Fresh Eyes

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Posting on behalf of Kim Rosenberg.

Fresh Eyes

Over the weekend two new candidates declared a run for office. That makes three new people getting involved in the election this year. I’m glad new people are running. I think it’s great when more not fewer people want to be involved in our democracy.

I’ve met all three and have read their statements. Two are retired educators and one is a retired dentist who had a large and successful practice. These are the kind of professions that, to do well, require good observational skills, and the ability to meet folks where they are without judgment.

I know this for sure because in a previous life, I taught preschool in a bunch of different settings from Head Start to a very fancy Montessori school in the West Hills of Portland. To be a good teacher you have to observe closely in order to solve problems and you can’t be thinking you know everything. You have to always carry with you an open mind.

One of the teachers I worked with early on had this quote by Shunryu Suzuki in her classroom. “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.”

We aren’t prepared for the growth we’ve experienced even though it’s been headed this way for at least a decade. There’s a laundry list of important City work that hasn’t been done over the years for reasons that aren’t clear to me. Add to that the rapid growth of new homes, which exacerbates our need to find solutions to longstanding problems. The to do list includes but is not limited to: updating the Comprehensive Plan and Ordinances, of which the Foredune Management Plan is a part; updating our technology and digitizing our records and documents so they’re accessible to the public; dealing with our storm water system; raising new forms of revenue; building work force housing; raising system development and other fees, and building our infrastructure like our roads to handle growth.

All the stuff on the to do list costs cash money and lots of time both things in short supply. We need fresh eyes and new ideas. We need to come to a middle ground where maybe none of us are super happy with a solution but none of us are super bummed.

From the City Manager’s Council Workshop discussion about community engagement, it sounds like in the coming months we’ll have the opportunity to do that. So let’s get out our thinking hats and I’ll see you at a town hall some time soon!

Kim Rosenberg.