Mark’s to do list

Park

Finish Milwaukie Bay Park. This project has been languishing for years due to red tape, lack of funds and lack political will on the part of some city councilors. It should be one of the best parks in the Metro region and would enhance the downtown and draw the kind of development Milwaukie desires rather than just what it can get.

Remove Kellogg dam. This dam has served no purpose for decades. It has been a barrier for the thousands of spawning salmon that used to fill the stream over a century and half ago. Today it backs up a warm, fetid, shallow blackberry choked pond which does nothing to enhance the city. Once it is removed and the toxic sediment is dealt with, the area can become part of a chain of beautiful parks starting at the Riverfront and ending at Dogwood.

Make the neighborhoods safe for families to walk and bike. In many neighborhoods, it is very uncomfortable if not downright unsafe for a family, let alone children to walk or bike to school. That should not be so. In our city anyone should be able to comfortably walk or ride a bike anywhere. The problem is that the current paradigm is a very expensive system. My goal is to look for ways to have neighbors design their streets and work together to make them the best they can be.

Create small commercial pockets in the neighborhoods. Before the day of the strip mall and the shopping centers, folks could happily walk the corner grocery and other day to day services without having to fight traffic and search for parking. I think it’s time bring that back, by allowing certain limited commercial uses in identified pockets in the neighborhoods we can again have things like coffee shops, bakeries, grocery stores and brewpubs within walking distance of most of the population. This will not only enhance the community but it will also bring new businesses and job opportunities to town.

There are a lot of ways we could be working to bring new jobs to Milwaukie, from the new South Down Town to an improved North Milwaukie Innovation Area and commercial pockets in the neighborhoods we should be seeking out businesses that will add to the livability and job market for local people. There may even be ways for the city to offer incentives to desirable new companies.

Build affordable housing to keep our neighbors in the city they love and the schools their kids thrive in. The huge, continuous population growth in the Portland metro region is affecting Milwaukie in many ways. Some of those are good, brining new neighbors and friends who share our vision of a great small town and want to be a part of it. It also brings gentrification and upward pressure on the cost of housing. Folks that have lived here for decades are being forced out due to rapidly increasing rents and no-cause evictions. We have to do something in the short term to slow that dislocation, and cause more affordable housing to be built here as long-term solutions. This can look different in different neighborhoods. It might be a new mixed income, mixed use complex in areas zoned for that or it might be 15 cute little cottages that are affordable first homes for a young couple or a way for our older empty nesters to downsize while staying in town. It might be a charming garden apartment or a fourplex, it might even be an ADU in your very own back yard, which could bring you a little monthly income and a new neighbor.   There are lots of ways for us to address this issue that many cities are facing, but to do it in a way that keeps the charm and improves the livability of our fine city.

Climate Action! We need everyone, everywhere, doing everything, as quickly as possible all the time! That is the sticker I have on my water bottle and coffee cup, to remind me that almost every decision we make should be viewed through the lens of sustainability. Our fragile planet is beginning to change in ways that will not be conducive to continued life for us humans. There are so many ways we can begin to repair the damage we’ve done and protect our beautiful planet for our kids, grandkids and their grandkids. Cities are a great place to start that work. Creating 20-minute neighborhoods with great walking and biking, allows us choices in how we get around.

Encouraging renewable energy projects both through our partners at PGE and on our homes and businesses – reduces the coal, oil or natural gas burned to heat our homes and keep the lights on. When they are local projects they also make us more resilient to both the destructive storms that are becoming more frequent as well as the inevitable earthquake our region will experience.

Utilizing transit, or buying an electric car will help decrease the carbon pollution that is causing all this mayhem. To that end, I hope to improve our transit choices by creating a local electric shuttle that will get folks to their jobs from the Max stations and get us from our homes to the downtown, shopping areas and the Max when we can’t walk or bike. I also hope to start installing electric charging stations at our apartment complexes and in public spaces to aid more people in making the choice to go electric.

I for one, ride my electric bike almost everywhere. It’s a great way to see, hear and smell everything going on in the city and beyond. It gives me a little exercise, some downtime and good stress reduction as a bonus. I actually look forward to running errands or meeting someone just so that I have the excuse to ride.   I look forward to working with all of you to find ways that make your lives better while creating a more sustainable Milwaukie.