Mark Gamba has worked hard for Milwaukie:
On the transportation system plan he was part of the initial planning group and has continued to work as a planning commissioner, councilor and mayor to create a safer transportation system with more options. No matter what, the price of oil is going to continue to rise in relationship to peoples’ income – it only makes sense to increase the types of transportation modes available to everyone. Kids should be able to walk or bike to school safely, the elderly should have convenient ways to get where they are going and working families should not have spend their hard-earned wages on two cars just so both parents can get to work. From this – the SAFE program was created and we all chose to make an unprecedented investment in our active transportation system. In 9 years, when complete, it will be much safer for our families to walk or bike to school, shopping, parks and other destinations.
On the South Downtown concept plan he was invited to work with the initial small group of civic leaders, planners, and the consultant Christopher Alexander to create the initial pattern language. He also served on the larger steering committee that created the current plan. He continued to work for the last 8 years to create a downtown that is vibrant, attractive and functional while maintaining the charm of a small city.
Mark was asked to help start the Milwaukie Arts Committee which soon became the Art MOB. As a founding member he was involved in all of the initial projects and spearheaded the sculpture garden next to city hall.
On the Residential Standards Steering Committee Mark worked with a diverse group of citizens, planning staff and consultants to help re-write our out-of-date and destructive residential code. His work will cause future apartment complexes to be built to a much higher standard, more sustainable and more livable for families. The new code should also help protect property values in the neighborhoods and allow families to add “granny flats” to their properties. He continues to work as mayor through the visioning process and now the comprehensive planning process to create a city that is entirely equitable, delightfully livable and completely sustainable. By exploring ideas like cottage clusters and neighborhood nodes he hopes to enliven community spirit and provide housing for our hard-working neighbors that are losing their homes to gentrification.
As a Planning Commissioner Mark stood up to Tri-Met and helped secure the bike and pedestrian bridge across Kellogg Creek, first by making it abundantly clear that it was very important to the citizens of Milwaukie and then by being willing to work with Tri-Met to find a compromise that would allow them to find the funding for the bridge. As a counselor and mayor, he has built upon those relationships and continued to nurture new relationships with other cities, Metro, state agencies and state government to work towards a more equitable and sustainable future for us all.
As mentioned before, as mayor he led the visioning process that resulted in the following vision for Milwaukie:
In 2040, Milwaukie is a flourishing city that is entirely equitable, delightfully livable, and completely sustainable. It is a safe and welcoming community whose residents enjoy secure and meaningful work, a comprehensive educational system, and affordable housing. A complete network of sidewalks, bike lanes, and paths along with well-maintained streets and a robust transit system connect our neighborhood centers. Art and creativity are woven into the fabric of the city.
Milwaukie’s neighborhoods are the centers of daily life, with each containing amenities and community-minded local businesses that meet residents’ needs. Our industrial areas are magnets for innovation, and models for environmentally-sensitive manufacturing and high wage jobs. Our residents can easily access the training and education needed to win those jobs.
Milwaukie nurtures a verdant canopy of beneficial trees, promotes sustainable development, and is a net-zero energy city. The Willamette River, Johnson Creek, and Kellogg Creek are free flowing, and accessible. Their ecosystems are protected by a robust stormwater treatment system and enhanced by appropriate riparian vegetation. Milwaukie is a resilient community, adaptive to the realities of a changing climate, and prepared for emergencies, such as the Cascadia Event.
Milwaukie’s government is transparent and accessible, and is committed to promoting tolerance and inclusion and eliminating disparities. It strongly encourages engagement and participation by all and nurtures a deep sense of community through celebrations and collective action. Residents have the resources necessary to access the help they need. In this great city, we strive to reach our full potential in the areas of education, environmental stewardship, commerce, culture, and recreation; and are proud to call it home.
He is currently leading the city through a long overdue Comprehensive Plan update which is building on the vision to codify those goals into every aspect of our planning process.
Mark’s passion for the environment we all share, has caused the city to create an aggressive Climate Action Plan. A hardworking group of citizens and partners have spent the last year working towards a document that will inform both the Comprehensive Plan and the functioning of the city. It has brought partners like PGE to the table in a much more powerful way. The affects of that relationship will ripple far beyond the borders of Milwaukie and into the future.