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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, Partners Announce New Baseball Team Based at Lents' Walker Stadium

Rose City BaseballTUESDAY, MAR. 10, 2015 – Mayor Charlie Hales, Rose City Baseball LLC, Portland Parks & Recreation, and the Portland Development Commission announced today that baseball is returning to the City of Portland with a new college wood-bat team based in East Portland.

The City and the Great West League are partnering to bring Portland’s new baseball team (soon-to-be named by Portland’s fans!) to Walker Stadium in PP&R’s Lents Park, Southeast 92nd and Holgate, for the 2016 season.

“We’re finally seeing some real development in Lents,” Hales said. “The team and stadium improvements will be great for the east Portland neighborhood. I’m an advocate for complete neighborhoods, and this plan will help Lents to shine! The city is delighted to partner with Ken and his colleagues in bringing baseball back to the Rose City.”

Portland’s Baseball Team is owned and operated by Rose City Baseball, LLC, under the direction of team President and CEO Ken Wilson. 

“There’s been a void in the city since the Portland Beavers left, and having baseball so conveniently located for neighbors in east Portland will be terrific”, says Wilson. “We’re excited to bring affordable family entertainment to Portland and we believe Walker Stadium will be one of the most exciting ball parks in the country.”

The new Walker Stadium will have a capacity of 1,500, including group event areas. The stadium in PP&R’s Lents Park was constructed in 1956. It is located within easy reach of mass transit and major freeways. The updated Walker Stadium will cater to fans’ enjoyment of professional-style baseball with amenities including multiple concession stands, a playground and group event areas.

“We’ll have the most exciting entertainment in Portland, and we want the half-million people within 15 minutes of the ballpark to know that this team belongs to them,” Wilson adds.

The public-private partnership between Rose City Baseball, LLC, and the City of Portland will also bring gleaming upgrades and needed repairs to Lents Park’s centerpiece, Walker Stadium. Outside of the 30 Great West League baseball games annually, the freshly renovated stadium will be available for play by recreational players or anyone else to use.

“Baseball has been missed in Portland, and I am excited to have the game returning,” said Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “I appreciate that this public-private partnership provides stadium improvements that all Portlanders can enjoy.”

Without the partnership, Fritz added, the much-needed renovations to Walker Stadium would not be occurring for the foreseeable future. The stadium will be open for community use for the majority of the year.

“Lents is in a part of town – East Portland - that deserves an improved parks and recreation experience,” added Fritz, “and this endeavor is a solid complement to the new parks which PP&R is building in east Portland – Beech Park and Gateway Park & Urban Plaza.”

Team owner Ken Wilson had a similar role in another summer wood-bat league for collegians, serving as president of the West Coast League. He spent more than two decades as a broadcaster for Major League Baseball and the NHL. Wilson, who lives in Portland, spent six seasons with legendary Seattle Mariners play-by-play announcer Dave Niehaus. 
Pat Gillick, the Great West League co-founder along with Wilson, is the current president of MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies and a National Baseball Hall of Fame member. He has been general manager of four MLB teams, including the Mariners (2000-03). Gillick won two World Series championships with the Toronto Blue Jays and one with the Phillies.

The City and Rose City Baseball are teaming up on $650,000 worth of improvements to the stadium, including new chair-back seating, the addition of group event areas, a new scoreboard, team offices, a new press box, new concession services, new dugouts, a major league backstop, a new irrigated grass playing surface and a children’s play area.

The yet-to-be-named baseball team will play 30 home games per 60 game season. The team will pay rent to the City, clean the stadium, and provide security during games. Outside of the dates set aside for the team, the stadium will be open for permitted play by anyone who reserves it.

“Portland Development Commission’s investment is consistent with our commitments to the community and neighborhood association,” says PDC Executive Director Patrick Quinton. “We are delighted that Rose City Baseball will hire local youth and develop partnerships with local community-based organizations, such as Lents Grown and Lents Little League. Since 1998, PDC has made more than $5 million in investments in parks and open space in the Lents Town Center Urban Renewal Area”.

