in Tigard.
Our goal is to lower the number of accidents caused by drivers running red lights. This fall, we begin initial testing of the equipment and continue our significant public education campaign. You will benefit from safer roads in Tigard whether you are biking, driving, or walking.
Can You ID Me? The Tigard Police have a proven track record of implementing creative solutions to address community needs. While the number of police officers has not increased over the last decade, we have harnessed the power of our collective community. You, the Tigard community, have quickly taken to using the “Can You ID Me?” platform to identify criminal suspects. Last year, the community submitted 25 tips, six of which led to arrests.
We will continue to look for additional creative solutions to implement and use technology to our advantage and keep your neighborhood safe.
• — — — — — •
HOWEVER, our police officers will continue to face an increasing number of calls for service, with less time to respond to each. Every minute matters when responding to an alleged robbery or assisting a victim of domestic violence. A minute can be the difference in saving a life or apprehending a violent criminal. With this in mind, I encourage you to watch a brief video that details a typical day shift for Officer Eric Enzenberger: https://www.tigard-or.gov/police/15calls.php
It’s clear that our officers no longer have enough minutes to do the job we need them to do. This fact was driven home by a recent performance audit, completed by an outside consultant, which found the Tigard Police need to “add eight additional officers to achieve the goal of five-minute response time to priority 1 and 2 (major crimes) calls for service.”
I look forward to discussing the levy at my next Fireside Chat on Thursday, Oct. 3, 6:30 p.m. at Tapphoria, 13815 SW Pacific Highway. I also encourage you to invite us into your neighborhood to discuss the levy proposal. You can do so by completing a short form at https://www.tigard-or.gov/city_hall/council_connections.php. I can also be reached directly at email@example.com.
Dear Mr. Mayor,
Can you make a new holiday in May called Family Day with fireworks at night and have treats and cookies?
P.S: Families are important and it would be a fun day for families!
Jennifer Reis, a second-grader at Mary Woodward Elementary School, wrote this letter to then-Mayor Craig Dirksen in 2005. Her letter spurred the creation of Family Fest weekend. Family Fest has evolved into an annual celebration that reflects Tigard’s vision to become a healthy, more interconnected community.
At this year’s event, families can shop and stroll at the Downtown Street Fair, dance and celebrate at the Latino Festival, and smile and learn at the Library’s Festival of Fun for Everyone. There’s also a Family Fun Run.
I will join the Council in attending events throughout the weekend, including the Latino Festival and Downtown Street Fair where we will hand out ice cream and talk about the proposed 2020 Safety Levy, which would fund 10 additional police officers.
The levy is focused primarily on the Tigard Police Department because response times to life-threatening calls matter. Additional officers will restore faster response times, provide proactive homeless outreach, and strengthen community connections.
The Council is considering whether a Safety Levy should include funding projects to increase the safety of walking and biking around seven schools. The projects would create safer neighborhoods by improving paths and crossings, as well as adding sidewalks near schools.
It was true in 2005 when Jennifer wrote her letter to the mayor, and it’s still true in 2019: Families are important. We must keep our families and entire community safe. The passage of the Safety Levy will make this vision a reality in Tigard by protecting our community.
Your voice in this discussion is just as important as mine. I want to hear from you – do you think we should pursue a Safety Levy? Should the levy also fund modest pedestrian improvements around schools?
We’ve made it easy to share your opinion – visit us at the Downtown Street Fair, attend a Fireside Chat on Thursday, Sept. 5, 6:30 p.m. at Versus Board Game, invite us to your next event, complete this brief survey, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public art has been a key component of Downtown Tigard’s transformation. It’s visible everywhere—from eye-catching gateway art and murals to sculptures and artistic storm-water drains. Our emphasis on public art is part of our mission to build a connected community that embraces our rich history and welcomes our future.
In late July, I joined community members in celebrating the unveiling of the latest public art project, A Walk Through Time. Artist Jeremy Nichols worked with Tigard Librarian Sean Garvey and local historians to design an interwoven tapestry of our history and culture. The mural depicts images of the Kalapuya tribe (the indigenous inhabitants of the area) alongside native flora and fauna.
If you walk a few steps from the new mural, you will find a vibrant storm-drain mural. The storm-drain mural raises awareness about storm-water pollution in the Tualatin River while celebrating the artistic and cultural heritage of Latinx and Muslim communities in Washington County.
