Below we've highlighted a few of Tigard’s fearless female advocates and their contributions to the people and places of Tigard and Metzger.
Mary Woodward (1893 – 1979)
Mary Woodward was known throughout the Tigard community as a champion educator, journalist and conservationist. The Mary Woodward Elementary School in Tigard is named in her honor for her many contributions to the community.
On Arbor Day in 1976, the citizens of Tigard honored Mary by planting and dedicating nine maple trees in Cook Park as the Mary Woodward Maple Grove.
Mary Woodward died in 1979. Just prior to her passing, the Tigard-Tualatin School District dedicated the Mary Woodward Elementary School in her honor.
Grace Tigard Houghton (1901 – 1998)
Grace Tigard Houghton believed that public libraries were fundamental for an educated society. As the granddaughter of Tigard founder Wilson Tigard, Houghton graduated from Lincoln High School in Portland before attending the University of Oregon. She received a degree in physical education from the University of Oregon and Wellesley College in Massachusetts, and became an advocate for health, physical education, and local libraries.
Grace Tigard Houghton died on November 1, 1998 at the age of 97. In her will she donated one-third of her estate to help fund the construction of a reading room for the new Tigard Public Library. The Grace T. Houghton Reading Room, located on the second floor of the library, opened in 2004.
La Verne Sharp (1921 – 1986)
La Verne Sharp helped form the Tigard Historical Association and was its first president. The group saved the John Tigard House from demolition and was successful in listing the house on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Friends of the Museum also envisioned a permanent museum for the group somewhere in Tigard area. In April 1978, the group had identified the John Tigard House (c. 1880) as a potential property and by August 1979 had successfully relocated the home from its original site at Pacific Highway and Gaarde Street to SW Canterbury Lane at 103rd Avenue.
The Friends of the Museum were also successful in having the property listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the City of Tigard’s first property to have that distinction. About this time the group also changed their name to the Tigard Area Historical and Preservation Association (TAHPA, often known as The Tigard Historical Society).
Elizabeth "Betty" Jack (1923 – 1994)
Elizabeth “Betty” Jack was a lifelong Oregonian. Born in 1923, she grew up in the Capitol Highway area of southwest Portland and worked for several grocers in the Tigard area. Betty was known for her kind heartedness and her love of local parks. Betty served on the Tigard Park Board for ten years and Jack Park was named after her.
Betty worked at Girod’s Supermarket on Main Street in Tigard where she became known for her kind heartedness. Pauline Girod said that Betty “genuinely loves people… she used to personally loan people money if they were down and out, and sometimes she would buy groceries for people and take them to them.”
For her dedicated service on the Park Board and unflinching love for her community, the City of Tigard named Jack Park after Betty Jack.
Neva Root [1901 – 1999)
Neva Root was an elementary school teacher in the Tigard, Oregon School District for twenty-two years. Following her retirement from teaching in 1966, Ms. Root, a Tigard resident since 1922, became active in several local civic affairs.
Neva volunteered at the Tigard Public Library for twenty years and was instrumental in researching and documenting the Tigard area’s early history.
In September 1987 the Friends of the Tigard Library dedicated a puppet stage in her name to the library in appreciation of her many years of service to the children of Tigard.
Patricia D. Whiting (1940 – 2010)
Patricia D. Whiting was a state legislator from Metzger who was elected to the Oregon State Legislature in 1972. She served three terms as a state representative for the Tigard-Metzger area and resigned in 1978. As a State Representative for the Oregon State Legislature, Whiting helped pass eleven explicitly feminist pieces of legislation, including the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, and legislation centered on civil rights, employment, family planning, and childcare.
When the Metzger community celebrate its centennial in 2011, Metzger Park’s community center was officially renamed the Patricia D. Whiting Hall.
Alberta Craig Rider (1913 – 2009)
At a very young age, Alberta Craig Rider experienced family trauma including her father’s death and her separation from her mother and siblings. Because of this, Alberta had a lifelong love for children and regularly advocated for their well-being and education.
