First, it is essential that the City improve communication with all community members. Participating in the Philomath Citizens’ Academy was an amazing experience, but I never would have found out about the opportunity if I wasn’t the person in my household who pays the water bill (and therefore receives the monthly digital newsletters) and if I didn’t happen to read that newsletter in a timely manner. I am passionate about developing robust communication with our City leadership.
Already, it has been great seeing the City implement some of the suggestions I have made for digital communication. We can build on these changes so that community members who are working long hours can come home and nearly effortlessly learn about issues in the City that directly concern them and their families. By providing both a variety of methods for City outreach to our community members and offering expanded translation and interpreter services, we can make the sharing of information and relevant decisions more accessible and manageable for busy families and individuals. It should not take hours attending City meetings and scouring City documents to learn about and comment on City decisions that directly impact our lives and livelihood.
As your City Councilor, I would prioritize improving the ways the City provides opportunities for informed community input, using 21st century solutions and traditional methods of digital, print, and other forms of interpersonal communication to broaden audio and visual outreach to our community. Philomath can grow towards being a place where all community members are engaged, heard, and welcomed.
When we protect and conserve our community’s natural resources, we ensure that our community is both healthy and resilient when met with adversity. Like so many of our community members, I am concerned about access to a sufficient supply of clean, affordable, water that meets our community’s needs. We need to look at our water utility fees and environmental policies so we can:
- Create equitable water rates between users
- Expand our ability to reuse and recycle water
- Encourage eco-friendly planning and energy usage
Adopting policies that protect ecosystems allows more opportunities to appreciate nature within our community. Establishing protected natural areas would help our native wildlife and maintain healthy animal populations for our community members to hunt and fish as food sources for their families. Finally, healthy ecosystems are a crucial defense against natural disasters, such as wildfires and floods, which will continue to intensify in occurrence and devastation if global carbon emissions remain constant or increase.
Any plans for the future of Philomath must consider whether we are meeting the basic needs of Philomath residents with our existing infrastructure. Carefully planned enhancement of City infrastructure is necessary to (1) ensure the City maintains long-term financial responsibility, (2) facilitate increased accessibility to all Philomath has to offer, and (3) ensure our community becomes even more attractive to those who would invest in our City’s economy. We have the potential to recruit businesses that attract tourists heading to another destination who are looking for a place to rest, eat, and explore shops on their way. Besides the benefits to the City’s economy, improvements to infrastructure should also make it easier for people to live and work here. In order to wisely meet community needs, we need community input. I want to hear from people with different lived experiences and learn from their wisdom about where and how our infrastructure can be improved, so I will prioritize communication and public discussion through multiple platforms. Regardless of (dis)ability status or status of any kind, everyone should have the opportunity to access outdoor spaces on their own streets and in their neighborhoods, access Main Street and our fantastic businesses there, and have a pleasant visit to our neighborhood parks with access to the facilities. This process must begin with transforming and enhancing what is already here in our wonderful community to make it even better.