A Beaverton chiropractor has declared he's running for Position 3 on the Beaverton City Council.
Edward Kimmi is vying for the seat that has been vacated by Mark Fagin. A special election will be held in May for the position following Fagin's resignation.
Kimmi so far is just one of two non-incumbents to announce their bid for Beaverton City Council this year.
Last November, Kevin Teater, who also serves on Beaverton's planning commission, announced his candidacy for Position 2, which is currently held by Laura Mitchell.
Kimmi, who is a founding member of both the city's diversity advisory board and annual Beaverton Night Market, helped map out Beaverton's diversity, equity and inclusion plan. He says there's still a lot of work to do to achieve equity in city representation, and he hopes to help make that happen on the City Council.
Many of Beaverton's resources for providing pandemic aid to the community are not yet available in multiple languages, even though a large part of Beaverton's community are immigrants, Kimmi noted. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about one in five Beavertonians was born in another country.
"So there is a lack of help in equity, where we are reaching to the people who actually need it the most," Kimmi said. That's what I've been observing for the last few years."
Kimmi, who is Korean American, says he understands the immigrant experience. He casts himself as someone who can serve on the council essentially as a liaison between City Hall and Beaverton's immigrant population.
He also said his role on the diversity board has given him the opportunity to have relationships with elders and other leaders of minority communities in Beaverton.
"I think (the council) needs representation on the board to bring their story to the table when they're making decisions. And that's where my heart is," Kimmi said.
Tackling affordable housing in the community is another issue Kimmi feels passionate about, stating that affordable units for single people will be just as necessary as housing for families. He noted that there is a growing problem in the Korean American community where there isn't enough housing for seniors.
"??I think there needs to be more single units or one-bedroom units that could be more available for young adults and also senior citizens," Kimmi said. "Those areas should be improved."
Kimmi remembers when he first moved to Beaverton more than two decades ago, he often noticed that he was the only person of color in a lot of areas despite the community's then-burgeoning Korean American community.
Things have changed a lot since then, much to Kimmi's delight, but the city's traffic infrastructure has yet to catch up with its growing population. Kimmi hopes to help change that.
The council is in the process of considering options to replace Fagin's Position 3 vacant seat with an interim councilor. An election to fill the remainder of the Position 3 term will occur in May 2022.
Three other council seats will be up for election as well, namely those held by Ashley Hartmeier-Prigg, Marc San Soucie and Laura Mitchell.
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