Note: Due to the increase in Covid-19 cases, our reopening has been delayed until September. The Tigard Library, Municipal Court, and Utility Billing will remain open. We can access many services online, via email, or over the phone.
We’re Open... In-Person and Online!
On Monday, March 16, 2020, city buildings closed their doors in response to growing concerns about Covid-19. What we thought might last a week or maybe a month became many months. During that time, our physical buildings were closed but our services to the community continued—they just looked different.
For library lovers, our Library team created an outdoor Library Take-Out Service for you to pick up books. The team also built a YouTube channel to entertain toddlers with story time and kids and adults with crafting activities.
For adventure seekers, our Recreation team moved from large-scale offerings to creative, do-it-yourself events like the Pumpkin Scavenger Hunt and Egg Hunt.
For more routine needs, our team transitioned services from in-person to online. Utility Billing, for example, ensured that all services were available over the phone and virtually. Our team also continued work to complete permits, planning applications, and design reviews online, via email, and over the phone.
Your Council needed to continue to hear from you in the last 17 months. To hear your voices, we hosted a bi-monthly conversation on Facebook. For the less digitally inclined, we talked to community members on the phone, via email, and in-person in socially distanced manners. These efforts resulted in the Council hearing from an average of 1,523 community voices each month.
Thank you for embracing our new way of working and connecting during Covid-19. We heard your feedback about what worked and what did not. Your input helped develop our reopening plan.
You will see our reopening plan in action when all city buildings open their doors on Monday, August 9th. Reopening city buildings is more than a symbolic step. It is vital to providing access for community members who lack internet connections or who prefer in-person interactions.
So, here is what you can expect:
City Hall will be open Mondays—Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. This includes Municipal Court and Utility Billing teammates who will be available to answer your questions in-person.
The Library will continue to be open Mondays—Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. I am excited to share that the Library will return to pre-pandemic hours on Tuesday, September 7.
The Permit Center will maintain the same hours as City Hall. Teammates will be available to help with permits, planning applications, and design reviews.
The Police Department will be open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. We have installed a kiosk in the lobby, where you can make an online police report, pay a photo traffic ticket, or make a utility bill payment.
Public Works will be open Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to take your applications and reservations for recreation programs, picnic shelters, sport fields, and special events.
We reopen our doors while acknowledging that the pandemic is not over. You can help defeat Covid-19 by getting vaccinated and encouraging your friends and family to do the same.
My monthly Fireside Chat remains virtual in August. Share your questions and comments at the August Fireside Chat on Facebook Live on Thursday, August 5th, at 6:30 p.m.
June was full of graduations – high school, college, and the Chamber’s Leadership Tigard class.
There was another important graduation ceremony that you may have missed: Eight community members from a variety of backgrounds – including immigrants, refugees, and U.S. citizens of Iraqi, Mexican, Somali and Turkish heritages – graduated from the inaugural Tigard Government Organizing and Leadership Development (GOLD) cohort.
The Tigard GOLD curriculum was structured using a proven education model, which draws from each participant’s direct, lived experiences and knowledge. Using this approach, cohort members gained an understanding of Tigard’s government and learned about community organizing, including how to effectively give testimony to the City Council. They also discussed community-based leadership through the lenses of race, gender, and economic justice. Read the press release here.
I commend these eight emerging leaders for spending six Saturday mornings with us and completing the program:
- Aadil M.
- Barrak Al S.
- Berta O.
- Carmen G.
- Ghassan Z.
- Haydar M.
- Salma J.
- Salahuddin A.
In partnership with Unite Oregon, we invested in Tigard GOLD to educate and uplift leaders in our community. Developing meaningful relationships with current and future Tigard GOLD participants is a key action to boost the engagement of underrepresented communities in city government.
Our first interaction with residents shouldn’t be to ask that you fill out a survey or apply for a city board. It should be to listen, to learn – by listening, for example, to how we can create a more welcoming City Hall or how we can remove barriers to accessing city services.
