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!