Near downtown on the Fanno Creek Trail, two retaining walls also serve as canvasses for art. Artist Ashley Montague transformed a retaining wall near Main Street into a mural that appears to be in motion when you are walking or biking past it. In June, another local artist designed a retaining wall mural near Tiedeman Avenue that depicts local wildlife.
Our focus on public art is here to stay. In July, the City Council approved a contract for the Tigard Street Heritage Trail, which includes an outdoor museum. The museum will add interpretative elements and artworks along Tigard Street.
I want you to hear your thoughts on public art in Tigard. Share your comments, ideas, or questions via email (email@example.com) or the Council Connections page.
Council President Goodhouse will serve as guest host for the Fireside Chat Listening Session this month while I attend the annual Oregon Mayors Association Conference in Medford. Please join him for an open discussion about all things Tigard on Thursday, August 1, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Davidson’s Casual Dining.
I am excited to welcome Meghan Turley as the first-ever Youth City Councilor. Councilor Turley’s leadership experience includes terms as a Junior Class Student Government Representative, editor-in-chief for the Tigard High School newspaper, and president of the Politics Club.
Councilor Turley, along with the rest of the Council, will provide key input on the new “City of Tigard Report Card” initiative. The initiative stems from community feedback seeking a better understanding of what the city does and how we do it. You’ll hear more about the Report Card in the coming months.
In the meantime, I want to give you an update on the four vital signs of a healthy city that I outlined in the State of the City address in April.
A City for Everyone
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again now: Everyone is welcome in Tigard. I also want to show you how we’re making progress.
- The city’s workforce is becoming more diverse. (You can track our progress here.)
- We have 14 bilingual staff members.
- We’ve reestablished our Community Roundtable of non-profit and faith-based leaders.
- We’ve budgeted for staff and financial resources to establish meaningful relationships in all neighborhoods.
I am proud of our accomplishments to date, but we are just beginning. We need to build long-term relationships and trust with our unrepresentative communities. We will know that we have made progress when we see more diversity on our board and committees, city council, and city staff.
Out of City Hall, Into Your Neighborhood
Is it realistic to connect with every community member? Probably not, but we won’t stop from trying to reach each of the 53,148 people living in Tigard. We will only be successful if you’re on our team—though this doesn’t mean being a cheerleader for everything we do; it means inviting you to have a voice in discussions, a seat at the table, and removing the barriers or challenges that prevent you from participating in city affairs.
To date, you have embraced the opportunity to build an inclusive government. Through the ‘Out of City Hall, Into Your Neighborhood’ initiative, we have received more than 50 invitations to community events, everything from neighborhood BBQs to fun runs. Please continue to extend these invitations and share what is on your mind.
Sound, Transparent Decision-Making
You had a chance to participate via an online survey and a community meeting in the city’s first performance audit in the last 10 years. Completing a performance audit is not an accomplishment, but improving based on the audit recommendations is—and we will do this in the next year.
Protecting You and Your Loved Ones
Our Police Department affects your quality of life every day, from keeping intoxicated drivers off the road to responding to mental health calls. Our officers are responding to an increased number of calls for service, yet officer staffing levels remain stagnant.
We are addressing this issue by proposing a local option levy for police services in May 2020.
This is not a ‘nice to have’ need. This is a ‘must have,’ to meet your expectations of policing in Tigard. We know that minutes matter when we respond to your emergency call for service or to investigate a crime.
I look forward to talking about these vital signs and the City of Tigard Report Card at my next Fireside Chat Listening Session on Thursday, July 11, 6:30–8:30 p.m. at CoLab (11481 SW Hall).
Like many of you, I have fond memories of summertime as a child. I spent summers swimming in the family pool and fishing in Montana.
I’ve noticed in recent years that the child-like excitement for summertime has spread to adults in the Tigard community. I suspect part of this excitement is attributable to the community events held by the city’s Recreation Division.
Residents are relishing the chance to show off their hometown by inviting friends and family to a Concert in the Park or Movie in the Park. Just a few years ago, you had to visit neighboring cities for such opportunities.
Tigard Park and Recreation Advisory Board member Wayne Gross speaks for many in the community when he says, “we believe that recreation is an essential city service and contributes greatly to the quality of life in the community.”
The City Council agrees. Parks and recreation contribute to the livability of our community. Quality parks and recreation help the local tax base and increase property values. They also align with our strategic plan by providing places for health and well-being that are accessible by persons of all ages and abilities.
