My Vision for West Linn

In 2018, I ran for city council on a platform that reflects what I value most about our community: Schools, Parks, and Safety. They are what make West Linn a wonderful place to live, but we know that there is work to be done to make it safe and welcoming for all. I believe that honest, efficient, and transparent leadership is what is needed, and that’s what I will bring with me as Mayor. Now more than ever, we need our city’s leadership to represent all of West Linn.

Willamette Falls and Historic City Hall

  • The Willamette Falls and Landings Area is really the crown jewel of West Linn. We have an incredible opportunity to create something special for generations to come while also respecting and highlighting its rich tribal and cultural history. 
  • This master planning has already been happening for years with Mayor Axelrod, City Staff, PGE, community partners, and our Tribal partners. We have an incredible opportunity to renovate the Historic City Hall with funds from the 2018 GO Bond and create a heritage and cultural center. 
  • We must honor our commitments to our tribal and community partners that have worked tirelessly on this project and see it come to fruition as the gateway to our Willamette Falls State Heritage Area and future National Heritage Area.
  • We need to continue our effort to reopen the Willamette Falls Locks.

Historic Willamette

  • The new streetscape for Willamette Falls Dr. is the largest investment that the City has made in our existing transportation infrastructure. It will provide multimodal improvements along the corridor including bike lanes/cycle tracks and sidewalks. Evidence shows that providing West Linn citizens a safe option to walk, bike or access public transportation helps alleviate the traffic during rush hour.
  • The increased width of sidewalks has provided the outdoor cafe space that residents have been flocking to. Better ADA access makes it not only a more equitable space but also a safer space to enjoy and support our local businesses.
  • The traffic on Willamette Falls Drive is a major problem that has to be addressed. It is why I’m pushing so hard for changes to ODOT’s I-205 plan. Our community needs to address the traffic on the highway to relieve the diversion traffic on our roads.

HB 2001

  • I learned that sometimes conversations around Housing Choices, specifically HB 2001, can include confusing and misleading information, and simply having the conversation with community members and elected leaders is very helpful.
  • Housing diversity will provide opportunities for our grown children to afford to live here. It will allow those who are ready to retire to downsize to something that fits their needs and lifestyle. It will welcome diversity to our town, something that has been historically discouraged by unfair suburban zoning and land-use practices.
  • The bill was passed during the 2019 legislative session with bipartisan support. It defines middle housing as duplexes, triplexes, quads, cottage clusters, and townhomes (similar to ones that already exist in all of our beautiful neighborhoods in West Linn). I have townhomes on the corner of my street which were built in 1996. 
  • HB 2001 was significantly amended to address the concerns of local governments like West Linn. 
  • Cities have the flexibility to decide where to allow all other types of middle housing, as well as the freedom to regulate their siting and design, which typically involves a public process with ample opportunity for public input.
  • Concern about the character of neighborhood change: I certainly understand those fears. If you love your neighborhood, you don’t want it to change. Cities have the flexibility to decide where to allow all other types of middle housing, as well as the freedom to regulate their siting and design. I have on several occasions advocated that the planning commission and city staff do just this.

Police Reform and Accountability

  • The Settlement of the Michael Fesser tort claim exposed systemic racism and a lack of transparency and accountability of some in our police department. 
  • As a Councilor, I  have the ability to introduce common-sense reforms to our police department.
    • I reached out to many members of our community and regionally that had expertise in the work of police accountability and reform. 
    • Based on their recommendations I asked that a task force be created to develop a better oversight process for the department. 
    • I asked for an equity bias audit to expose structural and systemic weaknesses in our city’s organization that can then be addressed and repaired.
    • I have spoken to Acting Chief Mahuna and Lieutenant Rollins many times and have had an open dialogue and difficult conversations. They always thank me at the end of the call for being willing to listen, but talking is not enough. We need to take action and make sure all who live in and visit West Linn are safe and welcomed.

Schools

  • Families move to West Linn for our excellent schools. My son is a middle schooler and my three daughters are all graduates of West Linn High School. We have an actively engaged community volunteering, fundraising, and supporting our staff and teachers every day. 
  • The school district has been a great partner to the City of West Linn and as Council liaison to the District, I have partnered with them on many issues especially around student safety and equity and inclusion.
  • New middle school site: WLWV has owned the Dollar Street property for a long time. They have welcomed public input at the 2019 bond summit established a long-range planning committee and a bond measure that won by the largest margin ever. There is a lot of public support. Planning staff is working closely now with the district as the designs take shape to make sure it is compatible with our code, the neighborhood, and the property. 
  • The district engaged the public extensively and is incorporating public concerns into the design.

Tolling:

  • In 2018 Councilor Perry told me that community members need to go to Portland and give public testimony on tolling because the ODOT commission didn’t even know where West Linn was. I hopped in my car and gave testimony that tolling is a big “no’!
  • I have lived in places where tolling exists, but never have I seen tolling take place in an area that allows people to divert off the highway to avoid the tolls. 
  • Diversion is unsafe, causes undue wear and tear on our roads, and causes traffic congestion. 
  • NO on I-205 tolling. The current plan is not equitable and diversion is unsafe, unhealthy, hurts our businesses, and severely impacts our infrastructure.

