FONT & AUDIO

MORE STORIES


Recently retired as a federal attorney, former Planning Commission member takes on council president.

July 29 was a big day for Milwaukie City Councilor Lisa Batey, when she announced a mayoral run just after retiring as an employee of the federal government. Lisa Batey

Batey had worked 30 years as a federal attorney, most recently for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Within a year of buying her home in Milwaukie in 2002, she began serving as chair of the Island Station neighborhood association.

Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba is vacating his city position at the end of the year and is running for state representative in November.

Batey says that her decades of experience in Milwaukie politics makes her stand out the most from her {obj:64721:opponent in the mayoral race. Council President Kathy Hyzy} moved to Milwaukie in 2014 and was first elected in 2018.

"I've been active in the community for 20 years, and she's a relative newcomer," Batey said.

Batey and Hyzy have also disagreed on parking issues, which Batey predicts will be a point of contention in the coming years. Batey pledged to represent Milwaukie citizens who are concerned about stresses that the elimination of parking requirements would exacerbate, such as trouble finding spaces in front of houses and popular parks, and blocking residents' mailboxes.

"Kathy is a biker and more willing to push harder for more restricted parking," Batey said. "There will be a day when we don't need as much parking, because we have autonomous driving vehicles, better public transit, etc., but we're a long way away from that, and we need neighborhood livability in the meantime."

Requiring that new developments provide parking is one of the only ways for cities to respond to the state mandates imposed by House Bill 2001, which the Oregon Legislature passed in 2019 to allow for the construction of "middle housing" — duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, cottage clusters and townhomes — in cities previously zoned for only single-family dwellings. HB2001 allows cities to require up to two parking spaces for each new duplex, which the legislature hoped would be more affordable and meet the housing needs of younger people, older people and people who work hard but can't afford a large detached house of their own.

"HB 2001 allows cities to require one off-street parking space per housing unit for most types of middle housing," Batey said.

Years of public service

Batey served on the Milwaukie Planning Commission for more than nine years, including three years as chair, before being elected to city council in 2014, along with her "Ladies of Milwaukie" running mate, Karin Power, who went on be elected as a state representative in 2016.

Batey earlier served on Milwaukie's Citizens Utility Advisory Board and from 2011-18 as a member of the board of Celebrate Milwaukie, Inc., the community nonprofit that oversees the Milwaukie Farmers Market.

Batey easily defeated retired economist Elvis Clark in the city's only contested race in 2018 with 65% of the vote to secure her re-election. Batey pushed back against Clark's criticisms during a 2018 Pamplin Media-hosted debate at Willamette Falls Studios, saying if Clark wants better streets and sidewalks, then he should be congratulating the city for finding a way to pay for some of the improvements.

During her 2018 campaign, Batey defended increases of certain fees in Milwaukie, but more recent increases have been more modest. In the new budget that went into effect July 1, there was a 4.6% increase in the sidewalk and Street Surface Maintenance Program fees, based on the region's Construction Cost Index.

Since previous councils had not kept the fees in line with inflation, she said she supported bringing the fees in line with the current buying power. Milwaukie's street-maintenance fee increased nearly 19.5% for fiscal year 2019 from fiscal year 2018, while the sidewalk fee (Safe Access For Everyone) increased by nearly 15%. Batey said Milwaukie's fees were much smaller than other governmental charges in the area, such as fees for water or sewer services, which have been increasing much more quickly.

Batey recently objected to including certain items into official Milwaukie City Council goals, but ultimately voted for the goals so that funding and staff time could be allocated.

"Public engagement, equity and affordable housing should be all things that Milwaukie does, and we should be fitting them into our budget as part of our regular course of business," she said.

Since 2015, Batey has served on the board of the North Clackamas Watersheds Council, where she helped advocate for removal of the Kellogg Dam. In 2018, she joined the board of the newly-formed Milwaukie Parks Foundation.

Batey served as the city council's liaison to various regional committees, including the Regional Water Providers Consortium and the Clackamas Fire District.

Spring Park project

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Batey lived in seven states and three foreign countries before moving to Milwaukie. She has received a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University and a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

One of Batey's proudest achievements was reviving a process that led to the adoption of the Spring Park Master Plan and construction of a pocket park with play area and picnic tables near the park entrance on 19th Avenue. She has organized approximately 20 clean-up events in Spring Park over the years, including four years of SOLVE Earth Day cleanups that each removed a dumpster of invasive plant material and a pickup load of garbage.

"Along the way, volunteers also planted several thousand new native plants in various parts of the park," Batey said. "I have also been a regular participant in habitat restoration efforts on Elk Rock Island, and have participated in work parties in Milwaukie Bay, North Clackamas, Kronberg and Homewood Parks, as well as along Johnson Creek."

In 2014-15, Milwaukie realigned Spring Park's path to protect the wetland and placed woody debris in the river to provide fish habitat.

"Further in-water wood projects are planned for the mouths of both Kellogg and Johnson Creek in the next few years, which will be fabulous companion efforts to the removal of Kellogg dam, opening up miles of Kellogg and Mt. Scott Creeks to fish passage and creating important resting and feeding habitat for ocean-bound juvenile salmon," she said.

More information about Batey's campaign can be found at lisabateyformilwaukie.com, facebook.com/LisaBateyforMilwaukie or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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.


Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!