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Few nominations means no 'exemplary citizen'


Tigard will forgo its award this year

For the second time, Tigard finds itself without an exemplary citizen.

The city’s annual Exemplary Citizen Award has become a yearly tradition, given in tandem with awards by the Tigard Area Chamber of Commerce during its annual Shining Stars banquet fundraiser.

But this year, the city failed to receive enough quality nominations to name a winner, according to Joanne Bengston, executive assistant to the mayor.

Each spring, Tigard-area residents are asked to nominate someone in the community whom they feel has done an outstanding job as a community volunteer, Bengston said.

The award is given to residents who have dedicated themselves to a project or service in the community and made positive contributions to the city and its neighborhoods over the past year.

Past winners have included Jane Davies, who organized the Tigard holiday tree lighting each Decemberwho organized the Tigard holiday tree lighting each December, and Michael O’Loughlin, a Tigard father who dedicated countless hours to the Mary Woodward Elementary School garden.

Nominations were due in March, but according to Tigard Mayor John L. Cook, the city received only a single nomination, which didn’t fit the criteria for selecting the exemplary citizen

“It’s really too bad,” Cook said Tuesday. “(The city) advertises the heck out of it.”

Cook said the City Council decided not to appoint a winner out of respect for the process.

“We can’t just pick somebody,” he said. “They need to be nominated by the community.”

It’s a similar situation to one the city found itself in during the 2009 search. When the city failed to receive any quality nominations, the city decided not to give the award to anyone.

But that hasn’t always been the case, Cook said. In 2012, the city received so many nominations that it decided to give out two awards.

Those winners — Mary Feller, the longtime president of the Tigard Historical Association, and the Rev. Michael Ruptak, a chaplain with the Tigard Police Department and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue — were each named exemplary citizen.

Although there won’t be a winner this year, Cook said the city would try again next spring.

“Maybe we will have to promote it in a different way,” Cook said. “That way we can get more nominations.”

A lack of exemplary citizen won’t stop the Shining Stars awards banquet on Friday.

The chamber will give several awards to local volunteers, including Jean Jackson, who will receive the Chamber’s First Citizen Award. Other winners include Burgerville, which was named Chamber Business of the Year; David Aldridge, the winner of the Jim Hartman “From the Heart” Volunteer Award and Allison Burke, a Tigard High School senior and winner of the city’s Youth Volunteer Award. The chamber will also give out awards for volunteers inside its ranks, including Marcia Solberg, who was named the Chamber Volunteer of the Year, and Megan De Salvo, who will receive the Chamber Ambassador of the Year Award.

The benefit begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Embassy Suites near Washington Square.

For details, call 503-639-1656 or visit tigardchamber.org.