Mayor’s Corner February 2024

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As the mom of a toddler, I know firsthand the awe of Elmo. Recently, Elmo, a beloved character on Sesame Street, posted a question online – How is everyone doing? A simple question that essentially opened the door to what can be a difficult conversation about mental health. 

These four words – How is everyone doing? – resulted in thousands of responses; even the President weighed in. We heard (or read) how people were feeling. From humorous to concerning, people are tired, overwhelmed, sad, at their limit. By simply asking a question, Elmo managed to create a safe environment where people shared how they were. 

We’ve talked a lot about safety in the last several months, even more so in the last few weeks. We’ve talked about safety with the Public Safety Renewal Levy, which will maintain eight patrol officers, retain one School Resource Officer, and continue funding for de-escalation training. Voters will consider that ballot measure in May. 

In January, we experienced a massive ice and snowstorm that resulted in damage and treacherous road conditions. Many were without power, mobility was limited, and physical safety was a concern. So many community members opened their doors to others, offering warmth, food, and a secure, safer place to be. The community came together to support each other in a time of need. 

Earlier this month, there were some complicated conversations about safety when a church held meetings around a Safe Parking Program. The church is exploring the possibility of hosting three vehicles in their parking lot, providing a safer place for those living in the vehicles. We heard from the community with many differing opinions, ranging from outright opposition to support and some just wanting to learn more. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about safety, what it means to feel safe, heard, and understood in a time when it can feel overwhelming, confusing, and honestly, exhausting. One of my jobs as Mayor is to create a safe place, and that often is about physical safety, but it’s more than that. You’ll hear in the coming months about mental safety and health. I am committed to creating an environment of safety, a city of care, where difficult conversations feel a bit easier, and are welcomed. 

Thank you, Elmo, for reminding us that safety is more than physical, it’s also mental health, and the importance of checking in.

Tigard, how are you doing? Let me know! You can reach me at 971-435-0964 or heidil@tigard-or.gov, or you can connect to the whole City Council at CouncilMail@tigard-or.gov.

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