Hillsboro City Council newcomer wants to 'break barriers'
Early election results show that the lone new face on the Hillsboro City Council will be Kipperlyn Sinclair, a local business owner and activist for natural resources and local agriculture.
During a joint campaign event on election night Tuesday, Nov. 8, she spoke with Pamplin Media Group about how she will champion these causes and "break barriers" in all that she does on council.
"On all aspects, my first priority will always be diversity, equity and inclusion," Sinclair said. "My priority is to break barriers in all aspects, and I will vote in a way that breaks barriers."
But what barriers does she see in the community?
"For instance, business opportunity. I want to vote in a way that supports small businesses, to adapt and create mixed-use," she said, adding, "Whether it's square footage that we commit … or whether it's zoning, we need to be flexible to continue to get unique kinds of businesses here that make healthier communities."
Sinclair is the founder and director of Eat Drink Washington County, which she described as a network of farm-to-table suppliers in the area, but also as an organization that advocates for protecting natural resources and ensuring local access to healthy food and water.
Sinclair was the only person running for council who spoke against Hillsboro's process for rezoning the Jackson East neighborhood Â— which has historically been rural residential and farmland but is now beginning its transition into a future industrial development hub.
Sinclair voted against the rezoning of Jackson East to an industrial area when she sat on Hillsboro's planning commission. She was a planning commissioner from 2018 to 2021.
"Local governance is about civic representation," Sinclair said in a pre-election questionnaire sent by Pamplin Media to all Hillsboro City Council candidates. "City staff works with a multitude of complex issues and diligently strives to affectively collaborate with our residents, but ultimately in this instance, I believe the city moved too quickly in wanting to rezone Jackson East."
She said she wanted to see more studies on the housing needs in the area, as well as an environmental action plan that addressed how to mitigate the impacts of more industrial development in the area.
In general, Sinclair says, she favors more mixed-use planning, rather than dedicating large swaths of land for only industrial or commercial uses.
Sinclair also spoke out against Hillsboro's recent water rate hikes, which were approved by the city's utilities commission on Oct. 11 and start to go into effect next year.
As someone whose business centers around access to clean water and healthy food, Sinclair says she takes people's reliance on water seriously.
"Hillsboro's proposed biennial 2023 and 2024 drinking water rate increase is driven by protecting public health, additional water supply, and maintaining essential infrastructure. These are all good things," Sinclair said. "My concern is that the current programs provided in aiding assistance aren't adequate to cover the increased burden passed onto our low-income households, amongst additional inflation costs."
"I'd like to see additional program options beyond the current water cost saving resources," she added.
Early election results show Sinclair leading with over 42% of the vote in a six-way race for an open Ward 2 seat being vacated by City Council President Kyle Allen, who is term-limited and could not run for reelection.
Hillsboro city councilors are elected by voters citywide, and they all vote on issues that affect the entire populace.
Sinclair's term will start in January.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.