Yom HaShoah: Community Gathers to Remembers Victims of the Holocaust
THURSDAY, APRIL 16, 2015 -- Residents from throughout the community came together in Pioneer Courthouse Square on Thursday for Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. All throughout the day, people read aloud the names of those who died in the Holocaust. In Portland, the annual remembrance is sponsored by the Oregon Jewish Museum, Oregon Center for Holocaust Education, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. www.ojm.org www.jewishportland.org
Mayor Hosts Environmental Roundtable; Hears from Advocates, Asks for Help for City Priorities
FRIDAY, 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.
Mayor 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."
Mayor Hales Discusses Decision to Join Joint Terrorism Task Force
THURSDAY, FEB. 19, 2015 — In a 3-2 decision, the Portland City Council today voted to join the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. Mayor Hales said it was a difficult decision — 51/49 in his mind. In this video he discusses his decision. Below, find a transcript of Mayor Hales' remarks at City Council.
Mayor Hales introduces the Joint Terrorism Task Force agenda item:
"Let me first set the stage ... We wanted to set this up as two clearly articulated alternatives for the council given, to my mind and I think in all our minds, that the current arrangement that we have had for our work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on terrorist issues has not been satisfactory, in that we didn't have the level of participation that some asked for, we didn't have the level of clarity and communication back to the city that I would expect. So we tried to put this on the table before the council in an obvious and clear dichotomy, and then let the community give us their opinions.
"We have certainly heard from a lot of people on this issue. I heard some strong feelings. I have to tell you, this is probably the most one of the most difficult decisions for me to address while I have been on the council this term. The first time around, when this came before the council, I voted against participating. There are very good reasons for that opinion. In fact, there are things that still weigh strongly in my mind towards not participating. There's also now some very strong and compelling arguments on the other side.
"I want to take the prerogative of the chair and in a moment take up first, No. 197, which is the memorandum to participate. I believe in my own mind after weighing all this that we should participate, but that we should with some very clear caveats and understandings among ourselves. I'll go ahead and make my statement now at the outset rather than waiting to the ends when I vote.
"As I said, there's strong feelings on both sides of this issue. In my own heart and my own minds there are two words that I think my dilemma about this issue have evolved around. One is ashamed, the other is appalled.
"I'm ashamed as an American that we have been involved in wars without justification, in prisons without trials, and in torture. I hate to even say those words. I don't have too much trouble making decisions in this job, but sometimes I'm up late at night, and lately when I have been up late at night, I have been watching Ken Burns' series about World War 2. The moral clarity that we as a country had at the ends of that war contrasts so appallingly again that word with what we have done lately in the world that it makes it very difficult for me to contemplate cooperating with the federal government because I think much of what has been done unfortunately in the last several administrations has cost us moral authority in the world and violates principles that I really believe in as an American. So I am ashamed. And many federal agencies have been complicity in those wrongs including the FBI.
"The other word is appalled. I'm appalled by the radical evil that is loose in the world today. I'm appalled at what has happened to innocent people. We were all appalled in september on September 11th when our country was attacked, and that was an attack by terrorists on symbols of American power that murdered a lot of innocent people. Maybe there were some of us here in Portland who could have thought then, well, that was an attack on the symbols of American power. It may not affect us here in Portland. But most recently, the attacks in Paris and Copenhagen and Boston are incidents in which people, we call them terrorists, attacked their own communities and murdered their neighbors. And I think any conceit that we might be exempt from that radical evil here is unfortunately removed by what happened in those places.
"So that's the dilemma that faces me, and each of us as members of this council. I know we have all agonized over this decision. We have also heard from the community about the downside of participating in any kind of arrangement with the FBI because again, the fear, legitimate fear, based on historical injustice and recent mistakes and misconduct in this and other federal agencies. We have heard from the Muslim community on both sides of this issue, some who see the value in joining and some who don't want us to join, and a real cry for us to develop a sound relationship with this in each of the communities in our city. So I think we have all heard and taken to heart those concerns.
"A couple of things pulled me toward the reluctant decision that we should participate in this partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which we already do on many other fronts. We have cooperative arrangements with the FBI on child exploitation, on human trafficking, on bank robbery, on gangs. We work with the FBI constantly. That's natural and normal thing. In a metropolitan area that's part of a country and with a state line close by. The same thing is true, of course, in other areas of criminal activity like terrorism.
"So the question is will we be safer if we share information or will we be less safe because people will fear our relationship with the FBI? I think there's some things that we can do in this arrangement and some people that we can rely on that again make this a marginally justifiable decision.
"One is I have complete confidence in Larry O'Dea as my police chief and as our police chief and as somebody who reflects Portland's values. This man is all about the relationship between the police bureau and our community, and I do believe that he completely reflects our values about civil liberties and trust as the basis for policing. So I know that I can rely on him.
"Then I have asked him for some things if we were to make this decision and he's enthusiastically agreed this is what we should do. That is if we decide to join the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the chief of police and I are going to sit down with the officers who would be assigned to this work and personally instruct them in what is expected and required of them if we do. One is that they will follow the law and they will follow our policies as a city and that they will follow the values of the community that they serve. If there ever comes a moment when their values and those instructions conflict with working in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, they are not only encouraged they are required to come to the chain of command for which they work, the chief of police, the city of Portland, and the police commissioner for the city of Portland, and to let us know that there's a conflict between what they are being asked to do and what Portlanders would want them to do and how they would want them to do it. That their performance as a Portland police officer and their future as a Portland police officer will be assured by sticking to our values if there's ever a conflict. I believe that if we give those instructions to the right officers that they will be followed.
"Secondly, you've heard my criticism and I have heard a lot of people's criticisms of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I do believe that Greg, the current special agent in charge of Portland, is a man of integrity, someone who will be honest with me. I have met this man, I have spoken with him, I have questioned him closely. I believe he personally, not talking about the organization, talking about him personally, I believe that he personally is someone who will be truthful with me and who is a person of integrity. If you can't believe that in any business, then you're going to have a difficult time doing your job. So I believe that we can rely on that.
