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Soapbox: Jan Giunta is the voice we need on council

Tualatin Resident Kathy Newcomb discusses who will get her vote in the Nov. 6 city council race.


Kathy Newcomb is a retired CPA who has lived in Tualatin for 24 years.
We have two major changes coming to Tualatin of great importance for all of us who care about our city. And Jan Giunta, running for City Council, is in the forefront of bringing these changes to fruition. We need her on the council!

• Citizen Involvement: We have not had true grassroots citizen involvement in Tualatin for many years. Now, we have Citizen Involvement Organizations, including businesses, thanks primarily to Jan Giunta. She assumed leadership of the effort, rallied supporters when first rejected by the City Council, and finally achieved City Council authorization and approval by all the councilors (except by her opponent, Councilor Monique Beikman).

• Coping with our city’s traffic congestion: The outdated method has been to widen and add streets to carry more and more vehicles — even regional vehicles. The new approach is to focus heavily on increased public transit within Tualatin, especially through an east/west loop, which we are totally lacking. The new approach is especially important on Tualatin-Sherwood Road, for example, to help remove single-occupancy vehicle use by commuters. Also, we are the only city from Portland to Sherwood without a Park and Ride along 99W. Jan has been one of the most outstanding supporters of this new public transit approach within the Tualatin Transportation Task Force. The task force is working on updating the Transportation System Plan, etc., at a cost of $494,000-plus, from gas taxes.

For instance, it was only Jan Giunta who realized and pointed out that a “Hall Street Connection” would simply duplicate the existing $133 million WES line running north and south. And it is Jan who supports an east-west bus loop road, along with Councilor Joelle Davis, a most effective councilor.

Why do we need Jan Giunta’s leadership with citizen involvement? Well, maybe you remember the “bombs” — so-called by city councilors — that went off in the City Council meetings, starting with the “Bridge Over the Park” in 2009 and 2010. Three more “bombs” went off, comprised of indignant residents responding to proposed destruction of their neighborhoods. We need Jan on the council to keep the CIOs aware of city plans and to help the CIOs function effectively — before everyone gets frustrated with the council again.

Why do we need Jan’s help in moving toward public transit? Because of the outdated philosophy of the current City Council’s transportation specialists, Mayor Lou Ogden and Councilor Beikman. They didn't seem to comprehend in 2009 that their Interstate-5/99W committee “yes” vote would pour huge amounts of unwanted traffic onto Tualatin-Sherwood Road, onto Tualatin Road and over the “Bridge Over the Park.” They don't really seem to notice public transit’s importance even now.

Incidentally, what many of us are somehow still missing from the draft Transportation System Plan is inclusion of Tualatin-Sherwood Road in the proposed east/west bus loop, beginning with a focus on commuters, including planning for bus pull-outs. Our first priority!

We in Tualatin are required to plan our roads through the Washington County Coordinating Committee with Councilor Beikman as our representative. But, alas, county personnel have expressed in 2009 and again in 2012 that "Tualatin residents have a duty to provide regional transportation through our city."

That is absolutely not our duty! We need Jan Giunta on the council to help the county forget this outlandish approach.

Let’s instead look at the philosophy, expressed July 19 by Metro’s representative to the Tualatin Transportation Task Force, regarding the Hall Boulevard Connection. Metro is not making the decisions, but believes that decisions “should be made at the sub-regional level, and the cities involved should be comfortable with their decisions.”

A final note about better use of Citizen Involvement Organizations: Unfortunately, the council’s selection committee, headed by Beikman, did not appoint the so-called “citizen representatives” as representatives of the CIOs to the Transportation Task Force membership. In fact, when questioned last winter, most of the so-called “citizen representatives” had no awareness of or any obligation to the newly forming CIOs.

We local citizens and local businesses urgently need effective public involvement through our Citizen Involvement Organizations, and we need help with our new approach to public transit within Tualatin. Therefore, please vote for Jan Giunta and Councilor Joelle Davis.

Get on your Soapbox

The Times offers a Soapbox to stand on every week online and on our Opinion page. The Soapbox is a guest column written by any reader on any local issue of public interest. They should be no longer than 800 words (about three double-spaced typewritten pages) and should include the signature, address and phone number of the writer.

Soapboxes are due Mondays at noon and can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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