In the upcoming budget year, the Budget Committee invested in the future of community events, recreation, and park maintenance by increasing the Parks and Recreation Fee. I take fee increases seriously, and I want you to know what you are getting for your money.
The fee supports less than half of the cost to provide parks and recreation services in Tigard. The General Fund supports the rest.
Increases in the fee provide:
- Park Maintenance: Our parks are gathering places, and places where recreation and events of all types can occur and help make living in Tigard more desirable. We will ensure this continues by funding increased maintenance to cover the almost 200 acres of parks added since 2010.
- Pop Up in the Park: You don’t have to go far. We’re bringing sports, games, and crafts to your neighborhood every Wednesday in July.
- Concerts in the Park: You will have two opportunities to sing and dance! Petty Fever breaks out Wednesday, August 7, and Johnny Limbo and the Lugnuts tap into the ‘Golden Era of Rock n’ Roll’ on Wednesday, August 21.
- Movies in the Park: Long summer nights are a staple in Oregon. You can enjoy the outdoors and watch a hit movie, like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Incredibles 2, on five different dates this summer.
- Family Fest Fun Run: We’re hosting a fun run for all ages and abilities on Saturday, September 7. The run is part of the festivities surrounding the Downtown Street Fair.
The person leading our delivery of these events is Kimberly Cederholm, our new Recreation Coordinator. She brings extensive experience working for Vancouver-Clark County Parks and Recreation and the Northeast Community Center.
I will be attending many of these events along with members of the City Council. We hope you will let us know if you have questions about the recreation program and its funding. You can also connect with us by submitting a question via What’s on Your Mind, inviting us to a community event or attending the next Fireside Chat Listening Session on Thursday, June 6, 6:30–8:30 p.m. at Symposium Coffee.
At the State of the City, you heard that “just okay is not okay” for protecting the Tigard community. My experiences as a paramedic and reserve police officer impressed upon me the importance of a strong, responsive, reliable police force that is more than “just okay.”
The women and men in our police department are stretched thin. More than 40% of patrol shifts are operating at minimal staffing levels – three officers for the day shift, three to four for the graveyard shift, and four officers for the swing shift. At the same time, calls for service have increased by 24% since 2013. To learn about these challenges first hand, I encourage you to watch my State of the City interview with Officer Heather Wakem.
• — — — — — •
NOW, CONSIDER what happened on April 24—our police department responded to three major incidents. Officers worked throughout the night to capture two suspects in a shooting stemming from a disagreement among two couples. The first suspect was immediately apprehended, while the second suspect was captured hours later trying to elude police by hiding in Fanno Creek.
As morning broke, our police were alerted to a credible threat against the Muslim Educational Trust (MET). Our police responded by investigating the threat and patrolling the MET until the threat was resolved. At the same time, our police were investigating a separate incident which required monitoring potential suspects.
Our officers responded appropriately to each event, which was noted by leaders at the Muslim Educational Trust.
It’s my job to ensure our police have the ability to continue to respond appropriately. We’re discussing a local option levy to increase the number of officers available to respond to the increasing calls for service. Our aim is to:
Decrease response time: Since 2013, response time for Priority one and two calls (major crimes) has increased by 21% to an average of six minutes and 23 seconds. Our community needs a response time under five minutes.
Increase community policing. Additional officers will benefit all areas of Tigard. Officers will engage in proactive community policing efforts, such as patrolling neighborhoods to increase visibility and interact with neighbors more informally.
Provide a consistent and proactive response to homelessness. The Council is considering the deployment of a two-officer Homeless Outreach Team. In the past, officers have done proactive outreach with campers, providing them with resources to help them get into transitional housing. While the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in the city has increased, staffing limitations have essentially eliminated the time for this needed outreach.
We will not make a final decision on a local option levy until we hear from you. We are getting out of city hall and into your neighborhood, but we need your help. Invite us to a community event. Submit a question via “What’s on Your Mind?” Or, attend the next Fireside Chat Listening Session on Thursday, May 16, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm at Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub, 12562 Main Street.
Play Ball! I am excited for the Tigard Little League’s opening day on Saturday, April 6. For more than 50 years, Tigard Little League has offered a safe, fun and healthy environment for children.
I suspect not everyone will agree with my choice, but this picture will give you a clue as to which team I’ll be cheering for this season.
