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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

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

Twitter Town Hall 3: Mayor Discusses Citywide 'Ban the Box' Proposal

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2015 — Mayor Charlie Hales today hosted his third Twitter Town Hall, #BanTheBoxPDX. He discussed his proposed policy to remove criminal background disclosures from initial job applications, which can reduce recidivism rates and vastly improves former offenders' chances of success once they're out of prison. The live tweet discussion came ahead of a public informational hearing about the "ban the box" idea, at which Mayor Hales directed the City Attorney's Office to begin drafting a policy, and directed his office to form a task force of stakeholders — employers, employees, ex-offenders, organizations that support ex-offenders in finding and keeping work — to inform policy creation.

Twitter Town Hall 1: #pay15

Twitter Town Hall 2: #pdxrides

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 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.