"Further, we're going to make sure there are safeguards in place and they are here in terms of our officers seeking legal advice from the city attorney about Oregon law, about our city attorney periodically training these officers, and about me as the commissioner in charge of the police bureau under a nondisclosure agreement getting much more complete information about what our officers are doing. My standard will be if I'm not sure that our officers are performing in ways that we as a city would want them, then I'll come back to this council with the opposite resolution and ask that we withdraw.
"But I think given what's loose in the world and what's been the harm that's already done to innocent people in places like Boston, that as your police commissioner this is the right decision for me in good conscience to make. So that's why I will support on this controlled basis for now with these people this arrangement. So that's my suggestion to us as a council for what we do today."
Blumenauer Reintroduces Bill for Federal Gas Tax Increase
WASHINGTON, 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.
In 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.”
Mayor Speaks at Leadership in Education Awards
TUESDAY, FEB. 4, 2015 — Last night Mayor Hales spoke at the fourth annual Governor Victor Atiyeh Leadership in Education Awards, which recognize those making a positive impact in education, as well as raise money for scholarships and education initiatives. The keynote speaker was actress Viola Davis. Mayor Hales noted that while the city doesn't have authority over schools, it does have a role as cheerleader and partner. The mayor has allocated money for educational initiatives, including Concordia University's "3 to Ph.D." program, which supports quality early childhood learning.
Mayor Hales' educational investments include:
"3 to Ph.D.": Mayor Hales in the fall allocated $100,000 for the Portland Public Schools/Concordia Early Childhood Learning Project, which will help the early learning program in Concordia’s age “3 to Ph.D.” initiative, supporting quality education. In 2013 the mayor also budgeted $100,000 for the Earl Boyles Early Works program.
Increasing Future Connect funding: The Future Connect Scholarship, covering the first two years at Portland Community College, is designed to create a pathway to an associate’s degree by helping young people who are low-income or first-generation college attendees with the financial burden of attending college — a tremendous barrier. The mayor will increase funding from the $432,000 he allocated last year.
SUN Schools: Part of Mayor Hales’ $2.15 million investment in complete neighborhoods in the 2014-15 budget went to Schools Uniting Neighborhoods, or SUN Schools. The program provides after-school programs and family food boxes for students in low-income schools. The mayor’s allocation added 10 new schools to the 70 existing SUN schools, and provided permanent funding for five sites that faced expiring grants.
Mayor Discusses Priorities on OPB's Think Out Loud
THUESDAY, FEB. 3, 2015 — Mayor Charlie Hales today talked to OPB's Think Out Loud about his priorities for the future.
The interview follows his State of the City address last week, outlining his priorities and reflecting on the first two years of his administration. For more: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/517520
Listen to the Think Out Loud interview: https://soundcloud.com/thinkoutloud…/portland-mayor-outlines
Mayor Signs on to Oppose Lawsuit Challenging President's Immigration Policy
FRIDAY, JAN. 23, 2015 -- Mayor Charlie Hales at the the U.S. Conference of Mayors' 83rd Winter Meeting, where a group of mayors demonstrated support for President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration.
The coalition of mayors says the action benefits constituents, supports city economies, and improves public safety. On Friday, those mayors filed an amicus brief opposing Texas v. U.S., the lawsuit filed by 25 states seeking to block the president’s new policy. The state of Oregon is also among the amici opposing the lawsuit. MORE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/…/u-s-mayors-to-file-legal-b…/
In November, Hales announced support for the president's executive action on the nation’s broken immigration policies. Immigration is a federal issue, but it’s also an issue of basic equity. Along with mayors nationwide, Hales urged Congress to act as well and pass meaningful immigration reform. During the summer’s influx of unaccompanied minors attempting to immigrate to the United States, the mayor contacted the state leadership and the local organization that sponsored many of the youths, and assured them that Portland would be a safe harbor for children fleeing failed states.
At a press conference announcing the amicus brief, Hales said, “Our citizens have stepped up where federal policy has failed. Portlanders provided sanctuary to Francisco Aguirre when he was at risk for deportation.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “This country will be stronger when it is more inclusive for all. We intend to make the voices of cities heard in the immigration debate.”
Portlanders Gather to Remember Works, Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
MONDAY, JAN. 19, 2015 – Hundreds of Oregonians came together at the Oregon Convention Center this morning to honor the memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Skanner newspaper of Portland has orchestrated the memorial breakfast for almost three decades.
Speakers included Mayor Charlie Hales, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, and the Rev. Benjamin Chavis, executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and a former assistant to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Chavis, then 24, became one of the Wilmington 10, a group of teenagers and civil rights activists wrongly convicted of bombing a grocery store in 1971. The convictions were overturned in 1980. Chavis went on to become a pastor in the United Church of Christ; vice president of the National Council of Churches; and the youngest executive director of the national NAACP.
Mayor Hales spoke about troubling statistics in our community – including persistent pockets of poverty and disproportionate discipline in public schools. He also praised many programs and leaders, including the Black Male Achievement initiative.
Charlie and Nancy Hales spent the remainder of the day at community celebrations and civic work projects.
Essay by State Rep. Lew Frederick on Education
Before we talk about “rigor” and “discipline” and “accountability” for kids, we have to insist that adults are held to that standard. When we design school programs, especially when we propose to impose some new system on the whole enterprise, we should demand a degree of certainty that the turmoil of change will be worth it. We should demand evidence that it will make things better. We should demand that when a crisis is described, it is real and correctly described, and when a solution to the crisis is prescribed, we should demand that the solution actually addresses the problem.
And somebody should be accountable, but I don’t think we currently understand that word. We say that teachers should be accountable for results, but who defines the results? Who will be accountable if the entire approach of making schools, especially those in poor neighborhoods, pressure cookers that stress kids out of their minds, turns out to be destructive of the qualities we need in the adults of the future?