The rest of this month’s column will focus on the elephant in the room—traffic. When it comes to transportation, many Tigard residents think about traffic congestion. We hear your concerns about traffic and are working hard to make travel easier for everyone. Recently, we have received comments along these lines:
- Traffic in Tigard is horrible no matter the time or day of the week.
- I am frustrated by the congestion because of the impacts on my everyday life. And I think it negatively impacts local businesses, bike safety, and so much more.
- I feel like the city isn’t doing anything to deal with the ridiculous congestion on our roads.
I agree. I’ve lived in Tigard for 20 years. Traffic is bad, and while there is no easy solution, the city works in many ways to make improvements and will continue to do so. Here are three recent examples of how we are addressing traffic congestion:
- Traffic signal coordination on Upper Boones Ferry Road/Durham Road: A partnership with the Oregon Department of Transportation and Washington County has allowed us to improve the coordination of 13 traffic signals in this high-traffic area. Improved coordination helps traffic run more smoothly and also leads to a reduction in accidents. We hope this will be a model that we can deploy in other areas of the city that share roadways, such as 99W and Hall Blvd.
- Improvements to Roy Rogers Road: This project is aimed at reducing traffic. These improvements will make it easier for vehicles, pedestrians, and bikes to travel safely.
- Adding sidewalks and bike lanes to 121st Avenue: Many people use this busy, narrow street to get to and from their neighborhoods. The project is scheduled for Summer 2019. When it’s finished, Tigard will have a safer roadway with bike lanes and sidewalks.
These three projects alone will not eliminate traffic congestion, but they are significant steps in addressing this growing problem.
We know that we work better, smarter and stronger with community input. We want to make it easier for you to learn about projects and provide valuable input. With that in mind, I invite you to attend Let’s Talk Transportation (April 9, 5:30-7 p.m., Tigard Public Library), where you can learn about different transportation projects happening in the city, and Advocacy and Testimony, (April 18, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Tigard City Hall) where you can learn how to advocate for transportation solutions.
We’re also ramping up our online engagement on ‘Your Tigard.’ I encourage you to check it out and add your input on the 72nd Avenue Transportation Study and Tigard Triangle.
I hope to see you at the ‘Late Night in Tigard’ on Wednesday, April 10 at 6 p.m. or at my next Fireside Chat Listening Session at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 18 at the Tigard Taphouse (Main Street Tigard). You may also reach me directly at Jason@tigard-or.gov or on my cell phone at 503-810-0269.
Along with the rest of our Tigard community, I was greeted by a snow-covered lawn several mornings in February. My wife and I spent the early morning hours checking whether school was canceled or the office was closed.
Our first priority as a city will always be to ensure the safety of all in our community. While most residents were planning their days, city employees—including Adam Jensen, Derek Johnson, Glenn Davis, Jeff Nylen, Kenny Clark, Mike Hendrix, Scott Price, and Trent Brickey—braved harsh conditions to sand and plow the streets in Tigard. I thank them for approaching the long hours away from their families with dedication and great attitudes.
Tigard Police Officers Scott Sanders and Kary Bowman are two other city workers who share a similar dedication.
• — — — — — •
AS A PARENT of three school-aged children, I was thankful for Officer Sanders’ efforts to revive a 14-year-old race participant who collapsed at Fowler Middle School. Officer Sanders administered an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) and monitored the teenager during these critical minutes. His actions, along with those of an off-duty Beaverton police officer, stabilized the teen, who was transported to a hospital and ultimately survived.
I live in a safe neighborhood where my kids can play in the yard and our friends and family can visit. Neighbors in another area of our community were not as fortunate until Officer Bowman addressed the problems plaguing their neighborhood.
Residents had become prisoners in their own homes due to harassment by one unfriendly neighbor. The neighborhood residents endured filthy language, strobe lights in their windows, loud music and theft.
Officer Kary Bowman ensured that hate did not win. She fought for the families, despite difficult and lengthy interactions with the problem neighbor. Her perseverance led to the arrest of the neighbor, along with a 35-month prison sentence. These efforts were one of the reasons that the American Legion recently named Officer Bowman their 2019 Officer of the Year.
These two examples highlight why the City Council is absolutely committed to making sure the Tigard Police Department has the resources necessary to ensure our community is safe at all times. To thrive, we must feel safe and protected, regardless of where we are in Tigard. As the demand for police services rises each year, the City Council must continue to deploy the necessary resources to decrease response times and increase the number of officers, particularly as our population grows.