When I spoke with the GOLD cohort in April and June, I saw eight individuals who are truly the future of Tigard. They will be the next community organizers and city councilors. They will hold us accountable for living our vision to make Tigard an equitable community that is walkable, healthy and accessible for everyone.
You can celebrate the eight Tigard GOLD graduates by raising your voice to call out policies that you think aren’t just and fair, or projects that you believe were developed without input from all Tigard communities. As always, I look forward to hearing your voice – connect with me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 503-810-0269. You can also make your voice heard at the next virtual Fireside Chat on Thursday, July 1, at 6:30 p.m.
Raise a Glass to the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water System
Let’s start with the obvious: You literally cannot live without water. Your body could make it about three days without water before it would stop functioning. Not only is water essential for life, it’s also essential for many things in life that we enjoy – from a morning coffee at Symposium Coffee to a craft beer at Cooper Mountain Ale Works.
Clean, safe drinking water is not a guarantee for every community. Some places (like Flint, Michigan) struggle with water quality challenges, while others (like Miami, Florida) struggle to find stable water sources to serve future generations.
I am grateful that we do not have those challenges in Tigard. Almost 15 years ago, we partnered with the City of Lake Oswego to secure a long-term water supply. It was the largest public works project for both cities. There were many projects within the much larger project, including a 38-million-gallon water treatment plant, a new intake on the Clackamas River, 10 miles of new transmission line, a new 3.5-million-gallon reservoir, and a water pump station in Tigard.
I was involved in early discussions about funding this project as a citizen member of the Tigard Budget Committee. I experienced both communities worked together to make this vision a reality. This work ultimately led to a new water source that provides safe, clean, dependable drinking water to more than 100,000 residential and business customers in Tigard, Lake Oswego, Durham, and King City.
We will celebrate the five-year anniversary of the Lake Oswego-Tigard water system this month. Some in our community also know that June 9 is Water Independence Day, marking the first time in our history that we owned and controlled our own water supply, no longer needing to purchase water as a wholesale customer of the City of Portland.
As we celebrate the five-year anniversary, I want to share a few ways that you benefit from the Lake Oswego-Tigard water system:
- Guaranteed access to water from a supply we own.
- Predictable and affordable water costs.
- Improved water quality.
- A treatment plant that eliminates emerging pathogens and viruses, including Covid-19, from the water supply.
- Water capacity that can support business and industry growth in the future.
- Regional water source connections that provide back-up in case of emergency.
- A resilient water system that was built to remain functional even after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake.
So, join me in raising a glass of water (or your favorite water-based beverage) to celebrate the five-year anniversary of the Lake Oswego-Tigard water system at the next virtual Fireside Chat on Thursday, June 3, at 6:30 p.m.
Our Community's Bright Future
Thank you to the 300 community members who painted our new community mural, Building Our New Landscape. Local artist Emily Lux designed the mural to reflect the resiliency of our community during COVID-19 and the prospects of a brighter future.
We believe that a brighter future is just ahead, but what does that really mean? I turn to the six community members whom I interviewed for ‘Late Night in Tigard’ to answer that question.
A bright future is one in which we understand that “everyone has a story, and their story matters.” Matthew and Lydia Hickox, owners of Empyre Barbers, saw this firsthand while providing free haircuts to homeless individuals and individuals in recovery programs. “It’s more than just a haircut ... there was something that happened between us where I could see them getting their dignity back,” said Matthew.
A bright future is one in which we take care of one another. This is exactly what Packed with Pride did when COVID-19 forced the cancellation of in-person classes. The non-profit banded together to lessen the strain of food insecurity among students and families in the Tigard-Tualatin School District. These efforts did not go unnoticed.
Ben Bowman, a leader of Packed with Pride, recounted one of the most memorable stories for his volunteer work. “With tears running down her face, a mom was driving through the Packed with Pride pick-up location. She was crying with gratitude because she would not have to worry about how to feed her family. Packed with Pride existed to fill that need.”
