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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

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Mayor Meets with Stakeholders in Southeast Quadrant Plan

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8, 2015 — Mayor Hales last week attended a Stakeholder Advisory Committee meeting about the Southeast Quadrant Plan, which will guide development of the city's most dynamic and evolving area of Portland's Central City. The mayor wanted to hear stakeholder feedback on the plan before a draft is published later this month. Public hearings on the plan begin in May.

In this area of emerging economic creativity and growth, the Southeast Quadrant Plan's goals include:

  •  Increase the number of jobs per acre and new industrial types in the Central City;
  •  Preserve traditional industrial uses;
  •  Increase accessibility to the waterfront;
  •  Provide parking solutions;
  •  Manage increased activity.

Mayor at Redd on SalmonMayor Hales recently toured businesses in the industrial area, including Spooltown (video!) and Uncorked Studios (video!).

"I'm so impressed with their creativity and innovation," he said. "We need to make sure planning preserves these businesses' presence in the Central Eastside."

And Mayor Hales recently toured the new Ecotrust project, Redd on Salmon, which he says is a model for the new economy: "This project is so damn cool. It brings together urban and rural food movements in Central Eastside. It is revolutionary for the Portland food movement. I'm so excited about this project. I want to see more like it."

Stakeholders highlighted potential transportation issues — balancing bicycle and large vehicle traffic — and the desire to preserve the industrial character of the area, among other priorities. Issues will be ironed out as the plan proceeds through its current phase, Phase 4: Plan Development, and into Phase 5: Public Review & Adoption.


Mayor Proposes Energy Reporting for Commercial Buildings

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15 — Mayor Charlie Hales today brought to Council a policy that would require commercial buildings, 20,000 square feet and larger, to track energy performance, calculate energy use, and report to the city. The goal is to reduce energy costs for building owners and carbon emissions for the city — among Mayor Hales' goals to keep Portland living up to its green reputation.

Reducing building energy use is the single biggest opportunity for carbon reductions in the entire county. But right now in Portland, of the city's 5,000 commercial buildings — which are spending $335 million annually on energy — only 81 are ENERGY STAR certified. In a broader context, fewer than 20 percent of commercial buildings in Portland are affected by the policy, yet the policy affects 80 percent of Portland's commercial square footage.

Buildings that track energy use save an average of 2.4 percent on energy costs per year. If all 1,000 buildings covered by the policy saved 2.4 percent, that effort would save them millions of dollars each year, and reduce the city's carbon emissions considerably. In Washington, D.C., a similar policy resulted in a 9 percent reduction in energy use over three years, 2010-13.

The policy would kick in April 2016 for largest commercial buildings, 50,000 and more square feet, and April 2017 for buildings 20,000 to 50,000 square feet. The state and Energy Trust of Oregon provide rebates and tax credits for energy efficient upgrades to lighting and HVAC systems, so "green" improvements shouldn't be cost-prohibitive. In response to building owner concerns, those affected by the policy will have a year to improve energy scores before they become readily available.

"The City is leading by example," Mayor Hales said, referring to the City's target of a 2-percent reduction in building energy use per year. "This policy puts our sustainable city in the ranks of others: Austin, Boston, Cambridge, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle."

Council will vote on the proposed policy on Earth Day, April 22.

More from the Twitter Town Hall the mayor hosted to answer questions about the policy:


Mayor Hosts Environmental Roundtable; Hears from Advocates, Asks for Help for City Priorities

Mayor Hales with representatives from environmental groupsFRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2015 — Mayor Hales this morning hosted a roundtable with representatives from 13 environmental groups to learn about their priorities, and enlist them in helping to advance the city’s environmental goals.

“We’re in a good position right now. I spent these first two years righting the ship, so to speak, redrawing fixing the balancing a budget with a $21.5 million deficit; redrawing URAs to put $800 million back on the tax rolls; and paving more than 100 miles of streets—up from 30 from before I took office,” Mayor Hales said. “Now our businesses and development are strong; our budget has improved and we actually have some money; and we’re focusing some resources on those environmental goals we all care about.”

Representatives from environmental groups presented their priorities for Portland, including urban density, green infrastructure, electric vehicle access, and bike-friendly policies. A sample:

    • Jason Miner, 1000 Friends of Oregon: Density isn’t a goal to protect some distant farms, but rather a tool to create livable communities around walkable and bikeable amenities and services, Miner said. “Let’s frame it that way,” he said. He also called for a renewed focus on Metro’s 2040 plan
  • Bob Sallinger, Audubon Society: He called for renewed investment in green infrastructure. “What’s the next big initiative to get people excited?” he said. He also questioned the 2035 Comprehensive Plan’s focus on industrial land. 

Bob Sallinger with AudubonMayor Hales responded that the industrial designation is designed to work with the new economy, such as the Ecotrust project, The Redd on Salmon. Ecotrust has purchased two buildings that it is renovating into a working hub for new food-based enterprises and the regional food economy. It will help grown young businesses and connect them to Oregon’s resources. “I’m so excited about that project,” Mayor Hales said. “I want to see more like that.”

