Tualatin's Joelle Davis resigns to take Seattle-area job
Three-term Tualatin City Council member Joelle Davis announced Monday that she will resign her seat on the council after the first council meeting in May.
"I have taken a job in Seattle and we are going to be moving and it's terrifying," she said at the end of the meeting. "I've been in this community for 19 years and it has meant everything to me and it's been an absolute honor to serve with all of you and I appreciate all of the time and energy and effort and the back and forth and the fighting and all the good stuff too. I (loved) every minute of it."
In the middle of May, Davis said she will begin her new job in the human resources department at the King County Sheriff's Office in Washington, an agency with more than 700 sworn deputies serving a population of more than 2.1 million residents.
Davies, who has served on the council since 2009, would have reached the end of term limits if she continued through 2020.
"I really didn't want to have to do it this way," Davis said about her imminent departure during a phone interview Friday. (She missed the state of the city address on Wednesday because she was fighting a nasty cold and was planning to head to Washington, D.C. on Saturday as part of regional transportation lobbying efforts.)
Davis' tenure included championing the citizen involvement process, something that she said has taken a very strong foothold in the city.
In 2010, Davis and former Councilor Ed Truax helped establish the formation of Tualatin Citizen Involvement Organizations, also known as CIOs, giving Tualatin residents a stronger voice in local government affairs. Although ultimately successful in creating the CIOs, Davis said it was an onerous process getting to that point.
Other accomplishments during her time on council include:
-- Pushed hard to get a Tualatin Police Department canine. Her efforts were ultimately successful in the form of Tony, a German shepherd who was born in the Czech Republic who joined the force in 2016. A narcotics-canine, Davis said she hopes the department will eventually get a second dog such as one trained in search and rescue.
-- Founding the Tualatin Community Police Foundation, an independent, non-profit organization that sponsors or funds such events as women's self-defense workshops and the annual Shop with a Cop.
"I wanted to make sure the police department had positive relations with all areas of our community," said Davis.
-- Advocated for the creation of the city's Transportation System Plan, which is the document that guides city transportation planning and policy. The document was the result of the Transportation Task Force, an inclusive group that spent two years discussing transportation issues before the council adopted the plan in 2013.
"I think it created the most comprehensive transportation systems plan that we've ever had," said Davis, pointing out that the group vetted many of the projects that would appear on the May 2018 transportation safety bond passed by Tualatin voters. "It was a very involved process."
As she winds down her involvement with the city, Davis said she's also been extremely pleased with the quality of the city's staff throughout the years.
"We have the best staff," she said. "We're so lucky to have so many outstanding people working for us."
While Davis and former Mayor Lou Ogden (who recently finished serving as mayor for almost 25 years) had different political views, Davis said it city business is essentially non-partisan, pointing out, "When we came to an agreement on things, we were unstoppable."
At the same time, Davis praised Tualatin's newest mayor, Frank Bubenik, for his efforts in involving council members with a variety of responsibilities and activities.
"I just know the city will be in good hands under his leadership," she said.
Davis said she was especially pleased that the mayor asked her to be part of a regional delegation of representatives from local cities, counties, TriMet and Metro headed to Washington, D.C., to lobby for area transportation issues.
"It's the first trip I've ever gotten to make for the city," said Davis, saying she was really looking forward to it.
So what will she miss most?
"Being part of the big decisions that change the future of the city," she said. "It's been such an honor to have the support of citizens who have voted for me in the past."
Plans are to discuss how to fill Davis' seat at a meeting at the end of May and seek applications from interested residents to fill out her term, which expires at the end of 2020.
After her resignation announcement Monday, Mayor Bubenik said, "Well, we won't have the weepies yet. We'll wait 'til the last minute to start crying."
On Friday, Bubenik added that Davis contributed much to council and the community during her tenure.
"She is an advocate for citizen involvement, human rights issues, and better transportation planning in Tualatin and the region," he said. "Her labor relations background and knowledge of ODOT was very helpful when council had to make decisions. She was never afraid to say what she thought and I will miss her tremendously as council president."