Updated Jan 10, 2019; Posted Dec 31, 2014Comment0sharesBy Nuran Alteir | The Oregonian/OregonLive
Lacey Beaty will be sworn in as city councilor in the Beaverton City Council Chamber, 12725 S.W. Millikan Way, on Tuesday, Jan. 6, at 6:30 p.m.
(Nuran Alteir/The Oregonian )
Beaverton City Council will have a new face next week, when community activist and U.S. Army veteran Lacey Beaty is sworn in Tuesday, Jan. 6.
Beaty, 30, who has lived in Beaverton since 2008, served as vice chair on the city’s Visioning Advisory Committee, vice chair on HomePlate Youth Services Board of Directors, and on the Leadership Beaverton Board of Directors. She never had any intention running for city council.
“This was not the path that I thought I would be on,” Beaty said. “But when you see something, and you know something needs to be changed, you have the responsibility to do it.”
Running against incumbent Ian King in the May primary, Beaty claimed 55 percent of votes.
“I just had a huge community behind me, and that makes a difference… there’s power behind that,” Beaty said.
Her win was bittersweet with her husband being deployed to Afghanistan the next day. But, she’s looking at the bigger picture and has some plans to move Beaverton forward:
Q. What made you want to run for city council?
A. Unfortunately, when you start serving a lot, you also see what’s wrong and you see what areas you want to fix. That’s kind of why I decided to run. When our city is so young and the average person is 34, yet, none of the elected officials look like that — that’s a huge piece we’re missing. I don’t think my opinion is so much better than the other councilors, but I just think it’s a different perspective. Together we all bring such different things that the community benefits. I wanted to make sure we had somebody younger and somebody that really cares about the community.
Q. As you said, you’ve seen some of the problems in the city. What is something you want to tackle first?
A. Downtown core. If you ask people where downtown Beaverton is, who knows. Where is downtown Beaverton. When I was in graduate school I studied generational differences. We know that millennials move to a city and jobs are not even a top priority. So, if we know that people are moving to cities because they want to be there, shouldn’t we spend more time making our cities where people want to live? We need a destination. Somebody has to be a driving force behind it. I don’t think it’s me. My job [on city council] would be removing barriers.
Q. Do you think city council currently enforces too many barriers or hasn’t encouraged new ideas?
A. Our city runs really great, so it’s easy to know that we’re already doing well and not want to push boundaries to do better. Hearing what other cities are doing is transformational. There are cities literally eradicating homelessness and we don’t even have a warming shelter. We need some strong leaders who are willing to say, ‘We’re going to have a warming shelter; we are going to do something.’
Q. Is there another goal you want to focus on for Beaverton as city councilor?
A. I’d really like to look at how [the city] supports nonprofits. [I want to] equalize our process on who gets community space at a discount and really make it so that we’re equipping people to eventually move out on their own — like nonprofit training wheels. We own a lot of property, and we have an ability to do a lot of good. I just want to make sure that it’s fair and equitable. We just have people that have been in long-term leases with the city, and I’m not saying they don’t deserve to be there. I just want to feel comfortable when community members ask me, ‘Why do this group get free space,’ that I have a really definitive reason why. I don’t think it’s the business of government to tax people and funnel money to nonprofits. That’s not what we do. It’s just a fringe benefit. I want, to a certainty, to know that we put people through a process.
I think the biggest thing I’d like to accomplish as a city councilor is reinstating a warming shelter. It’s insane to me that last night, when it dropped below freezing, there was nowhere for people to go. Washington County has a 10-year plan to eradicate homelessness. I don’t know if Beaverton has the capacity to do that, but we do have the capacity to house people on freezing nights. I don’t know what that place looks like. There are a couple places that I think would be ideal like the building across from the library. It’s a huge miss that our city doesn’t have it.
Q. How do you feel?
A. With the holidays it’s hard with my husband [deployed to Afghanistan]. He was my number one supporter, my best friend. We’ve been married 10 years. It’s been really difficult and it’s really hard for me to not have him here when I’m sworn in on Tuesday because he was such a big part of it. Other than that, I’m just excited to serve. It’s been eight months since I won. I’ve been doing tons of meet-and-greets. I went to the firing range with the police department. I rode around with public works. I toured every building we own. I’ve talked to people at every level. I’m ready to go. It’s like the summer before your freshman year of college; this whole exciting thing is in front of you. It’s almost there. You know what’s coming, but you don’t know until you’re there.
Beaty will be sworn in as city councilor in the Beaverton City Council Chamber, 12725 S.W. Millikan Way, on Tuesday, Jan. 6, at 6:30 p.m.
—Nuran Alteir | Twitter