Mayor Steve Callaway did what he does best last week at the State of the City address, which was held to a packed house at beautiful Hidden Creek Community Center. The theme was Engage Hillsboro, which is a theme and priority set by the Council in the last year or so. A nice selection of food was provided for about an hour up to the address, held in the Kalapuya Room, named after the first nation people who lived here before white settlement in the early 1800s. The honor guard, the anthem, and an introduction by City Manager Robby Hammond preceded Callaway’s prepared speech. He was welcomed to the podium by members of the Youth Advisory Council, which brings students from around the school district to City Hall for a wide variety of functions.
Mayor Steve does what he does best. He told the Hillsboro story, highlighting all of the great things we have going here. He did acknowledge the four murders that happened in the City this year and stressed the need for meaningful work in the areas of education, homelessness, and communication. Here are a few highlights: The full address is embedded below for those wanting to watch the whole event.
- Hillsboro Youth Advisory Council- address and Intro
- The Hidden Creek Community Center- A review of the structure and facility and an announcement that the memberships ($10 p/m) have grown to almost 7,000 citizens.
- The All Inclusive Park on SE 53rd is well underway and will feature the 53-foot Giant “Oro” which will delight kids and that was a name offered by a child in the community – the Spanish word for Gold.
- Engagement -“We really do need each other”. The Mayor reminded us how apart we have been through COVID and the ability to meet in person was important.
- Welcomed local dignitaries and our City Council.
- An announcement that for the first time, we have the Majority of our Elected Councilors Are Women here in Hillsboro.
- Thanked former Council President Kyle Allen for his service.
- Priority to increase outreach. Engage Hillsboro is a big part of that- 24/7 engagement potential to have your voice heard.
- Need to hear from people of all different perspectives – as the most diverse city in the State. Communication as a tool. to help us all shape the future of our community.
- Equity is a priority with a focus on Racial Equity – the City is tracking suppliers to the City. Equity drove the process of how the City spent the ARPA money. Land Use planning is another area where Equity is being sought, with language and information barriers being addressed.
- Calle Dias – 10th Avenue between Shute Park and Main Street is being improved in a variety of ways- SHite Park Library is supplying WiFi Hot Spots that can be checked out, the Little Sprouts Preschool in the area is being supported, and street Murals and improved Street Lights are being installed. In this attempt to beautify and engage this area of Hillsboro, the City is saying they want to find a way to prevent rents from increasing, which is a big goal.
- Baseball– The Hillsboro Hops have named Ronnie Gajownik as their new Manager. This is the highest level of baseball management that a woman has ever risen to. April 13th is the opening game.
- Hillsboro HiLight 1 GigaBit Internet – The City owned high-speed internet is going to offer the Bridge Program for Qualifying Households at just $10 a month- Shute Park and South Hillsboro are getting HiLight first. Five hundred sixty-five residences and businesses have HiLight so far.
- Moral Responsibility to the people of Hillsboro -The Mayor spoke about the financial and Civic authorities of our City, but he also wanted to mention that he believes the City has Moral authority as well. In this light, the City provided rental assistance as a part of the Pandemic response, provided food to those in need, and assured that no utilities were shut off. The city also provided economic support for local businesses.
- The City is stepping up out of a sense of morality to address housing and homelessness. The city also supports market-rate housing in South Hillsboro, Ambergelnn, and Witchazel Village. In 2022, 3000 residential building permits were issued.
- He heralded the new Tamarack Elementary in South Hillsboro.
- Nueva Esperanza, the new low-income housing project at 53rd Avenue, was partially designed with input from Latino and Somali community members. The project will have 150 apartments which include several 3 and 4 Bedrooms. The city donated 6 acres of land and $17,000,000 dollars of the funds needed to build the project, which came from Washington County.
- Century Commons project is a housing project in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. The City donated 3 acres of land for this project to help get it done – 18 housing units are being created and will be sold to qualifying low-income residents.
- OPEN Door Housing works is operating the Conestoga Village at 17th Avenue and providing temporary housing to a very at-risk group. The 17th Avenue year around shelter is coming soon next door to that. The funding of this project is helping us achieve one of our most important goals.
- Mayor Callaway thanked the Hillsboro Fire Department – He mentioned the great response to the 4-alarm arson fire at the Weils Department Store. Mayor Callaway mentioned Ron Knapp, who he said was homeless and sleeping in the building when the fire took his life. Callaway and the city are committed to creating shelter places where everyone can have safer places to sleep.
- He acknowledged the 4 fatal shootings in 2022 – he mentioned that our law enforcement staff arrested the suspects in all 4 cases.
- A New Police Station is being built by the airport.
- The Mayor is very proud of the Jackson School Road project – which won an award for design and function this year.
- He mentioned TriMet adding additional MAX trips and adding new bus lines, and our City added miles of new bicycle paths and sidewalks-
- Acknowledgment that Trimet is cutting bus service to the Brookwood library and stated that we need a solution. On the Eastern edge of town, work is being done to create an overpass for the MAX to cross over 185th avenue, where traffic gets horribly backed up!
- Junior Achievement is opening the JA Discovery Center in City Hall, which gives our students some great programs to participate in.
- 2022 will see the return of events across the City.
- Calle Dias – HIllsboros Latino Hub is to be celebrated, and Centro Cultural is celebrating its 50th anniversary – he is “very proud of them” . In regard to 10th Avenue, he is pleased with the work that is happening – sidewalks, lighting, murals, and anti-displacement approaches. The Mayor restated that “those that are there now will be there in the future.”
- Callaway spoke about North Hillsboro expanding
the area with new jobs, and working with the Hillsboro school district to develop training and school programs. Tosoh Quartz and Jireh Semiconductor are establishing workforce development programs.
- Congratulations to Superintendent Mike Scott on the recent news that on-time graduation rates are climbing in Hillsboro. Scott also announced his retirement and will be greatly missed.
- Mayor Callaway ended his speech with an acknowledgment that the #1 Goal legislatively for our City is to get the semiconductor package in place to allow for more expansion here in Hillsboro. That includes creating and supporting new enterprise zones and SIPS incentives, and he called for Tax Credits to be offered for R&D in Oregon. Mayor Callway called for land expansions to happen this year, for investments by the State, and for passage of major legislation.
Did Mayor Callaway mention the lack of morality when the city changed the building codes to allow the new development at 2nd & Main to NOT be required to provide an alternate Fire Safety Access to the properties and businesses on the 200 Main Street block? This happened 2 days after the Weil Fire – when the developer took over and blocked off the US Bank easement. Did he mention that the City also gave this developer over $1M dollars to take away the Fire Safety of the block of properties and businesses directly across from the largest fire in Downtown Hillsboro in recent history? Did he talk about the Lack of assistance the City has given to the properties and businesses directly affected by the Fire? Yet, there appears to be funds to give to all kinds of other “Feel Good” projects or the Millions for Baseball. I guess their were some things he didn’t want to or feel the need to address – interesting how that goes!