Teresa Jorgensen joined Garden City Council last fall, but now she is ready to make it official with the voters.
Jorgensen, 55, is running for one of two seats up for election to the City Council in November. Garden City Mayor John Evans appointed her to the council in September 2020 and she is hoping to get properly elected for an upcoming four-year term to represent Ada County’s smallest city.
Growth requires careful management
In an interview, she said managing the city’s rapid growth as it changes from a suburban community with large mobile home parks to a more dense, upscale enclave is her number one priority.
“(The growth) is really exciting,” she said. “The navigational challenges are to sustain it and keep the momentum going, but to do it wisely so existing residents aren’t negatively impacted. A lot of the concerns are about services. We cannot diminish the services provided to homeowners and residents who have been here long term, or even short term, and short change them based on the needs of growth that are unpredictable and not finalized yet.”
Jorgensen, a Northwest Boise native, started working in production at Micron right out of high school and remained there for over a decade working her way up in multiple different roles. She took training from Micron engineers and a handful of Boise State University classes, but she never earned an undergraduate diploma. She is now the National Accounts Manager for Garden City-based photo-copier and printer company Fisher’s Technology.
Rewriting Garden City’s outdated zoning code is a major focus of Jorgensen. She said the dated code needs to be updated to reflect the new urban development in the city, but also the questions that come with new technology like e-bikes and 5G towers.
“It’s time to look at the code to determine not just zoning issues, but other issues that have been overlooked for a while,” she said.
Demand for mobile homes waning
Jorgensen remembers when Boiseans commonly referred to Garden City as “Garbage City” and warned their children to stay away. She lauded the city council’s efforts in the past ten years at encouraging the city’s growth and turning the area near the Boise River into a vibrant river walk and a destination for local breweries and wineries, which she said needs to continue as long as it’s done “logically” to maintain the quality of life for existing residents.
Housing advocates have expressed concern as mobile home parks home to many of the Treasure Valley’s low-income residents continue to give way to upscale residential development, most notably near the Boise River in Garden City. Jorgensen said she understands the perspective of the park residents and advocates are raising, but she said the market is shifting away from that style of housing.
She pointed to developments like NeighborWorks with affordable homeownership opportunities as a way to address the problem.
“There’s not a great demand for mobile homes anymore,” she said. “Generally people are looking for smaller community residences in a building with amenities. We don’t see a lot of applications for mobile homes either.”
BoiseDev will profile each candidate for Boise City Council, Garden City City Council and Meridian City Council as they formally file to run for office.