With a number of major long-term goals already at or near completion, the Newberg City Council addressed goal setting with a new wrinkle: they will have a new, interim city manager to help guide the process.
David Clyne, named pro tem city manager earlier this month, will begin his term as the council works toward setting upcoming goals. Clyne replaces Joe Hannan, who retired after three years at the job. The council and staff will spend the next year searching for a full-time city manager; they will likely use a national search firm to aid the process.
Newberg Mayor Rick Rogers said the timing was good for Clyne, who had previously served as the city manager of Independence and brings 40 years of experience to the post, to jump in and witness the long-term projects of the council.
"I think the timing is good for that," Rogers said. "Joe and Shelly (Hannan) will be in the community volunteering and I'm sure we'll see them in the future."
As for setting council goals, Rogers said this meeting was mainly a "getting to know you" event for the council – as several members are still new – and to see what priorities councilors may have. The July 22 session was facilitated by Arturo Vargas, who has led focus groups and goal-setting sessions for McMinnville's strategic plan.
"It will give a fairly good insight into the areas the council is interested in," Rogers said. "I don't know how tangible everything will be, but we will go through the current goals and there are a few we can check off."
Giving credit to city staff and previous councils, Rogers said some of those already-accomplished goals include the city's annexation into the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue district and improving Newberg's Public Employee Retirement System (PERS). Of the 13 long-term goals set for the city during the 2017-2018 year, seven have either been completed or are nearing completion, such as work on the Riverfront Master Plan, the work toward a community visioning plan, the effort to build a new 9-1-1 dispatch center and 800 MHz radio communication system and the ongoing efforts for a transit center in the downtown area. "That is good," he said.
As for goals the council will continue to work toward, Rogers said affordable housing is certainly among them. As the executive director for the local Habitat for Humanity, he said this goal was something "that will always be an interest to me" and added the council will continue to discuss how best to define affordable housing as it pertains to Newberg. He also mentioned continued efforts toward rehabilitating city roads and sidewalks.
Rogers also mentioned he was interested in continuing work on implementing a city economic development strategy.
"Some of these, like encouraging affordable housing and economic development, are long term," he said.
Rogers also mentioned the riverfront, particularly regarding the vacant WestRock mill site, as another priority he'd like to see taken up. The site has been the cause of mounting frustrations in the city as Rogers and others want the Atlanta-based company to give up the vacant site so it can be developed. The mill has been closed since January 2016 and to date, WestRock officials have communicated little with Newberg officials. The company wants to leave the site alone, while the council chose to move forward with a plan toward updating the zoning of the dormant mill site to allow additional uses.
Rogers also said he'd like to see more encouragement for involvement of young people in city decision making processes.
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