I invite you to join the conversation at my next Fireside Chat Listening Session, on Thursday, March 7, 6:30 p.m. at Symposium Coffee. You may also reach me directly at Jason@tigard-or.gov or on my cell phone at 503-810-0269.
In my first month as mayor, I've been proud to represent Tigard at regional and national events, including joining fellow Portland-area mayors at the Oregon State Capitol and attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting.
My interactions with mayors from across the country has strengthened my belief that Tigard must continue efforts to become a vibrant, diverse, and livable community.
I was particularly affected as I listened to the City of Hillsboro Mayor Steve Callaway recount his response to overhearing someone describe his city as “Hillsburrito.”
Listening to Mayor Callaway speak about his experience came at an opportune time. This month, our city staff received the following email from a community member:
Why are you recruiting for bilingual Spanish speaking person? Why would you give a job to non-speaking English person instead of a citizen who needs a job and speaks English? Why not just move city offices to Mexico?
I am sharing this email in a public forum because I want it to be perfectly clear that Tigard is a community for everyone. We will stand up to hurtful speech and reinforce our efforts to attract a workforce that is representative of our community and our nation.
I invite those who struggle to understand the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion in Tigard to consider these facts:
- Nearly one-fifth of our community speaks a language other than English, the most common of which is Spanish. The state of Oregon has no official language. Neither does the United States.
- Our responsibility is to communicate and welcome all community members so that we can serve our constituency. This includes having bilingual staff and interpretation services to assist customers with their water bills, to report a crime, find a book, or help them understand and/or participate in city projects.
- We cannot and will not deny rights, benefits or services to our neighbors, friends or community members because of a language barrier.
- Having a culturally and linguistically diverse workforce makes us stronger and promotes innovation and positive change.
- Our Latinx community—young, diverse and growing every year—is an essential part of our collective community.
I believe Tate Brunswick, the owner of Versus Board Games, speaks for the Tigard community in embracing the unique qualities and backgrounds of all individuals. “Making my store welcoming to everyone is one of my main goals. I strive personally to treat everyone equally as soon as they walk in the door. Whether they are wearing a Star Wars hoodie, a suit, a dress or a kilt, I try not to assume anything about them. I just ask how they are and what games they’re interested in.”
I invite you to join the conversation at my next Fireside Chat Listening Session on February 7, 6:30 p.m., at Symposium Coffee. You may also reach me directly at Jason@tigard-or.gov or on my cell phone at 503-810-0269.
As 2019 kicks off the season of fresh starts, I am humbled to begin serving as your Tigard Mayor. I invite you to the January 8, 2019 inauguration ceremony for Councilor John Goodhouse, who will begin a second term, new City Councilor Liz Newton, and myself.
I want to thank my predecessor, Mayor John L. Cook, for being a great community leader and friend. He has made Tigard stronger by completing projects like developing the Hunziker Industrial Core, landing $5 million in federal, state and regional funding for the project. He also played a critical role in securing Tigard’s 35-year water supply that we now own through the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership.
As I’ve spent time this past year listening to residents, business leaders and community groups, it has become clear to me that four values are important to you.
Community - We must enhance our interactions with the community, ensuring that we have strong relationships with all of our neighborhoods, community groups, and businesses. You can expect more outreach events and opportunities to share your perspective with city leaders.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – We will create a more inclusive workplace and improve how we serve our growing diverse community. Tigard must become a vibrant, diverse, and livable community that fosters innovation, enriches the lives of all its residents, and embraces intentional community engagement.
Service – We will build a culture of service ensuring city government is seen, both internally and externally, as a reliable partner and steward when running the city. Our leaders will be equipped with the skills and confidence to make decisions based on data and community desires.
Transparency and Accountability - We will aspire to continually improve the level of transparency we provide to the public about our operations and services. I plan to regularly share key performance targets and our city departmental results with all citizens.
I look forward to continuing the dialogue around these values and engaging with you about key 2019 initiatives – Southwest Corridor, Tigard Triangle, and financial stability.
Please join me for a Fireside Chat Listening Session on January 3, 6:30 p.m. at Symposium Coffee. You may also reach me directly at Jason@tigard-or.gov or on my cell phone at 503-810-0269.
Thank you, Tigard; let’s get to work!