(This corrects a previous version of this story, pointing out it was Marc Woodard's grandfather who formerly served as mayor of Tigard.)
Perhaps nothing speaks to the social health of a community so much as when a wide array of people step up to run for office. People wouldn't run if they didn't think they can make a difference.
By that measure, Tigard is in great shape. This year, four people are running for mayor and amid the plethora of exciting candidates, we urge a "yes" vote for Jason Snider for mayor.
Snider would be an exceptionally strong mayoral candidate for any city in the metro region. He's served on the council since 2013, serving as council president since 2015, and has a solid understanding of how things work. He's running on a platform of plans for traffic; the Southwest Corridor light rail line; the financial health of the city; and affordable housing.
That's the right blend, we think.
It's his attention to detail that stands out. He pointed out recently that some of the worst traffic sites in the city are on Highway 99W, Hall Boulevard, Scholls Ferry, Interstate 5 and Highway 217. But the city doesn't own most of those roadways: The county or the state do. So any fixes are predicated on intergovernmental cooperation.
When talking about the budget crisis — Tigard voters said "no" to a levy in May, resulting in about $5 million in cuts over two years — Snider suggested hiring a social worker, rather than a police officer, to focus on the homeless. That's the kind of thinking that could make the city more efficient and save money down the road.
Also running for the seat are Marland Henderson, a former councilor; Linda Monahan, a political newcomer who has served on the Tigard Library Board; and Marc Woodard, a councilor.
Woodard is the longest-serving member of the council, at eight years. His grandfather Ed Woodard was mayor.
But in tough economic times — the state economist has predicted the next recession could arrive by 2020 — Woodard's answers seemed to lack the flexibility and creativity of Snider.
While Henderson served two, four-year terms on the council, we don't feel he has quite the grasp of the major issues surrounding the city and what's necessary to move the city forward during lean economic times
Monahan is a newcomer to city government, having worked at TriMet, Clackamas County and Portland Community College. She's a strong advocate for the city library, which we support. Although we don't believe she's ready to take the top job, she'd be an excellent nominee for planning or budget committees within the city.
A note on that: Sometimes residents speak disparagingly of the "pipeline" for candidates, as if "the fix is in" and anybody with new ideas is shunted aside. And that does happen. But the "pipeline" is important because that's how we learn about what's worked in the past, what hasn't been tried and how the various parts of a city interact with each other.
Government is rife with unintended consequences; adjusting one of the "levers" (say, system development charges as an example) has repercussions in other areas. Those who've been through the "pipeline" — a city committee, to the budget committee, to a seat on the council, to mayor — will have a better understanding of how the machine called "city government" works. In short: The "pipeline" often is a good thing.