With nod to 'Hamilton,' Tigard's mayor delivers State of City address
With a nod to the hit musical "Hamilton," students from Tigard High School's Choralation Choir took the packed theater at Broadway Rose Theatre Company Wednesday night through its paces with a rap and hip hop trip tribute spotlighting city accomplishments last year.
The group, directed by Robert Hawthorne, was part of Mayor John Cook's annual State of the City presentation, an annual event that attracts local residents, area mayors, county commissioners and others.
A sampling of their Hamilton-esque emulation entitled "Tigard On!"– with Sharon Gavin, city of Tigard's communications manager, writing the lyrics, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, composing the music, included:
"Well every day our folks are working throughout the city
Patrolling, sharing stories, keeping parks safe and pretty.
Crews check underground for sewers that are gritty,
Inside we help folks with problems big and bitty."
Later, Cook, who has been mayor since 2012, listed many of the goals set by the council in 2017 and their progress.
-Sending a local option levy to voters in May. The council is finalizing an overall bond-dollar amount but the push is to raise an estimated $7 million a year to add to police services, parks maintenance and sidewalk improvements.
"We don't take that lightly," he said of the levy request. "We don't like spending people's money even though we've been accused of (that)."
He noted that the levy is necessary to keep some city programs and services going at full speed, (adding one of his go-to sayings regarding keeping things running under dire circumstances) by noting that things need to be held together better than simply with "bubble gum and duct tape."--Expanding recreational opportunities for people in Tigard. He praised the first Music in the Park series last year where 1,300 people showed up to an event that was only expected to draw 200.
--Making downtown a place for people to be. Cook touted the addition of new poles and Tigard banners along Main Street as a big accomplishment, along with tearing down several buildings along Main Street next to Fanno Creek at a site set for redevelopment.
-- Pursuit of light rail down the Southwest Corridor. Cook joked that the city had planned on specific funding "but funding got off track." For 2018, plans are to finish the alignment from Portland to downtown Tigard.
--Implement the Tigard Triangle strategic plan. "It's an area that we're really looking to develop into the future," he said. Cook spoke of the city's new so-called "lean code," which makes development in the 500-acre parcel of property bounded by Highway 99W to the north, Highway 217 to the west and south and Interstate 5 to the east easier.
-- Annexation of certain areas into the city limits. Cook noted that 10 "islands" of property were annexed into the city last year after an extensive outreach program.
"For 2018, we want to continue that outreach," he said, noting he wants to approach those who might be potential candidates for annexation in a positive manor, adding there might be incentives if they chose to do so.
Meanwhile, Cook praised the completed water treatment plant in West Linn that marks the official completion of the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership.
"The other thing we've done is we've formed a homelessness task force," he pointed out.
Other milestones over the year included both the hiring of new Tigard Police Chief Kathy McAlpine, who came from the Tacoma Police Department, and the council approving a resolution making the city, which reads in part that Tigard agrees to become a "welcoming community … where every person feels safe, regardless of immigration status."