Friday, June 18, 2021
News & Notes
Juneteenth is an official federal holiday
   President Biden signed a bill yesterday declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday.
   Some companies, like Nike, and local jurisdictions had already recognized Juneteenth as a holiday or a paid day off.
   This means most federal employees and many others have today off, since June 19 lands on a Saturday this year.
   However, the United States Postal Service is still delivering mail, since it had too short of notice to cease operations.
   Juneteenth commemorates the ending of slavery in the U.S.
   Even though President Lincoln had issued the proclamation to end slavery effective in 1863, it wasn't until two years later in 1865 that slaves in Texas would learn of their freedom.
   Many Oregonians have recognized Juneteenth as a special day, ever since Clara Peoples told her Portland Kaiser shipyard co-workers about it in1945.
Desue to be TriMet's GM & first person of color to lead the agency
   The TriMet Board has named James Desue Jr. the new general manager of the mass transit agency.
   Desue, who joined TriMet in 2019 as its chief operating officer, has been working as the interim GM since Doug Kelsey retired in March.
   He has more than 27 years of transportation experience and is TriMet's first Black general manager.
   “When Sam joined TriMet in 2019, he quickly established himself as a proven, measured, and thoughtful leader who was committed to safety, service and the community,” said TriMet Board President Bruce Warner. “His years of transit expertise, customer-driven vision, commitment to building consensus and his humanity are sure to benefit transit riders and the agency for years to come.”
   Prior to working for TriMet, Desue was with the Kansas City Area Transit Authority (KCATA).
King City annual address - coming out of pandemic conditions & moving forward
   King City hosted its "State of the City" address virtually this week.
   Each city councilor had the opportunity to speak, along with Mayor Ken Gibson, City Manager Michael Weston, and Police Chief Ernie Happala.
   Mayor Gibson continued to emphasize the importance of having collaborative energy in King City.
   He expressed appreciation for the respect residents have shown during the pandemic, and he said he understands the challenges the city faces with future growth, but welcomes the opportunities it will bring for people to thrive in the community.
   Weston spoke about the funding the city received from the American Rescue Plan.
   He sees this funding as an opportunity to help residents who have been working on the frontlines.
   According to Weston, the previous federal funding went to help businesses, but the recent money will go into workers' hands.
   He said the future is bright for King City.
   To see a recording of the event, turn to YouTube.
Land Use & Housing Committee learns about possible future bond funding for BSD
   The Land Use & Housing Committee met virtually this week with the Beaverton School District's (BSD) Steven Sparks, who provided an update on the district's Long-Range Facility Plan.
   This plan provides a look into the future for where BSD foresees facility needs.
   Two big ticket items in the plan are the replacement of Beaverton High School, which is 105 years old, and Raleigh Hills Elementary, which is 93 years old.
   Beaverton has faced numerous challenges, including starting the school year with a fire in one area of the high school, and in 2018, it nearly had its gymnasium condemned when dangerous cracks were found in the roof supports.
   The district has identified more than $610 million in deferred maintenance needs across the school district, including $268 million in seismic deficiencies.
   There are 10 schools that fall into the worst seismic category.
   To pay for this, BSD will most likely turn to voters to ask for either a renewal of its current bond measure or a $0.25 per $1,000 of assessed value tax increase of the current rate.
   To read more, see Sparks' slide deck.
Portland ranks in the top 25 when it comes to the highest price real estate markets
   A recent study shows the Portland metro area as ranking as the 11th most expensive metro for buying a home.
   HSH, a research firm that watches mortgage rates, found the median home price in the Portland area was $489,100 in the first quarter of 2021.
   With a 30-year fixed mortgage of 3.04% and 20% down, the study shows a person would have to make nearly $87,000 a year to afford a median priced home.
   If the down payment is 10%, the income requirement goes up to more than $100,000.
   In comparison, the national median price of a home was $319,200.
   Seattle's median home price was $653,400 in the first quarter of 2021, requiring a salary of more than $113,000 if a down payment of 20% is reached.
   San Francisco's median home price was $1.2 million with a salary need of more than $208,000.
   To learn more, check out the HSH study.
Odds & Ends
  • It is with great sadness WEA has learned of the passing of Publisher Christine Moore from Pamplin Media. Christine was someone WEA could turn to with questions and was appreciated. She will be missed.

  • WEA's Search Committee is still accepting application materials for the executive director role of the organization. Visit WEA's website to learn how to apply.

  • The region is facing a chlorine shortage. Many water agencies are assuring customers the water is safe to drink, but is encouraging water conservation to help supplies last.

  • Small businesses in Clackamas County, there is $600,000 in grant money available for businesses adversely affected by the pandemic. Applications are due by June 23. To learn more, visit Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon's (MESO) website.  

  • Are you looking for more than a stroll through a park? How about Fitness in the Park? Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District is hosting free exercise classes in various parks in the area. To see where and when, visit THPRD's website.

  • Have you ever thought about the tiny computer chip that makes so many of our devices run and the space where it's created? Intel is investing billions into the creation of new fabs around the world, including here on the Westside. See the video below to see some amazing construction drone footage.
Events coming up
Fri. 6/18 & Sat. 6/19 - Juneteenth is being observed as a federal holiday for the first time.

Wed. 6/23 at 7:30 a.m. - the WEA Board of Directors will meet virtually.

Th. 6/24 at 7:30 a.m. - a Virtual Forum with the Westside Mayors. For registration information, visit the WEA website.

Fri. 6/25 at 12:00 p.m. - the Golf/Fundraising Committee will meet virtually. The annual Westside Golf Scramble, happening on Thursday, August 26 at The Reserve Vineyards & Golf Club, is nearly sold out - there is room for a threesome or three golfers. Please contact Teresa Dunham for more information.

Sun. 7/4 & Mon. 7/5 - Happy Independence Day! WEA's laptops will be closed in celebration.

Th. 7/8 at 7:30 a.m. - the Government Relations Committee will meet and talk all things legislature. All members are welcome to attend. For more information, contact KC Reinhart.

Wed. 7/14 at 7:30 a.m. - The Transportation Committee will meet virtually with ODOT's Matt Freitag about Highway 217 improvements and with Susan Bladholm of the Frog Ferry project. All members are welcome to attend. For more information, contact Pam Treece.

Wed. 7/21 at 12:00 p.m. - The Land Use & Housing Committee will meet virtually. All members are welcome to attend. For more information, contact KC Reinhart.