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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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Fighting Income Inequality, Low Wages

American Mayors Pledge To Fight Income Inequality, Low Wages


TUESDAY, AUG. 12, 2014

NEW YORK CITY – Portland Mayor Charlie Hales cited a report released Monday that underscores a crisis of the economic recovery: higher-paying jobs lost in the Great Recession are being replaced with lower-paying jobs.Mayors in New York

Erin Carlyle of Forbes outlined the details of the report in a Monday article.

“It’s not just Portland, it’s everywhere,” Hales said from a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Cities of Opportunity meeting in New York City. “We are working to retain jobs, and to draw jobs, to Portland, but this report outlines the difficulty. Overlay this with our focus on equity and gentrification, and you can see how complicated the situation is.”

Portland is not immune to the seismic shifts in the economy, Hales said, despite the recovery that has seen better than 3 percent job growth here, and some of the highest percentages of occupied office space in the nation.

Mayors on hand for the conference in New York include Bill de Blasio of New York; Martin Walsh of Boston; Michael Nutter of Philadelphia; Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles; Mike Rawlings of Dallas, Texas; and Annise Parker of Houston, Texas.

Wage Gap Widens From Recession as Income Inequality Grows


TUESDAY, AUG. 12, 2014

NEW YORK CITY – Jobs gained during the economic recovery from the Great Recession pay an average 23 percent less than the jobs lost during the recession, according to a new report released Monday by The U.S. Conference of Mayors.Mayor Hales signing document

“It’s not just Portland, it’s everywhere,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, who was in New York for the U.S. Conference of Mayors Cities of Opportunity meeting. “We are working to retain jobs, and to draw jobs, to Portland, but this report outlines the difficulty. Overlay this with our focus on equity and gentrification, and you can see how complicated the situation is.”

The annual wage in sectors where jobs were lost during the downturn was $61,637, but new jobs gained through the second quarter of 2014 showed average wages of only $47,171. This wage gap represents $93 billion in lost wages.

Under a similar analysis conducted by the Conference of Mayors during the 2001-02 recession, the wage gap was only 12 percent compared to the current 23 percent -- meaning the wage gap has nearly doubled from one recession to the next.

“There’s a ‘walling off’ of the American Dream from a growing number of Americans,” Hales said. “Massive income inequality means the American Dream is in trouble.”

Prepared for the Conference of Mayors by IHS, the report was released in conjunction with the inaugural meeting of the USCM Cities of Opportunity Task Force in New York City. The Task Force, led by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, was established at the Conference’s Annual Meeting in June to identify strategies for addressing income inequality, promoting economic mobility and creating jobs in America’s cities.

“While the economy is picking up steam, income inequality and wage gaps are an alarming trend that must be addressed,” said U.S. Conference of Mayors President Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.

Mayor Hales speaking“This Task Force will recommend both national and local policies that will help to give everyone opportunity. We cannot put our heads in the sand on these issues,” Johnson said. “The nation’s mayors have an obligation to do what we can to address issues of inequality in this country while Washington languishes in dysfunction.”

The report also shows the gap between low- and higher-income households is growing and will continue into the foreseeable future. In 2012, the latest year for which figures are available, 261 (73 percent) out of 357 metros had a larger share of poorer households (those making less than $35,000 per year), than upper income households of above $75,000.

The report forecasts that middle-income households will continue to fall behind as higher income levels capture a greater share of income gains. In 2014 median household income is projected to increase by 2.5 percent in nominal dollars, and then by 3.8 percent per year from 2015 through 2017. But average (mean) income is expected to rise faster, 2.7 percent in 2014 and by 4.1 percent through 2017. Faster growth in mean income compared to median income demonstrates growing income inequality.

Adjusted for inflation, average household income fell 3 percent, while median income fell 5.5 percent from 2005-12, according to the report.

“The inequality crisis facing our cities is a threat to our fundamental American values. Reducing income inequality and ensuring opportunity for all is nothing less than the challenge of our times. As mayors, we are on the front lines and we must act now,” de Blasio said. “The Cities of Opportunity Task Force is bringing mayors from all corners of the country together to work together and leverage the power of municipal governments to advance a national, common equity agenda, and to also encourage action on a federal level.”

