Home Grown Values

From our home I could see the place where my dad worked.

From our home I could see the place where my dad worked.

I learned how to nurture a community by growing up in one…

I have lived in Oregon nearly 35 years and in the same house in Milwaukie more than 20. But it’s my childhood in the northern Minnesota city of Duluth, in a working class neighborhood overlooking the industrial harbor that shaped my values and my goals.

A place where neighbors knew each other and cared …

Cranes at work meant people at work.

Cranes at work meant people at work.

Even as a kid, I knew our neighbors, and we all looked after each other. A lot of the moms and dads worked down the hill in one or another of the port companies. My dad was a crane operator and captain of a dredging scow.

A place where we bought what we needed from people we knew …

Our houses were a mix of old apartment buildings, some duplexes and rows of single family homes with kitchen gardens. We had a little shopping area a few blocks away called the West End where we knew the store keepers and gave them all our business. Up our hill, at the end of our block was a park with ball fields and paths. That’s where we played as kids, where families watched fireworks on the Fourth of July, and all of us gathered to see the Aurora Borealis late at night.

A place where kids could walk to school, to a movie, to a park

Checking in with folks in the Canemah neighborhood of Oregon City.

We were mostly poor, and it wasn’t a perfect life, but when I think about what I want in my community today, it’s that old hillside neighborhood that still inspires me.

Metro’s charter tasks us “to preserve and enhance the quality of life and the environment for ourselves and future generations.” From my perspective, our job is to help build communities like my old neighborhood, where people know each other. Where they engage with and take care of their neighbors. Where they can walk, bike or bus to what they need. And where they can climb a hill or follow a path and experience something truly inspiring.

Creating communities like that isn’t easy, especially in a region that a lot of people want to move to. We are outgrowing many of the things that hold us together – our streets, schools, water and sewer systems, downtowns, parks and work places.

We can build places like this if we work together …

Lets open new parks and great places together.

But we can still build great places to live if we work together, neighbor beside neighbor, city next to city, cities and counties and the region, all working toward common goals. In fact, in this complex time, I doubt any big community goals can be achieved without that kind of teamwork.

That’s my goal as Metro Councilor.