A lifelong learner herself, Alberta wished to help local children succeed in education in the growing neighborhood of Bull Mountain. In 1997, the Tigard-Tualatin School District purchased her property and Alberta Rider Elementary School opened in 2005.
What is the city of Tigard is doing to combat racism and violence towards our Black community members? Does the council have anti-racism training implemented and are there policies that have been enacted/put in place to ensure Black lives are protected? And if so what are they?
Answer: The City Council and city leaders are committed to making Tigard a community for all and we stand up to hurtful speech and actions to reinforce our efforts.
In 2020 the Council empaneled the Public Safety Advisory Board to review public safety practices. Valerie Sasaki, a member of the Public Safety Advisory Board (PSAB) wrote, “We want to respectfully exchange ideas about how we can support our community and our police.” This community-led group has engaged in difficult, and sometimes uncomfortable conversations to create meaningful change for underrepresented community members. You can view the final report here while past meetings are available on YouTube.
Last year the city launched its first Government and Organizing Leadership Development (Tigard GOLD) series. The GOLD program was created to educate and uplift leaders in the community and was developed with city staff and Unite Oregon, a community-based organization that represents people of color, immigrants and refugees, and people experiencing poverty.
Every three months, Tigard publishes the racial demographics of our team and how it compares to the community. We share the data, whether it paints us in a good light or not, on the city’s website and social media. We also publish an annual Report Card to increase transparency and accountability to the community. Through book lists, programming, and speakers, Tigard Public Library amplifies the city's commitment to DEI and helps educate the community. The Tigard Library compiled a ‘Black Lives Matter’ reading list with books by Black authors. They also hosted a Racial Justice Book Club to read, think, and discuss current events while working together to understand and work against racism in the community. The city’s Talking Tigard podcast has an ongoing series of interviews about DEI, ranging from a father and son sharing the challenges of being Black in Tigard to the founder of the Oregon Black Pioneers sharing the impact of African Americans on the state’s history.
We lead internally with an Anti-Racism Action Plan that identifies actions for addressing racism and bias in our operations. The city has created an employee DEI Team which publishes a monthly employee newsletter to highlight five resources for learning about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. From job postings to interviews, Tigard implemented several equity strategies to improve the selection process and remove barriers to attracting a diverse workforce. We post jobs with groups like Partners in Diversity and Centro Cultural, and then screen applicants by using a ‘blind process’ which eliminates personally identifiable information. Candidates that advance in the process, interview with a diverse panel of city teammates who will ask at least one DEI-related question.
We are working with Sustainability Solutions Group—a climate consultant with over 15 years of experience, to create an actionable plan to bring Tigard to carbon neutrality by 2035, reduce our effect on natural resources and the environment, and help us adapt. In this process, we are centering on equity and environmental justice to reduce the negative impacts of climate change on historically excluded communities. Along with community conversations, we are developing a Racial Equity Toolkit to evaluate decisions and reduce impacts and unintended consequences on the most vulnerable in our community.
Curious how you are changing your hiring practices to ensure that they are equitable and reduce barriers for marginalized communities?
Answer: As part of our continued efforts to diversify our workforce and reduce barriers to marginalized groups in our hiring process we are working on the following changes:
Requiring all of our panels to be diverse
Structured interview questions, rating scales, and rating guides
Standard interview scoresheets
Requiring three panel members on each interview
In addition to what we are currently working on, we made additional changes to our hiring process in March of 2019. Those changes were as follows:
Altered our advertising locations in sync with results of where our hires came from and the majority of diversity in our pool.
Initiated implicit bias and common rater errors training, coupled with best practices for an interview process prior to each interview.
Moved Tigard applications to a candidate number system, names do not show when applications are being screened.
Equity Conversations: Talking Tigard & En Contacto
We are hosting an ongoing series about equity on the city's two podcasts - Talking Tigard and En Contacto and the city's YouTube channel.
Creating Equitable Outcomes in Tigard
David Jaimes was elected to the Tigard-Tualatin School District (TTSD) Board of Directors in 2021. He ran for office to help ensure equitable outcomes for all students. David also serves as a assistant principal in the Newberg School District.
