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Walt Williams says involving residents is key to life i city that sits just south of Lake Oswego.

REVIEW PHOTO: COREY BUCHANAN - Walt Williams was sworn in as mayor of the City of Rivergrove on Jan. 20. 'I try to put my vision secondary to the vision of the city,' he says. 'I think they already know what they want, and I want to help them develop that.' During a meeting last October, Walt Williams asked members of the Rivergrove community a flurry of rhetorical questions.

"I said, 'What kind of community do we want to be? What do we want the city to be known for? What do you want that to look like? The room went silent," Williams recalls.

The silence was natural, he says now. He hoped listeners would ruminate on the questions, and he didn't expect a response.

"To me it was rhetorical," he says. "But I got responses. People came to me and said, 'I felt that question.'"

As the new mayor of Rivergrove, Williams says he hopes to continue to evoke that kind of reflection and lead the community in a considered direction.

Williams, along with new Councilors Dave Pierce and Jeff Williams, ran unopposed in November and the council agreed to appoint Williams as mayor. They were all sworn in on Jan. 20, with Williams replacing former Mayor Heather Kibbey.

"Every single person on the City Council is competent, is passionate about the city, and any one of them could have been mayor. They voted for me, though, and I'm honored," Williams says. "I'm trying not to mess up the job and do the best I can."

The City of Rivergrove is located near Lake Oswego and Tualatin and next to the Tualatin River. According to the U.S. census, it had a population of approximately 370 residents in 2017.

"We get to affect our own change. We get to accept our own ordinances," Williams says about the benefits of Rivergrove being a small city rather than part of a bigger city. "We have more control over that instead of a bureaucratic one that serves only a portion of the community."

Click here to read the rest of the story in the Lake Oswego Review.

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