And what about those high-stakes tests? Where is the “rigor” when we repeatedly hear about test questions, multiple choice questions, in which educated adults would argue over the best answer? What does it mean when we expect the kids to choose, and attach consequences to their choices? Is this expectation a “higher” one? No, I believe it is dumbed down, narrowed, and crazy-making, and we ought to be alarmed about that.
To what extent are these “reforms” rooted in business practices that are now being abandoned by businesses, with efforts under way to “repersonalize” the business environment? Do we have time to wait this out? Now that would be an interesting PhD project for someone: Track how business school theories find their way into education “reform,” and how long it takes for them to run their course.
I believe that young people have to have a reason to go to school and engage with it every day. Every kid needs to learn something every day that makes him or her want to come back for more.
I also believe that teachers aren’t motivated the same way some assume they ought to be; they don’t wake up every day thinking about how much money they can make that day. If they did, we’d be in trouble. They need to make a decent living so that they can focus on what brings them to the profession every day, the small and large successes of the students in front of them.
Finally, I believe that the students of today have to be ready to solve problems we may never anticipate.
So, I hope I’ve provoked some thought and discussion. The bottom line for me is that the kids of today will live in a world that I will not see. How do we open and grow their minds to prepare them for that?
Rep. Lew Frederick of Portland has served in the Oregon House for the past five years in District 43, North Portland. Before that, he was a teacher, a reporter, and a district administrator Oregon.
Mayor, Police Chief Support Fundraiser for War-Torn Ukraine
TUESDAY, JAN. 13, 2015 -- Mayor Charlie Hales and Police Chief Larry O’Dea on Saturday joined Portland’s Ukrainian community at an event to raise money to send to war-torn parts of Ukraine.
The mayor and police chief added their weight to the support Ukrainian-Americans have received from Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Mercy Corps, and other organizations working to assist the violence-torn country. Hales and O’Dea both praised the Ukrainian leaders who have worked with city leaders and Portland Police for the past two years.
“Portland is a city of immigrants; people come here to start anew,” Hales said. “I encourage everyone here to be involved in government, to represent your interests. Immigrants start anew here in Portland not just because they can connect with city leaders, but because they can create them.”
In 2010, the Police Bureau and Slavic leaders created the first-of-its-kind Portland Police Bureau Slavic Advisory Committee, getting the community involved in public safety. Chief O’Dea on Saturday highlighted the trust and partnership cultivated by the committee.
At the fundraiser, the choir — filled with young people who began singing “almost since birth,” one member laughed — sang “Carol of the Bells” in Ukrainian. The song was composed by Ukrainians in 1904. Also featured was a signer named Oksana Polishchuk, who came up to the fundraiser from Sacramento.
“It was magnificent,” said First Lady Nancy Hales.
Women, girls, families, students and Ukrainian leaders were all eager to have their photos taken with the First Couple. Attendees were touched by city leaders’ concern for their cause.
“It was a very warm-hearted event,” Nancy Hales said. “We’re so lucky to have this group in our city.”
Coaching Boys into Men to Prevent Dating Violence
MONDAY, JAN. 12, 2015 -- Mayor Charlie Hales on Saturday praised Coaching Boys into Men as a valuable program that provides high school coaches with resources to promote among young men respectful behavior toward women.
The nationally utilized program is a collaborative effort among partners to prevent relationship abuse, harassment, and sexual assault by instilling respectful behavior in young men at an age when they're beginning to date. A recent study found the program to be effective in discouraging teen dating violence and abusive behaviors: http://bit.ly/1y5OiGk Learn more about the program: http://bit.ly/1ycDjcL
Multnomah County's Defending Childhood Initiative, Raphael House of Portland, Portland Public Schools, and the mayor's Office of Youth Violence Prevention have teamed up to support the initiative. It supports Mayor Hales' Black Male Achievement initiative, which aims to help young, black men achieve successful outcomes in education and employment.
On Saturday, Hales attended the PIL Showcase, a basketball tournament that also highlighted the program.
"There’s a lot of attention when young people behave badly," Hales said. "But on Saturday, we had the fantastic opportunity to recognize young male leaders as part of the solution."
Hales thanked Erin Fairchild, the Defending Childhood Initiative coordinator, for her important work in the program. And he also thanked the young leaders of the Multnomah Youth Commission’s Youth Against Violence committee on Sexual and Dating Violence Prevention. More on their work: https://multco.us/multnomah-youth-co…/youth-against-violence
Deadline Extended for Police Oversight Board
Upon community request, the COAB application deadline has been extended to 5 p.m., Jan. 16. The Community Oversight Advisory Board will monitor the implementation of the City of Portland’s settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. Go online to apply today.
Council holds moment of silence for longtime NE Portland Business Icon, Geneva Knauls
Today at City Council, I asked for a moment of silence in honor of Geneva Knauls, co-owner of GENEVA’S SHEAR PERFECTION, who passed away Dec. 22 after a long illness. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Self Enhancement Incorporation, 3920 N. Kerby Ave., Portland, OR 97227. Self Enhancement can be reached at (503) 249-1721.
Mayor Helps East African All Stars Get Uniforms
MONDAY, DEC. 22, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales last week asked Nike if it would be willing to give uniforms to the Somali American Council of Oregon (SACOO) East African All Stars basketball team, a group of teenage boys who created their own team and were preparing to play in a basketball tournament.
The company answered the call with sharp blue-and-white shorts and tops. The team picked up the uniforms at City Hall, and on Saturday they broke them in at the tournament.
Mayor Hales has worked with the SACOO in its community involvement efforts; the group has contributed to public safety and economic development groups. The mayor checked out the uniforms in play Saturday, when he watched the boys' tournament. Casey Parks at The Oregonian is working on a feature about the team. Keep an eye out for that in January.
Memorial Service Held for Longtime Parks Advocate
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 17, 2014 -- Barbara Walker, a tireless advocate for Portland Parks, passed away Oct. 26. The City of Portland is grateful for all her work. And this afternoon, the Portland City Council started with a moment of silence in her honor.