In this interview, he talks about TTSD's equity framework, lessons learned from recent actions of the Newberg School District, and approaches for the City of Tigard to take in building a welcoming, equal and just community.
History of African-Americans in Oregon
Kimberly Moreland, Oregon Black Pioneers, talks about Oregon's black exclusionary laws, abolitionists in Tigard, and the racial equity work being done in Tigard.
Black Lives Matter
Tigard High School students Abdi Mohamoud and Sarah Gentry share how students have mobilized after the killing of George Floyd. They discuss drafting a anti-racism resolution for the Tigard-Tualatin School Board, the successful Student March for Black Lives, and what's next.
Moving from Rhetoric to Action!
Dr. Ame Lambert, Vice President for Global Diversity and Inclusion for Portland State University, shares how the responsibility of equity and inclusion work belongs to everyone. At Portland State, she is developing a 12 to 18 month plan to build the thread of racial equity throughout students, faculty, and staff.
You will also hear about the ways to engage children in difficult conversations about race. Whether talking with children or co-workers, she urges you to lean into the conversations and work. One of the ways to do this is by ‘expanding your capacity for discomfort.’
Amplifying the Voices of the Reticent
The inaugural Tigard Government Organizing and Leadership Development (Tigard GOLD) cohort graduated eight community members from a variety of backgrounds - immigrants, refuges, and citizens of Iraqi, Mexican, Somali, and Turkish heritage. Cohort graduate Aadil Mohamed shares lessons learned including how to effectively present to the City Council.
How the Latinx Community is Shaping Our Region
Cynthia Gomez, Director of Community & Civic Impact at Portland State University, helps us celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
She discusses how the Latinx community is shaping our region, the actions that local government should take to engage the Latinx community, and the lessons learned from the renaming of 39th Ave. to Cesar Chavez Blvd. in Portland.
Racial Unity Book Club
Adrianne Driver, Tigard Library, Bruce Poinsette, Respond to Racism, and Denise Taylor, MLK2020: Healing the Divide discuss the creation of the Racial Unity Book Club. They also share resources for learning about racial justice.
Dr. Marvin Lynn and His Son Naasei
Dr. Marvin Lynn, Dean of the College of Education at Portland State University and his son Naasei discuss the community's response to the murder of George Floyd, the history of racial discrimination in the Portland area, and how Tigard can become a more inclusive community.
Facilitating Social Justice in Tigard
Danny Rauda talks about his work as the Social Justice Coordinator for St. Anthony's Church, including raising awareness about Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
Learning from Our Differences
Jimmy Brown, a 26-year resident of Tigard, talks about raising a Black family in Tigard, interactions with the Tigard Police, and goals for the Public Safety Advisory Board.
Building an Inclusive Community
DeAngeloa Wells and Jake Wise discuss Portland General Electric's diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and how those efforts are attracting a workforce of individuals from different backgrounds and experiences, with different styles, approaches and ways of looking at things.
Brad has a passion for being involved in programs that promote racial reconciliation and equality. He is currently on the board of a Climate Change company with a mandate to educate minorities on the perils of climate change, and how we can do our part to minimize our impact.
He has mentored young African-American males and is working within our systems of change to impact the systemic policies and inequities that bring about broken families and lessen the opportunities that are our birthright as Americans. Within the corporate environment, he has been apart of a resource group that seeks professional employment opportunities for African-American employment specifically targeting HBCUs.
Measuring Our Success
Achieving objectives requires all parts of the organization to engage in specific, measurable efforts.
Build a workforce that is broadly reflective of the community we serve
Increase the overall diversity of job applicants and interviewees
Develop an onboarding process to welcome and support new hires, and educate them about city culture
Regularly collect demographic information from employees, boards, and committees to compare to the community we serve
Attract and retain a talented workforce skilled at working together with inclusion
Provide DEI training to Team Tigard at all levels within the City
Maintain and support an internal DEI advisory team
Publish regular communication to increase Team Tigard’s awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion
Create a space for community conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion to help identify and address barriers within our organizational systems
Develop a communication plan for the community to enhance awareness of the city's diversity, equity and inclusion goals and establish a framework for conversations to continue
Engage the Committee for Community Engagement (CCE) in DEI conversations
Work with the Public Safety Advisory Board to face concerns about race and policing head-on.