Council Meetings:

  • In the first half of 2020, council held over 100 hours of regular meetings and almost 60 hours of executive session meetings. That is 3 to 4 times more than most councils have in a full year. It is inefficient and lacks transparency when citizens cannot sit through or later sift through that many hours of meetings.
  • We need to spend more time outside of meetings talking to the community and making sure that we’re tackling the issues that are important to them. 
  • Long meetings are expensive. We pay our city attorney over $300 an hour to sit through meetings that can last 7 or 8 hours. Not to mention how much time the staff has to put in that keeps them away from the work they need to be doing in their job.

Cell Tower in Unincorporated Clackamas County:

  • While we all acknowledge that emergency communication for our first responders is essential, it is unfair to place a 180’ radio tower in the backyard of neighborhood homes and next to a children’s playground.
  • More communication needed to happen between C800 and the City of West Linn before plans were in place. Luckily with pushback from the community, Council, and city staff, we were able to delay the tower until 2021 while C800 looks for alternate sites. In the meantime, we have given direction to the City Attorney to provide us with options to pursue acquiring that land from ODOT.

Improvements to HWY 43:

  • Hwy 43 is a heavily traveled corridor in West Linn which becomes gridlocked weekdays during rush hour.
  • We have a plan to update and repair Hwy 43 but we need the funding to do so. Our current funds from the 2018 GO Bond are not enough. I have testified at Metro to include Hwy 43 in their 2020 Transportation Bond. If it passes in November, Hwy 43 will be included.
  • We have also directed our Economic Development Committee to analyze the zoning along the Hwy 43 corridor. We hope to create opportunities to provide mixed-use business and residential development in that corridor.

COVID-19:

  • We were one of the first cities to declare a State of Emergency due to COVID. 
  • I also brought forth a request to provide a temporary rent moratorium for residents and businesses. If we were going to ask our residents to stay safe and stay home, we had to make sure that they had a home to stay in.
  • I brought to the attention of our Interim City Manager that Business Oregon was providing matching funds to cities that provide grants to local businesses.and we were able to provide over $20,000 in grants to WL business owners. The second round of grants will be distributed this fall. They are reimbursed by the Federal CARES Act funding so they will not negatively impact the City’s budget
  • After reading about a Forest Grove program, I asked our City Manager if we could create a prescription pick up program for those who could not go to the pharmacy. WLPD officers began this program last spring.
  • I have been very impressed by our City’s leadership in handling this unprecedented crisis.

New Community Center:

  • I have been a strong supporter of a community center with sport courts, meeting spaces, and a pool. As a mom raising four kids in this community, I love taking my kids out to our beautiful parks for the summer, but there isn’t a comparable indoor space for the wintertime. 
  • Afterschool each day there are 700 kids from Rosemont, 550 from Trillium Creek, and 400 from Sunset that could walk to the rec center to take classes or join pick-up games. 
  • It would provide a myriad of recreational opportunities for all ages.
  • After the 2019 incident at Rosemont in which the 700+ students and staff were forced to evacuate on a freezing afternoon, it became apparent that there is a lack of available City buildings that could accommodate large numbers in the event of a large disaster. We were so fortunate to have the local Christian Church open their doors to welcome the kids and help get them home to their parents in a safe and orderly manner. Having a City-owned space like this available to our residents in an emergency is essential.

Development in Stafford:

  • Portland Metro’s Urban Growth Boundary is a city planning policy that I have long admired. I am proud to show visiting friends the beautiful farms and undeveloped land just five minutes down the road from my house. I believe we should be preserving and protecting our undeveloped land in Stafford. 
  • I fully support the small scale agricultural model advocated by the Stafford Hamlet.

High School Parking:

  • There has been a parking shortage for kids, staff, and parents at West Linn High School for several years, and as more students in our district enter high school, the shortage only worsens. 
  • The latest plan proposed by the WLWV District is to clear-cut a portion of Wilderness Park on Skyview Drive to make way for new spaces but my opponent wants them to cut down even more trees to make a bigger parking lot. Literally — pave paradise and put up a parking lot.
  • I would rather talk with neighbors about improving West A Street to accommodate some school parking on one side of the street to prevent the destruction of a city park. I understand that residents living in the neighborhood are against student parking on their streets, and I agree that opening parking on many of the narrow side streets and steep slopes is irresponsible and poses danger to both residents and drivers.
  • West A Street is a wide thoroughfare, and signs and paint can be used to designate parking zones and provide a large buffer between driveways/mailboxes/etc. so that residents on West A Street have visibility and space to safely enter and exit their driveways. 
  • I have also heard testimony from several current and former WLHS students that residents have been charging exorbitant fees to students to allow them to park on West A Street– some residents making over 2000 dollars a year on students who are desperate for parking so that they can get to their early morning extracurriculars or after school clubs and jobs on time. Let’s not limit access to these important programs by making it impossible for students to get to school.