City Council News and Updates
Once or twice a year each City Councilor has the opportunity to include a personal article in the city's Your City newsletter. Here's what I've written for recent issues.
May 2018 - Our Wide Range of Work in Beaverton
Each year your city councilors rotate assignment as liaisons to our volunteer boards and commissions, and this year I have the pleasure of working with our Visioning Advisory Committee. Their charge is to gather civic enhancement suggestions from as many people as possible, organize the suggestions, find partners to commit to tackling them, and then hold the partners – and us – accountable for getting them done.
This makes now a good time to think about the wide range of work we do here in Beaverton to keep this community on a path of continuous improvement. I use the word “improvement” because no community is perfect, and because even great ideas can be exceeded by better ones.
We’re working to build the Public Safety Center that the voters approved in 2016. We’re working to understand in detail our need for housing and services for people in financial difficulty or desperate circumstances. We’re working to facilitate the build-out of the South Cooper Mountain development area. We’re working to lower water rates for a large fraction of our residents who are currently served by a separate water district with higher rates.
We’re bringing attention to the fabulous arts community in and around Beaverton, as a preamble to bringing the Center for the Arts out of the ground using hotel lodging tax funds and private contributions. We’re planning spring, summer, and fall events, both on our own and in partnership with Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District.
We’re building more sidewalks in places that are hazardous to pedestrians. We’re developing compassionate but firm rules and programs to deal with street camping. We’re planning road paving and improvements using new funds from the state and county. We’re bringing new restaurants, food carts, and other eating opportunities to Beaverton as fast as we can.
We’re affirming and re-affirming that Beaverton is a Welcoming City, open to all who want to call this place home and treat it as such. We’re learning from and celebrating the cultures of the many people in our city who grew up in different places, through gatherings such as the Night Markets and a wealth of artistic and information-sharing events. We are working to keep our city one of the safest in the country.
We are excellent, we are proud, we are restless for still more improvement. If Beaverton isn’t yet the greatest place in the USA, it isn’t for lack of trying or aspiring. Let’s keep getting better together!
June 2017 - Transportation Improvements: Now and in the Future
This has been a challenging year for those of us who live or work in areas that require driving through one (or more) of the many road construction projects going on throughout the city. The big projects, such as the Farmington Road / Murray Boulevard upgrade, seem to take forever and affect our movement through critical areas of the city.
The good news - they'll be done soon. The bad - there are more projects to come, being designed now and prepared for upcoming construction seasons.
These projects, and many smaller ones that have their own impact, are one way we try to keep up with the pressure that increasing population and renewed economic activity have on our transportation system. Thoughtful design of intersections, in particular, can provide substantial benefits for traffic flow, pedestrian convenience and safety, and transit efficiency.
There's a limit, though, to how much of the problem can be solved with size. Most of our roads handle traffic volumes just fine, except at the intersections, where conflicting interests require complex designs and programming.
I am heartened by work I see being done in research, in commercial ventures, and in some first-attempt public implementations in other parts of our country, using new technologies to make roadways and intersections much smarter, more aware of what is happening in real time, and adjusting for it. New technologies are also being deployed now to enable simpler car-sharing systems, to allow for autonomous (and shared) taxi/transit services, and the like. These trends could find their way here to Beaverton not in the distant future, but maybe in the next few years!
Meanwhile, we continue to support our other important means of getting around. We have our Active Transportation Plan project well underway, working to improve opportunities for those who walk, take transit, or use bicycles to travel. We are investing in new sidewalks on busy primary streets that have none today. We are exploring new models for local transit that could augment what TriMet provides, even in our comparatively transit-rich city.
Transportation is a crucial part of our everyday life and economy, and we're not going to let our system fall behind. Sometimes the work to do so is inconvenient, but improvements will keep coming!