King City becoming major player in metro area
Since becoming the city manager of King City more than one and a half years ago, Mike Weston has been hard at work propelling the city into the 21st century and making it a regional partner on an equal footing with cities many times larger.
"It has just been very busy," said Weston, who brought his extensive background to the job, including a stint as a Navy SEAL.
"We are working on so many things right now that it is difficult to keep up with the public outreach," Weston said.
One almost completed project is the re-construction of Fischer Road, and another one in the works is a joint project with the Oregon Department of Transportation to add sidewalks along a good portion of the King City side of Highway 99W.
The city has made repairs to Queen Elizabeth Street, "and Prince Albert is on the list for the next month or so along with the potholes throughout the city and crosswalks on 131st and 136th," Weston reported. "We are still working with Washington County and Tigard to discuss additional (urban growth boundary) expansion areas and future city growth.
"We are working with Metro to try to garner enough political support to carry the city's urban growth boundary expansion request through the Metro process," he added of the nearly year-long effort involving the area between King City and Roy Rogers Road north of Beef Bend Road to the Tualatin River.
"This has been a heavy undertaking and very taxing on my time and abilities to focus on some of the other functions of the city," Weston said. "As of today, I think King City is strategically positioned as best as can be expected for inclusion into the UGB expansion in 2018. If we are unsuccessful in our ask for expansion in 2018, the council has indicated that we will stay the course and continue our efforts to bring this area in during the mid-cycle review of 2021."
In other areas, King City is working with Tigard and the Intergovernmental Water Board (made up of Tigard, Lake Oswego, Durham and the Tigard Water District, which is the unincorporated areas of Bull Mountain, to review the current water agreement and structure a new agreement that "we can all agree upon," Weston said.
"Additionally, we are also working with Washington County on the city's urban planning area agreements, which we are struggling with due to a small language inclusion that the city has requested and Washington County has thus far been uncooperative with," Weston said. "I believe it is a rather small request, and I believe we will be able to work it out with Washington County.
"There is so much more going on as well behind the scenes, like grant applications, technical assistance efforts, natural disaster mitigation, infrastructure planning, parks planning, master planning, transportation planning, urban development, trails and much more," he added.
According to Weston, one of the biggest pieces in this effort is the city's public involvement efforts.
"We have (city) councilors at nearly every event around the Metro region, and we are trying to get our name out there as a participating member for the betterment of the region as a whole," Weston said. "This is completely new for our organization, so finding our sense of place and where we fit in the larger picture has been a struggle for some players. My hope is that as we continue to grow and participate, we will be more successful in our efforts and provide tangible benefits to our local community and the region."
Closer to home, Weston has hired a new city recorder, Ronnie Smith, and worked with King City Police Chief Chuck Fessler to reorganize the police department (See story Page 1); in addition, he has led efforts to bring the outdated City Hall into the future, seeking bids for upgrading and renovating the facility.
Scott Edwards Architects LLP submitted the only bid, and the City Council at its Sept. 20 meeting voted 6-0 to hire the firm.
At that meeting, Weston reported, "The (police) chief and I walked through the building with them and discussed our needs. For example, we need men's and women's locker rooms for the police, and we want to keep the conference room.
"We are limited on space, but there is a lot of unused space," he added. "This will be discussed at a future workshop."
In a cover letter to Weston with its proposal, Peter Grimm, Scott Edwards principal, wrote, "We are excited to work with you to design a renovation that incorporates a highly functioning and efficient police department that fosters its goal of 'improving quality of life be working toward a safer community' that comfortably houses city offices while also serving as the 'front door' of the city and that fits into the fabric of King City as a point of civic pride."
Grimm added, "Our firm has extensive experience programming, designing and renovating projects similar to King City's. In fact, renovation and facility upgrade projects account for more than half of our work. ... We plan on rolling up our sleeves and getting in there to figure out the best way we can utilize every nook and cranny of your current space."