I get real sad driving around Washington County, looking at the beautiful open spaces, thinking, You too shall be turned into a parking lot or haphazard commuter housing development soon.
I’m usually thinking this while on my way to a strip mall, which is as imaginative as Washington County gets when it comes to commerce.
And don’t even try walking from one strip mall to the next: It’s unpleasant and the sidewalks are illogical. Do you own a bike? Great! Put it in your car and take it somewhere with bike paths that connect to each other.
I’m tired of the development entropy that I see around us, so I’m endorsing Greg Malinowski, Elizabeth Furse, and Allen Amabisca for the Washington County Board of Commissioners. (Can a little blog endorse people? Why not!?) If Malinowski, Furse, and Amabisca are elected, the five-member board will no longer be ruled by developer interests.
Don’t get me wrong–development is critical for Washington County. We’re getting more residents and more jobs in the coming years: good things. But citizens should be instrumental in helping to set the county’s vision, and the current board doesn’t see citizen involvement as a true priority.
We’re a well-educated, invested population in Washington County. We deserve a county develop that has the growth and amenities we want: walkable town centers, safe sidewalks, smart traffic infrastructure, and viable bike paths.
No matter which way you vote, make sure to vote all the way down to the county commissioners section, and send in your ballot by the May 20 election deadline. If you haven’t received a ballot, contact information for the Washington County elections division is here.
AND, if you are miraculously still interested and want to go further down the local-politics rabbit hole, here’s an op-ed I submitted to the Hillsboro Argus in favor of Greg Malinowski. (Greg is the incumbent commissioner for our area. He worked in the technology sector and now runs his family’s organic farm.)
In Favor of Greg Malinowski for Smart Growth in Washington County
By Evelyn Shoop, Washington County resident
Washington County has it all: premier, large businesses, vibrant, thriving small businesses, beautiful open spaces, safe neighborhoods, pristine farmland, amazing community recreation options, and great schools.
But we’ve left the vision for our county up to developers and large landowners who seem to work from the lowest common denominator. We’ve centered development in malls and strip malls, built everything to car-scale around large parking lots, and created suburban developments that have difficult access to services.
I’m tired of Washington County being known for its strip malls and five-lane roads. I’m tired of unpleasant and illogical walking and bike routes. I’m tired of not being able to let my kids walk safely to the park or school because there aren’t safe routes.
My fellow residents and I want walkable town centers that are designed to pedestrian- and bike-scale. We want wide sidewalks and bike paths that connect schools, neighborhoods, and community services. We want Washington County to be a place that’s known for business, beauty, and livability.
Development is critical for Washington County as our population continues to grow, but developers don’t need to be in charge of the county’s vision. We residents do. We’re smart, educated, and spend most of our time working in Washington County and paying for Washington County housing, be it mortgage or rent. My husband and I both work in Washington County—he works for a large corporation and I’m a self-employed freelancer. We chose Washington County to raise our family because of its great schools, proximity to work, and safe neighborhoods.
We need the Washington County board of commissioners to represent what we want for the future.
That’s why I’m supporting Greg Malinowski for re-election to the Washington County Board of Commissioners, representing District 2. Greg believes that the residents and stakeholders who live and work here are investors whose voices should be taken seriously.
Greg’s not afraid to talk about the real, substantive problems in the county—for example, the fact that we sit through traffic snarls on highways and county roads because of billions of dollars of delayed infrastructure; or the fact that we live in some of the best farmland in the world, and it’s getting paved over while dilapidated and run-down areas are ignored for re-development.
We’ve had plenty of years of bland, suburban development. It’s time to make sure Washington County moves into a livable, resident-centered future.
Are you STILL interested, you crazy, crazy person?!? Well then come on over on Wednesday, May 14th, 6–7 pm, to have spaghetti dinner with Greg and other Washington County political types at Leedy Grange in Cedar Mill. You know you’ve been wanting to hang out at a legit grange hall. Find out more here.
Photo of Greg and Jonella Malinowski courtesy of GregMalinowski.com.