Beaverton Mayor-elect Lacey Beaty shares plans for city's future
Beaverton residents have spoken, and Lacey Beaty will be the city's new mayor.
The mayor-elect defeated incumbent Denny Doyle in last week's general election on Tuesday, Nov. 3, by a margin of about 7 percentage points. Doyle conceded the race the following day.
"I'm just honored and excited for this next chapter in Beaverton's history," said Beaty.
As for what's ahead, she hopes to get a climate action committee off the ground to have people in place to "hold us accountable to our goals that we have as a city."
Beaty also wants to have public safety at the forefront — more specifically, making sure the right people are doing the right work when it comes to community safety policing, she added.
The role of mayor itself will have changed by the time Beaty formally steps into the office.
For one, she won't earn what Doyle has. The City Council voted last month to cut the mayor's salary from $187,409 to $92,800, with an annual cost of living adjustment of up to 2.5%.
That reflects a diminished role for the mayor in city governance. Beaverton voters in May approved a new charter that adopts a council-manager form of government, doing away with Oregon's only remaining "strong mayor" system in which the mayor supervises city staff directly.
Beaty will be the first woman to serve as mayor of Beaverton. Renee Fellman was elected mayor in 1976, but voters also changed the city charter that year, too. Unlike in 2020, that charter change invalidated the results of the mayoral election altogether, meaning Fellman never took office.
Fellman later declined to run in a special election, stepping away from city politics altogether.
Under the new charter that takes effect in 2021, the mayor will continue to preside over council meetings and represent the city as its public face. The mayor will also be entitled to vote on council business just like the six city councilors, not only to break ties.
There will also be new faces on the City Council.
Nadia Hasan defeated Patrick Wolcott and Douglas Jones for the Beaverton City Council Position 6 race, which was created by Beaverton's new city charter.
Allison Tivnon will also be replacing City Councilor Cate Arnold.
In September, Arnold endorsed Beaty for Beaverton mayor, because they both agreed on issues such as sustainability, COVID-19 response, neighborhood emergency preparedness and transitioning to a new city charter.
Arnold ran against Beaty and Doyle in the May election, placing third with 21% of the vote.
Beaty also had an endorsement from City Councilor Marc San Soucie.
"I supported Lacey because, having worked with her for six years now, I trust that she will be a collaborative mayor," said San Soucie. "Our new form of government requires discussion and cooperation in order to move policies and actions forward. Lacey is very comfortable doing that, and I think the voters recognized that this is a good time for new leadership."
With a new form of city government on the horizon, San Soucie said, "A lot of things I've wanted to see us do, and want to see us do, will be easier under the new form of government, and easier with Lacey as mayor and a member of the council."
He expects they — including the new city manager — will meet a bit more frequently and have more discussions prior to making decisions.
Since Beaty will be giving up her council seat to become mayor, under the charter, the council is empowered to appoint someone to fill the vacancy.
As for the new charter, Beaty says she sees her role as mayor like a "team captain."
"Nobody on our City Council can do anything alone, and I see my role as the incoming mayor in this new form of government as the team captain — as the person that's not only going to champion my ideas, but bring other ideas forward," Beaty said.
"Most people know that I've played sports and coached college athletics," she explained, "so, for me, that team captain role was so pivotal, because there's moments where it's your voice resounding and coming through, and then there are moments where you're lifting up the voices of others."
Beaty added that her role will be focused on council goals and priorities being met and addressed, which will be accomplished by meeting with council members and knowing what's important to them.
With Republicans appearing to hang onto the U.S. Senate, money for local governments could be tight, but Beaty says there is always a plan to do more with less, especially when dealing with the impacts of COVID-19.
"The next couple of years, we're going to prioritize important things," she added. "I don't know what those are yet … but what we do know is that cities are resilient. We will get through this. It's just going to be a lot of hard decision-making."
Beaty says she's looking forward to working with new regional partners once steps into the position as mayor. She will officially be sworn in as mayor at the Beaverton City Council's first regular meeting in January.
"I think Beaverton got it right," Beaty said.
Jaime Valdez and Mark Miller contributed to this report.
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