Local businesses faced similar challenges in caring for their employees. Beth Koblegarde, owner of Shears Ahead, took care of the stylists even while her business was closed. “We were shut down for two months, but we still had to pay our bills and rent. We received a grant from the City of Tigard that allowed Shears Ahead to stay afloat while supporting our stylists.”
A bright future is one in which we are resilient. Part of being resilient is being prepared. We prepare by learning from our experiences. Kenny Asher, the city’s Community Development Director, highlighted how the proposed City Facilities Consolidation project will prepare our community for the uncertain future.
“Emergencies are happening, and government has an important role to play in responding.” We have the opportunity to design and build a 21st-century city hall and police station that meet resiliency needs, climate change needs, and safety.”
A bright future is one in which we embrace compromise and productive dialogue. This differs from the national narrative, but it contributes to the uniqueness of our community. “It is not a zero-sum game,” Valerie Sasaki, Public Safety Advisory Board (PSAB) member, notes. “We want to respectfully exchange ideas about how we can support our community and our police.”
A bright future is one in which hope shines. Difficult, uncomfortable conversations face the 16-member PSAB. But if you think these conversations may result in a lack of results, think again, says PSAB member Justin Low.
“The community should have hope. I’ve never felt so hopeful about a space and a decision-making table that was created to bring people together on such a sensitive matter.”
A bright future is one in which all 54,000 community voices are heard. For too long, local, state, and federal governments have ignored—both intentionally and unintentionally—underrepresented groups. This is a failure that will not be a part of our future community. Community leaders like John Trinh, New Narrative CEO and PSAB member, are doing their parts to hold us accountable.
“As an Asian American, as a person who works in the behavioral health field for the past 18 years, it was a calling for me. I need to be a voice to make sure that we have a safe way to work and live in the community.”
I invite you to make your voice heard. I can be reached via email at email@example.com or phone at (503) 810-0269. You can also share your voice at the next virtual Fireside Chat on Thursday, May 13, at 6:30 p.m.
Stroll down Tigard’s Main Street and it may be difficult to remember how it looked only a few years ago. Restored and improved storefronts, new landscaping, LED streetlights and unique public artworks are just some of the amenities that welcome people downtown to shop, dine, walk the dog, or connect with family and friends.
Urban renewal has been a driving force in downtown Tigard’s transformation, providing a stable funding source without creating new taxes. The City Center Urban Renewal Plan, approved by voters in 2006, has funded nearly 40 infrastructure and improvement projects.
Public improvements have attracted almost $50 million in private investment to downtown, including 234 new housing units, new streetscapes and pedestrian amenities, as well as 28 matching grants to businesses.
Upcoming projects include Universal Plaza Phase 1, which will bring Tigard’s first splash pad and water feature to downtown Tigard in 2022! I am also proud to say that Urban Renewal funds were made available to downtown business owners to compensate them for 100% of the damage their businesses sustained during the protest-turned-riot in January.
Despite these many enhancements to downtown, we know our work isn’t done. Further investments in downtown will increase connectivity, construct a parking facility, and design and build new streets to reduce traffic congestion.
Infrastructure improvements like paths, sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes can help make downtown an equitable, walkable and accessible place for everyone. Investing in new housing, amenities and public spaces will create new opportunities for people to gather, learn and explore.
I encourage you to visit downtown at least once in April. New restaurants, distinctive shops and one-of-a-kind public spaces like the Tigard Heritage Trail are making the area a premier destination.
After you visit downtown, I want to hear your impressions – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or share them during a virtual Fireside Chat on Thursday, April 1, at 6:30 p.m.
You can learn even more about downtown during the 2021 State of the City – Late Night in Tigard on Wednesday, April 7, at 6:00 p.m. This virtual event will feature interviews with community members, a Top 10 list, and a ‘Mayor Walking’ segment.
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 (email@example.com) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 (email@example.com), 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.