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Tualatin council OKs formation of citizen groups

The Tualatin City Council voted 6-1 on Monday to establish eight citizen involvement organizations in the city.

Tualatin is one of only a few cities in the area that didn't already have citizen involvement organizations or neighborhood associations. Supporters say they hope that the new groups will help citizens communicate better with the city.

Council President Monique Beikman's lone dissenting vote resulted from a section of code calling for the creation of the Citizen Involvement Coordinating Committee.

'In my experience, people want to talk to a council member or the mayor,' Beikman said. 'This is just adding another level of government.'

Jan Giunta, one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the new groups, said she didn't think the system would be a barrier for residents.

'If they really needed to approach the city, they'd just go to the city directly,' Giunta said. 'The problem is that most people don't have the energy to do that. The CIO provides that.'

The coordinating committee will deal with broader city issues, while the CIOs themselves will handle neighborhood issues.

The city of Tualatin will be divided into eight CIOs: six residential, one business and one industrial.

Next steps include reaching out, informing and mobilizing each community.

'We will start holding meetings with leaders who have stepped up and said, 'I want to be involved,' and have them gather as many emails from interested citizens in their neighborhoods as possible so we can begin to form that critical communication link between the CIO organizing committee and the neighborhoods,' Giunta said.

Citizen Involvement Organizations 1, 2, 5 and 6 are expected to begin work this week, with meetings on Oct. 20 and 27 to elect officers and adopt bylaws. Organizations 3 and 4 still need more neighborhood interest before they can get off the ground.

Giunta said all eight will be up and running as of the spring.