Canby City Councilor Tracie Heidt announced her resignation last week, a move that surprised many considering she was only six months into her new term. But her reasoning made sense. Her work responsibilities have recently increased and that, coupled with the demands of the City Council, was cutting into time that she would rather spend with her family.
“I really want to come home every night to be a mom and make dinner, go for walks with my kids, help with homework and just spend time with my kids before they grow up,” she told her fellow councilors last week. “Childhood is short, and I don’t want to miss it.”
In a follow-up interview, Councilor Heidt reflected on the highlights the city has seen since she joined the council in January 2015. She didn’t have to think too hard to name what she believes to be most important accomplishment.
“The construction of the new library! Hands down,” she said. “The reason I ran for office five years ago was to help shepherd through the building of a new library. It is here and it is grand.”
She acknowledged that there is not much an individual councilor can accomplish — since they have only one vote out of six — but she was responsible for the recognition of Walt Daniels, who was honored for his decades of service to the city of Canby with the Hometown Hero award in 2017. It’s something she still has fond memories of.
“He deserved the wonderful attention and reception he received that night,” she said.
She also noted the creation of the parks maintenance fee and the new splash pad that was approved for Maple Street Park. She said she hopes the council moves forward the long-awaited Canby Dog Park as well as a park in the Auburn Farms development in north Canby.
“I couldn’t help facilitate those two parks in my time, but if the community truly values those future parks, as I think they do, I hope that they continue to pressure the council to build them,” she said.
Also important, she believes, was the controversial vote that paved the way for build high density housing to be built in the industrial park.
“The Sequoia Grove Apartments behind Fred Meyer wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for that vote,” she said. “That was a tie vote that the mayor broke. I’ll never forget that night.”
Some small things stand out as well. She said she’s excited the city has hired two bilingual police officers over the past two years, and that Gwynn’s Coffeehouse came in to fill the void left by “the beloved Place to Be Cafe” (though, she admits, that has nothing to do with council).
She said she believes the new Dahlia building downtown “will be well received in time,” acknowledging that some folks in the community have struggled to come to terms with it “because it is tall and seemed weirdly out of place to people at first.”
All in all, it wasn’t a bad run, and she harbors fond memories of her time with the council, especially the early years.
“When I finally pause for a moment to reflect, I look back fondly over the last five years and remember my first two years on council in the old city hall building,” she said. “That was an intimate space and is charged with a lot of memories, especially of me as a new councilor feeling unsure and like the quiet minority voice who was trying to find her way.”
The city is now accepting applications to replace Councilor Heidt. The deadline to apply is July 5. Tracie’s last meeting will be July 17.