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Mayor hails partnerships, engaged citizens as keys to city's success


City Hall move highlighted in State of the City

As is expected for ceremonial, beginning-of-the-year assessments, Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle spoke at length on last week about the great expectations of a city on the go: Attracting more jobs and businesses. Expanding the city through annexation. Improving public facilities and infrastructure.

Amid all the highfalutin’ projects, plans and aspirations in his 2013 State of the City Address on Jan. 23, Doyle also took time to mention those whose day-to-day struggles preclude excitement about urban renewal plans and public safety buildings.

Neighbors struggle

“As we build our economy, we must also never forget that there are those around us who are not living the American dream,” he said. “We must continue to focus on helping our homeless, our hungry, and our seniors — our most vulnerable citizens. We have more homeless students in Washington County than anywhere else in Oregon.”

“I’ve seen recent college grads struggle to find work. I’ve seen parents lose their jobs. I’ve seen families turning to food banks, who probably never thought they would need help,” he added. “These families are our neighbors.”

Doyle delivered his assessment of Beaverton’s goals, aspirations and successes as well as its challenges before a respectful audience of about 300 people last Wednesday evening at the Arts and Communication Magnet Academy Performing Arts Center, 11375 S.W. Center St.

Mark Ganz, chief executive officer of Cambia Health Solutions, introduced Doyle, who started his second four-year term as Beaverton’s mayor this month — as “a force of nature.”

“He is a man who helped put Beaverton on the map, both regionally and nationally, by making it clear Beaverton is open for business,” said Ganz, whose company is one of the city’s partners in a fledgling community health facility project.

Spirit of partnership

Doyle began his address by praising other leaders, including Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey, and the “exceptional leaders” on the Beaverton City Council, asking Councilors Cate Arnold, Betty Bode, Ian King, Marc San Soucie and Mark Fagin, the council’s newest member, to stand up. In a moment of reflection, Doyle praised the legacy of Forrest Soth, the longtime former city councilor who died on Jan. 2 at age 93.

“We truly miss you, Forrest,” he said.

Interspersing his wide-ranging comments with presidential quotes from Woodrow Wilson, Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson, Doyle maintained his singular enthusiastic tone throughout the 30-minute address, complemented by a video presentation featuring city-sponsored events, projects and visions of future developments. He credited the city’s recent successes to a highly engaged citizenry, “who are willing to lend a hand to make things better,” as well as a willingness to forge partnerships and coalitions with well-suited constituents.

“I can point to every success and show how collaboration was crucial in moving us forward,” he noted. “People and organizations working together for a common good — this is my most prized tool as your mayor.”

As examples, he cited the recent annexation of 535 acres in the Cooper Mountain area as well as property owned by the J. Peterkort family and Lanphere Enterprises; the $150 million urban renewal plan voters approved last May; and collaborations with the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce, HomePlate, Boys & Girls Aid, among others to bring housing and aid to the city’s homeless youth.

Moving to the future

Doyle praised the staff at City Hall for procuring more than $5 million in federal and state grants in 2012, with another $400,000 already secured this year. A $1 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development is going toward the Creekside District, an ambitious plan to revitalize a chunk of the central business district from Southwest Canyon Road north to Beaverton Creek and its tributaries through a combination of affordable housing, sustainable infrastructure and various public amenities.

“The Creekside District will help begin to revitalize our downtown,” he said.

Along those lines, the mayor dished out high praise to the council for its recent 4-1 decision to relocate City Hall from Southwest Griffith Drive to the city-owned Metro/South Office Building at The Round at Beaverton Central. While a handful of citizens and at least one councilor have publicly questioned the plan’s wisdom, Doyle stressed the move as fitting with the public-driven Community Vision for the complex as part of a lively, mixed-use “18-hour core” business district.

“The community and business leaders supported moving City Hall so that it could serve as a catalyst for development. We’re making it happen,” he said. “This move should drive up property values, fuel urban renewal and encourage the private sector to invest in housing and jobs.”

Moving municipal government offices could happen as early as this fall, the mayor said earlier. The move would clear the way for a new or expanded public safety facility back at Griffith Drive — one that could remain functional in the wake of an earthquake — to house the Beaverton Police Department and the city’s municipal courts.

“Let’s make sure our public safety building — housing our critical first responders — is not taken out by the disaster, so we can be there when you need us most,” he said.

Wrapping up his speech, Doyle thanked the Beaverton Committee for Citizen Involvement, the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce and his wife, Ann, acknowledging his meeting and travel schedule “would try the patience of any spouse.”

“The State of Your City is strong,” he said, “and I am committed to keeping Beaverton moving towards a bright future.”