What are the top two lessons you’ve learned during your time as mayor?
SEAN VANGORDON: The importance of listening and seeking to understand people’s perspective are critical skills to being a successful mayor. After 2020, trust in all parts of society is at an all-time low, our problems are complex, and the speed of change is accelerating. I can take the time for an extra tour, coffee, Facebook comment, or more to engage with people to listen.
What can the mayor and its council do to entice more infrastructure and bigger projects in the city?
VANGORDON: Big infrastructure and economic projects are a marathon. It takes grit, focus, and determination. As elected officials, we need to have a clear vision, be flexible, and promote the city. We need to prepare the public that it won’t happen overnight. From 42nd Street to downtown, there are projects that are being developed.
How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process?
VANGORDON: Committees and public testimony are two formal ways to engage with elected officials. I will continue three times per year town halls with residents. I accept invitations to events, podcasts, tours, and panels. I want to encourage people to share what is on their mind, and we can chat about it. I am always listening.
What can the city do to help alleviate pressure of housing and rental inventory for its residents?
VANGORDON: Housing costs are one of the biggest issues that we face. It is going to be a large issue for at least a decade. In the last two years, we’ve built more housing than the past ten years, and it isn’t enough. The city has done a lot to create new programs and easier rules. We need to do more. We need to lobby Salem for regulations that make sense, focus on partnership with public agencies that have land inside city limits, and focus on getting development started in Glenwood.
What are concrete goals you have for bolstering equity and inclusion within your city government?
VANGORDON: Springfield is a growing, diverse city. I support the diverse set of arts and cultural programming that the library and museum has. I’d like to utilize programs like Citylink to both teach groups about the city and encourage people to apply for committees. If city committees were more diverse, the elected bodies would follow that. I want to meet more people, take more tours, and listen to their experiences.