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Councilors want to focus on emergency preparedness, transit and recreations options, sustainability and diversity

PMG FILE PHOTO - The West Linn City Council discussed its goals for 2020 at a work session Monday, Feb. 3. After deciding on a comprehensive list of goals last year, the West Linn City Council decided to revisit those goals and see what might need to be updated for this year.

The council discussed their goals and what they'd like to see added to the list at a work session Feb. 3.

Last year, each councilor was asked to submit their own top five priorities for what they'd like to see accomplished.

"It's very positive that there's a lot of overlap," Mayor Russ Axelrod noted about these lists.

Among each councilor's list (Councilor Bill Relyea was the only one to not turn a list in), disaster preparedness was a priority.

One of the official council goals adopted in April 2019 was to "Engage Citizen Advisory Groups, Neighborhood Associations and the community to create and implement a robust disaster preparedness program for West Linn."

Efforts completed toward this goal so far include fire mitigation planning, quarterly emergency planning events with first responders, City staff and the West Linn-Wilsonville School District, staff and council training on the Incident Command System and staff Emergency Operation Center training.

At Monday's meeting the council discussed holding a disaster preparedness fair for the community to learn more.

Councilors Rich Sakelik and Teri Cummings stressed the importance of an inter-city shuttle in their priority lists.

Sakelik noted that a transit system could help mitigate increased traffic that is bound to come when the city has to build denser, multifamily housing as a result of HB2001, an affordable housing bill passed by the Oregon Legislature last year.

Looking at the City's code as it relates to HB2001 was a priority of Councilor Jules Walters.

After noting that the City has looked into transit systems in other towns and learning how expensive they are for the City, the Mayor suggested a collaboration between the school district and South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART) to help ease some of the transit needs. He said he's begun conversations with the district, SMART and PGE on the possibility of grants for sustainable bus options.

Cummings said the City first needs to gauge the community' interest in a new transit system.

Indoor recreation was mentioned in the lists of Sakelik and Walters. Walters explicitly mentioned an indoor rec center and Sakelik's priority was for safe indoor recreation spaces in general.

Cummings' list also mentioned improvements to City-owned buildings. The council has talked about remodeling or improving several city-owned buildings that could be used for recreational activities, like Robinwood Station.

Sakelik suggested the City hire a consultant to learn more about what building a rec center would look like. He also noted that though the community has expressed interest in such a center, he was unsure if taxpayers would be willing to pay for one through a bond.

Walters' other priorities were safe routes to school and diversity/equity and inclusion.

Sakelik listed creating a process to consider community input during the construction plan review process and environmental sustainability.

Citizen input on construction plans was also a priority for Cummings. She also listed safe routes to school and transportation.

Axelrod noted waterfront planning, disaster preparedness, transportation projects, sustainability and "community institution and diversity outreach engagement and development efforts," as his priorities.

Interim City Manager John Williams told the council that the City has done quite a bit of work around the Safe Routes to School program with the district and the community but that was put on pause when the city engineering department lost a staff member.

City Engineer Lance Calvert said that he hopes for some of the Safe Routes plans to be finalized in the fall and construction to begin the following summer.


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