The city of Woodburns two newest positions are filled with familiar faces.
Marta Trinidad and Robyn Stowers are two well-established voices in the community, but each has accepted a broader role in city government.
Trinidad, who had served as the outreach coordinator for the Public Works Department since 2005, now holds that position for the entire city. In mid-July, she also started her new role in the federally-funded Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) coordinator position for Marion County.
As community outreach coordinator, Trinidad works with all city departments and all residents, including the citys large Russian, Latino and senior populations. Her job sometimes is just explaining how city government works, she said.
You have to be very biculturally aware, she said Being bicultural gives you that opportunity to explain how those project happen and that can make a real difference.
As RSVP coordinator, she spends time recruiting new volunteers and makes sure different organizations provide a safe volunteering experience, she said.
My job is to give people options where they want to go as well as the types of volunteering they can do, she said.
In addition to her job duties, Trinidad volunteers for several clubs and organizations, including the French Prairie Kiwanis Club, Fiesta Mexicana and Love Santa, she said.
I am very passionate about teenagers, she said. They are the ones who are going to represent us in the very near future. Why not mentor them when theyre in a critical part of their life?
When Matt Craigie left his position as urban renewal manager for the city of Woodburn in June, there was no other logical choice to fill his spot than Robyn Stowers.
The citys community relations officer since 2010 already had her hand on the pulse of downtown. She had formed bonds and earned respect of most if not all of the downtown business owners over the course of her three years in that position.
My own personal goals have been to work for an organization that is aligned with my personal values and beliefs, she said. I live in this community and I believe we can support the community through economic development and renewal.
Stowers will have her hand in several downtown projects, working with consultants to complete a feasibility study on the downtown Association Building and expanding the existing Grant & Loan Program to include businesses on Young Street and Highway 99E. She also will be working with the Woodburn Fire District and the Urban Renewal District Board of Directors, or Woodburn City Council, to complete a $375,000 remodel of the fire station.
Stowers believes in the process of urban renewal, but says the process will occur organically through building bridges between the city and business leaders downtown.
Walking around the downtown area with Stowers, it is obvious she is passionate about revitalizing downtown. Shopkeepers smile and stop to chat in Spanish. Stowers would like to work with existing business owners rather than move them out for something better, she said.
Its not just about working on downtown projects, she said. Its about working with our own businesses and getting them to the place where they are more self-sufficient.
The Independent asked Trinidad and Stowers a few questions by email. The following are their responses:
Woodburn Independent: What would you like to accomplish in your new position?
Trinidad: I believe that we should have strong ties with our community partners in various industries; develop and strengthen those opportunities where we are in sync and our community benefits from them; continue to be involved personally and professionally.
Stowers: Revitalize the urban renewal area.
WI: How will you accomplish these goals?
Trinidad: I intend to make myself available and visible in our community; be in constant communication with our community members; provide valuable information via our website and personally visit each RSVP site to have the one-on-one interaction. We have several programs available that exist and, being out in the community, I can serve as an information resource.
Stowers: By generating community investment and ownership in downtown Woodburn. Urban renewal projects are a great way to engage the community and spur interest in the urban renewal area.
WI: What are your biggest challenges or obstacles?
Trinidad: There is a learning curve with any new position. I still need to familiarize myself in depth with the RSVP responsibilities, requirements and processes, but with the strong support from the department directors and various agencies, this will be accomplished. We serve many demographics in Woodburn and I want to be available to them, whenever there is the need for my services and to represent the underserved populations.
Stowers: A major challenge is helping community members understand downtowns potential. We live in an amazing community.