Beaverton got a new mayor last year after 16 years of Rob Drake. But Drake's replacement, Mayor Denny Doyle, isn't taking long to embark on a Rogue's path of small-town arrogance.
Drake wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours in 2006 trying to deny Nike public records about the city's annexation plans. The lesson there was that Beaverton—now Oregon's sixth-largest city, with 86,205 residents—is no longer a small town that can act as if its decisions are exempt from scrutiny.
Doyle's hiring last week of Don Mazziotti to be Beaverton's $121,000-a-year director of community development shows a similar small-town mentality.
It's easy perhaps to see why Doyle wanted Mazziotti: He's an accomplished development expert with decades of high-level experience in private- and public-sector positions, including running the Portland Development Commission from 2001 to 2005. And luring Mazziotti, 63, to the suburbs is a little like persuading aging Seattle Mariners slugger Ken Griffey Jr. to end his playing days for the AAA Portland Beavers.
Except for one thing: Mazziotti has spent much of the past year working for Beavers and Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson.
Paulson wants Beaverton to build a $50 million ballpark so he can relocate the Beavers there. That's a huge and controversial investment for Beaverton to consider without clouding the issue with a potential conflict of interest.
Doyle says there is no conflict, because Mazziotti will not play any role in talks with Paulson.
"We're very comfortable with that," Doyle says.
Mazziotti has also said another city official will handle the deal for Beaverton. That's wise. But no matter what happens, convincing citizens that Mazziotti—who remained on Paulson's payroll until late July—will have no influence will now be impossible.