Live from Tigard, it's 'late night' with Mayor Jason Snider
With a nod to popular late night talk and comedy sketch shows, Tigard Mayor Jason Snider highlighted accomplishments of the previous year and talked about things to come, making a commitment to ensuring the city is a more diverse community and promising to bring City Hall to the people.
In his first State of the City address Wednesday night, Snider, who was elected mayor last November, followed a nod from his predecessor with a themed evening that drew residents and neighboring elected officials to the Broadway Rose Theatre.
During the first part of the event, the new mayor talked of his time as a Tigard reserve police officer, ran the audience through a light-hearted "truth and a lie" trivia involving City Council members before he took a quick selfie of himself with his audience in the Broadway Rose Theatre.
Then he got serious, rolling out four city issues he plans to focus on.
The first is ensuring that Tigard is a diverse city.
"Tigard is a community for everyone," he said. "We will show this commitment with actions."
Snider reference a column he wrote for the city's online newsletter earlier this year where he addressed comments from someone who took offense at learning that the city was recruiting for a bilingual Spanish-speaking employee, suggesting, "Why not just move city offices to Mexico?"
Snider said the city would not deny rights, benefits or services to any of its residents.
"A healthy city embraces the rich fabric of its citizens," he said.
Next, Snider said the Tigard City Council plans on will reach out to neighborhoods in an "out of City Hall" effort to meet residents where they live, noting that he understands many cannot come to weekly council meetings.
"This does not mean they won't have a voice in Tigard," said Snider, before asking residents to invite council members to neighborhood events or activities. "Our first interaction should be learning what's important to you and your neighborhood."
Third on his list of issues, Snider said the city wants to show residents how the city is spending their money. He pointed out that the city is conducting performance audits of city departments.
The final commitment from Snider's State of the City speech was a guarantee of protecting the public and making sure residents feel safe. Referencing the popular "just OK" commercials for the AT&T cellular network, Snider pointed out, "As Tigard Mayor I am not OK with being 'just OK.'"
He said he has concerns that it's taking too long for police to respond to calls and that the city is exploring a likely levy and bond measures in 2020. If moved forward, those measures are expected to include money to address public safety as well as the construction of a new police station.
Meanwhile, Snider said the city will publish a yearly report card on how it's doing. A former paramedic, Snider said the city's vital signs are decent but he wants to make sure the City of Tigard thrives.
The second half of the State of the City event involved a lighthearted late-night talk show format, taped and presented to the audience on a big screen. That portion featured the mayor as guest host and former Portland-area news anchor (and now communications consultant) Eric Schmidt.
The pair then proceeded to interview Adrian Hinckley, a Tigard business owner; Heather Wakem, a Tigard police officer; and Marquesa Calderon, a member of the Tigard Youth Advisory Council.
Interspersed with the talk show were on-the-street interviews with passersby in downtown Tigard in a segment that featured questions about the city's population, whether interviewees knew what the Tigard Triangle was and what they liked best about city.
"I love the way the city is going," said a former Lake Oswego resident who has lived in the city for the last decade. "I love the feel of it."