A memorial service was held today at the Portland Art Museum in her honor.
Portlander Delivers Famous Hug Photo to White House
THURSDAY, DEC. 11, 2014 -- The famous photograph of 12-year-old Devonte Hart hugging Portland Police Bureau Sgt. Bret Barnum was delivered to the White House today.
Vanessa Keitges, president and CEO of Columbia Green Technologies, who serves on President Barack Obama's President's Export Council, gave Vice President Joe Biden the print, signed by the sergeant and photographer, Johnny Nguyen, whose first prints of the photograph went to the White House and the Mayor's Office.
"We are honored to be delivering the gift to the POTUS," Keitges said. "Amidst the negativity Portland is able to show how a community positively came together under difficult circumstances. This will bring great joy to Obama and the White House.
"Thank you for taking the time to make this happen," she added. "Just another example of what makes Portland so amazing."
Mayor Hales Invites 'Don't Shoot Portland' To Conversation about Top Issues
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 10, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales on Tuesday talked to approximately 50 people involved in "Don't Shoot Portland," a group that has been organizing protests in Portland in the wake of the Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island grand jury decisions not to indict police officers who killed unarmed black men.
The mayor invited key organizers to talk about policy action items for an hour, but the group showed up with about 70 people, chanting in City Hall. Hales allowed Teressa Raiford, a primary organizer, to select groups of people to talk directly with the mayor in his office's conference room for an hour and a half. The group live-streamed the conversations online.
Mayor Hales and his staff said despite the unplanned large group, the discussions were respectful and productive.
"The most important issue highlighted by these initial conversations," Mayor Hales said, "is that all of our institutions have a role in, and have a choice in, either perpetuating or eliminating the racial inequities that persist in our nation."
Below are action items Mayor Hales identified in conversations, and notes on the groups' primary issues:
Mayor’s possible action items
- Request for the mayor to be out in community spaces more often. "There was a sincere request for me to be out in different communities even more," Hales said. "We attempted to have this meeting at the Urban League last week, but scheduling didn't work out. So now that we have a month to plan our next conversation, we will be sure to have it in a more convenient community location."
RESPONSE TO PROTESTS:
- Post policy for use of flash bangs.
- Research media credentials: Who qualifies as a member of the media? Law enforcement nationwide best practices?
- Research belief that PPB violated federal law, US Code 218.241 conspiracy against rights.
- Improve communication: Misunderstanding about what the appeal is actually about; not appealing settlement, asking for clarity in the order the judge added to the settlement agreed upon by parties.
- Go undercover for as a homeless person, “Undercover Boss” style.
MULTNOMAH COUNTY EQUITABLE POLICIES:
- Follow up: Mulntomah County Jail’s processes for refunding money and the cost of video visits.
- Follow up: Money returned after booking and release in jail is placed on a debit card with fees, which for some individuals can eat up a significant amount of their remaining cash.
PORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS:
- Discussion around PPS disparate treatment of youth of color.
- Praise for wrap-around services of the Gang Impacted Family Team; suggestions that PPS use similar style.
Feedback from group members
RESPONSE TO PROTESTS
Mayor Hales: “There were a few very specific concerns about handling of particular free speech events during the past weeks’ series of events. Complaints regarding these incidents have already been filed with the Independent Police Review, and the Auditor’s Office is investigating. Overall, I am very pleased with the many hours of strategic response from the Police Bureau, creating a safe environment for demonstrators and the general public.”
Don’t Shoot Portland:
- Specific concerns with some behaviors of police; contradictory orders at the time of the die-in and arrest.
- Concerned about the use of the flash bangs.
- Film Portland Police; praise for officers downtown; concern about contradictory orders at the protests that led to arrests during the die-in.
- Selective arrests.
- Thinks we violated federal law: US Code 218.241 conspiracy against rights.
- Arrested but not taken into custody.
- Thought the charging of the crowd was reckless; recognized that PPB was trying to disengage but the crowd was not allowing them to do so.
Mayor Hales: “We need to clarify that we are 100 percent committed to implementing the DOJ settlement agreement both in spirit and letter. The appeal pertains to a portion of the judge’s order that came after the settlement agreement; the order adds vague participation by the judge. We are seeking clarity on the judge’s role — all the while implementing the terms of the agreement. We continue to move ahead with major police reform in training, managing, documenting and evaluating use of force. We continue to invest financial and personnel resources to achieve the reforms laid out in the document. The appeal of the judge’s order — not the agreement — has absolutely no impact on the implementation of these reforms.
“When the form becomes available this week, community members may apply to become at-large members of the Community Oversight and Advisory Board. We are looking for a diverse group of people to closely review police activities and tell us where we have been successful and what we need to do more work on.”
Don’t Shoot Portland:
- Asked to drop the appeal of the judge’s order.
- Other participants stated that they believe appeal meant we were trying to get out of the entire settlement agreement.
- Stated that they believe we were not implementing the agreement. Weren't aware of Behavioral Health Unity cars, additional training, policy review, discipline guide, or that people had been fired or arrested.
- Don’t want body cameras unless the cameras are always on.
PORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS:
Mayor Hales: “Portland Public Schools has done tremendous work in reducing overall rates of out-of-class suspensions and expulsions. There’s still work to do in addressing disparate numbers based on race and students with special needs. A community member suggested PPS take on a model like our Gang Impacted Family Team program, providing wrap-around support services to parents and children of who are having significant struggles in the schools. That’s useful insight, and possibly a way we can assist the school district.”
Don’t Shoot Portland:
- Disproportionate expulsion and suspension of children of color, especially with special needs. School to prison pipeline.
- Doesn’t have effective strategies and accountability for teachers, nor appropriate supports for parents. Especially related to children with special needs.
- Schools need to listen directly to voices of parents. They feel as though they are only being rerouted through support agencies, which do not have adequate feedback loop with schools to actually change the outcomes for the children in school.
- Suggestion that PPS take on the operational style of the mayor’s Gang Impacted Family Team Program, which provides supportive wrap-around devices for the whole family.
Mayor Talks to Oregonian About Impact of Protests
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 10, 2014 -- The Oregonian's Casey Parks talked to Mayor Hales this morning about recent demonstrations, and the meeting that followed the mayor's invitation to Don't Shoot Portland to discuss the group's top issues.
Q: Why did you want to meet with the members of Don't Shoot PDX?
A: "There are two levels to this conversation. Both are valid. There's pain and outrage. One way to express that is going to the streets. People are doing that, and I respect that.
"There's also conversations about what we do to make change. Are we doing the things as a community to not be Ferguson? That's a conversation that I as a mayor and police commissioner need to have with a lot of people. The people who have organized themselves are some of the people who need to be in that conversation. So I wanted to hear what their ideas were. I wanted to ask, 'How can we as a community learn from what has not worked here and elsewhere?' That's not a one meeting conversation."
Q: What did you learn yesterday?
"A number of people there talked about the experience of kids in Portland, both in the school system and in their interactions with police officers. That really demonstrated that there's still real fear that kids of color will be treated differently. That's legitimate. It's not just a fear. It's a fact. Kids of color are disproportionately more likely to be disciplined or suspended. That starts a disconnection and a discrimination that's going to haunt those kids until they're adults. The connection from what happens to a young kid and what might happen 10 years later as they're interacting with a police officer, that was clearly drawn from those discussions."
Mayor Hales Meets with Leaders on Affordable Housing
TUESDAY, DEC. 9, 2014 -- Last week Mayor Charlie Hales met with a group of pastors from North and Northeast Portland to discuss how to most effectively invest $20 million for affordable housing, following four housing forums and input from more than 450 residents.
"These community leaders have a lot of good ideas," Mayor Hales said. "I'm confident we're on track to investing the right way, a way that starts to address displacement and institutional racism."
Op-Ed: Portland Will Not be Stampeded by Uber
TUESDAY, DEC. 9, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales today submitted an op-ed to The Oregonian, arguing that while the future of the sharing economy is bright in Portland, it must grow the right way.
AN EXCERPT: "I see a great future for the sharing economy in Portland, and I hope to help Portland become a world leader in that economy. I know many of us are eager for new technology to take effect in Portland. And it will. But I am unwilling to rush to market simply to satisfy the arrogance and greed of any one particular company. I am unwilling to sacrifice your safety. And I am unwilling to disrupt people's livelihoods without plans in place to help them succeed in a new world."
Governing Magazine Columnist Praises Portland Innovation Fund
TUESDAY, DEC. 9, 2014 -- Governing magazine columnist Stephen Goldsmith in a recent piece praised Mayor Charlie Hales' innovation fund as "an exciting new way of thinking about the problem of encouraging innovation in traditionally risk-averse government institutions."
"The city should encourage an innovative culture," Mayor Hales says. "We can tackle our top priorities, like equity and police reform, with big ideas. The innovation fund fosters that."
Mayor Supports Community Cycling Center Holiday Bike Drive
Kids are selected by Community Cycling Center partner organizations; they must be low-income and not own a bike. An army of volunteers taught the kids bike safety, bike maintenance, fitted them for helmets, and adjusted their bikes.
"This is an incredible event," Hales said. "It provides access to sustainable living to kids who might not otherwise get it. And it's a lot of fun watching kids roll away on a flashy new ride."
Want to help with next year's drive? Here's how:
"1. Make a tax-deductible donation: You can sponsor a child at the Holiday Bike Drive for $50 – but your gift of any amount will make a huge difference! You can make a donation online using our secure system; mail us a check; phone in a credit card number; or stop by our shop. We also need gently-used bicycles to refurbish and give away – visit our bike donation page to learn more.
"2. Organize a Giving Campaign: A giving campaign gathers motivated and passionate individuals together to support a common cause. It’s fun, makes a big difference, and we make it easy by providing all the materials you need. This is especially fun and effective at work – mobilize your coworkers to help give bikes to kids in need!
"3. Volunteer Your Time: The Holiday Bike Drive could not happen without the help of hundreds of volunteers. We will begin recruiting event volunteers in November, but there’s always work to be done! Come to our Tuesday volunteer nights to help prepare bikes for the Holiday Bike Drive and other projects."
Find out more: http://www.communitycyclingcenter.org/…/programs-for-youth/…
Mayors Nationwide Announce Support for President's Immigration Plan
MONDAY, DEC. 8, 2014 -- Mayors from 25 cities today met in New York to support President Obama's executive actions for millions of undocumented immigrants nationwide.
Mayor Charlie Hales wasn't in New York, but expressed support for the president's actions when they were announced: "President Obama deserves credit today for taking action to address the nation’s broken immigration policies. His proposal is modest but an important step forward for an estimated 3.7 million long-standing residents of this nation, and for their children. This is an issue of basic equity. ... Putting immigration on the front burner of public discussion is a positive move. We are a nation of immigrants, and the nation’s illogical, unworkable and uncivil immigration policies have an uneven impact on cities. Like mayors throughout the nation, I applaud the president’s action. ... Now I urge Congress to act as well, and to pass meaningful immigration reform."
Mayor Responds to Uber's Announcement
FRIDAY, DEC. 5, 2014 -- From Mayor Charlie Hales:
The media were alerted today that Uber would begin illegal operations in Portland tonight.
People should know that Uber’s action is illegal. The city will enforce existing regulations. That could include fines for the company, as well as fines for drivers.
Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick is convening a task force to re-examine existing taxi regulations, with an eye on protecting consumers and drivers. Specific questions should be addressed to Commissioner Novick.
The City of Portland needs to create policies that ensure safety and access for everyone. We want to make sure such policies do not adversely impact the low-income immigrant populations that currently drive taxis.
In the meantime: Portland embraces the technology of the sharing economy. The city will continue to work with transportation-network companies like Lyft to embrace that economy. To the degree that Uber wants to be part of that process: fine.
Mayor Hosts Photographer, Police Sergeant of Famous Hug
FRIDAY, DEC. 5, 2014 -- Portland Police Bureau Sgt. Bret Barnum and photographer Johnny Nguyen had one thing in common on a chilly afternoon at a demonstration: They both asked 12-year-old Devonte Hart if he was OK.
The boy, holding a sign advertising “Free Hugs,” had tears streaming down his cheeks.
Nguyen, a 20-year-old Portland Community College student, captured the moment when Sgt. Barnum cashed in on the free hug. He was moved to hug the child for the same reason he’d hug his children, who are Devonte’s age: “You do what’s human,” Barnum said Friday morning.
Barnum and Nguyen met with Mayor Charlie Hales on Friday. Nguyen delivered his first prints of the photographs, and the photographer and sergeant signed them. One print will be displayed in the mayor’s office. The other will be delivered to President Barack Obama next week, via a Portland business owner who serves on a presidential commission.
Nguyen told Mayor Hales as he was editing his take, he was moved to share the image: “There are images of all the violence out there. But I knew there are other images out there. I think I went out subconsciously looking for that image.”
Barnum told Mayor Hales that in the context of Devonte’s mother’s reaction (read it here: https://www.facebook.com/jen.hart.79/posts/10152358416736261:0), “tears come to my eyes when I think of her story, and that hug, and that moment.”
Hales expressed gratitude for Devonte’s big heart, for Barnum’s kind response, and for Nguyen’s compassionate eye. “In this business we don’t get a lot of good news,” he said. “This gives us all some hope.”
Oregonian Explains Legislative Barrier to Police Body Cameras
FRIDAY, DEC. 5, 2014 -- The Oregonian today explained the last step to outfitting our officers with body cameras: Amending privacy legislation at the state level.
"I've budgeted the funding, the Police Bureau is preparing a request for proposals for hardware," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "We're working with stakeholders on details of the legislation, and are ready to go as soon as the Oregon Legislature acts."
EXCERPT FROM THE STORY: "Portland police want to outfit officers with body cameras in the next fiscal year. ... But first, police say, they need state lawmakers to adopt an amendment to Oregon's eavesdropping law.
The law requires anyone who audio-records a conversation to tell all parties that the conversation is being recorded. An exception was approved for law enforcement when using dash cameras, providing the officer is in uniform and displaying a badge, unless a reasonable opportunity exists to tell people they're being recorded.
Portland police will push lawmakers to extend the exemption to body cameras, according to the city's legislative agenda.
The city also wants the Legislature to curb the public release of body camera recordings and footage. City officials said they're concerned about footage taken inside private homes or that involves 'traumatic and sensitive interactions with citizens.'"
Street Roots Editorial Praises Police Walking Beats
FRIDAY, DEC. 5, 2014 -- Street Roots, the homeless advocacy newspaper, praised Portland Police Bureau walking beats in a recent editorial.
"I'm thankful for the validation from Street Roots regarding the walking beat patrol," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "My vision for the future: Walking beats in every neighborhood."
From editor Israel Bayer: "With more than 2,000 interactions with people experiencing homelessness and the general public, the 10 police officers only wrote 21 citations this summer. The officers made just over 200 arrests, mostly for outstanding warrants. We will take those odds any day of the week.
Being able to find the right formula that doesn’t criminalize any one group of people in public spaces is a real breakthrough for Portland."
Linnton Community Center Breaks Ground on Learning Facility
THURSDAY, DEC. 4, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales yesterday attended a groundbreaking for Linnton Community Center Makerspace, where teens will be matched with community members to work on #STEM projects.
"This could be a model for community partnerships in educating our young people," Hales said. "Kudos to the Linnton neighborhood and community center!"
Outreach Workers, Police Praise Relationship-Building Approach to Policing
THURSDAY, DEC. 4, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales recently convened a work session on managing the homeless population on sidewalks and in parks to brief City Council on the Portland Police Bureau’s work toward relationship-building as policing.
Hales, commissioner in charge of the police bureau, in the summer joined a police walking beat on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, and was impressed with the evident relationships those police officers had built with the homeless population and business owners. Hales plans on growing the police-community connection, with a vision of a walking patrol in every neighborhood.
“As Sir Robert Peel said, ‘The police are the public and the public are the police,’” Hales said. “That’s our guiding principle.”
At the meeting, Hales asked police, outreach organizations, and others to share with the rest of Council their experiences with the pilot programs.
Israel Beyer, executive director of Street Roots:
“Street Roots wants to say the walking beat has been great success. It can be national model for police bureaus across the country, which are looking for formulas that may work to solve these problems. In 15 years been doing this work, this is the best program I’ve seen.”
Dennis Lundberg, associate director of Janus Youth Programs:
“I deeply applaud Central Precinct’s work. This is something that, at Janus, we’ve been striving for for at least a decade—this level of partnership. It’s not a matter of shifting back to community policing, it’s a matter of putting the right officers with right training out of the street. I deeply respect all the men on the police foot patrol.
“For me, and I’ve doing street outreach for over 13 years, it’s like having a whole ’nother team of street outreach workers out there. Their level of empathy, compassion, the way they’re engaging young people experiencing homelessness should be applauded. And I agree with Israel: This should be a national model.
Mark Jolin, executive director of JOIN:
“All of us who do this work, we know it’s a process of coming back over and over again, and building trust to the point people actually believe that your offer of services is an offer of ongoing support and relationships that go beyond recommendation to a service that’s already very full.
“We at JOIN have had a relationship with police for close to 20 years. This approach to the work has been present, but now it’s organized and it’s getting support at the highest levels of the Police Bureau. And it’s going to make a world of difference—it did this summer in the pilot area, not just in addressing these problems, but also in bringing to community attention to them.
“It didn’t solve the problem of camping, and of people generating complaints; we still have thousands of people living personal private lives out on the street.
“What changed was the way the officers tasked with responding to that were engaging people. It wasn’t just, ‘this is the impact you’re having on the neighborhood.’ It was recognizing, ‘asking you to move has an adverse impact on you,’ and addressing that.”
Sgt. Ric DeLand, Portland Police Bureau:
For the walking beat pilot program, Sgt. Deland wanted a team of officers who volunteered for the duty; 12 did. Since the success of the program, more officers have e-mailed him, interested in joining, he said.
“We welcomed an entire community of people back to Portland after they’ve been told, ‘we don’t want you here.’ We invited them back in and said, ‘We want good people here. We want good people invested in community.’ We talked to them about how they present themselves, and they responded in droves.”
DeLand said the officers this summer led by example. For instance, he said, “Uniformed officers picked up garbage this year.”
One day on Hawthorne, he saw that someone had knocked over the newspaper boxes in front of Bagdad Theater, leaving a mess of newspapers strewn across the sidewalk and in the street. He walked over and started picking them up. A person sitting at a table put down his beer to help. The traveler asking for change in front of the building got up to help. The three found a business with a recycling bin to toss the papers. When DeLand walked back along the stretch, people at the tables outside the Bagdad raised their beers.
“We brought a scalpel to this broad brush problem—that’s the change we made this year. We dealt with people on an individual basis, with the families they create for themselves, with tribes, as they call themselves.”
DeLand pointed to an example another speaker had, of a sign on the porch saying, “If you’re going to sleep here, please leave by dawn and clean up after yourself”; people have done just that. “That’s the experience we’ve had with people,” he said.
“That’s the vast majority of people. If you present the issues and how they can help, they’ll be responsive to that. Only a handful of people haven’t been,” he said.
He pointed to the Waterfront Park cleanup, when 100 travelers worked shoulder-to-shoulder to clean up garbage in the park.
“Invite them to be part of the solution rather than being part of the problem, and they’ll jump at the opportunity.”
Portland Named ‘Climate Action Champion’ by White House
Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 – The White House today announced the first cohort of Climate Action Champions, including the City of Portland.
"Climate change is a world-wide threat, but as President Obama has said, international leadership begins at home," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "We are honored by this, but it just means the pressure is on to work harder, and to think smarter, to demand more of ourselves."
This fall, the White House launched the Climate Action Champions competition to identify and recognize local climate leaders and to provide targeted federal support to help those communities further raise their ambitions.
Portland was singled out as a regional leader for greenhouse gas reduction and climate change mitigation. With support from 20 agency partners, Portland’s 2015 Climate Action Plan is a strategy to put the city on a path to achieve an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 1990 levels.
This is the city’s second major victory on the issue of climate action this year. In September, Portland was among 10 cities worldwide to receive the City Climate Leadership Awards 2014. The Award was sponsored by the international C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, and honored cities all over the world for excellence in urban sustainability and leadership in the fight against climate change. Portland was honored alongside cities such as Barcelona, Buenos Aires, London and Amsterdam, among others.
Other winners of the White House competition, announced today, include:
● Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe, Calif.
● Boston, Mass. Broward County, Fla.
● Dubuque, Iowa
● Knoxville, Tenn.
● Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (D.C., Maryland and Virginia
● Mid-America Regional Council (Kansas and Missouri)
● Minneapolis, Minn.
● Montpelier, Vt.
● Oberlin, Ohio
● Salt Lake City, Utah
● San Francisco, Calif.
● Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (Michigan)
● Seattle, Wash.
● Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority (California)
Mayor Hales praised Susan Anderson, director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and her leadership team for its work on the Climate Action Plan. He also pointed to other agencies including Multnomah County and Metro, plus activists in the private sector.
"There’s plenty of credit to go around.
The region is about to complete the first new bridge in downtown Portland in 30 years, and it will carry light rail, streetcar, buses, bicycles and pedestrians … but not private vehicles," Hales said this spring, while addressing the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Chicago. "This is the kind of investment we are making to make our healthy connected city a reality." 3
The 16 selected communities will receive facilitated peer-to-peer learning and mentorship and targeted support from a range of Federal programs. Furthermore, a coordinator will be provided to each Climate Action Champion to foster coordination and communicate across the Federal agencies, national organizations, and foundations in support of the Champions. The coordinator will also assist efforts to raise awareness of funding and technical assistance opportunities that are available specifically for Climate Action Champions.
"We strive for livable neighborhoods: highly walkable, lively commercial districts, making it easy and convenient to get to the schools, shops, jobs, parks, coffee and beer that make Portland a great place to live, work and play," Hales said. "The things we love about Portland, we want all Portlanders to share. Today, they don’t. We experience significant inequities, neighborhood to neighborhood. Addressing those inequities is among our top goals."
The Obama Administration is committed to taking decisive action to combat climate change. In November, to drive international discussions leading up to the 2015 climate negotiations in Paris, President Obama made an historic joint announcement with Chinese President Xi Jinping of each country’s respective targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the post-2020 period. Building on the United States’ bipartisan history of supporting financing for clean energy and climate adaptation in developing countries, the president also announced the United States’ $3 billion commitment to the Green Climate Fund.
The Obama Administration is continuing to partner with state and local governments, businesses, and philanthropic organizations to make progress on climate change in the United States. Building on the work the Administration has done with the State, Local, and Tribal leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, which delivered its recommendations to the President on Nov. 17, in addition to the selection of the Climate Action Champions this week, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy launched a new Climate Education and Literacy Initiative, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the White House collaborated on the fourth in a series of local climate resilience exercises in Hampton Roads, Va.
Mayor Hales Responds to Recent Demonstrations
MONDAY, DEC. 1, 2014 – From Mayor Charlie Hales:
Portland is a city that demonstrates. And that’s a great thing.
Especially now in a community, and in a nation, coming to terms with the divisive issues of racial inequity, income inequality, and a lack of services for people with mental illness.
