Although satisfied with Tualatin, residents report concerns
A semi-regular survey of Tualatin residents shows they are generally happy with their quality of life and pleased with the city they live in.
They also really love their library and feel safe in their community.
This spring, the city mailed surveys to 3,500 homes via mail as well as asking residents to participate in online questionnaires.
Survey results show that 88% of residents are pleased with their overall quality of life, with 92% finding Tualatin to be a great place to live. In a 2016 survey, those rankings were 90% and 94%, respectively.
"The community survey is one tool we use to assess residents' satisfaction with city services and perception of the livability of Tualatin," said Megan George, assistant to the city manager. "As this is the fourth year we've completed the survey, we're really starting to get a sense of how the community's sentiments have changed in the last 10 years."
Previous surveys have been taken in 2010, 2013 and 2016.
The highest ranking in the 2020 survey was reserved for public safety, with 97% of survey-takers saying they feel very or somewhat safe in their neighborhoods. That was followed by a tie — at 95% each — for residents who reported that they like the Tualatin Public Library and feel safe when they are in the downtown area during the daytime.
In the past, traffic woes and congestion have proved to be major issues of contention for local residents. However, those attitudes have changed a bit from the 2016 survey.
This year's survey shows that while only 56% of those surveyed called traveling by car in the city good or excellent, that's a statistically significant improvement from 2016, when only 40% said they were satisfied with traffic.
The same goes for traffic flow on major streets. Today, 30% of residents called it good or excellent, compared to only 16% in 2016.
George said the improvement could be due to Tualatin Moving Forward, a $20 million bond program approved by local voters in 2018 that will fund 35 transportation projects by 2023.
Meanwhile, many residents expressed dissatisfaction with housing issues in Tualatin. According to the survey results, 53% of respondents said they are pleased with the variety of available housing in the city, and only 31% agree Tualatin has an adequate availability of affordable housing.
On Wednesday, Sept. 30, the city will host "Our Home, Our Health," an online event to discuss the importance of housing and health to discuss barriers, consequences and solutions for those who spend more than 30% of their income on housing.
Mayor Frank Bubenik said housing and the economy are two goals that his City Council is focused on — specifically, encouraging "the creation of a variety of affordable housing for all income levels and keeping our economy strong with economic assistance to those businesses and residents in need during this pandemic."
The mayor said what surprised him most about the current survey were lower-than-normal scores when rating overall opportunities the city offers in the form of education, culture and the arts, as well as residents' connection and engagement with their community.
"With COVID-19, the city had to cancel all our most popular events since March, including Crawfish Festival and Pumpkin Regatta, so that may explain lack of opportunities or education, culture and the arts while having to remain isolated to slow the pandemic may be why only 62% of residents feel connected and engaged," Bubenik wrote in an email. "I want to keep an eye on these two items and see what we can do to correct this post-pandemic."
Bubenik said the city takes results of the survey seriously, using it as a way to determine how residents feel about the way the city is performing and to make sure the goals of the Tualatin City Council also reflect community goals.
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