Mayor’s Corner: April 2024

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I’ve spoken about the importance of public safety for our community since the beginning of my term as Mayor and during my service as a City Councilor. 

As elected officials, we have a responsibility to prepare and plan for different scenarios facing our City, including some of the potentially most impactful, like a powerful earthquake, a devastating firestorm, or a destructive storm. When – not if – it happens, our public works personnel and Tigard Police are our first responders. 

Currently, the buildings that house those teams are inadequate and don’t even meet state requirements for “critical and essential buildings,” which help ensure first responders can protect and serve our communities. 

Two of our Council Goals are to Modernize and Improve City Services and Enhance Community Safety and Access. We’re delivering on those goals by strategically planning to ensure the City of Tigard is fundamentally sound and delivering on the current and future needs of our facilities. 

Those are some of the reasons why the City of Tigard is zeroing in on a solution for our current facilities: Acquiring a 9.5-acre property on Wall Street for new, safer, and modern facilities. 

This is a solution years in the making. During my entire time on Council (since 2019), we’ve been trying to solve for this problem and have reviewed countless possible properties to purchase. I strongly believe that our facilities should stay in the City of Tigard, and it’s been a challenge to find a location that fits the needs of our facilities. 

So why a new building location and not another option? Even before my service, for decades, the City had studied different scenarios, including renovating existing facilities and building new facilities in the existing locations. Ultimately, the analysis showed that buying new property and building new facilities is the best way for the City to serve the community while being the best stewards of taxpayer money. It’s about moving Tigard forward.

It’s not just about responding to emergencies, though. The City of Tigard is also an employer, and it’s our responsibility to provide an adequate and safe space for every Tigard Teammate to work. Our current facilities also have safety issues and are overcrowded.

Our Tigard Police station is nearly four decades old and is so severely overcrowded that it impacts our ability to recruit the talented and diverse personnel we need to help keep our neighborhoods safe. Due to lack of space, we have instances where our officers conduct crime victim interviews in public spaces rather than secure spaces to ensure the victims feel safe to share the details of their situation. We proudly have one of the highest percentages of women serving in our Police Department across the state, yet we lack adequate locker space for them. 

For our Public Works team, the Parks and Recreation Department holds their team check-ins outside because of the lack of meeting space. Our Public Works yard is also overcrowded, making it difficult to park and maneuver. I don’t believe our downtown district is an appropriate place for our Public Works vehicles and equipment. 

It’s not only these situations that are concerning for our team, but there is also a financial impact. The yearly operational cost for repairs and maintenance on these facilities increases every year because it becomes more expensive to maintain and repair these buildings. These are resources that could be invested back into our community priorities like building and maintaining city roads, parks and sidewalks.

This potential acquisition is an exciting first step. We have an opportunity to move from concept and plans to action and implementation. I want you to know what’s next in the process, what you can expect from the City, and how you can participate and help us shape the plan. 

From now through the end of April, the City will conduct a detailed due diligence to ensure the property is the best investment for Tigard and to finalize a sales purchase agreement, contingent on satisfaction of the conditions. That process includes commonsense steps like an architectural and engineering plan, and environmental review of the land. 

We will keep you updated on next steps. You can also receive the latest updates: tinyurl.com/3skuta8w.

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