Five of the seven candidates for the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District board spoke and fielded questions at a Washington County Public Affairs Forum meeting Monday.
In attendance were Position 1 incumbent Larry Pelatt; his challenger, Felicita Monteblanco; and Position 3 candidates Lori Waldo, Holly Thompson and Nathan Dahlin. Jerry Jones Jr., the unopposed incumbent for Position 2; and Stephanie Thompson, who filed for Position 1, did not attend.
The THPRD candidate forum took place in advance of the May 16 election. Members of the public affairs forum asked them questions about Beaverton's urban renewal plans, improving THPRD transparency, and more.
"I asked a lot of people about what their ideal board candidate should look like," said Thompson, who is a communications manager for the city of Beaverton.
She said that many people referenced outgoing board member Bob Scott because "he was a generalist, and he didn't prioritize one thing above others. He was someone who cared about the whole. I will care about the whole."
Monteblanco,a coordinator for Vision Action Network, also said that she would focus on serving all of THPRD's residents, including those with disabilities. She said that if elected, she would prioritize making sure parks were accessible to all.
"Know that your potential future leaders are listening," Monteblanco said.
One audience member brought up the city of Beaverton's urban renewal plan, and said that by diverting taxes to urban renewal, it was not paying its fair share for THPRD services.
"That deals with something we face in the next four years, and that's growth, and how do we pay for growth?" answered Waldo, a project manager at Nike. "I did spend at least six years on the north Bethany stakeholder group, and I looked at questions like this for North Bethany: how does that work? Where did your revenue streams come from?"
Another audience question addressed the issue of transparency, especially in regards to THPRD's website.
Pelatt, a purchasing manager with the city of Portland, said that THPRD is devoting funds to revamp its website, but that overall, he finds it to be transparent enough.
"I'm unaware that there is a lack of transparency," he said. "We are doing a redesign of the website.... If you don't see something you wish you would see, I wish you would call us."
The other four candidates in attendance addressed the need for greater transparency, and identified how they might go about it.
"I haven't been able to find outlines of the meetings online," Dahlin said. "I looked at a press release related to a park that was important to me. I saw what was decided, but I didn't see an explanation for why certain options had been taken off the table.... We can improve THPRD's image by making the website more accessible."
Monteblanco added that she looks forward to sharing the knowledge she's gained in the campaign with her peers, as well as young people and communities of color.
Winners of this election will take office on July 1. Their four-year terms will expire in June 2021. Ballots have been distributed, and the deadline to vote is Tuesday, May 16.