The Tualatin City Council’s priorities for 2021 not surprisingly read like they are dealing with all of the issues that faced the city, state and country over the past year.
The City Council, with two new members, held a virtual retreat at the end of January and came away with a renewed list of issues and topics that will continue to form the city’s 2030 vision, as well as its 2021 policy priorities. Among them are housing, social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion, economic development and crisis preparedness – all areas that were at the forefront of the minds of Americans during the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, protests over police brutality, massive wildfires and other crises.
“We spent a little over eight hours together and we covered a lot of good things,” Tualatin City Manager Sherilyn Lombos said at the Council’s March 8 meeting.
In addition to those priorities, councilors also identified transportation, the environment and community assets such as parks as a focus for the rest of 2021.
“I thought it was hugely beneficial for the City Council and City staff to come together and share conversation,” said Christen Sacco, one of two new council members. “I’m so glad we share in this forum.”
Many of these topics were featured prominently in 2020, and work in those areas will represent a continuation of what is already happening, Lombos said. This includes transportation, where the popular Tualatin Moving Forward bond measure is scheduled to continue throughout the city. The City is also considering whether or not to support the tolling of Interstate 205, as well as a proposed shuttle service along Borland Road.
In addition, the Council will soon be considering a list of police policy recommendations. This grew out of a series of Community Conversation meetings held late last year on the use of force in the wake of the protests last summer that followed the police killing of George Floyd.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cast a long shadow over the economy in Tualatin and other Oregon cities. Unemployment figures remain high and businesses continue to struggle, even after the City distributed several million dollars last year in state and federal COVID relief money. Meanwhile, the latest relief package was passed by Congress on March 10, and another $350 billion is earmarked for state and local governments across the country.