Beaverton mayor delivers State of the City address
In her first State of the City address, Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty highlighted how the city is doing in addressing COVID-19, affordable housing and various changes throughout City Hall over the past year.
On Thursday, March 8, Beaty addressed community members through a 30-minute virtual event that premiered on the city's YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The mayor started off the address by talking about the city's new COVID-19 taskforce. The taskforce would help people figure out where they can get access to a vaccine in the community.
"We don't determine who gets vaccinated or even when, but we can create a space where people can get them when their time comes," Beaty said.
There's no standard communication or branding efforts to help communities understand what is happening with COVID-19 vaccine distribution, the mayor added. To reduce confusion and roll out the vaccines as quickly as possible, the city is teaming up with the Beaverton School District and Kaiser Permanente on vaccination sites throughout the community.
Beaty also noted that the city has helped small business owners during the coronavirus pandemic, distributing $4.3 million in grants.
"These emergency grants have gone to businesses directly impacted by the pandemic that serve customers in person, like restaurants, gyms, salons and childcare centers," she explained. "Nearly two-thirds of the grants have supported businesses owned by people of color, and approximately half of those have gone to women-owned businesses."
Beaty also mentioned the moratorium the city implemented on residential evictions to keep people housed during the COVID-19 crisis.
Beaverton City Councilor Nadia Hasan spoke about the importance of affordable housing throughout the city.
"Our goal is that every person who wants to live in Beaverton, and that we all — including Black, Indigenous and communities of color — have access to the same opportunities," said Hasan, who was elected to the City Council last year. "Housing is a human right. Pathways to homeownership and affordable options are for everyone."
Hasan added, "Having more home options and increasing the variety of housing within our neighborhoods has never been more important."
Both Beaty and Hasan said that they are excited about the possibility of future developments in the city, especially in the South Cooper Mountain area.
"Making sure families have the choice of where they want to live in Beaverton is an incredibly important thing to me," Beaty said.
Along with partnering with nonprofits for housing, the city is also partnering with other organizations to help homeless people in the community, Beaty said.
The mayor confirmed that Beaverton's safe parking program, which allows people in the community a safe place to sleep in their vehicles until they find stable housing, is expanding. As for where the new sites will be, Beaty is not releasing the information just yet.
"We're working through negotiations with property owners to do it," she noted. "We have a strict code that only allows 'X' number of cars to park in a single site."
Another topic of discussion during the State of the City was the new city charter that went into effect this year. Under the new charter, the mayor presides over council meetings and represents the city as its public face.
The mayor is also entitled to vote on council business just like the six city councilors, not only to break ties.
Beaty, who was elected mayor last November, says it's helpful that the mayor position is still considered a full-time job, even though the mayor no longer oversees city staff.
"I work with other mayors in the region, and I recognize how difficult it is for part-time mayors to have a voice at the table because they're working in their day job," she said.
Beaty described the council's approach in making sure the mayor is still considered full-time under the new charter as "forward-thinking."
"Not only does that allow for more diversity to serve, but it allows people to be able to focus on one thing, which is being the mayor of Beaverton," Beaty said.
Beaty says she's happy to hear feedback from organizations and community members throughout the city.
"The community members that reached out to us said that the State of the City felt very different from past addresses in the format, which they liked because they could attend it," she said Thursday afternoon.
Beaverton's State of the City can still be viewed online. It is accessible at BeavertonOregon.gov/SOTC.
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