Westside mayors talk priorities at Breakfast Forum


Westside Mayors  It was the most mayors WEA has ever had on a forum stage - 11 Westside mayors showed the audience a lot of camaraderie yesterday.
   Each mayor on the panel talked about his or her city's priorities.
   A common theme among the panel was the need to have an inclusive city where everyone feels welcome.
   Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax expressed concern over the 2020 Census and the possibility of it including a question regarding citizenship. 
   He stressed the importance of everyone being counted in the upcoming Census.
   Mayor Jason Snider said Tigard has four vital signs, and the first one is Tigard is a city for everyone - Tigard recently appointed a youth representative to its City Council.
   The other three vital signs include robust citizen involvement, transparency and accountability, and public safety.
   In Tualatin, Mayor Frank Bubenik talked about his city's passage of a $20 million bond measure, Tualatin Moving Forward, which is now being used to provide traffic congestion relief, neighborhood safety, and infrastructure projects to help students get to school safely.
   He also mentioned the Tualatin 2040 visioning, which takes into account housing and economic development data.
   West Linn Mayor Russ Axelrod said his city is small with a small tax base, but voters recenlty passed a $20 million bond, known as GO Bond, to help improve roads, parks, and other city facilities.
   He talked about the need to improve transportation both in terms of I-205 and mass transit.
   Cornelius Mayor Jef Dalin invited everyone to come see his city's new library, which also provides housing for seniors in the floors above it.
   Dalin's city is also competing as a finalist in the National Civic League's All-American Cities award.
   Mayor Teri Lenahan put in a plug for her community's event saying, "Can you smell it?" in reference to North Plains' Garlic Festival.
   She talked about the balance of being a small town, while growing its economic base.
   When it comes to growth, Mayor Keith Mays mentioned the building of the new Sherwood High School, which is going to be one of the largest high schools in the state - construction is on time and on budget.
   King City Mayor Ken Gibson talked about the changing demographics in his city - it's now about 50 percent seniors and 50 percent young families, a definite change from the city's retirement beginnings.
   Mayor Tim Knapp jokingly said most of the audience might know his town because they have sat in traffic on I-5 in Wilsonville.
   He said Wilsonville has been one of the fastest growing areas in the state - growing at three times the state average - it will also have both new residential and industrial development coming online in the near future.
   Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle described his city as a special place and one of the best places to raise a family - it was also just named one of the coolest suburbs in America by Apartment Therapy.
   Doyle also touched on the development of South Cooper Mountain, the city's Night Market, Welcoming Week, homelessness, the new public safety center under construction, the future development of the Patricia Reser Center For The Arts, and other projects in Central Beaverton.
   Hillsboro Mayor Steve Callaway shared how his city had numerous events going on last weekend, listing off: the opening of the Hillsboro Electric Avenue at the Esplanade, the Hillsboro Hops Fan Fest, the Healthy Hillsboro Family 5K, Public Works Day, the Hillsboro Latino Cultural Festival, and more.
   During this forum, the mayors were asked to rank their priorities on issues, and the audience also asked questions addressing diversity, regional collaboration, and other issues.
   Callaway summed it up best, "We have a group with hearts bigger than egos. We care about our cities, but we also care about each other and our region." 
   WEA thanks Comcast and Legacy Health for its sponsorships.
   To see photos from the event, please visit the WEA Facebook page
   This event will also be broadcast on TVCTV's channels in the coming weeks.