Tigard mayor, council, officers, fan out to discuss city issues, possible levy
Tigard City Council members and police officers spread across the city Tuesday night for a "Council, Cops and Conversation" night, hosting the event at five locations.
The gatherings, in lieu of the council's regular-scheduled council meeting at Tigard City Hall, was designed to discuss topics of interest to the public including questions about a potential public safety levy that could be sent to voters in May 2020.
The venues covered by Mayor Jason Snider and Councilors John Goodhouse, Liz Newton, Tom Anderson, Heidi Lueb and Youth City Councilor Meghan Turley included Fido's -- "World's First Dog Tap House, FlyBoy Brewery and Pub, Tapphoria Home, Whole Foods Market and Panera Bread.
Both Mayor Snider and Tigard Officer Eric Enzenberger met with residents at Fido's an establishment believed to be the only specialty tap house of its kind where patrons can not only eat and drink beer, wine or cider but can meet and adopt rescue dogs.
Enzenberger, whose restaurant table held literature about a likely public safety levy answered general questions about the levy that could add eight officers to the patrol division as well as two officers dedicated to homeless outreach issues.
Most days, there are only three officers covering the five patrol districts.
"What we'd like is one officer per district each shift," said Enzenberger.
The other goal is to decrease response times to incidents where police are needed. Ideally, that would mean responding to the higher priority calls such as those involving thefts, physical assaults and similar calls in less than five minutes. Currently, response times are around 6 minutes, 20 seconds, he said.
Regarding the homeless outreach officers, Enzenberger, a 15-year veteran of the Tigard Police Department, said they would handle not only issues such as responding to complaint about individuals who are trespassing on private property but could inform them about available services available to help them as well.
Meanwhile, Mayor Snider noted that the Tuesday gathering was part of a campaign promise of making himself and the council available throughout the community.
"This is us putting words into action and making sure we're out in the community," said Snider, noting that he and the council have attended 40-some events to hear what the public is interested in.
The mayor said the council will likely make a decision on whether to approach voters with a levy in January or February. (Although nothing is set in stone, one possible number that has been mentioned is a rate of 46 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.)
At the same time, approaching voters on whether they support a bond for a new police facility is less likely for the near future.
"I don' think it's on the table for the May ballot," he said. "There's a lot of work that has to go into that."
Snider said he's found when talking to residents that they are shocked and concerned to hear the low number of officers that are on duty at any given time, pointing out that given the size of the city – 54,000 residents – police wouldn't be able to handle two significant (or high priority) calls for service at the same time.
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