    • Kristen Sheeran, Climate Solutions: After praising the inclusiveness of the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability’s Climate Action Plan process (draft now out for public comment; click here), she said her group would like the city’s help in creating electric vehicle infrastructure for Portland.
  • Doug Moore, Oregon League of Conservation Voters: He emphasized the importance of Portland being a leader on environmental and climate issues.

Mayor Hales agreed: “We’ve had an outsized, catalytic effect on the world. I was at the C40 conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, and in that gathering of mayor’s from around the world, everybody knew Portland. We have influenced the conversation and action around the world, and we need to continue to do so.”

      • Rob Sadowsky, Bicycle Transportation Alliance: Hitting some hot topics for bicycle advocates, he said Portland needs a bike share; needs to figure out how to include mountain biking in its natural areas; and needs to consider pedestrians and cyclists in its construction zone permits. Fencing around development that takes over sidewalks and bike lanes are dangerous, he said, pointing to Montreal as a city with a good model for balancing construction and transportation needs. 
  • Mary Peveto, Neighbors for Clean Air: "We were honored to participate in this roundtable with Mayor Hales and top champions for the environment. And we were heartened to hear the broad support to address air pollution challenges beyond CO2. We hope to see the City of Portland sustain this commitment to address the challenges we face to preserve urban green space, healthy environments and livability through the projected growth in the decades to come."

Council Approves Mayor's URA Amendments

Mayor Hales at CouncilWEDNESDAY, APRIL 1, 2015 — City Council today approved Mayor Charlie Hales' amendments to the city's urban renewal areas, marking the first-ever comprehensive reform of the development tool.

"I'm very proud of this one," Mayor Hales said. "I spent a lot of time talking to voters a few years ago, telling them that I thought URAs were a great tool, but needed to be right-sized."

For instance, the mayor said, on Southeast Clinton, the new light rail stop area is desolate, "a terrible place to wait for a train now. But it will be a great place in the future with this URA."

On the other hand, the Airport Way was a success, and nearly 1,000 acres were returned to the tax rolls with the redrawing. "Stand on the floor of Leatherman Tools, and you'll see how successful that URA was," Mayor Hales said. "It's active, with diverse employment."

The mayor's plans for redrawing URAs, which help redevelop and improve blighted areas, put $800 million in assessed value back on the tax rolls — effectively increasing the city’s budget by $1.5 million; increasing Multnomah County’s budget by $1.5 million; and increasing the Common School Fund by about $1 million.

Listen to the mayor's full remarks at council (5 minutes) on Soundcloud.

Listen to the mayor discuss URA amendments on OPB's Think Out Loud (20 minutes) on Soundcloud.

Reform includes:

Mayor Hales Testifies at Oregon Legislature

The Office of Government Relations', Portland's lobbyists, 2015 Legislative Agenda.

Oregon Senate Votes to Close Background-Check Loophole for Firearm Sales

TUESDAY, APRIL 14, 2014 — A measure that would require criminal background checks for private gun transfers passed the Oregon Senate today. The issue now moves to the House for consideration.

Mayor Hales and State Sen. Burdick“Today’s vote on background checks for gun sales will make Oregon safer,” said Mayor Charlie Hales, who testified on behalf of the bill. “This is such a simple, common-sense decision. I thank our senators for their leadership on this issue.”

Senate Bill 941 requires background checks on firearms sales and transfers between private individuals. Oregon would be the 12th state to adopt such a policy. Background checks already are required for people who buy guns from licensed dealers and at gun shows. However, private sales, including the popular online sales sites, now would fall under the regulations.

Those who cannot buy firearms — but who may use existing loopholes to do so — include domestic abusers and those committed for mental-health treatment.

Hales praised senators for their leadership, including Sen. Ginny Burdick of Portland, who has been a champion of background checks for years.

“Sen. Burdick has been fighting to reduce the illegal use of guns in Oregon. We back her 100 percent, and we thank her for her leadership,” Hales said.

“I am proud to be a member of the Oregon Senate today,” said Burdick, a chief sponsor of the bill and longtime advocate for gun safety. “By passing universal background checks, we are honoring the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Oregonians who want to prevent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from getting easy access to guns.”

The bill originated in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Floyd Prozanski of Eugene. "This legislation will prevent felons from having easy access to guns by closing the loophole in Oregon’s 25-year-old background check law for purchasing firearms," Prozanski said. "The ease with which felons can currently purchase guns on the internet is a serious threat to public safety. Senate Bill 941 is reasonable, well-vetted legislation that will help keep Oregon communities safe."

Mayor Hales Testifies in Favor of Universal Background Checks

Mayor Hales testifies.Update: Watch Mayor Hales' testimony on video. Start at 5 minutes, 8 seconds.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1, 2015 — Mayor Charlie Hales this morning was at the Oregon Legislature testifying in support of Senate Bill 941, which would expand background checks to private gun purchases.

