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State of the City

Now that 2020 is officially behind us, I would like to take the chance to reflect on what the new year has in store for the city of Rainier and its citizens.

The city spent much of the last two decades working on the “A Street” project. That seemingly simple process of moving rail lines a few feet ended up involving the replacement of much infrastructure, collaboration between many stakeholders and an eventual cost of over $12 million. But since its completion last October, the end result has been a revitalized business district and plaza area that can be enjoyed by our residents and visitors to the community.

Finishing “A Street” enables the city and its staff to pivot their attention to other projects. A top priority for me has been the creation of a riverfront trail that will enhance the connectivity of our city park and much of the downtown area. My hope is that these kinds of trail systems will someday be able to connect us to county parks and neighboring cities.

Speaking of staff, the city’s new librarian, Colette Nordstrom, started late last year and has done a great job of creating a comfortable and inviting atmosphere at our library. The city hired Scott Jorgensen as its new city administrator in September. He’s been working with staff on implementing the directions of our city council and helping to plan for a prosperous future.

We’ve seen some changes at the council level, as three of its longtime members have moved out of town. Luckily, new councilors Connie Budge, Brenda Tschida and Levi Richardson have stepped up to serve in place of Sloan Nelson, James Bradfield and Steve Massey.

Our Planning Commission has re-formed and started meeting again. That group will be looking at several long-term issues like a comprehensive plan amendment, transportation system plan update and potential urban growth boundary expansion.

The city is also looking to re-form a Parks Committee in the hopes of expanding the recreational opportunities that are available around town.

To address the city’s infrastructure needs, council will be looking at developing a five-year strategy for updating many of its various master plans.

I’ve been fortunate to have served as mayor of Rainier for many years now, through good times and bad. I have every reason to be optimistic and feel that we’re on the right track. Hopefully, 2021 will turn out to be a great year for the city and all the people who call it home.

As always, I encourage anyone that has questions to please contact me at mayor@cityofrainier.com or give me a call at 503-396-0683.

Jerry Cole is the mayor of Rainier. He may be reached at 503 -557-7301.

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