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh added, “Recognizing that each city has both universal and unique challenges, we identified three areas in which many of us believe there can be short-term, meaningful impact. In addition to this work we are committing to do together, we will all continue to work in our respective cities on disparity across all policy areas. In our conversations to date, we have identified additional factors related to housing, transportation, financial empowerment and a whole host of other issues that we plan to address moving forward. This is a long-term commitment for all of us, to effect lasting change in the lives of real people in our cities.”

Group of mayorsMost notably, the report found that, since 1975, the increasing share of income earned by the highest quintile – the 20 percent of households with the highest incomes – rose from 43.6 percent in 1975 to 51 percent in 2012. Most of that gain occurred in the highest 5 percent of incomes, which rose from 16.5 percent in 1975 to 22.3 percent in 2012, a gain of $490 billion in 2012 income.

The lowest two quintiles, or 40 percent of households, received just 6.6 percent of all US income gains since 2005, while the share of total income gains from the top 20 percent was 60.6 percent and the top 5 percent received 27.6 percent.

The report concludes that according to IHS economic models, the drift toward income inequality will persist in the coming years as it is a structural feature of the 21st Century economy.

“Unless policies are developed to mitigate these trends, income inequality will only grow larger in the future,” said Jim Diffley, director of US Regional Economics at HIS and author of the report.




More than 30 mayors from cities across the country attended the first meeting of the USCM Cities of Opportunity Task Force. The list includes:

KEVIN JOHNSON, Sacramento, CA – USCM President

BILL DE BLASIO, New York, NY – USCM Cities of Opportunity Task Force Chair

MARTIN WALSH, Boston, MA – USCM Cities of Opportunity Task Force Vice Chair


RICHARD BERRY, Albuquerque, NM



BILL FINCH, Bridgeport, CT












TONI HARP, New Haven, CT



FRANK ORTIS, Pembroke Pines, FL

MICHAEL NUTTER, Philadelphia, PA

BRIAN WAHLER, Piscataway, NJ



RALPH BECKER, Salt Lake City, UT


GARY MCCARTHY, Schenectady, NY



JOHN MARKS, Tallahassee, FL

VINCENT C. GRAY, Washington, DC



National Night Out

Mayor Celebrates Community Safety, Unity at National Night Out Events


WEDNESDAY, AUG. 6, 2014 — Jordan, 3, looked apprehensively at the plume of hamburger-scented smoke rising from the grill.

Jordan, Firefighter Matt Fullerton

“Fire! Fire!” he shouted, looking up at the Portland Fire and Rescue firefighters towering behind him. “It’s hot!”

“The kid’s a natural,” said Battalion Chief Mark Kaiel. “He’s got a future.”

Firefighters with Station 2, Truck 2 on Tuesday evening were at Columbia Ridge Apartments for the Wilkes neighborhood National Night Out event, one of about 100 citywide. Since 1983, on the second Tuesday in August residents nationwide gather in their neighborhoods to demonstrate their commitment to safety and community. Law enforcement and emergency services attend events in their neighborhoods.

“This crew responds to this complex a few times a year,” Kaiel said. “It’s good for residents to see these guys outside of a crisis. And it’s good for the crew to see residents in a fun environment.”

Mayor Charlie Hales attended several National Night Out events Tuesday to talk with residents in an informal setting, sharing food, meeting kids, and hearing about the neighborhood.

Nhu To-Haynes, Mayor Hales, First Lady Hales, Nyla Tu-Haynes, Olivia Tu-Haynes

“These events are a fantastic way to get people out into their neighborhoods,” Hales said. “A united neighborhood strengthens the fabric of community — critical for safety and prosperity.”

At Wilkes in East Portland, kids clamored in and out of a fire truck, handing their cellphones to firefighter Matt Fullerton to snap a photo.

In a Cully neighborhood apartment complex, Clara Vista Apartments, kids took over a police car, finding the button for the lights, the PA system, and — to the panic of police officers — the radio.

“No emergency,” Portland Police Officer Graham said into this chest radio, “just some kids.” He turned to the car: “OK, guys, time to get out.”

At the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) in far Northeast Portland, kids from widely varied backgrounds ran around the gym with bouncy balls and hula hoops, pausing for face painting or to pull a block from the giant Jenga game.