Financial contributions for the partnership:
Rose City Baseball: $400,000
Portland Development Commission: $200,000
Portland Parks & Recreation: $50,000

About the Great West League 
The Great West League is one of the premier summer collegiate wood bat leagues in North America, providing a professional, minor league-like atmosphere for top college players seeking professional baseball careers, while providing affordable family entertainment and enriching the quality of life in its member communities.

The league will begin play with six teams, each playing a 60-game schedule. Portland, OR, Chico and Lodi, California, have each secured teams. The remaining teams will be announced by late summer.

Ken Wilson, who also serves as President of the GWL, is a co-founder of the league along with Pat Gillick, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and currently President of the Philadelphia Phillies. Gillick is part owner of the Chico Heat.

What’s the team called? That’s up to YOU!
Portland’s Baseball Team has unveiled a website at www.portlandsbaseballteam.com. A “Name Your Team” contest begins immediately and fans can go to the team website to vote for their choice for the team nickname.

Twitter Town Hall 2: Mayor Answers Questions on Taxis, Transportation Network Regulations

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 25, 2015 — Mayor Charlie Hales today hosted a second Twitter Town Hall, this time discussing regulations governing taxis and transportation network companies, such as Lyft and Uber. The live tweet discussion came ahead of community forum hosted by Portland Bureau of Transportation, which will be Thursday, Feb. 26, 6 to 8:30 p.m., in the Portland Building.

Since January a task force has been working on crafting regulations to overhaul archaic taxi code and to incorporate into code new transportation network companies.

Twitter Town Hall: Mayor Answers Questions on $15 Minimum Wage

FRIDAY, FEB. 20, 2015 — On Wednesday, prior to the Council session about the topic, Mayor Charlie Hales in a live Twitter Q&A answered questions about the city's Fair Wage Policy. He and Commissioner Dan Saltzman proposed updating the policy to pay full-time, permanent city employees and contractors at least $15 per hour, affecting 15 city employees and 157 contractors. The Council voted 5-0 to approve the update.

The Q&A:

Mayor Hales Continues to Deliver SOTC 2015

Following his Jan. 30 State of the City address at the Sentinel Hotel, Mayor Hales has continued to deliver (a shorter) State of the City speech to diverse groups around the city in an effort to keep them informed about his agenda and how they'll benefit. 

Here are summaries of his conversations with groups he's addressed. The list will be updated as he continues to give mini State of the Speech addresses through March. 

SEIU Local 49, Jan. 30

Mayor Hales at SEIUThe night of the primary State of the City address, Mayor Hales spoke to the SEIU Local 49 union at its annual dinner. He received a standing ovation when he announced his plan to work with Commissioner Dan Saltzman to propose a $15 minimum wage for all full-time, permanent city employees and city contractors. Further, he announced, John Russell, a prominent local businessman, said he’ll match the city’s $15 per hour in his buildings. "I call on other civic-minded business leaders to match John Russell’s example," Mayor Hales said. 

MORE: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/517608


Immigrant and refugee communities, Feb. 3

Mayor Hales with immigrant groupsMayor Hales talked to representatives of immigrant and refugee groups about the "human equation" theme of his priorities outlined in the State of the City address. He also conveyed what the City of Portland is doing to support New Portlanders: 

  • The city's legislative agenda supports coalition efforts to establish a work group to research for and guide the Oregon Legislature on establishing a foreign vocational credential or license transfer system, helping immigrants access employment. 
  • Mayor Hales has supported President Obama's executive action on the nation's broken immigration policies.
  • Mayor Hales joined a coalition of mayors nationwide to urge Congress to act on passing meaningful immigration reform.
  • During last summer's influx of unaccompanied minors entering the U.S., Mayor Hales contacted state leadership and local immigrant organizations to assure them that Portland would be a safe harbor for children fleeing failed states.

