Citizens rate Gresham highly in annual survey

Convenient location, small-town feel are cited as positives

Gresham residents are generally happy with their quality of life and city services, but they list growth, traffic and crime as top problems.

That's the outcome of the city's annual citizen survey released Tuesday, Dec. 5. The survey is commissioned to better understand residents' perceptions, attitudes and opinions, said Laura Bridges-Shepard, Gresham's communications manager.

Participants rating Gresham as a place to live gave the city 7 out of 10 points. Reasons ranged from its convenient location to its small-town feel.

Gresham paid an independent firm, Campbell DeLong Resources Inc., $28,000 from the city's general fund to conduct the survey. The firm interviewed 400 randomly selected adult Gresham residents over the phone between Sept. 18 and Oct. 3. The sample was distributed across the city and included an equal number of men and women. The firm also interviewed 107 Latino residents to make sure Gresham's Latino population was represented.

According to the survey, the average Gresham resident is 54 years old, has lived in the city for 17 years, owns his or her home, has no children in the home, is a high school graduate with some post-high school education, has a household income of about $40,000, is employed outside Gresham and is a registered voter.

Newcomers and Latino residents tended to be less involved in civic issues, but more satisfied with Gresham's quality of life, while longtime residents were more negative about the city, but more likely to be involved in the community.

Courteous and helpful employees are considered city government's greatest asset, however, the city did not receive high marks for efficiently using tax dollars or keeping promises to residents.

Fire and emergency medical service ranked highest among city services (8.1 on a 10-point scale), residents were critical of traffic congestion and safety (5.3). Many think Gresham is growing too fast, but favor the city helping new and existing businesses in the area, as well as sustainable environmental practices.

A majority of those surveyed feel that crime in their neighborhood has stayed the same or decreased in the past year.

For complete survey results, log on to the city's Web site and look under 'What's New.'

Reporter Mara Stine can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 503-492-5117.