Rainier Mayor Jerry Cole

Rainier Mayor Jerry Cole tosses candy to spectators lining the street during the abbreviated summer Rainier Days Parade.

The end of 2021 is quickly approaching, and it has been a very productive year for the City of Rainier. Our city council and staff have been working towards achieving many long-term goals set forth by the citizens of the community.

Critical goal

One critical goal has been enhanced public participation. We re-formed the Parks Committee early in the year and that group has started meeting regularly. Its goal is to make recommendations for future park amenities at different city-owned properties that are currently underutilized. A citywide survey was conducted to help determine what park improvements Rainier residents want to see. The committee is in the process of using that input to guide its decisions.

Also recently restarted was the Library Board. The City recognizes how important its library is to people of all ages, and council wanted input from a group representing its different users.

2021 accomplishments

I’m pleased to report that for the first time ever, our city council meetings are now being broadcast live online and on local public access television. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and it will provide greater transparency by enabling everyone to watch our meetings in real time, or at their convenience.

Our Planning Commission did a great job of working with staff to put together ordinances allowing food carts and vacation rentals within city limits. Those were passed by council.

Despite the pandemic, we were able to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of our historic city hall building with a socially distanced open house event in April.

This year saw us complete the main phase of the long-planned riverfront trail project. The City has been awarded grant funding to complete the next and final phase, which will use a bridge to connect the park to our downtown plaza area.

Public works has been very busy replacing all of the water meters in town. That was a major undertaking. Another was the D Street loop, which saw the replacement of water and sewer lines and a repaving of some streets that were in need of repair.

We did face a slight setback in November when our old water treatment plant building caught on fire. Luckily, nobody was hurt, and our public works staff did a great job of making sure residents could still have uninterrupted service.

The future

What will 2022 hold for the City of Rainier? Well, we’re taking a look at some bigger picture issues. They include updating the city’s flood plain ordinance and annexation policies and examining whether our existing urban growth boundary should be adjusted to better meet our needs. Council may also start the process of vacating various rights of way that no longer make sense for the City to have.

The City should be able to continue making infrastructure improvements with its share of federal American Relief Plan Act funds. Our water master plan update is almost complete, and we should be receiving grant funding soon to conduct a feasibility study of how to best resolve the flooding and fish passage issues on Fox Creek.

Rainier is fortunate to have dedicated volunteers on its council and city committees. City Administrator Scott Jorgensen has been on the job for just over a year and is helping to move us forward with all of the projects we have in the works. Similarly, Public Works Director Sue Lawrence and Police Chief Gregg Griffith are ensuring that their departments are responsive to citizens’ needs. Our staff thrives to provide the best service possible, and it remains my highest honor to be mayor of this city.

Anyone wishing to contact me can call 503-396-0683 or email mayor@cityofrainier.com.

Jerry Cole is the Mayor of Rainier.

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