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A time of living for the city

Councilor Stanton reflects on 19 years of public service


by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Beaverton City Councilor Cathy Stanton recounts her 19 years serving on the council.The ability to convince a slew of volunteers to spend a summer weekend, with temperatures soaring around 100 degrees, wading through muck and mire to pull tires, trash and shopping carts from Fanno Creek is the mark of a natural leader.

That’s the impression Beaverton City Councilor Cathy Stanton left on Eric Johansen, who once served with her on the Greenway Neighborhood Association Committee and the city’s traffic and planning commissions.

“She can really twist your arm,” he said Tuesday afternoon at City Hall. “She’d say, ‘Well, if you’re not doing anything ...’ or ‘I don’t care if you want to or not. Get out here and help!’ It’s just one example of how she can persuade people.”

Johansen’s was one of many Stanton stories shared at a reception in her honor held just before her last official meeting as a Beaverton city councilor. At the end of the month, Stanton, 63, will conclude her 19-year run on the City Council. While she admitted 19 might not have the ring of 20 or 25, to go further would require running for another four-year term.

For the first time since 1993, she decided to take a pass.

“By not running, I cut it. I broke the link,” she said Tuesday morning. “Not to say I’m not going to be involved, and not to say something could come up to (tick) me off and prompt me to run again.”by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Beaverton City Councilor Cathy Stanton recycles one of many letters from Henry Kane as she cleans up her space in the council office on Tuesday.

Letting go

As she sorted through 30 boxes’ worth of city-related materials in the council’s shared office at City Hall, Stanton reflected on her two decades of community service. Known for her intense curiosity, tenacity and attention to detail on the dais, she admitted a bit of buyer’s remorse as her tenure winds down.

“When my other children left, they were 19, 20 years old, that was fine. We raise them to be on their own, and they go on with their life. But with this child,” she said, referring to the council, “I’m already feeling that empty-nest syndrome. What am I gonna do?”

Stanton used that very question to immerse herself in a number of causes and volunteer leadership positions since moving to Beaverton with her husband, Tom, in 1980. A San Francisco-area native, Stanton met her husband, an Oregon native, at Chico State University in 1969.

“I am a naturalized Oregonian,” she said. “I’ve lived here, in the same house, longer than I lived in California. You can be a native, but I’m naturalized.”

Stanton’s civic involvement started when she learned the city planned to demolish a pedestrian bridge in the couple’s Greenway neighborhood. Working with city officials as a private citizen, she helped persuade leaders to retain and ultimately replace what many considered a vital community link.

“The bridge in Greenway got me going,” she said. “I learned that, if you read about a Planning Commission meeting in the newspaper the next morning, it’s too late.”by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Beaverton City Councilor Cathy Stanton receives a hug from Mayor Denny Doyle during a reception Tuesday for Stanton before her last council meeting.

Good-neighbor policy

Always passionate about transportation issues, the former high school teacher and import-export documentation clerk has served on organizations such as the Greenway Neighborhood Association Committee, Westside Economic Alliance, the city’s Transportation Committee, Community Action of Washington County, and as a Beaverton delegate to the Metropolitan Area Communications Commission. Once freed of council obligations, she plans to step up her ongoing volunteer efforts at the Beaverton City Library.

“For me, it’s all about the neighbors and neighborhoods of Beaverton,” she said. “Whatever the city wants to do, it has to convince all these (residents) south of Farmington that’s it’s acceptable to do. With the Civic Plan, I worked diligently to make sure neighborhoods were in there. Otherwise it would have been all about the central city.”

Mayor Denny Doyle, who joined the council a year after Stanton, said the councilor’s obvious devotion to the city will continue well beyond her departing the dais.

“She’s been a tireless worker for the community for many, many years,” he said on Monday. “I’m very appreciative of all her service. Her decision to step away from the council role, you have to respect that. I know she will continue to give of her time, especially to the library.”

Councilor Ian King praised Stanton’s ability to explore the deeper meaning of whatever topic arose.

“Cathy’s never been afraid of dialog,” he said during her farewell reception. “She’s always encouraged the idea of, ‘Let’s have that conversation.’ I’ve appreciated having someone encouraging that.”

Councilor Cate Arnold, who came on board in 1995, said it was Stanton who first took the green councilor under her wing.

“She taught me the ins and outs,” Arnold recalled. “Through her I started to see how complex government really is. That it’s not just making decisions, but the process you go through to make those decisions.”

Shedding light

Whether bearing down as the council explores building a new public safety facility or questioning the body’s voice in state and federal matters, Stanton defends her sometimes intense questioning as a path toward illumination.

“If I did a tally, as councilors, going back to 1994, I am probably the ‘one’ in more four-to-one votes than anybody,” she admitted. “It’s always important for me to say why I’m saying ‘nay’ before I vote. I hope to put more information before the council — something that may resonate so they may see my position.”

A longtime critic of the strong-mayor, weak-council form of government, she feels it would be in the rapidly growing city’s interest to hire a bona fide administrator rather than elect an individual who may not have hands-on management experience.

“It’s nothing to do with the (actual) mayors in Beaverton,” she explained. “I’m saying neither my brother in-law or your brother in-law should be able to run a $185 million corporation — just because he knows a lot of people.”

Knowing Stanton as she does, Arnold doesn’t expect to see much less of Stanton once Mark Fagin — who successfully ran for Stanton’s Position 1 seat — takes over the role in January.

“I think she will always be there for the community, because it’s meant so much to her,” Arnold said. “She’s not going to stop.”

Near the conclusion of Tuesday night’s council meeting, after which her colleagues presented her with a large bouquet of yellow flowers, Stanton admitted as much.

“It has been a pleasure,” she said. “I (will) look to see you in the new year, in different venues.”



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