Commit to a larger participation in the Building Bridges Program
Create processes, policies, plans, practices, programs and services that meet the diverse needs of those we serve
Establish a leadership team liaison to the internal DEI advisory team
Establish a partnership with TTSD to help equalize equity education across decision makers, opening new avenues to partnerships in community outreach
Create an equity lens to audit public processes and policies in every city department
The objectives and key results outlined above are core indicators of progress and measures of success for our efforts around DEI initiatives. The city will report and publish our progress in these areas on our website.
Tigard’s inaugural Government and Organizing Leadership Development (Tigard GOLD) graduated on June 26, 2021. The GOLD program was created to educate and uplift leaders in the community. The program was developed in partnership with city staff and Unite Oregon, a community-based organization that represents people of color, immigrants and refugees, and people experiencing poverty.
Amplifying the Voice of the Reticent
The inaugural Tigard Government Organizing and Leadership Development (GOLD) cohort graduated eight community members from a variety of backgrounds – including immigrants, refugees, and U.S. citizens of Iraqi, Mexican, Somali and Turkish heritages. Cohort graduate Aadil Mohamed shares lessons learned including how to effectively present to the City Council.
He shares the story of his family's journey to the United States and how that serves as his daily motivation.
By: Jason Snider
June was full of graduations – high school, college, and the Chamber’s Leadership Tigard class.
There was another important graduation ceremony that you may have missed: Eight community members from a variety of backgrounds – including immigrants, refugees, and U.S. citizens of Iraqi, Mexican, Somali and Turkish heritages – graduated from the inaugural Tigard Government Organizing and Leadership Development (GOLD) cohort.
The Tigard GOLD curriculum was structured using a proven education model, which draws from each participant’s direct, lived experiences and knowledge. Using this approach, cohort members gained an understanding of Tigard’s government and learned about community organizing, including how to effectively give testimony to the City Council. They also discussed community-based leadership through the lenses of race, gender, and economic justice.
I commend these eight emerging leaders for spending six Saturday mornings with us and completing the program:
Barrak Al S.
In partnership with Unite Oregon, we invested in Tigard GOLD to educate and uplift leaders in our community. Developing meaningful relationships with current and future Tigard GOLD participants is a key action to boost the engagement of underrepresented communities in city government.
Our first interaction with residents shouldn’t be to ask that you fill out a survey or apply for a city board. It should be to listen, to learn – by listening, for example, to how we can create a more welcoming City Hall or how we can remove barriers to accessing city services.
When I spoke with the GOLD cohort in April and June, I saw eight individuals who are truly the future of Tigard. They will be the next community organizers and city councilors. They will hold us accountable for living our vision to make Tigard an equitable community that is walkable, healthy and accessible for everyone.
You can celebrate the eight Tigard GOLD graduates by raising your voice to call out policies that you think aren’t just and fair, or projects that you believe were developed without input from all Tigard communities.
Tigard strives to be an equitable community that is walkable, healthy and accessible for everyone.
To achieve this goal, we have made a commitment to the community – those who live, play and work in Tigard – to take a moral stance on inclusion.
As an employer, our objective is to encourage a workplace culture of respect, belonging and care where employees can bring their whole selves to work. We believe that by honoring our intrinsic differences and creating an inclusive environment we can more effectively serve the residents, business and visitors of Tigard.
We acknowledge that power imbalances exist due to long standing and systemic discrimination built into various processes and procedures. We are committed to working effectively to remove barriers that current and prospective employees may face in order to make room for all types of differences.
We continue to make progress in these efforts, but we have a long way to go. Will you join us? If you're interested, please contact DEIB Manager at 503-718-2620.