Mayor: State of city 'stronger than ever'
Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle used relatively few words — and a lot of humor — to make one central point about the state of the city during the past year.
"I can report that the state of our city is as strong as ever," he said. "I can anticipate not slowing down one bit."
Doyle, who is entering his 10th year as mayor, spoke Thursday (Jan. 11) to a crowd of around 300 people at a function co-sponsored by the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce.
But that is where tradition ended this year, as Beaverton observes its 125th year as an incorporated city.
Doyle spoke for just 10 minutes at a stand-up breakfast event. "This year we decided to do something a little bit different: More conversation among you and less speechifying," he said.
His talk was followed by the showing of a 5-minute video that poked fun at him and satirized some popular movies, while he made some of the same points.
The video, produced by the city staff with Doyle's participation, incorporated satirical scenes based on "Casablanca," "The Godfather," "Rocky," "Star Wars: A New Hope," and "Love Actually."
"Poking fun at yourself is no exception for me," Doyle said afterward. "They skipped me at the Golden Globes, that's for sure."
During his talk Doyle touched on several points:
• The 2017 City Council debate about Beaverton as a "sanctuary city." Although the declaration has no legal force — Oregon law limits cooperation with federal immigration enforcement if no other crime is involved — "we are embracing ourselves and reaffirming ourselves that we are a welcoming city for all."
In a city where one-third of residents are nonwhite and one-fifth come from another country, Doyle said the city is working on diversifying its future leadership and training employees. "We can all be proud … of what we are doing locally during this time in our nation's history. Enough said."
• The new public safety center, which voters approved a $35 million bond for in 2016. A design open house is scheduled Feb. 1 for the new center, which is planned at Southwest Allen and Hall boulevards. Construction is scheduled to start late this year and be completed in 2020.
"This will be the first time the public safety agencies will have their own building," Doyle said in reference to a new home for police, emergency management and the Beaverton Municipal Court.
• A new transportation plan for more sidewalks and bicycle lanes, safe routes to school, and more sophisticated signals to improve traffic flow.
"It is not free," Doyle said of the plan laid out in November. "We are putting some other things to the side but we are trying to take care of the entire community."
• Continued efforts to promote housing deemed "affordable," costing no more than 30 percent of median household income. About 1,000 homes have been built in the city the past five years — a third of them considered "affordable" — but the latest update of the five-year action plan adopted Jab. 2 by the City Council calls for a total of more than 12,000 homes through 2035.
"We will continue to explore all areas of our city for affordable housing opportunities, as that is critical when building a healthy, balanced city," Doyle said.
• The opening of a severe-weather shelter, open on Thursdays (and other days when needed) for three months in 2017. The shelter is scheduled to be open five months this year, but Doyle said it relies largely on volunteers. (A small family shelter, open all year, is in the works.)
• Balancing available income with growing needs. Unlike other cities, Beaverton has not had to seek a local-option levy outside its current property taxes — the 2016 bond issue simply replaced expiring taxes for library construction — but Doyle said the city has had to work to develop other sources.
Doyle, who just completed a year as president of the League of Oregon Cities and sits on the board of the National League of Cities, said Beaverton is not unusual in that regard.
"As cities, we are asked to provide more and more services to our residents," he said. "Say what you will… the bottom line is that those requests are outpacing our general fund revenues."
For a link to Mayor Denny Doyle's prepared remarks on the 2018 State of the City: