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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

Japan Trip 2014: Business Connections

Trip Highlights Shared Interests among Portland, Japanese Cities


TUESDAY, SEPT. 9, 2014—Mayor Charlie Hales and a delegation of Portland government and business officials today return from a five-day trade mission in Japan, where they connected with culture, business and tourism partners in one of Oregon’s top export destinations.

(Clip from the Tokyo Fish Market.) 

Hales’ visit to Sapporo, Portland’s oldest sister city relationship, followed a 90-person Sapporo delegation trip to Portland in June. The mayor was joined by Portland’s chief lobbyist, Government Relations Director Martha Pellegrino; Portland Development Commission International Business Development Officer Mitsu Yamazaki; and the city’s International Relations Liaison, Hector Miramontes.

“This was a tremendous experience,” Hales said. “Our cities have shared interests and issues. We learned a lot from them, and they learned a lot from us.”

The trip started with a number of arts- and culture-related stops, and ended with business tours and meetings and urban design and policy discussions.

“There are so many artistic, cultural, educational and economic connections between Japan and Portland,” Pellegrino said. “Portland’s star is clearly rising in our sister city, Sapporo, and in Tokyo.”

The delegation found striking similarities between Portland and its sister city. Hales was excited to see how invested Sapporo is in the relationship, with Portland Square—one of Pellegrino’s favorite stops—and a rose garden in honor of Portland.

Odori Park, Sapporo, Japan.

Yamazaki was impressed with his tour of Sapporo, led by a professor of urban planning from Hokkaido University, which highlighted Sapporo’s likeness to Portland: “There are park blocks called Odori Park; streetcars crisscrossing the city; active pediatrician walkways; contrast between old and new building in a confined area much like Pearl. To top it off the list, the professor took me up on the southwestern hill to view the entire city from the above, with reminded me of the fabulous outlook from Pittock Mansion or (Oregon Health & Science University).”

While the delegation was impressed with how well-known Portland was in Japan, Hales still plugged the city as a destination for both business and visitors.

On Saturday morning, Hales and Yamazaki introduced “Lifestyle Portland,” a seminar promoting Portland as a prime tourism and business destination. Jeff Hammerly of Travel Portland also was there. The event built on the already-strong recognition of Portland in popular magazines and newspapers in Japan.

That afternoon, Hales presented at the Ninth International Symposium of America-Japan Societies in Sapporo, Hokkaido, on celebrating 55 years as a sister city with shared values of sustainability.

The delegation traveled to Tokyo on Sunday, and on Monday spent the day with business and industry.

They toured a Kanto Factory in the city of Koga — among the delegation’s favorite experiences. Kanto Factory is a product demonstration campus of the Sekisui House, one of Japan’s largest homebuilders. The factory showcases the company’s latest technologies materials and designs, such as an earthquake simulator within a model house. The product demonstration campus is located next to Sekisui’s largest factory, churning out all the components to make a house every 7 minutes, serving 40 million people around the Tokyo metro region. Its materials recycling facility recycles 80 different materials from the homebuilding operation.

The delegation later lunched in Tokyo with Sekisui House CEO Isami Wada, and met with the executive vice president of Mitsui Fudosan, a major real estate developer in Japan. On Tuesday, the final visit of the trip was with the Tokyo Foundation Think Tank, a nonprofit that provides policy analysis on Japan’s domestic and international issues.

Portland’s experience as a waterfront city lent valuable insight to a meeting with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism at the headquarters for the Mizbering Project, which is working to transition from government control of rivers to commercial and recreational use. Hales shared with the ministry his perspective on and Portland’s historical experience with waterfront development, public engagement, and creative urban planning and development.

Mizbering reported:


The translation:

“Portland, Oregon, Mayor Charlie Hales met with Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport in Tokyo. We exchanged opinions and promoted the Mizbering project. The city of Portland is now ranked as the No. 1 environmental city in the United States. However, the city’s once dirty river devastated the city. But citizens participated in creative solutions, and have achieved a sustainable city and waterfront redevelopment. Columbia Sportswear, Nike and other outdoor manufacturers are headquartered there, and naturally combines the sport outfitting with the city’s active culture. Portland is now in the spotlight in various magazines. Mizbering project also examines Portland as a waterfront city that offers many things to learn from!”

Japan Trip 2014: Art Exchange

Japan Trip: Art is Focus of Day 1


FRIDAY, SEPT. 5, 2014 -- This year marks the 55th anniversary of Portland’s longest-running sister city relationship, that of Sapporo, Japan.

Mayors Hales and Ueda

Mayor Charlie Hales is leading a delegation there, followed by a visit to Tokyo. To celebrate the 55th anniversary, the delegation is experiencing a number of arts- and culture-related sites in Sapporo, from an art festival to a Sapporo Symphony Orchestra rehearsal.

Hales and Mayor Ueda of Sapporo signed an agreement to form an arts exchange between the sister cities. The Potland delegation also met with the Hokkaido Shimbun Newspaper--a 127-year-old daily paper with a circulation of nearly 1.5 million--and toured Portland Square at Horoshira Bridge. They visited the Sapporo International Art Festival and took part in the 55th anniversary ceremony of the Portland Pavilion in Sapporo Art Park.

Salmon River sculpture

"Sapporo's stunning Art Park includes a contemporary art collection that explores the city and nature. Visitors are welcomed to the museum with this installation that makes art of out fog," Hales said. "Sounds a little dubious until you see it...and then you appreciate it."

Hales said he was excited to see how Sapporo celebrates Portland as a sister city, with an architecturally compelling Portland Square, a rose-filled Portland Sister City garden, and city art by Portland artists, including several with Pacific Northwest College of Art. 

"Between Sapporo's fantastic parks and stunning public art, it's evident why our two cities have had such a long sister city relationship," Hales said. 

Here's a peek at the fog installation that wowed the Portland delegation, captured by the mayor: 


Natural Grocers Coming to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard

Natural Grocers to add Store on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard


THURSDAY, AUG. 28, 2014 – Mayor Charlie Hales and Kemper Isely, co-president of Natural Grocers, announced today that property owned by the Portland Development Commission at Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Alberta Street will be the site for a new community-centric grocery store that focuses on free nutrition education and healthy food. 

Commissioner Saltzman, Mayor Hales, Andrew Colas

The Oregonian's Andrew Theen reports the mayor's efforts in improving Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Three months ago, Mayor Hales and PDC staff urged the project developer, Majestic Realty Co., to remain committed to the project and to find another anchor tenant for the 1.79-acre property, following the decision by Trader Joe’s not to locate a store on the site.

“The challenges this development has faced have been well documented,” Mayor Hales said. “But thanks to the determination of the public and private partners involved, we’re now able to present a development that will benefit the residents of Northeast Portland, support neighboring businesses, introduce Portlanders to a high-quality, affordable grocer and revitalize a parcel of land that has sat dormant for 15 years.”

In March, the mayor committed an additional $20 million in urban renewal funds to affordable housing in North and Northeast Portland to complement commercial development efforts on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The Portland Housing Bureau, led by Commissioner Dan Saltzman, is conducting a community involvement process to develop a North/Northeast Neighborhood Housing Strategy to help direct that investment.

Natural Grocers is a Colorado-based chain with stores in 14 states. The company currently has seven locations in Oregon, including four in the Portland area, as well as a new store set to open in Eugene on September 23.

“We have felt instantly at home in Oregon and the Portland area and are very excited to partner on this new development and start building a lasting and beneficial relationship with the community on Portland’s Northeast side,” Isely said. “The values Portlanders embrace around fresh, local food; resource conservation; and community involvement are perfectly aligned with the business model we’ve had in place since my parents founded the company nearly 60 years ago.”

Beyond a place to buy healthy food, the new store brings many additional benefits to the Northeast Portland community, including: an on-site credentialed nutritional health coach, provided at no charge, to answer questions, help with meal planning and provide one-on-one nutrition counseling, along with other free nutrition education options like cooking classes and demonstrations, and lectures on topics of interest to the community.  “We work hard to make healthy options affordable so that customers feel empowered in our stores,” Isely added. “We are deeply committed to our neighbors and we look forward to being part of the Portland community for years to come.”

Preliminary design work will start in early September. In addition to Natural Grocers, the development, when complete, will include commercial and retail space to house between four and 10 businesses.

A community benefits agreement and elements of the project design will be developed by a project working group. The group will include representatives from nearby neighborhood, business and community associations and will be formed in the next few weeks. Their work will inform the overall project design and development.

Colas Construction of Portland was selected in January as project general contractor. “I grew up and now reside in North Portland and I am honored to have Colas Construction lead a project that will deliver real jobs, real amenities and real opportunities for neighborhood residents,” said Andrew Colas, president of Colas Construction. “I want to thank Majestic Realty for the commitment to us, to this neighborhood and to this project. I am so excited to break ground.” 

Work on the project is expected to begin in late fall.

Walking Beats on Hawthorne Change Tenor of Community

Relations Between Police, Community Remain Priority for Mayor Hales

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 3, 2014 – For the past six months, Portland Police Bureau officers have been walking beats, an old-fashioned concept that had grown out of style in past decades. The first such walking beats are part of a pilot program in downtown, the Central Eastside and along Hawthorne Boulevard.Mayor Hales, Sgt. DeLand

Reporter Sami Edge of Willamette Week spent several days in August shadowing the officers along Hawthorne, and talking to business people, customers, service providers and youths who hang out along the commercial strip.

“I was convinced that a return to walking beats would change the way the community interacts with Portland Police,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Finding a new dynamic between Portlanders and Portland Police has been my priority since I took office. And we’re seeing it on Hawthorne. The officers are great. The community is happy. This is a success.”

Hales’ initiatives in 2013 and 2014 have included shepherding through reforms spelled out in a Department of Justice settlement agreement; a focus on the Office of Youth Violence Prevention; the Enough is Enough campaign to encourage community activism in fighting violence; the Black Male Achievement initiative; equity projects with the U.S. Conference of Mayors; and a three-day equity training for senior, white, male leaders in the mayor’s office and Portland Police command staff titled, “White Men as Full Diversity Partners.”

Mayor in Nick's Famous Coney IslandTo see if the walking beats are working, Hales toured Hawthorne on Friday, Aug. 29, speaking with customers, shop owners, street youths and officers, including Sgt. Ric DeLand, who’s been with Portland Police for 24 years.

“We’re interacting with them every day,” DeLand said of the street youths on Hawthorne. “We’re involved in their joys, their breakups, their hangovers, their feuds.”

The idea behind walking beats is to create a relationship between officers and members of the community, before a law-enforcement incident occurs. Central Precinct Police Commander Robert Day has been a strong proponent of the beats.

So has DeLand. “Instead of only having contact with the police when they’re being told they’re doing something wrong, they have daily contact with police, petting their dogs, getting to know their story, connecting them with services, understanding what makes them feel unsafe, letting them know we’re aware of any bad behavior,” DeLand said. “It’s analogous to parenting: Don’t ignore someone until they do something wrong and then punish them. But that’s what we do with law enforcement. It doesn’t make sense. You make everything about enforcement you’re just going to get rebellion. Make them part of the solution instead of part of the problem.”

At Ben & Jerry'sHales spoke to several people along Hawthorne, including a street musician who goes by the moniker Rain Bojangles. “Wow. It’s much better here now,” Bojangles said. He plays music on a handmade string instruments and often can be seen near the Powell’s Books on Hawthorne. “We used to have a lot of troublemakers who just made things worse for everywhere. They’re gone now, and that’s nice.”

Bojangles pointed to Sgt. DeLand and added: “He stops and talks to me almost every day. He’s a nice guy. He’s here to help.”

DeLand said the walking beats have allowed his officers to see a new aspect to the houseless community and street youths who frequent the area. “To us, prior to this, they all looked the same,” DeLand said. “Now, instead of painting everybody with a broad brush and trying to stamp out traveling in Portland, we’ve targeted the bad behaviors. That builds credibility with the larger community through word-of-mouth.”

And is there danger, walking a beat rather than being in a patrol car? DeLand laughs. “Of the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds dogs I’ve pet — all these ‘vicious’ pit bulls — the only time I’ve been bit was by a 7-pound Chihuahua named Pizza. I made the mistake of petting Pizza while he was sound asleep.”


Support for Human Trafficking Survivors

Mayor Hales Dedicates Funds to Helping Human Trafficking Survivors

WEDNESDAY, JULY 30, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales and commissioners at Wednesday’s City Council meeting approved a $297,000 grant to support Janus Youth Programs’ shelter beds, treatment and case management services for human trafficking victims between 18 and 25 years old.

“The program saves women’s lives,” Hales said. “And it helps make the community safer by removing gangs’ revenue source.”

With this grant approval, Portland Police have garnered nearly $1 million to support human trafficking survivors through partnerships with service organizations. 

Humans have become the second-most lucrative commodity on the black market behind drugs, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office reports. Gangs and other criminal organizations prefer humans because they’re a reusable resource; they can be resold.

That horrific dehumanization most frequently affects teenagers, both girls and boys, and is becoming more common in Portland because of the city’s position on Interstate 5 and the airport. Traffickers recruit girls who are 12 to 14 years old, spanning socioeconomic status, education level, and race, according to the district attorney.

Portland Police Sgt. Mike Geiger on Wednesday spoke in support of the funding. His highlighted the tremendous need to support safe places for trauma victims.

Below is a transcript of Sgt. Geiger's remarks at Council:

"This has been a long fight, a difficult one. We’ve been engaged in it for a few years now, and I think that much of what we’ve been trying to come to grips with is how does that happen here and what’s going on with our children and our community.

Human trafficking is becoming one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world today. We’ve been trying to figure out how we strike a balance between accountability, between law enforcement, and the needs of the child — the needs of the vulnerable and the violated.

What this funding shows me is confirmation that the city of Portland has chosen to take a stand on behalf of the vulnerable, and on behalf of the violated. And I would say that support for law enforcement and support for the victims are not mutually exclusive. What we have come to learn is the way in which we view an individual dictates the way we respond to that individual. So, by providing advocacy resources and a safe place to stay, we’re telling them that the overriding goal is the restoration, and their removal from the life of exploitation and victimization to one of health and safety and a positive future. Those things can’t be accomplished absent the support services we brought to bear on their behalf.

Young people, whether they are teenagers or people in their twenties or whoever they are, they desire safety, and they desire security, and they need first and foremost to have their emotional and physical needs met before we begin to address the other facts. I think this is what this funding does, what we have seen is a dramatic increase in our ability to prosecute cases both at the state and federal level. It has been remarkable.

What I would submit, we would have never been able to accomplish that absent the support from the people like Janus Youth Programs and the Sexual Assault Resource Center. What that is, that has done, is allowed them to rebuild their emotional state, to gain a sense of security and empowerment, and to recognize finally there is a degree of victimization that they had not faced before, which empowers them to give us the information we need in order to put together a comprehensive case that brings accountability.

We are accomplishing both, and I am very happy about that because it speaks to what we think about these young people. It speaks to the priority that we have here in our community. That we want the best for them and for them to be free of exploitation. To me, that speaks to the character of our department and it speaks to the character of this council, and your support is just very much appreciated.  So, thank you."


Below is Sgt. Geiger's written statement. 

“For the last several years Portland has taken a leading role in the fight against human trafficking and child exploitation. We have learned this type of exploitation is difficult to identify, and even more difficult to prosecute. Much has been learned, and many relationships have been developed. The city of Portland has dedicated police resources to this fight and has made it a priority at all levels. The city has partnered with local and federal prosecutors and has taken part in many educational and awareness opportunities. Of even more importance, the city of Portland has come to recognize that if there is to be accountability, we must first meet some very basic necessities. Victims of sexual trauma very much need two things: safety and someone to care for them.

Absent a safe place, trauma victims will return to their exploiter and will likely find themselves in an even more dangerous circumstance. While it is likely they will not at first recognize safety is a priority, they will if the doors remain open. Janus Youth Program has a long record of working with vulnerable children, and has become a vital component in ensuring there is a safe place for victims. Janus is dedicated to long-term care, recognizing that there is no short-term solution.

Beyond shelter services, trauma victims need to be able to talk to a caring adult who will not judge or condemn. The Sexual Assault Resource Center provides confidential support services and advocacy. They have in many circumstances become the lifeline to children who have been left to their own devices. The relationships they maintain are what have allowed so many victims to reach a place of healing. That in turn has increased their ability to help children out of a life of exploitation.

Support from the city has allowed the Resource Center to serve more children, and even develop a response to those between the ages of 18 and 25. This is in recognition that many children identified prior to 18 continue to need help. Support from Janus will make certain we have long term shelter for those in the most need.”