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Mayor's wish list includes safer police building

Economy, housing also prioritized in State of the City address

TIMES PHOTO: MILES VANCE - An animated and occasionally emotional Mayor Denny Doyle delivered his annual State of the City address Wednesday night at Beaverton's Arts and Communication Magnet Academy.Mayor Denny Doyle wants a lot of things in 2016.

But what he really, really wants, he told the audience at his annual State of the City address on Wednesday night, is a new police and public safety building that can withstand the devastating earthquake experts say eventually will strike the region.

“We know our police building will collapse when a strong earthquake strikes. We know our first responders in that building will be unable to help us,” he said well into his speech at Beaverton's Arts and Communication Magnet Academy.

Voters in 2014 narrowly defeated a plan to pay for the building with higher taxes.

Doyle promised his audience -- his largest in seven years of these speeches -- that city leaders will bring forth a plan this year to fill the need.

“I won’t leave this problem unaddressed,” he said.

Doyle's speech was occasionally emotional and punctuated by air punches as he described the "buzz" and "energy" swirling through the city.

"Now is the time for Beaverton," he said repeatedly.

His prepared speech outlined additional priorities for the year ahead.

Top among them was to continue to grow the local economy with the help of local partners including the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce, which hosted the reception before Doyle’s address, and the Oregon Technology Business Center.

“Our efforts are paying off and we are experiencing steady improvements in our local economy,” Doyle said. “But we must not rest. We must not be complacent. We must push ourselves to innovate and support new job growth and opportunity.”

He noted that redevelopment of the city’s central Creekside District will continue moving ahead this year with planning for new housing, retail shops and a large hotel on the old Westgate Theater property. An arts and cultural center may find a home nearby on newly acquired city property at The Round.

The South Cooper Mountain development also is moving ahead as planning continues for the first large housing development expected to rise out of the fields located near Southwest 175th Avenue, eventually bringing 9,500 more city residents. Across the street, the Beaverton School District has started construction on its newest high school.

Doyle also pledged to continue expanding the city’s efforts to involve citizens in a variety of ways. He cited as an example the citizen members of the Diversity Advisory Board who successfully launched the Beaverton Night Market, which attracted more than 5,000 people to its debut late last summer.

Doyle also spent time reflecting on the city’s major accomplishments during 2015, and he thanked elected leaders and other officials from the county and neighboring cities who are doing their part to make the wider community successful.

"It's just amazing what's happening here" in the county, he said. "It's pretty cool living where we live."

When he delivered his address last year, his first priority was to focus on the city’s “Open for Business” branding, including work with Washington County and the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce. The single largest success in the business realm came with the start of Nike’s $380 million expansion, a project that will bring 2,000 new jobs to the area.

His second priority was supporting the Washington County Cooperative Library Services operating levy, which passed handily in November and brings $2.5 million to help run Beaverton’s two branches.

His third priority for 2015 was to continue investing in community partnerships. He cited accomplishments including the recently completed Barcelona apartment complex for low-income residents and two nearby mid-rise buildings under construction that will bring a diversity of housing to the Old Town neighborhood.

Doyle said he and the Council would continue to work on affordable housing and other critical services for those residents who are still struggling, through partnerships with and funding for nonprofits and other organizations, including Bridge Meadows' plans to build a new housing development for low-income seniors and families adopting foster children.

"Everybody here tonight believes in Beaverton," he said. "I can't wait to see what happens next."

By Eric Apalategui
Beaverton Reporter
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