Mayor Paul Blackburn
This is my first Mayor’s column for our new City newsletter. I’m excited we have launched this communications tool; I hope it will be a useful conduit for keeping our residents informed about the work of our City government.
This summer brings a fairly momentous event; Steve Wheeler, our City Manager since 2014, heads off to a well-earned retirement, and we’ve been busy finding his replacement. The number one job of the Mayor and Council is to hire (and fire) the City Manager, and it is a lot of work. Your elected City Councilors have spent dozens of hours recruiting, screening and interviewing applicants. The process is wrapping up at press time, and we are pleased to introduce Rachael Fuller as Hood River’s new City Manager. Ms. Fuller has spent the past seven years as assistant city manager in Gresham and will begin her new post August 20.
Another current topic is that we are anxiously awaiting the ruling from the State Appeals Court on our rezoning of Lot 700 (also called Morrison Park) to be used for affordable housing. Oregon land use law allows and encourages a great deal of public involvement – which is good, and which is slow. We already prevailed once in Salem on an appeal of our rezone, and this is now a second appeal filed by a local resident. I hope that we will soon be able to announce success again and move forward with this important project.
And lastly, three huge cheers for the Children’s Park rebuild. Hundreds of volunteers shared their time. tools and expertise with our crews in a once-in-a-generation work party to bring this play structure back to life. Our family donated one of the large items to celebrate Grandpa Denny and Grandma BB, and I can’t wait to see them playing there with our kids and everyone.
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