As we enter the summer months our community is continuing to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 virus continues to spread and devastate families and our local economy. On June 25, our city experienced a dramatic increase in infections jumping to 68 cases from 24. As of July 1, there were 93 reported cases in Tualatin, giving us 33.9 cases per 10,000 residents.
I implore you to follow the governor’s directive to wear a mask when visiting indoor spaces open to the public. Children under 12 years of age, as well as people with a disability or a medical condition that prevent them from wearing a face covering, are not required to wear one. Please help us reduce the spread of coronavirus by staying home (as much as possible), washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds (sing the happy birthday song twice through to get to 20 seconds) and covering your cough with an elbow. In public, observe physical distancing by staying six feet from other and wear a mask when indoors (or even outdoors). Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at higher risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19 illness, so be sure not to expose them to the virus. I know the most difficult thing to ask with summer vacation time upon us is to avoid overnight trips and minimize non-essential travel, including recreational day trips to places outside of Tualatin. We all need a break from this pandemic, but I do not want our community and state to backslide on the progress we have made.
Just as importantly, we are starting a conversation around racial equity and police reform. Chief Steele shares my commitment to transparency and citizen involvement. So, with the full support of the Tualatin City Council and the Tualatin Police Department, I took the Obama Foundation’s mayor’s pledge to review police use of force policies in our city.
This will entail:
- Reviewing our police use of force policies;
- Engaging our community so that a diverse range of input, experiences, and stories are involved in our review;
- Reporting the findings of our review to the community and seeking feedback; and,
- Making needed changes to our community’s police use of force policies.
I am encouraged by the resolve shown by our City staff and community members to do this work. As evidenced by the hundreds that gathered on the Commons on June 2 to protest the killing of George Floyd and systemic racism, this is a priority for Tualatin. I ask all of you to consider engaging with us in the coming months to share your experiences and stories and let’s together deliberately root out the racism embedded within our systems. In a statement from the Metropolitan Mayors Consortium, of which I am a member, we said “As mayors, we are uniquely positioned to convene our communities — particularly people of color in our communities — to listen and examine our processes and policies with full transparency and advance meaningful reforms. We are committed to taking these actions.”