Five run for three seats on Sherwood council
Five candidates have filed for three open at-large seats on the Sherwood City Council in the Nov. 3 election. Three council incumbents – Renee Brouse, Sean Garland and Kim Young – are all seeking reelection with Josie Dayton and Taylor Giles seeking the seats as well.
A small business owner, Dayton has a law degree from Ventura College of Law and previously worked as a federal government contractor. Giles previously served as chairman of the Sherwood School Bond Oversight Committee and has a background in product management, healthcare software and small business ownership.
The Gazette asked all five to fill out a questionnaire involving topics important to Sherwood residents. Below are their answers in full:
How would you promote business retention and recovery in Sherwood?
Renee Brouse: ?I believe one of the best ways to promote business retention and recovery is to continue to listen and talk with the businesses continuously both the council and city staff; to garner their needs and to do our best to work with them in as many ways as possible. The Al Fresco (outside restaurant seating) option is a good example of thinking outside the box and helping our local businesses during the COVID pandemic. If I am not mistaken, the idea came from a local business. I believe we should retain our Economic Development Director and encourage him to keep doing what he is doing. We should partner with the Chamber of Commerce as well. Local businesses are the lifeblood of our community. We need them and they need our support.
Josie Dayton: My plan is to help streamline small business access to grants and any possible funding to ease the burdens of COVID. I also want to innovate creative ways of underscoring the needs of our senior citizens and our children. As an Attorney, a mother of two, a wife and daughter; I understand the significant pressure the global COVID pandemic has placed upon our families. We all know of the isolation and loneliness that COVID has created. I am certain that through community engagement and diligent work we can build the healthy bonds necessary to create new job opportunities for small and mid-size businesses.
Sean Garland: As a City Councilor, we are tasked with supporting our local businesses. These businesses are the heart of Sherwood, and what give it its charm and character. But they also provide employment to those who work there, and those who own them. We must always remember the people involved.
These have been difficult times for these small businesses, and we must find creative ways to help keep them afloat.
We need to keep an open line of communication with our local business owners, and turn to them to tell us what they need, and how we can help. We then work with our City Manager and Economic Development Manager to make it happen.
As City Councilors, we can use our platform to promote these businesses. Working with local and regional elected officials, we can work to obtain federal and state recovery funding to assist.
Taylor Giles: We should invest in businesses that want to invest in Sherwood and provide low cost start-up colocation workspace to help attract new companies and creators. I would also be flexible on getting buildings up to our current code. Two separate businesses in Old Town have mentioned that they would like to expand their space and add jobs and revenue to the city, but due to the cost of updating a very old building, it doesn't make financial sense. If we want to keep Old Town vital and charming, it will need some help from the city. Not all businesses need the same help, so I would also listen to business leaders for specifics about what they need.
Kim Young: The current council has made business retention, recovery, expansion, and recruitment a high priority the past couple of years. We supported the hiring of an Economic Development Manager, Bruce Coleman, for these very purposes. Bruce has been dynamic in supporting our existing businesses as well as recruiting new businesses to Sherwood. As a city councilor I fully support Bruce and his team in these efforts. Recently the city, with support of city council, has been working hard to support our businesses during this COVID crisis in the way of grants, Al Fresco Dining (Special Event Permits) and flexibility in their operations. Our businesses are vital to our community and my goal is to support them in every way possible.
What is your stance on Sherwood's ordinances that restrict marijuana business operations within city limits?
Brouse: The recreational marijuana is on the ballot and in the hands of the voters - that is where it should be. When the topic was first presented to council back in 2015 I used multiple lenses to determine my vote: I looked at the potential revenue for the city; I looked at the impact that marijuana had on me as a young girl; I viewed it through the eyes of an alcohol, tobacco and other drug specialist who taught elementary and middle-schoolers to say no to drugs for a number of years; and most of all I listened to the community members, and they were saying they did not want recreational marijuana being sold in Sherwood - that is how I voted. It will be interesting to see how the community votes in this election. The group did their due diligence in campaigning.
Dayton: Sherwood has had the opportunity to vote and allow the Marijuana industry to operate within Sherwood. Twice it has been voted down by the majority of voters in Sherwood. It is the job of every elected official to vote in alliance with their constituency.
Garland: I have been a supporter of repealing the ban on recreational marijuana businesses for a long time. The current ban does not keep marijuana out of Sherwood, but simply prevents the city from receiving tax revenues, both from the shared state tax revenue, and potential tax revenues from sales within the city. Repealing the ban in this election would allow Sherwood to receive these revenues on an annual basis (today Sherwood receives none of the shared state tax revenues). The city tax revenues would be used for public safety measures, which benefit all Sherwood citizens.