Hollywood Boosters, Feb. 4

Hollywood Boosters listen to Mayor HalesMayor Hales talked to the Hollywood Neighborhood business group about development and economic opportunity. He encouraged them to mobilize, and put their stamp on the Comprehensive Plan, which will guide development and investment in Portland for the next 20 years. "We want development the Portland way: the neighborhood plans, the city supports, and partnerships, partnerships, partnerships," Mayor Hales said. Read the Hollywood Star's coverage of the event: http://star-news.info/2015/02/04/pdx-mayor-connects-with-northeast-portland-stakeholders/ 


Rosewood Initiative, Feb. 10

Mayor Hales talks to East Portland residentsMayor Hales talked about his priorities for public safety and infrastructure, noting the number of shots fired and lack of sidewalks in East Portland. He talked to residents about his strategy for East Portland: "We're bearing down on a few neighborhoods rather than dancing over the surface of a lot of them, in order to accomplish real change," he said. "I've been out to Lents and Gateway and other neighborhoods east of I-205; I'm aware of the need, and I'm focused on making real change. We'll move forward with neighborhood plans, city support, and partnerships — the Portland way." MORE on plans for Lents and livable neighborhoods: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/517605 


Gateway Area Business Association, Feb. 12 

Mayor Hales at Gateway Area Business AssociationMayor Hales attended the Gateway Area Business Association meeting in East Portland to talk about what State of the City means to them. He touched on neighborhood livability, public safety, and economic development. The weekend before the mayor toured the Gateway neighborhood and talked with business owners, who were concerned primarily about safety, as gang-related violence affects the east. Business Association members expressed concerns about how the city deals with people in mental health crisis, as well as public safety in the neighborhood and feeling heard by City Hall. The mayor told the business association that he is committed to seeing the investment that is being directed at Lents directed at Gateway, as well.

MORE on police from State of the City: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/517599


Our 42nd Avenue, Feb. 13

Mayor speaking to Our 42nd AveMayor Hales spoke to the neighborhood economic development group Our 42nd Ave — comprised of of business owners, local employees, commercial property owners, community institutions, and others interested in economic change in the 42nd Avenue area — about using partners and aligned investment to create economic opportunity. Among the mayor's initiatives for economic opportunity, he'll propose a tax incentive for businesses that hire ex-offenders, and is creating a work force to make the Minority, Women, Emerging Small Business contract process more beneficial to those marginalized groups. He addressed neighborhood livability concerns, including building sidewalks and pedestrian crossings near schools. Mayor Hales responded to the group's questions about gentrification and increasing density in the Lloyd District, and how they could lobby their representatives in the Oregon Legislature to support an increase in the gas tax.


Multifamily NW, Feb. 17

Mayor Hales talking to Multifamily NWMayor Hales spoke to the association, which represents residential property managers and vendors, about affordable housing and increasing density in Portland neighborhoods. Under the mayor's leadership, the Portland Development Commission has invested $36 million in affordable housing in North and Northeast Portland, helping to address the widespread need. Mayor Hales is encouraging partnerships and creative ideas — such as Rob Justus and Dave Carbonneau's plan to build 1,000 small, affordable units in four years — to address housing needs. Attendees questioned the mayor about the proposed emergency psychiatric center and public safety concerns; last year there were more than 50 major crimes per 1,000 residents in Portland, which is a decline. They also wondered when Portland would get its own major league baseball team. Good idea, Mayor Hales said, "especially now that we have California weather."


East Portland Action Plan, Feb. 25 

Mayor Hales talks to EPAPMayor Hales talked with the group implementing the East Portland Action Plan, a community-driven process nationally recognized for its collaborative approach to addressing the long-standing needs of this historically underserved portion of the city. He discussed development projects in East Portland, such as the PDC investment in Lents, and public safety concerns that have come to the forefront with a substantially higher-than-average number of shootings this year — 23, involving 225 bullets fired as of Feb. 25. Attendees asked him about gun control, which is on the city's legislative agenda. They wanted assurance that East Portland would see affordable housing money invested in the area; Mayor Hales told them to advocate for general fund dollars as the budget process gets underway in March. And they wanted to know about his commitment to equity: "If you want to know a city's priorities, look at where it focuses its funding," Mayor Hales said. "I've tied equity to bureaus' budgets, which ensures leaders are considering the impacts of their programs and policies on all Portlanders, It's a critical step in institutionalizing equity in Portland city government."


