08.17.12 Knope of the Week – Positively Clackamas and Oregon Transformation Project

Posted on August 17, 2012


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The votes are in and the results have been tabulated: after a week of nominations and voting by our community, ELGL is thrilled to announce the winner of the Knope of the Week! As a reminder, The Knope of the Week honors individuals or groups who have done the most in the past week to advance the mission of ELGL.

Without further ado, the winners of the 37th Knope of the Week are . . . . 

Positively Clackamas

About

and

Oregon Transformation Project

Before you start demanding a recount or organizing a boycott of ELGL, hear us out on this one. We are recognizing both groups for furthering the discussion and assisting in defining of the role of government in Oregon.

Each group has highlighted one of the most important and controversial issues in Portland – the future of light rail. This issue paves the way for a bigger discussion of the role of city and county government in Oregon.

Recent discussions and input from citizens during budget cutbacks in Clackamas County, Josephine County, City of Tigard and City of Eugene have accomplished what government has been unable to do which is effectively communicate the value of government services and the potential impact on the community if a particular service is eliminated.

ELGL challenges you as you go about your daily routine today to think about how government impacts you, for example:

  • providing clean water for brushing your teeth and making your morning coffee,
  • monitoring the rates of the electric company that allows you to turn on your television or curl your hair,
  • building roads and trails for your kids to safely get to school,
  • maintaining a police force which keeps drunk drivers off the road on your morning commute,
  • providing trash and recycling services at your workplace so the reams of TPS memos don’t turn your cubicle into an episode of Hoarders,
  • offering story time for your kids at the library so the stay at home parent doesn’t go crazy on “baby talk”,
  • operating public transportation that allows you to save on gas money and meet up with friends for lunch without driving across town,
  • preventing and fighting forest fires and other fires so you don’t look out your office window to see flames coming your way,
  • ensuring the slide or swing set that your child loves to play on after school is safe and meets industry requirements;
  • providing mediation to solve disputes with your neighbor who hasn’t cut his grass since 2001,
  • developing and enforcing an ordinance on backyard chickens so your neighborhood doesn’t become a petting zoo,
  • coordinating neighborhood associations that provide a forum for your input,
  • offering business licenses for you to run your small business after the kids go to sleep,
  • maintaining traffic signals, at that dangerous intersection, so you can safely get home from your nightly trip to the grocery store,
  • offering picnic shelters or meeting space for your Bunco group or Little League team party,
  • When you finally settle into bed in the evening, you don’t have to add to your list of worries whether your water pipes are going to burst, whether your roof will collapse in a wind storm because it maybe wasn’t built to code, or whether someone will respond if your house is broken into,
  • and finally, and maybe most importantly, when you get up in middle of the night for that trip to the bathroom you won’t worry whether the toilet will flush or whether it is safe to wash your hands in the sink.

The bigger question becomes are these services essential and a good use of taxpayer money. Where do we draw that line on local government in our lives, should every city offer a recreation program, should our library be open every day, should government be involved in economic development, etc.

With that said, we hope Positively Clackamas and Oregon Transformation Project will continue to raise the issue of the role of government and provide an outlet for citizens to have these discussions. For those of us who are city or county staff, it is not our role to make these decisions, it is our role to implement programs and services that reflect the will of the people.

Previous Knope of the Week Recipients

Knope of the Week Acceptance Speeches

I’m the co-founder and executive director of ELGL. I love my job. Other things I love: local government, my family, my dog Michael Jordan, sandwiches, naps, books, and skee-ball.

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