The zoning would restrict any businesses to the Industrial zones of the city, which are located on the outskirts of town, off Tualatin-Sherwood Road, east of the DMV.
Ultimately this is a matter for the voters to decide, but I hope that they choose the fiscally responsible option, and vote "yes" on Measure 34-299.
Giles: The citizens of Sherwood have voted decisively on this twice and it is in their hands again. As an elected official, I will respect the voice of the people. I know that this is a very important issue to some, however, I know that I must prioritize the local problems that I want to solve. "More convenient access to marijuana" is not on my list of top problems in Sherwood. We will receive much more income to the city by balancing our tax base between Residential, Commercial, and Light Industrial so that our residents are not bearing such a heavy tax load. I have worked as a member of our Planning Commission to try and fix this and will continue to do so as a city councilor.
Young: In January 2016, the majority of city council at that time approved an ordinance to ban the sale, production, or processing of recreational marijuana within the City of Sherwood until the November 2016 general election. In the November 2016 election, the Sherwood voters voted to uphold that ban. The issue was put before the voters again in November 2017 and once again the ban was upheld. Recently city council received a request to directly repeal the ban, circumventing the vote of the people. City council did not take any action on this request. This is an issue for the voters. They have twice voted to keep the ban and any decision to repeal that ban should be by the vote of the people. This year a citizen led initiative petition gathered enough signatures and the voters will have that opportunity to vote on this issue again on Nov. 3.
How would you seek to address traffic snarls that will be caused by a lengthy period of work on Tualatin-Sherwood and Roy Rogers roads through the heart of Sherwood? ?
Brouse: Quite frankly this is a difficult one and I don't have a good answer. Both Tualatin-Sherwood Road and Roy Rogers Road need work. It has taken quite a long time to get to the point of doing the actual work. My concerns are that they are happening at the same time. We already have quite a traffic problem in Sherwood so this work is going to cause more back up and congestion. Education and constant communication about the progress to help alleviate the frustrations will help, but other than that, we are going to have to work through the snarls together.
Dayton: The citizens of Sherwood rank traffic as one of their major community concerns. If elected to the city council I would support required road work through commercial sections of Sherwood outside of business hours. Additionally, I will ask professional engineering members of the community to provide guidance and suggestions that can be immediately acted on. It is critical that residential areas allow safe entry and exit during heavy traffic periods, clearly marked alternative routes, and sequenced traffic signals.
Garland: The construction will be uncomfortable, but necessary. We can work with the project team to ensure that we are aware of the project schedule, notified in advance of significant milestones, and able to provide public notice to our residents so that they may plan their travel accordingly. Communication of road closures in advance are the key.
This road construction will be inconvenient as it occurs, but will have major benefits to our community, both in the short-term, and to accommodate anticipated future capacity needs. By doing this work now, we will alleviate the congestion at one of our worst intersections (Tualatin-Sherwood Road at 99W).
Phase 3 of this project will also widen Tualatin-Sherwood Road between Langer Farms Parkway and Teton Ave., which is a major win for our commuters.
Giles: We have the technology for smart traffic lights that continually learn the patterns of traffic and make use of sensors to determine the best way to reduce snarls. Test projects have shown a reduction of time in traffic of 25%! I would support an upgrade of the signals and sensors at any high traffic area in Sherwood. These specific roads are not owned or maintained by the city, and I commit to working with my counterparts at the county level to make sure that we minimize the impact of future projects. For example, to get the new Sherwood High School built on time and under budget, we had some cushion in the timeline, but also financial incentives for finishing early and penalties for finishing late.
Young: In the next few years there is going to be some major road projects on Roy Rogers and Tualatin Sherwood Road. I know this is going to cause some frustrations for Sherwood residents. Our county has a good plan under development to minimize the impact of these projects while under construction. Much like the work currently being done at the other end of Roy Rogers, they plan to keep one lane in each direction open at all times. I encourage folks to have patience, plan ahead to combine trips, drive safely and avoid construction zones if possible.
What kind of relationship should the city have with the YMCA?
Brouse: The city and the Y had a great relationship for a number of years -- the partnership was the first of its kind and was used as a model throughout the U.S. It is sad that there were a couple years of negativity that resulted in accusations and mistrust throughout the community and challenged the overall relationship. I believe the city should sell the property to the Y. The Y will then be able to fundraise more effectively and do the things that YMCAs across the country do without having to report to and in some cases get permission to do so from the city. There will always be opportunities to partner, with the city and other entities. YMCAs do their best work when they partner with various components of the community; they are a community asset.