"Criminals acquire guns in many different ways. Through private sales, law-abiding people can unknowingly sell guns to criminals," Mayor Hales said. "No law-abiding person wants to sell a gun to someone who's going to hurt someone else in a gang confrontation, drug sale or other crime, or themselves in a suicide.

"Ultimately," Mayor Hales told the Senate Judiciary Committee, "the single most important thing we can do to reduce gun violence is to require a criminal background check for every gun sale. Universal background checks are a tool to help law-abiding people sell their guns responsibly, and the consequences are an incentive to do so."

Everytown for Gun Safety reports that in the 17 states and District of Columbia that have universal background checks, 48 percent fewer on-duty police officers are shot and killed, and 48 percent fewer people commit suicide with guns.

"With the recent increase in gang violence in Portland, ensuring people with criminal records or domestic violence restraining orders have a difficult time obtaining guns is critical," the mayor said.

The Portland Police Bureau and other law enforcement say more hurdles to acquiring guns reduces their numbers on the streets, and makes cities safer for everyone.

Senate Bill 941 would also authorize a judge to prohibit individuals ordered to participate in outpatient treatment from purchasing or possessing a firearm if they pose a danger to themselves or others.

Last fall, in less than one month Portland saw three suicides by firearm. In 2013, there were 98 suicides in Portland; firearms were found at the scene of 39 of them.

"That means 40 percent of Portland suicides in 2013 involved firearms -- 40 percent," Mayor Hales said. "Background checks on private sales would close a loophole so it's more difficult for people who are a danger to themselves to acquire guns."

It's time to put an end to these loopholes in gun sales.

More on Mayor Hales' gun control priorities:

Mayor Hales Testifies in Support of Legislation to Enable Body Camera Use

Update: Watch Mayor Hales' testimony online. Start at 24 minutes, 40 seconds.

TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 2015 — Mayor Charlie Hales this morning was in Salem at the Oregon Legislature testifying in support of on-body cameras for the Portland Police Bureau. State legislation, House Bill 2571, is needed in order to adjust state privacy laws to allow for body cameras.

Mayor Hales discussed how on-body cameras are a tool for accountability, and how that must be balanced with transparency of information and privacy of citizens.  

Accountability: Video footage of police use-of-force incidents and police-citizen interactions provides an objective perspective — a primary interest among Portlanders who have contacted the Mayor's Office regarding body cameras. While cameras are restricted by the technology's capabilities (audio and video range), they add important information to investigations into officer conduct. Portland officers who piloted on-body cameras also said that people tended to calm down when they learned they were being recorded.

"Video footage would serve both community trust and officer accountability," Mayor Hales said.

Transparency: The bill requires law enforcement agencies that wish to use body cameras to create a local policy that requires continuous recording beginning when an officer engages in a law enforcement action. This stipulation is intended to minimize officer discretion regarding when the camera is on and what gets recorded — among the top concerns for Portlanders.  

Privacy: "Law enforcement personnel are first responders, there at some of citizens’ most vulnerable moments," Mayor Hales said. "These moments should not be available for broadcast on the 5 o’clock news, or published on YouTube. The law must balance accountability and transparency with the critical preservation of citizen privacy."

Portland Police are collecting public input to inform Portland's body camera policy. Provide your feedback here:

Mayor Hales Connects with Lawmakers in Salem

Mayor Hales with Gov. Brown.FRIDAY, FEB. 27, 2015 — Mayor Charlie Hales spent Thursday morning in Salem, connecting with legislators about Portland interests.

He sat down with Gov. Kate Brown to talk about state transportation funding; background checks for guns; and state funding for a psychiatric emergency services center in Portland. More on the mayor's priorities for those topics:

Mayor Hales also: 

  • Met with Sen. Floyd Prozanski of Eugene regarding background checks on guns and managing recreational marijuana legalization. 
  • With Sen. Ginny Burdick of West Portland, he talked about managing legalized marijuana and their mutual advocacy gun control:
  • Sen. Lee Beyer of Springfield and the mayor discussed state transportation funding.
  • He sat down with Rep. Ann Lininger of Lake Oswego to discuss managing legalized marijuana. 
  • And he met with Rep. Jennifer Williamson of West Portland about body cameras for police, a priority for the police bureau that requires state action.

The mayor also attended meeting of League of Oregon Cities at the Salem Convention Center, and spoke with other mayors on issues that affect all Oregon cities, including transportation funding and marijuana.

2015 Oregon Legislative Session Begins

MONDAY, FEB. 23, 2015 — This week Mayor Charlie Hales heads to Salem to advocate for the city's legislative agenda at the Oregon Legislature.

Portland needs the state to take action on several of the mayor's top priorities to ensure safety and maintain the city's assets. He will be advocating for:

Here is the city's full legislative agenda:

Other priorities include:

  • Affordable housing
  • On-body cameras for police officers 
  • Earned sick leave 
  • Minority- and women-owned business enterprises contracting integrity
  • Children's Services District
  • Fixed-photo radar
  • Brownfield cleanup
  • Reconnect Forest Park
  • Seismic retrofit financing
  • Recreational marijuana management
  • Support for rural communities