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Public safety, development top mayors list for 2014

Mayor Kathy Figley announced seven goals and objectives at the Chamber Forum Lunch on Wednesday afternoon to continue Woodburn’s development for the coming year.

Fiscal sustainability, public safety, continued economic development, interchange project response and management, community outreach and communication, identifying a plan for all city-owned property and maintaining an ordinance review and revision are the current goals Figley calls to strive for in the new year.

Within recent years, Woodburn has increased with finance and overall management capabilities.

“It’s wonderful when we are an organization that employs humans and receives and spends millions of dollars every year that we can run this organization with adequate information and with professionalism and responsiveness,” Figley stated.

Figley said her recognition of Woodburn keeping current jobs available throughout the city and keeping most city businesses open during the depth of recession is a decision well made, as other cities chose to take mass lay-offs and shutter city services.

She also recognizes development in the Recreation Parks Department, as well as the quality work from each new police chief.

Regarding fiscal sustainability, Figley appreciates the work of commercial and multi-family constructions and notices foreclosure properties now have young families in them who predominately own their properties. Within the next year, she plans to have fiscal planning and methods in mind in order to enhance our finances.

“We do look at what we’re doing, whether or not it’s working, and whether it can be done differently, as I’ve said,” stated Figley.

She mentioned how great it is to see the next generation of people who are going to be the city’s leaders, neighbors and friends.

Due to the elimination or combination of minimizing 13 positions throughout the city, Woodburn’s general fund reserve added over $1 million that is expected to sustain Woodburn through the end of the recession, according to Figley.

“In difficult times, we have made adjustments. There have been retirements where the position is not refilled,” Figley said. “We’ve consolidated some positions and we’ve looked at ways of doing things better.”

Figley stated Woodburn has added a finance director, senior accountant and financial analyst who are able to complete financial projections.

She appreciates their talent and preparation to plan in certain situations when needed.

The Mayor’s first priority, regarding supporting the community, is to increase Woodburn Library hours due to the current usage broadening during early evenings.

With public safety, Figley reassured the audience Woodburn is committed to crime prevention and supporting Woodburn Police Department, Woodburn Library, Woodburn recreation programs and the Boys & Girls Club.

She emphasized the importance of making healthy activities available for Woodburn’s younger generation to keep them striving for a healthy lifestyle.

The city is continuing to develop economically and Figley would like to see this continue. She is happy to see the interchange underway, ahead of schedule and on budget with regard to continually developing surrounding areas.

“I’ve been amazed at how hassle free it has gone,” she said.

Woodburn has seen immense improvement on local businesses hiring again, as Wilson Construction has recently expanded to about 35 employees. New local businesses are also starting fresh, such as a second Dutch Bros location and Trapala Authentic Mexican Restaurant.

Figley stated that the city has lively private sector activity downtown, concrete redevelopment plans and others that will follow in the next few months.

Community outreach and communication has developed by Jason Horton, Woodburn’s Communication Coordinator, which includes sending weekly information via email from the city and Facebook and Twitter updates.

“We’re trying, we’re really very hard because we know it’s one of the most important things we as a local government can do,” said Figley.

City owned property is in the works, as she looks at making the best use out of the current available space with city members. Current areas include the lot between City Hall and the Aquatic Center and the use for the Association Building.

Figley mentioned a possibility of a bank building with public works that would be interested in the downtown Woodburn location.

“As you ask these questions, you don’t make any assumptions of what the answer will be, but we should be asking the questions and we should be taking a look because things can change,” she said.

Although the Urban Growth Boundary Expansion process started in 1997 and had a supposed completion in 2006, the project remains in a limbo.

“It’s unfortunate that there is no certainty and no resolution when you’re talking about a process that got the buy in like the unanimous votes of the Woodburn city council, Marion County commission and the Land Conservation Development Board. You’re talking about it passing the scrutiny of three different levels of government, but we still can’t do anything about it because of the abuse of the court system by a well-financed interest group. I think that’s wrong,” Figley said. “I think there are some things that are fundamentally wrong with the process in addition.”

When looking at the future, Figley said it looks brighter than the last several years. She is proud of what Woodburn has accomplished during the recession and believes the city is in great shape to do great things in the coming weeks, months and years.

She appreciates their talent and preparation to plan in certain situations when needed.

The Mayor’s first priority, regarding supporting the community, is to increase Woodburn Library hours due to the current usage broadening during early evenings.

With public safety, Figley reassured the audience Woodburn is committed to crime prevention and supporting Woodburn Police Department, Woodburn Library, Woodburn Recreation programs and the Boys & Girls Club.

She emphasized the importance of making healthy activities available for the city’s younger generation to keep them striving for a healthy lifestyle.

Woodburn is continuing to develop economically and Figley would like to see this continue. She is happy to see the interchange underway, ahead of schedule and on budget with regard to continually develop surrounding areas.

“I’ve been amazed at how hassle free it has gone,” she said.

Woodburn has seen immense improvement on local businesses hiring again, as Wilson Construction has recently expanded to about 35 employees. New local businesses are also starting fresh, such as a second Dutch Bros. location and Trapala Authentic Mexican Restaurant.

Figley stated that the city has lively private sector activity downtown, concrete redevelopment plans and others that will follow in the next few months.

Community outreach and communication has developed by Jason Horton, Woodburn’s Communication Coordinator, which includes sending weekly information via email on city undertakings and Facebook and Twitter updates.

“We’re trying, we’re really trying very hard because we know it’s one of the most important things we, as a local government, can do,” said Figley.

City owned property is in the works, as the city looks at making the best use out of the current available space. Current areas include the lot between City Hall and the Woodburn City Aquatic Center and the use for the Association Building.

Figley mentioned the possibility of a bank building with public works that would be interested in the downtown Woodburn location.

“As you ask these questions, you don’t make any assumptions of what the answer will be, but we should be asking the questions and we should be taking a look because things can change,” she said.

Although the Urban Growth Boundary Expansion process started in 1997 and had a supposed completion in 2006, the project remains in a limbo.

“It’s unfortunate that there is no certainty and no resolution when you’re talking about a process that got the buy-in like the unanimous votes of the Woodburn City Council, Marion County Commission and the Land Conservation Development Board. You’re talking about it passing the scrutiny of three different levels of government, but we still can’t do anything about it because of the abuse of the court system by a well-financed interest group. I think that’s wrong,” Figley said. “I think there are some things that are fundamentally wrong with the process in addition.”

When looking at the future, Figley said it looks brighter than the last several years. She is proud of what Woodburn has accomplished during the recession and believes the city is in good shape to do great things in the coming weeks, months and years.




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