In December I’ll complete the third year of my four-year term as Metro Councilor. In those three years I’ve helped our region achieve major accomplishments.
With your help and support, Metro is becoming a stronger, clearer voice for making our regional community healthier, safer, more inclusive and more prosperous as we grow. We’ve taken important steps to reduce our region’s impact on climate change. We’ve increased efforts to make our streets safer for all people, whether we’re walking, biking, or riding in a car. We’re pushing to make affordable housing, jobs, a healthy environment, transportation choices, and access to parks and nature available to all residents of our region.
I’ve been at the center of those efforts. I’m proud of what I’ve helped accomplish. But you and I know that none of this work is done yet. That’s why I’m asking you to help me win a second term on the Metro Council in the May 2016 election.
Here are just three examples of work that’s only half-done:
- The Metro Council is about to decide—for the first time in 20 years—that there is no need to expand our region’s urban growth boundary to allow more development of our countryside. It’s about time! Decades of UGB expansion have left thousands of acres in the existing boundary sitting empty, while new residents choose existing neighborhoods with parks, sidewalks and nearby shopping and services. But the pressure from suburban developers is so great that my Metro colleagues are considering reopening the UGB question in 2018—three years ahead of schedule—which will give developers an extra bite of the apple. I want to be at the table for that decision in 2018.
- Metro has received state approval of our Climate Smart Communities strategy—required under a state law I helped pass in 2009—that can help our region make deep cuts in the amount of greenhouse gas pollution coming from tailpipes. But this plan won’t work without increased state support for public transit—support that got tied up in partisan politics in the 2015 session. I want to help win approval of that funding in Salem in the 2017 session, so TriMet and other regional transit providers can expand bus and rail service and provide greater, more climate-friendly choices for getting around our region.
- My Council colleagues and I approved the Region’s first-ever Active Transportation Plan in 2013, establishing a network of planned pedestrian and cycling routes that will allow safe and healthy transportation throughout our regional community. But when I sought to add those routes to the Regional Transportation Plan update in 2014, suburban cities and counties said they needed “more time”—until 2018, the next scheduled Transportation Plan update. Again, I want to be there in 2018 to make sure those projects are in the plan and getting built on the ground.
In these and other areas—reducing landfill dumping and increasing reuse and recycling, ensuring ongoing maintenance of our magnificent natural areas and parks, providing more opportunities for affordable housing, securing greater equity in all of Metro’s programs and services—my job is to help Metro lean in rather than bend over backward.
I hope you’ll keep me on the job.
Thanks so much.