The City Council Chambers have been unusually full in the past few weeks due to talk of the creation of an inclusion resolution.
Although some negative voices emerged in the debate both at City Hall and online, the majority of people weighing in were in favor of inclusion while being mindful not to create a safe space for criminals. Heeding the community's feedback, the City Council presented Resolution 2626 for adoption May 1.
In creating the resolution, the council and staff paid particular attention to including all people, not just those of ethnically diverse backgrounds, while upholding state and federal laws.
"We've been pondering this and listening to input for some weeks now and the proposal before us now has evolved over that time and the community represented in our audience has probably evolved also," Mayor Tim Knapp said.
Knapp went on to say that the final version of the resolution was arrived at after multiple iterations were created, proofed and tweaked. In its final form, Resolution 2626 states that every person in Wilsonville will be respected "regardless of race, color, national origin, immigration or refugee status, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, mental, emotional, and/or physical ability, age, or economic status."
The resolution also upholds, rather than negates, state and federal laws, saying that if the resolution comes into conflict with either state or federal law that the law will be followed. In doing this, councilors said that they will be upholding Wilsonville's existing values.
"This is just an affirmation," Councilor Susie Stevens said. "I think that it's timely, but I don't think that it was a big leap for any of us to get to this point because we're already there. We're just putting it down in writing."
The council unanimously passed the resolution 5-0.
"I'm so glad that there have been so many people that have said that this is a safe place and a welcoming place, but I do think that that's why it's important that we pass this resolution," Councilor Kristin Akervall said. "To have everybody be treated equally is an ideal that I think that many people hold in their hearts. But actions don't always follow that... so thank you to fellow councilors for being part of this and also to the community members who have come and spoken."
"All of these different pieces are part of our Wilsonville community and I'm proud that we embrace that," Knapp said.