Tigard Mayor John Cook’s Last Mayor’s Corner

Well the time has come to end my term as Mayor. The last six years have gone by fast and this is my last Mayors Corner.

I would like to congratulate Jason Snider on his election to Mayor, John Goodhouse on his re-election and Liz Newton on her election to the council for the next four years. I would also like to thank Marc Woodard for his service to the council the last eight years. The city is a better place from his knowledge and passion in recreation services.

It is hard to say goodbye, so I will just say “farewell until we meet again”. There are too many people to thank and stay close to my allotted space, but here is a short list:

First, to all the citizens and businesses of Tigard who put their trust in me over the last two elections; to the current and past Tigard city councilors; the mayors and other electeds in Washington County, the metro region, the State of Oregon and even across the U.S.; the city staff who helped me become the knowledgeable person I am on all the issues that affect our city; all City of Tigard volunteers on our boards and commissions; Marty Wine for being an amazing city manager; the best executive assistant Joanne Bengtson for keeping me straight and in the right place every day; and mostly for my wonderful wife Terri and my family for allowing me to spend so much time away from them over the last six years.

For all of you who attended my Fireside Chats each month, I appreciate your candor and opinions and willingness to share with others. To the mayors of Oregon for electing me as their president for 2018 and giving me the annual Leadership Award this year. The League of Oregon Cities for your vision and giving me the James C. Richards Memorial Award for statewide leadership.

I have met so many amazing mayors, and I love each one of you for helping me along the way, but Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. of Charleston, SC who served 10 terms starting in 1975 through 2015 was the most impactful. I was able to meet him in Dallas, TX in 2014.  It is hard to say who the greatest mayors ever are, but he has clearly made the biggest impact on the most mayors. He is a past-president of US Conference of Mayors and founder of Mayors Institute on City Design which has trained over 1,000 mayors – including me, one of the fortunate leaders who was invited to attend.

Mayor Riley told a story about the first time he met Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago, “Mayors have an invincible mantel on our shoulders. I have the responsibility for the safety, wellbeing, hope, optimism and success of every citizen in our city. Size didn’t matter, I was a mayor.” He went on to say, “We have the responsibility to be as creative as possible, to work with our citizens to develop visions.” And, “We have the opportunity to give our citizens optimism and hope, and for them to feel that we care for each and every one of them.”

The main thing is not to get reelected in political office, but the core duty is to do the very best you can, and always do what you think is right!

My December quote of the month is, “A wise person said that being alive gives us the opportunity to do two things every day; be nice to people, and leave our world a better place.”

In my elder years, if anyone ever asks what I accomplished in my lifetime, I will be able to say, “Once I was a Mayor, and I thank God every day.