Let's Imagine West Linn together
Early in 2018, while serving as a West Linn city councilor, I proposed setting a goal of updating the Imagine West Linn document.
This visionary publication was originally written by a group of citizen volunteers in 1994 in collaboration with the City Council, and then subsequently reviewed and updated in 2008. The following opening section effectively describes its purpose:
"Imagine West Linn (2008) defines West Linn's future vision in a proactive and constructive manner. Building on the good work of West Linn's citizens, the updated vision reaffirms our commitment to a sustainable future, embracing West Linn's unique community spirit and sense of place." For the full document, go to https://westlinnoregon.gov/planning/imagine-west-linn-0.
Unfortunately, at the time we weren't able to add the update to our schedule, but at the suggestion of our City Manager, the five guiding principles in the document were used as framework for our yearly Council Goals.
This visionary document still holds true in many aspects and highlights the potential for both good and harmful outcomes for our beautiful city.
It reminds us that our City Council, city staff and citizens that volunteer in multiple capacities give their time because they love West Linn.
However, no one person or personal agenda dictates how the city is run and the focus should be on moving forward rather than reliving the past.
We must remember that we are a city of nearly 26,000 people who chose to make their homes here and they should share in all decisions that impact the city's future.
We have incredible volunteer resources in West Linn and our 11 neighborhood associations are a great example of these. They work diligently to represent their particular locality, but should take note of the Imagine West Linn comments about relationships with City Hall and each other.
Also, it is important to note that the relatively small numbers attending the meetings may not actually represent the opinions of their entire neighborhood.
Any dysfunction damages our reputation, as relationships make a difference both within our city and the surrounding areas.
West Linn is not an island; it relies on associations with a much larger community. Our clean water resources are shared with Oregon City, who we also hope to collaborate with in the Willamette Falls developments.
Our schools are run in partnership with Wilsonville and our wastewater services with Oregon City, Gladstone and the cities of the Clackamas County Service District. We also look to Metro and other entities for grants to support and help finance many West Linn projects.
One key quote from Imagine West Linn I believe is fundamental for our city government to remember — "Many have made West Linn their home because the citizens and the government have made a commitment to value community spirit and cooperation. City government sets policy and takes action based on one question: Will this policy or action foster or hinder the vision we have for West Linn?"
Citizens should read the Imagine West Linn document and decide whether the vision still holds true and if this is the future city we want. It identifies challenges and opportunities in the years ahead, but also warns that inaction could have serious consequences. It certainly makes for a thought provoking read.
Brenda Perry is a former West Linn city councilor.
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