At Binford Condominium Association’s event in Northeast Portland, former State Sen. Avel Gordly chatted with the mayor and First Lady over bratwurst and fruit. Used books were out for the taking, and kids ran around the expansive yard, pausing to smack a piñata and feed a parrot.

Marigold HydroPark hosted Southwest Portland’s Markham neighborhood event. Families gathered at picnic tables full of food and kids played with enough soccer balls to keep them dashing about.


In South Burlingame Park, the band Still Kickin’ — comprised of friends who’ve been jamming for nine years — played as children explored a fire engine, snatching stickers from firefighters Shannon Ellison and Josh Clemmer.  

“National Night Out celebrates neighborhood safety and unity,” Hales said. “Look around — it’s working. People are having fun, hanging out. What a great, worthwhile event.” 

Daimler Breaks Ground on Portland Headquarters Building

Daimler Breaks Ground on Portland Headquarters Building


FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2014 – Mayor Charlie Hales and Gov. John Kitzhaber were on hand Friday for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the $150 million Daimler Trucks North America headquarters on Swan Island.

Governor, Martin Daum, Mayor

Martin Daum, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, spoke about the choice of Portland for the expanded facility.

“Daimler is a good corporate neighbour,” Hales said. “They get the spirit of Portland. I’ve heard Martin Daum talk about it before, and he’s right. Daimler and Portland are a perfect fit.”

In 2012, Daimler and Western Star Trucks purchased $135 million from Oregon vendors and suppliers. Daimler also supports area high schools, the Oregon Food Bank, the United Way and the Washington Park Summer Concert Series.Gov. Kitzhaber

A 265,000 square-foot building will bring together Daimler operations now scattered across several offices and will allow for growth. Daimler plans to add another 400 employees to its Portland work force.Mayor, Bill Wyatt of Port of Portland, Martin Daum

The project also includes opening a greenway trail along the Willamette River and construction of a parking garage. The company has partnered with Ankrom Moisan for the architectural design and Hoffman Corporation for construction. 

Link to Gov. Kitzhaber’s comments at ground breaking.

City Takes on Parks Bond Proposal Today

Replacement Bond Would Benefit Parks Throughout City

THURSDAY, JULY 24, 2014 – The Portland City Council today put the final touches on a parks bond measure, to go to voters in November.

Parks sceneThe replacement bond would address critical park needs without increasing tax rates from what they are today, by continuing to fund parks at the current rate required by an expiring 1994 bond.

“This is the right thing to do, and the right time to do it,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Under the leadership of Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz, we can raise an estimated $56 million to $68 million in funding to address the most critical needs of our city’s beloved parks system.”

The details of the proposal can be found here.

“This represents the most urgent needs - the things that are breaking or are already broken,” Commissioner Fritz said. 

What Are You Looking At?

Nominate your favorite view or gazing spot through Aug. 8 to be part of the City's scenic resources update

TUESDAY, JULY 15, 2014 – Portland is known for its iconic views: the city’s skyline and Mount Hood, the many bridges, buildings and fountains all help define the character of the city. These views leave a lasting impression on residents and visitors alike. 

Vista BridgeTo preserve these visual treasures, Portland manages an inventory of views, viewpoints and view corridors within and of the Central City. This inventory is now 25 years old.

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is updating it as part of the Central City 2035 planning effort and needs need your help. Now through Aug. 8, city staff are taking nominations for new views, viewpoints and view corridors.

The Central City Scenic Resources Map shows the viewpoints and view corridors from the current inventories. Much has changed since the last comprehensive inventory was created in 1988 — the Pearl District has been developed, Tillikum Crossing is just about finished — and there are likely new views that should be considered for future protection.

What views can be nominated?

● The viewpoint or view corridor – where you are when you enjoy the view – must be on public property or have public access.

● The feature that is viewed also must be in public ownership. Private buildings are not included in this inventory.

How can nominations be submitted?

You can nominate a view by completing the online nomination form on the Scenic Resources Inventory website. You will need to provide information about: 1) where the viewpoint or view corridor is located; 2) what the view is of; and 3) why you think it should be included in the inventory.

Next steps: All of the inventoried views, viewpoints and view corridors will be evaluated in Fall 2014 and ranked based on their significance or importance. The results of the study will inform discussions through the Central City 2035 plan about how to protect and manage views and viewpoints.