Our Opinion: A few wish-list items for 2017
Whatever your thoughts on the year that was, here's what we can do to make 2017 the best year it can be.
It's over. It's done.
With 2016 officially in the bag, we're looking forward to a new year and a clean slate. We're hoping that this new year keeps the inevitable bad news balanced by some positive developments. Here's our wish list for 2017.
• A path that leads Oregon lawmakers to the additional $1.7 billion in revenue they need to keep the school year — and other things — intact.
• For Gov. Kate Brown: the willingness to tell her friends when they are wrong and the flexibility to reach out to her critics.
For incoming Secretary of State Dennis Richardson: the resolve to make good on his campaign promise to keep partisanship out of his new office.
• For the metro area's pedestrians, cyclists and motorists: a safer year than the one just past, when road-related fatalities sadly tested the record books. Last month city officials said they'll fix two crosswalks in Hillsboro where students were hit by cars while walking to school. We hope to never have to write those words in the newspaper again.
• More homeless shelters and affordable housing in the city, and a recognition that when people are sleeping on sidewalks something is very, very wrong. Finding answers for the homeless shouldn't be left up to Portland alone.
• For the upcoming work by the Hillsboro School District looking at building or remodeling schools across Hillsboro, Cornelius and North Plains, we hope that work will go as smoothly as possible. The School Board is expected to ask voters for a bond soon that would start work building several new schools. The inevitable re-districting that will come with that will be difficult, but necessary. We hope it goes smoother than nearby Beaverton, which had to go back to the drawing board after parent outcry over the new lines.
• For Hillsboro City Council: We hope that recent talk of sanctuary cities is taken to heart. The designation has no actual legal impact, but it means that local police won't be in the business of seeking and arresting undocumented immigrants, based solely on their citizenship status. That's the feds' jobs. Meanwhile, the vote would be a meaningful gesture to the many undocumented residents who contribute to our community. Hillsboro and Cornelius are well known for their diversity. We should be setting the example.
• For new mayors in Hillsboro and North Plains: It's a tough and thankless job, but we hope that you treat the position with the seriousness that it deserves, and work to make your cities a great place to live for everyone.
• For the Hillsboro School Board: We hope you take to heart the words of Old Lang Syne and let old acquaintance be forgot. The School Board has had a tough fight this year with internal disagreements about everything from birth control to the minimum wage. Lets get back to work and put the children first, without more national headlines.
• For the Hillsboro Hops: We hope you bring a bona fide young star to Hillsboro. The type of prospect that the community can embrace as their own and stake a claim to as we w atch his rise to fame. A power-hitter, a true ace pitcher capable of awing you with his brilliance, or simply a once-in-a-generation athlete with the charismatic personality to match. Oh, and another championship win, too, while we're at it.
• A state championship for a Hillsboro high school as the OSAA prepares to ship them out of the Metro League wouldn't be bad, either. Why not? After-all, if you're going to leave, you may as well take a trophy with you on the way out.
• Speaking of playoffs, how about another postseason run for the Timbers Army? Knocking off the MLS Cup champions (from an unnamed city to the north) would make that even sweeter. We'd love to see another National Women's Soccer League trophy for the Portland Thorns. Being the best team in the regular season is excellent, but finishing the job in the playoffs would give Portland's women's pro soccer team a crown to match the one captured by the 2015 Timbers.
• Genuine cooperation on the part of state, regional, county and local leaders to reform the land use planning process to allow reasonable residential and employment projects tailored to meet community needs.
• Continuing regional economic growth with a broader distribution of the benefits to help households headed by minorities and single mothers who are being priced out of many urban neighborhoods.
• Creative thinking about the rest of the affordable housing bond approved by Portland voters so per-unit cost is reduced well below the $217,000 average of the Ellington apartment complex purchase. Remember: Addressing affordable housing in Portland affects suburban dwellers as much as it does Portlanders. The same can be said for not addressing the issue. Tigard, for instance, has fallen woefully behind on its goals for affordable housing. That affects Tigard as well as every community around it.
• A way to ensure Portland's new CEO tax doesn't discourage Nike and Columbia Sportswear from continuing their investments in the Rose City. Decisions made by those corporate giants can have a huge impact out here in Washington County.
• And for Associate Editor Geoff Pursinger, who is moving his family to Hillsboro after starting work at the paper over the summer: We hope your move goes well. We'd help, but we're super busy that day.