Dayton: Sherwood should have a close relationship with the YMCA and seek for opportunities which the association can develop and serve both the recreational and educational needs of the community. My family and I are members and have seen first-hand the benefits of the cooperation.
Garland: The partnership with the Sherwood YMCA is a unique one, and one that has been mutually beneficial for many years. The YMCA is more than just a gym. It is a community meeting place. It is a resource for our residents, providing childcare, and helping the community during these tough times. Sherwood is better for having the YMCA here.
We will continue work with the Sherwood Regional Family YMCA as a community partner. I know that our goals for the community are in alignment.
As we look down the road to the end of the current contract with the YMCA, we will again need to review the approach we take with regards to finances. During the last contract process, I pushed very hard to ensure that the City would not be burdened with financial losses, and I will continue to advocate for that in the future.
Giles: It should be a balanced partnership. As their landlord, Sherwood is responsible for permanent improvements to the building and land. The YMCA is responsible for their operating budget. I think of their membership fee as a voluntary tax. If you find value in the programs and facilities (as I have for many years), you pay it. If you do not find value in it, you don't pay it.
Young: The city has been fortunate to have a great relationship with the YMCA the past 20-plus years. In 2017, as the 20-year operating agreement was nearing its end, the city conducted an RFP process. After reviewing the 5 proposals received, it was my opinion that the YMCA was still the best option for our community. In January 2018 I was happy to vote for the approval of a new Master Agreement between the city and the YMCA with zero operating costs to the city.
As I reflect back on that decision now as we are in the middle of the COVID pandemic, I absolutely believe the right decision was made. Throughout this crisis the YMCA has stepped up to support the community in a variety of ways to help those in need, all while also trying to continue to offer as many programs as possible within the guidelines they must adhere to.
What is your take on calls for racial justice and policing reforms across the United States, including in Sherwood? ?
Brouse: I am and have been extremely interested in diversity, equity and inclusion. I have had the opportunity to facilitate such dialogue in multiple venues over the years and believe that Sherwood needs to become more involved in the equity conversation. Racial Justice is a deep topic. We are blessed in Sherwood with an amazing police department that is very transparent and who has adopted a number of best practices that are being memorialized through Council Resolutions so that no matter who the chief is the best practices will still be an integral part of the Sherwood PD. We as a community need to tackle tough issues together. Councilors Young, Garland and I started "Crucial Conversations" back in September. Our next one is Nov. 10, focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion. Sherwood is not immune to these issues and the sooner we get involved in the "work" the better off we will be.
Dayton: My background in social justice has placed me in a position to empathize as well as advocate for those who have found themselves in difficult situations. The citizens of Sherwood are blessed with a safe and lovely environment in which to raise our children. Our schools are top rated, and we are blessed with an abundance of city parks and family activities. Unfortunately, this is not the case in some of our neighboring cities. Our local police are doing a wonderful job protecting our community and upholding the values of Sherwood, and I would advocate for their continued support whenever possible. As well as Community Engagement for the purpose of inclusivity and diversity.
Garland: I have been very vocal in support of racial justice and equity. We are at a time in our society where the inequities are apparent, and action must be taken. We can no longer be silent while parts of our society continue to be treated inequitably.
I spoke at the Justice for George Floyd March in June, and spoke of the need for all of us to use our voices to speak out. I believe that black lives matter. I understand that I am in a position of privilege and power, and need to use my power for change.
Our Sherwood Police Department has been a great partner in this. They are reviewing their policies, and are actively ensuring that they lead by example. I look forward to working with our SPD over the next four years, so that Sherwood continues to be one of the safest cities in Oregon for all of our residents.
Giles: I condemn racism in all its forms. My life is better for exposure to other cultures and people. The first call that I made when I decided to run for City Council was to Chief Groth and his leadership team. We are fortunate that we live in a city that has a police department that tries to do policing the right way. I feel safe in Sherwood and I believe that everyone has the right to feel that way. Unfortunately, not everyone does. The only universal solution is to keep the discussion going. That will lead to education and understanding. Police have a very difficult job (even in Sherwood) and we should give them clear expectations as to what we expect, as well as the support they need to fulfill those expectations. When the expectations are not met, we need to deal with it fairly to all involved.
Young: Nationally it is important for states, counties, and cities to have community conversations to ensure their public safety professionals (police officers, county sheriff deputies and state police troopers) are serving the needs of all citizens. I think it is important for residents of Sherwood to know that most policies/behaviors that citizens across the country are objecting to are already prohibited in Sherwood. This fall, Sherwood City Council also adopted a new ordinance that put into law community expectations with the high standards of police behavior, training, state certification, diversity and more. Additionally, our citizen police advisory board reviews and makes recommendations on Sherwood police policies to the city council.
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.