A New Year Message from the Mayor
A New Year and 2020 Reflections
January brings the beginning of a new year. As much as I’m ready to put 2020 behind, it’s important to recognize all of the City’s accomplishments from this last year. Despite a global pandemic that significantly limited our ability to be out and about in the community, I’m still amazed at what we accomplished. None of the services we provide or progress towards our goals would be possible without a cohesive City Council and dedicated staff. I can’t say enough how proud I am of our entire team. One day our team is doing the normal things it takes to run a city. Then the next day, we had an entire emergency operations team focused on responding to COVID-19 and making sure all city facilities, programs, and services were in compliance with new guidelines.
Specifically related to COVID-19, below are just a few of the steps the City took:
- Created a Business Task Force and Recreation Task Force consisting of business leaders, city councilors, and city staff members.
- Provided multiple rounds of small business assistance grants offering rent/mortgage relief.
- Conducted business and construction site check-ins to provide education on COVID-19 guidelines.
- Examined all amenities at city facilities and parks to be in compliance with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority.
- Created a park ambassador position utilizing and education-first approach to compliance with guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority.
- Transitioned library services to virtual programs and curbside pickups.
While responding to COVID-19 and adjusting to new guidelines took a considerable amount of time, the City team still focused on moving key initiatives forward. Work continued to:
- design and plan for a future downtown area,
- evaluate lands to acquire for a community park and community center,
- improve public safety following the renewal of the public safety levy,
- manage growth in a thoughtful and strategic manner,
- develop new parks and recreation programs following the withdrawal from NCPRD,
- improve the transportation system through the Superblock sidewalk project and design of 172nd Ave,
- create a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force,
- facilitate the peaceful march of thousands in happy Valley in response to the killing of George Floyd, and
- assist regional partners in response to the devastating wildfires.
In addition to the key projects, the City staff team continues to provide high quality customer service while processing a record number of requests from residents in the community. This team is hard at work throughout the year and often working after hours. They are dedicated to listening to residents and finding ways to meet the needs of our community. It’s truly the quality of their work, not just in the quantity, that impresses me most. This team is passionate about what they do and enjoys helping those they serve.
I am committed to working with City Council to continue our efforts in the new year. Together, we are excited to keep the momentum going when it comes projects and events in the works. I am also very committed to working with residents. I believe residents provide a wealth of ideas and perspectives. Working in collaboration with the community is a major priority for me and the Council as this year moves forward. Happy Valley is a wonderful community because of the contributions of everyone who lives and works here, and I am very proud to represent this city we call home.
As I look ahead to this exciting year, it’s my hope for all residents that 2021 is ultimately filled with opportunity and joy, and that we can celebrate another year together in this beautiful city.
Thank you and Happy New Year!
-Mayor Tom Ellis