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Idea clash clouds citys vision work

The city's vision for Beaverton's future remains unclear.

Little progress was made Monday night on identifying priorities and creating both short- and long-term goals following a nine-month visioning process.

Instead, the City Council hashed out a philosophical disagreement about the best way to begin mapping out plans for the next 25 to 50 years.

'The council should be leading the visioning process,' said Councilor Bruce Dalrymple, following the meeting. 'I don't want us to be followers of what a consultant or the mayor want us to do.

'There needs to be a collective discussion and a much more thoughtful process. I want to see us create a vision the right way - strategically, it's important to understand the long-term goals before setting short-term objectives to achieve the vision.'

The City Council headed into a work session Monday being charged with the task of reviewing material collected during a series of 16 public outreach meetings.

Mayor Rob Drake and Elaine Cogan, a consultant with Cogan Owens Cogan, asked the council to begin the discussion by identifying some immediate actions the city could take in the next year to respond to feedback from residents.

Drake said it was important to keep faith with the more than 700 people who participated in the process by giving them some of the things they asked for sooner rather than later.

While Councilors Betty Bode and Catherine Arnold were willing to consider short-term actions, Dalrymple, Dennis Doyle and Cathy Stanton argued that it was more important to first understand where Beaverton should be 25 years down the road.

Short-term actions should reflect the long-term goals for a broader vision, they said.

'I always do my puzzles with the outside pieces first so I know where the perimeters are set,' Stanton said. 'I like to have all the flat edges connected before finding pieces to fill in the picture.'

She also pointed out that several items residents suggested - like improving traffic signal timing, supporting small local businesses and expanding the city's recycling program - were already initiatives the city had been tackling.

Other ideas, like creating more community events like the Picnics in the Park and Flicks by the Fountain, were not necessarily components to consider when crafting a future vision, councilors added. Instead, they should be considered action items.

After agreeing to shift the direction of the discussion to focus on more long-range plans for the future, Drake told the council he would take a look at short-term items to consider for the next budget year and report back to the council.

The council plans to resume it's visioning planning session during a future retreat.

'The work could take several months to get where we need to go,' Drake said.