Mike Weatherby and Ted Tosterud ran Fairview for a total of 17 years. Mike served as mayor from 2003 to 2014, and Ted from 2014 to 2018. I respect experience, and service, and thought I could learn something from talking to our former mayors.
And I did, when Mike and Ted were kind enough to jump on a Zoom call. The two couldn’t be more different.
Mike Weatherby is a 78-year-old Democrat who lives in Historic Fairview and served for years as a county parole officer. Ailing from a newly-diagnosed ulcer, and macular degeneration, he just lost a seat on the city council on Nov. 3.
Mike saw himself as a mayor of the people. He created a business roundtable, sharing a catered lunch monthly with local small business owners, and met frequently with the former police chief, apartment managers, neighborhood leaders, and fellow mayors in East County and across Oregon. He started the city newsletter.
He says his biggest achievement was changing the name of 207th Avenue to Fairview Parkway, a name that went onto the exit sign on I-84. “I put Fairview on the map,” he says.
Ted Tosterud is a 79-year-old Democrat who lives on Blue Lake and had a long career as a business executive and entrepreneur, including overseeing operations for Quest Diagnostics. He narrowly lost his re-election bid for mayor to Brian Cooper two years ago.
Ted saw himself as a champion of business. He waived charges developers typically pay for laying down drinking water, storm water and sewer systems needed for all new building projects, a controversial move that brought Fairview a slew of new construction, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs clinic on Halsey and the Northbrook Village Apartments.
This work stands as his greatest achievement. “People don’t like change, but we needed to increase our tax base and help the Fairview economy,” he says.
Despite their differences, Mike and Ted agree on a few things about Fairview’s future.
Leaders need to work with other cities – Wood Village, Troutdale, Gresham – and also officials from Metro and Multnomah County to get things done. We just don’t have the money and human resources to accomplish big goals on our own.
And we desperately need a shared identity, a statement of who we are, what our value is, and where we’re going that all residents can get behind. That’s one reason why they both support the Main Streets on Halsey project, which aims to make a vibrant, walkable main street along Halsey as it winds through Fairview, Wood Village, and Troutdale.
“We don’t have a city center,” Mike said. “That needs to be Halsey.”
“Building new businesses on Halsey can bring in new revenue sources,” Ted said. “and that’s what we need.”
What was clear on the call is that these very different leaders have a quiet respect for one another. They fought some of the same tough battles - like trying to get Union Pacific to make safety improvements to its train trestles or trying to convince TriMet to get bus service to the Lakes neighborhood. They helped one another as colleagues.
They also care about Fairview. They want it to thrive. Building a strong future for Fairview, my friends, is no longer up to Mike and Ted. That honor and responsibility is ours.