Tigard state of city address highlights status of four promises made to residents last year
In his second State of the City address, Mayor Jason Snider highlighted how the city is doing on Tuesday, Jan. 28, by focusing on the four promises he made to the community last year, centering on one that ensures the public safety of its citizens.
Local politicians, business leaders and city residents packed the Broadway Rose Theater to hear Snider hone in on those four promises: Fostering a welcoming Tigard, spending more time out of City Hall and in local neighborhoods, explaining to residents what services they are paying for and ensuring a safe and secure Tigard.
"My personal journey in learning about diversity, equity and inclusion has evolved through several experiences this year," he said.
Among those were attending a Multi-City Equity Summit in Lake Oswego; providing 53 community members with TriMet passes; attending an event where homeless individuals received basic services; witnessing the lighting of a Hanukkah menorah at Liberty Park and other community events.
Snider's goal this year is to have Tigard become the city with the highest percentage of completed U.S. Census forms. (About 79% of the city completed the last Census in 2010.)
The mayor also touted the city's goal of getting outside of City Hall and into Tigard neighborhoods, pointing out that since last April the Tigard City Council has been invited to 60 community events, attending many of them.
His goal now is to have the council connect with all of Tigard's 53,148 residents.
"Am I daunted by how big the challenge is? Absolutely not," he said. "I am here tonight; and the staff are here tonight — because all of us work for you."
In letting residents know what services they are paying for, Snider said the city issued its first report card. The city has experienced increased response time for police calls, has added more affordable housing and is spending money to maintain parks and trails. He added that a performance audit pointed to a city performance audit that "validated that we are using your money wisely."
"We have embraced the opportunities by implementing 12% of the recommendations just in the three months since the audit was completed," he said.
In the push to keep the city safe, secure and livable, Snider highlighted the work of the Tigard Police Department, which is now a state-accredited law enforcement agency, validating the work of its 69 sworn officers.
Among those he praised was Brian Imus, a Tigard High School resource officer, who one student characterized as being "one of the few adults in the world that can understand teenagers." He also pointed out Officer Nate Will, who saved a victim who had gone into cardiac arrest by administrating CPR.
In addition, Snider highlighted the actions of Officer April Keller who he called a "community superhero" after she intervened in a car chase that involved a victim who had already been injured by a shotgun blast by a suspect. He said the suspect led the officer to a dead-end road in Tigard last April.
"Officer Keller refused to be led into a position of disadvantage," he said. "She wisely stopped her vehicle and began covering the suspect vehicle with her rifle. After giving important updates over the radio, she maintained her position while protecting the victims, who had stopped nearby."
Snider then focused on plans for an upcoming local option levy in May that would add eight additional patrol officers as well as a school resource officer.
"If you only remember one thing from tonight, I hope it is this – we need your help," he said. "We need your help in ensuring our officers have the capacity to respond to multiple emergencies at the same time. We need your help in ensuring some officer time is available for pro-active neighborhood patrols."
Snider said the levy would cost 29 cents per $1,000 of assessed — not market — value. He called the levy both responsible and affordable.
Later, Snider hosted a late-night-type talk show with special guests Muwafaq Alkattan, the Washington County outreach organizer for Unite Oregon, and Tigard Police Chief Kathy McAlpine.
The audience was also shown a previously recorded segment of "Mayor Walking" where he walked along Tigard's Main Street asking questions of pedestrians.
Among the questions asked were if anyone knew how many officers are on duty at any given time with answers ranging anywhere from 15 to more than 100. The actual number is three and sometimes four. When quizzed about what they liked about Tigard, another passerby praised the city for its sense of community and for having a wonderful coffee shop.
"So you like Tigard better than Beaverton?" Snider asked the woman.
"Absolutely," she responded as Snider turned to the camera smiled mockingly.
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