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Mayor Charlie Hales

City of Portland Mayor Charlie Hales

Phone: 503-823-4120

1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 340, Portland, OR 97204

Portland Becomes First Salmon-Safe City

Mayor Hales issues Salmon-Safe challenge to other West Coast cities

Salmon-Safe Banner

 Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016

Mayor Charlie Hales today announced that the City of Portland has taken action across city operations to earn Salmon-Safe certification, making it the first city to achieve the third-party designation for its systematic approach to improving water quality and restoring salmon habitat. READ: the Salmon-Safe Certification Report

Portland City Council formally adopted the findings of Salmon-Safe’s assessment, three years in the making.
“We are now a Salmon-Safe city. I am proud of our City bureaus rising to the challenge and fulfilling the pledge I made in 2013 that Portland would become the first city to be certified Salmon-Safe, advancing our environmental leadership in watershed health and salmon recovery,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Portland is a city of rivers, and our economic well-being and quality of life is interwoven with the health of the Willamette, Columbia, and connecting watersheds that are home to native-endangered salmon. I am proud to leave a Salmon-Safe legacy that is now embedded in city operations.

Salmon-Safe, an independent non-profit organization headquartered in Portland, has become a leading regional eco-label with more than 95,000 acres of farm and urban lands certified in Oregon, Washington, California and British Columbia. Salmon-Safe’s goal is to ensure properties are managed so that Northwest waters and rivers are clean enough for salmon to spawn and thrive, benefiting wildlife and people.

Salmon-Safe certified sites include many Northwest vineyards and farms that grow signature Northwest products such as wine, hops and hazelnuts as well as urban Portland area sites including Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, the Oregon Convention Center, Portland State University and Lewis & Clark College. 

The City of Portland’s designation means that city operations have conditionally passed the organization’s comprehensive science-based evaluation of land and water management practices. Where improvement is needed, facility managers are committing to additional actions to limit water pollution, conserve water use and restore habitat over the next five years, at which time Salmon-Safe will re-inspect City operations for recertification. 

But that’s not enough, said Mayor Hales: “I also call on my fellow West Coast mayors and cities to join us and become Salmon-Safe city partners. We are all connected by our shared waterways. Salmon-Safe’s actions are especially relevant in the fight against climate change, when it is imperative to conserve water and strengthen the resilience of our natural systems.”

Salmon-Safe's third-party audit shows that the City of Portland is on the cutting-edge of West Coast cities in taking a holistic approach to its watershed," said Dan Kent, Salmon-Safe executive director. "Taken together, the city's actions represent an integrated approach and important commitment to the health of the Willamette River and our urban watershed.”

Salmon-Safe certification affects day-to-day city operations that potentially impact downstream water quality as well as the construction and maintenance of City-managed properties, including City-owned buildings and the City’s fleet of vehicles and bureau maintenance yards.  

In practice it means systems are being implemented to further conserve water, reduce pesticide use, improve erosion control and increase installation of rain gardens and other “green infrastructure” to ensure storm water runoff is clean as it filters into wetlands, groundwater, nearby tributaries and the Willamette and Columbia rivers. 

The current Citywide Salmon-Safe effort builds on Portland Parks & Recreation’s decade-plus experience implementing its standards. PP&R first achieved certification in 2003 and was recertified in 2012. On World Environment Day in June 2013, Mayor Hales challenged other bureaus to adopt Salmon-Safe standards and apply for certification. That effort began in 2014 with the City’s three largest infrastructure bureaus: Environmental Services (BES), Transportation (PBOT) and Water (PWB). 

Participation expanded in 2015 to include Portland Fire and Rescue facilities and the Office of Management and Finance, which manages the City’s buildings. The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) has served as project manager and coordinator. 

Spirit Mountain Community Fund provided the initial support for the City’s Salmon-Safe evaluation. Implementation will be woven into bureau operations and capital improvements, and require no separate funding. Instead, future actions, such as the installation of rain gardens and habitat restoration practices, will be addressed through ongoing bureau funding and individual bureau capital improvement project requests.

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Mayor, Chair Kafoury announce $30 million for housing, homelessness emergency

State of emergency press conference

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 30, 2015 — Today Mayor Charlie Hales and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury announced a $30 million commitment by the City and County to A Home For Everyone, a community partnership that is working to achieve a shared value: No one should be homeless; everyone needs a safe, stable place to call home.

The commitment follows Mayor Hales’ announcement that he would ask City Council to consider declaring a state of emergency on housing and homelessness

“This creates an even greater sense of urgency around A Home For Everyone’s strategic plan,” Mayor Hales said. “We’ve tried slow-and-steady. We’ve tried by-the-book. It’s time to add the tools we currently lack.

“For too long we have stayed rooted in some realization that these problems can’t be solved overnight,” the mayor continued. “I want to move us to asking ourselves daily what problems can be solved tonight.

$30 Million

Mayor Hales and Chair Kafoury committed to a $30 million investment in housing and homelessness — $20 million from the City, $10 million from the County. The City’s $20 million will come from new and existing sources, identified through budget processes.

How It Will Be Used

A Home For Everyone will use the $30 million to fund shelter beds for women and families, and for new affordable housing units, including mental health housing and protections for tenants who are facing housing instability because of a dramatic rise in rents. The breakdown: With $10 million, A Home For Everyone plans to create 250 more units for homeless people. Another $5 million would be used for shelter operations; $2.5 million for eviction prevention; and $12.5 million for housing placement, rent assistance and support services. 

This is in addition to funds already dedicated to housing and homelessness, including:

  • $100 million in Mayor Hales' 2015-16 budget; 
  • $150,000 for veterans’ housing assistance in the City's Spring 2015 supplemental budget;
  • $126,000 in that supplemental budget to extend operations of two women’s shelters to the entire year.

State of Emergency

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, Council will consider the mayor’s proposal to declare a state of emergency. A state of emergency would allow the city to expedite permitting and citing for shelters and for building more housing units, allowing for a less costly and time-consuming process. In practice, this means that it would be easier to cite shelters, and won’t take six months and $30,000 to open a shelter.


Meanwhile, the City will continue to implement the Mayor’s Homelessness Initiative, which includes:

  • House Homeless Veterans: The City and Multnomah County are working to house all of Portland’s homeless veterans by Christmas. There were over 600 veterans living outside; now there are around 200 who still need homes. 
  • High-Intensity Street Engagement Program: The City has contracted with Cascadia Behavioral Health to house people who face the greatest barriers to housing.
  • One-Point Contact System: Beginning in October, there will be one point of contact to report all behavior-based issues, across city, county, state and other jurisdictions. 
  • Day Storage Pilot Program: Two storage sites — one on the east side, one on the west side — at which houseless people may leave their belongings for the day will open in October.

And City Council will continue to address housing-related issues, including:

  • Today, Sept. 30: Accept the State of Housing Report [PDF]
  • Wednesday, Oct. 7: Consider declaring a State of Emergency on Housing and Homelessness
  • Thursday, Oct. 8: Work session on the Comprehensive Plan Housing Element
  • Tuesday, Oct. 13: Work session on TIF set-aside
  • Wednesday, Oct. 28: Affordable Housing Nexus Study