ONI Community Summit, Feb. 28

Mayor Hales talks with resident at ONI summitMayor Hales on Saturday attended the Office of Neighborhood Involvement Community Summit, where upward of 400 civic-minded residents met to connect over their community. The mayor addressed a group of about 100, and took questions about his priorities.

He called neighborhoods to action: “Neighborhoods should come up with ideas and bring them to the city. Community Development Corporations are a great example,” Mayor Hales said, referencing an idea articulated by Hollywood resident Yu Te. “We want neighborhoods to come to us with solutions that will work for their areas.”

East Portland Action Plan, the mayor said, is a great example of bottom-up solutions. Old Town/Chinatown residents likewise came up with a development plan for their neighborhoods, which Council approved.

Mayor Hales said that while Portland’s acclaimed neighborhood association model helps represent hyperlocal issues, it needs to be more inclusive. “People who don’t speak English, immigrants, young professionals, those who typically don’t have time to attend meetings—the city needs to hear from them and they need to be represented,” Mayor Hales said. He has begun hosting Twitter Town Halls in an effort to reach some of those demographics: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/index.cfm?&a=520502

“Become a leader,” Mayor Hales said. “Get involved. Come to Council and ask us to put you in a leadership post.”

Residents also questioned him about affordable housing and infill and demolition. The mayor said the city needs money for affordable housing, and he’s looking for creative ideas to get it. More on infill and demolition: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/517606

They asked about homelessness, and what the city is doing to curb what seems like a growing trend. Mayor Hales discussed his and Multnomah County’s effort to house all of Portland’s homeless veterans by Veterans Day: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/517610

Blumenauer Reintroduces Bill for Federal Gas Tax Increase

Earl BlumenauerWASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 4, 2015 — Congressman Earl Blumenauer today introduced the Update, Promote, and Develop America’s Transportation Essentials (UPDATE) Act, which would generate a much-needed $210 billion over the next 10 years for the nearly insolvent Highway Trust Fund.

“Rep. Blumenauer is once again pushing Congress to be the partner it’s supposed to be in transportation funding. Thank you, Earl, for your leadership,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Portland has a $1.5 billion unfunded street liability. We need Congress and the Oregon Legislature to act — and to act at the city level — to take care of our largest asset.”

The UPDATE Act is accompanied by Congressman Blumenauer’s Road Usage Charge Pilot Program Act, which would create a competitive grant program to fund pilot projects such as those undertaken by Oregon Department of Transportation.

Congressman Blumenauer’s UPDATE Act would raise gas and diesel taxes by 15 cents over three years, indexing them to inflation. The $210 billion it would generate over a decade would be enough to make up the Highway Trust Fund shortfall and increase infrastructure investment by at least $4 billion per year.

States and cities need the certainty of a long-term reauthorization and a sustainable funding mechanism to create jobs, reduce congestion and repair roads and bridges, Mayor Hales says. Since the last full six-year surface transportation bill expired in 2003, Congress has passed 23 short-term extensions. The latest extension is set to run out at the end of May — on the eve of the summer construction season.

Congressman Blumenauer’s action comes follows President Obama’s 2016 budget, providing nearly $95 billion for U.S. Department of Transportation infrastructure projects.

The president called for a 14 percent one-time tax on previously untaxed foreign income. That would generate an estimated $268 billion in revenue. The budget helps fund a six-year, $478 billion program for highway, bridge and transit projects; that’s a 33 percent increase in large-project funding and a 75 percent increase on transit.

Mayor and Congressman BlumenauerIn Salem, Gov. John Kitzhaber and Speaker Tina Kotek have prioritized transportation funding for the session, which started this week.

After putting street fund efforts on hold while transportation funding is considered in the Oregon Legislature, city leaders have asked the body to lift state pre-emptions that prohibit the city from raising revenue on vehicle registration and studded tires. They’ve asked for a regional gas tax; for the state to fix up orphan highways and deed them over; and for an increase in statewide gas tax. A gas tax increase will require 18 votes in Senate and 36 in House.

“Last year we dug down deep with the dollars we already had and paved more streets. We went from paving 30 miles per year to paving 100 miles per year with the money we already had,” Mayor Hales said. “Now we’re calling on Congress and the State Legislature to support our colleagues in funding transportation.”