A few weeks ago, I was visited by two delightful groups of third grade students from Sunnyside Environmental School. Accompanied by teachers Jeremy Thomas and Heather Chaney, these exceptionally intelligent children asked thoughtful questions about my duties as City Commissioner, and even about my feelings as a election candidate. Both sets of students blogged about the experience here and here.
Opening the mail on Thursday morning, I found a beautiful banner featuring handmade Thank You cards from students in Heather Chaney's class.
As you can see, I proudly hung the banner in my office entryway, where it will serve as a daily reminder of kindness from my friends at Sunnyside Environmental School. And also of my mother and other teachers who helped me learn that Thank You notes are appreciated.
The historic clock in my waiting area is left at noon. We had it "fixed" when I first took over the office, but it runs by its own time if we wind it up. All the photographs that adorn my office are by my husband, Steve. They mostly feature wild birds and river vessels, in recognition of my role founding the Office of Healthy Working Rivers.
During the Sunnyside class visit, I learned that without the City Council's intervention to provide funding for Portland's schools, third grade classes would have had 38 students next year. I am proud to have been a member of the Council that provided significant support to all Portland school districts, at significant cost to City workers and other basic services. We need to join together to demand that the Oregon Legislature refer a measure to voters in 2013 to provide adequate, stable school funding for all Oregon school districts, ongoing. For the past 10 - 20 years, we've made cuts after cuts, and provided band-aid make-up measures. It's time to fix the problem with a permanent solution. Our children, including the wonderful students at Sunnyside, deserve it.