As the free-speech events this past week have shown, thousands of Portlanders have very real concerns, very real emotions, and very real histories of unjust decisions. These Portlanders deserve to be heard. It’s their right to be heard.
But even in less-stressful times, civic demonstrations are part of the everyday norm in Portland. Almost every week, Portland Police work to keep public demonstrations safe – for participants and for all Portlanders. That includes permitted rallies and unpermitted rallies.
That won’t change.
Most often, the hundreds of demonstrations end peacefully. Sometimes the media notice. Sometimes not. Sometimes the demonstrations lead to a change in public policy. Sometimes not. Some end in arrests. Not many, but some. Each demonstration is a balancing act, protecting rights of assembly and speech, vs. residents’ ability to move around their city.
We had demonstrations almost every day this past week. One on Saturday ended in 10 arrests after hours of engagement with police throughout the Portland west side.
These are our community’s expectations for demonstrations:
The first thing we cannot tolerate is anyone being injured. Public safety for all Portlanders – demonstrators and bystanders alike – is paramount. This past week, we saw demonstrations in which organizers attempted to lead people onto highways. Walking onto an interstate highway with cars traveling at a high rate of speed is both foolish and dangerous. It’s dangerous for protesters, but it’s dangerous for drivers, too. We expect Portland Police to prevent such reckless protests, when possible.
The second public safety priority is vandalism. We cannot allow property to be damaged.
The third public safety priority is any demonstration that substantively interferes with Portlanders’ ability to move around their city. That includes streets, highways and light rail lines. Because those are owned by the community at large and serve the community at large.
If you’re a parent making $15 per hour and your day care charges an extra $1 for every minute you’re late, then a demonstration that blocks a bus or train or a highway has real consequences in your life. Many low-income citizens rely on public transit every day just to make ends meet. So we draw the line at demonstrations that stop Portlanders from getting to and from their jobs and their homes.
Waiting an extra light cycle or two for a parade to pass is a reasonable price to pay for living in a free Democracy. Demonstrations that disrupt the transit system for a large number of Portlanders cross the line of fairness for all.
We will continue to have demonstrations in Portland. And we should. It’s part of the nature of this city. And the Portland Police Bureau will continue to work to keep demonstrators safe, and all Portland residents safe. They will do so while ensuring that First Amendment rights are respected in this city.
Mayor Praises Officer, Boy, Photographer for Hug at Rally
FRIDAY, NOV. 28, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales praised the boy with a big heart, Devonte Hart, 12, and Portland Police Sgt. Bret Barnum for the hug that photographer Johnny Nguyen captured on Nov. 25, at a rally protesting the Ferguson, Mo., grand jury decision.
"The sergeant has done the city proud," Hales said. "That's the kind of officer Portland wants. And I couldn't be more grateful to Devonte for making the moment happen."
Thanksgiving: Portland Gets Its Parade On
FRIDAY, NOV. 28, 2014 – My Macy’s Holiday Parade rolled through downtown ON Friday, complete with floats, bands, volunteers and plenty of cute kids. The annual celebration ushers in the holiday season, along with the lighting of the holiday tree in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Mayor Responds to Large Demonstration Tuesday
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 25, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales praised a large group of demonstrators who remained peaceful in their protest against the Ferguson, Mo., grand jury decision. Police arrested some people associated with another group that tried to enter freeways and block brides.
Mayor Hales: "I'm grateful to organizers of the peaceful demonstration that took place yesterday afternoon in front of the Justice Center, following the Ferguson grand jury decision. The community needed a time and place to come together and to be heard, and organizers, including Albina Ministerial Alliance, deserve the credit. I will be calling leaders today to personally thank them for their service to the community. That some few got violent doesn't take away from the estimated 1,200 who showed up, who spoke up, who prayed and sang. The community needed this moment."
READ MORE FROM POLICE: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/news/read.cfm?id=5680
Mayor Calls Sustainable Business Leaders to Action
TUESDAY, NOV. 25, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales last week spoke at the Sustainable Business Oregon Awards, praising businesses for their work in building a sustainable, prosperous Portland.
Then he posed the question: How many people are sharing in this prosperity?
"Having sustainability and a sustainable economy that provides opportunity for more people: That will be the broadened definition of 'sustainability' in the future," Hales said.
He also presented an award to Happy Cup Coffee Roasting, and noted with the number of his visits to their City Hall location, he's definitely contributing to their prosperity -- and proud of it.
LISTEN TO THE FULL SPEECH: https://soundcloud.com/mayorp…/mayor-hales-calls-sustainable
WATCH THE SPEECH ON YOUTUBE: http://youtu.be/IKJBKply_iY
Mayor Responds to Ferguson, Mo., Grand Jury Decision
MONDAY, NOV. 24, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales this evening spoke to media about the Ferguson, Mo., grand jury decision.
While the city is more than 2,000 miles away, it impacts people lives in Portland, and speaks to broad, systematic, historical and institutional inequities facing people in Portland and nationwide.
His written statement:
"Today we learned that a grand jury in Ferguson, Mo., found no probable cause to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.
My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in Ferguson, Mo.; to the residents, the police, and the family and friends of Michael Brown. We all feel the pain of the loss of a young man’s life.
The situation in Ferguson did not occur in a vacuum. All of our community is hurting today. And, together, all of our community must begin healing. We, as a society, have a lot of work to do addressing the systemic inequities history has left us.
We are working to address those inequities in Portland with the Black Male Achievement Initiative; SummerWorks internship program; Ban the Box; a felony-hiring incentive; and by working to build community trust in the police bureau. The city, and all our public institutions, must work to address these issues.
I know of at least one planned demonstration here in Portland related to the decision. And there may be demonstrations across the nation as citizens express concern about police practices.
Our police leadership has reached out to community leaders who are planning events in order to help facilitate the safe demonstration of citizens’ constitutional rights of assembly and speech. We did not drive this collaboration; we participated in it. I sincerely hope these conversations and collaborative planning will be a model of citizens and police working together, even on difficult issues.
People have a right to speak their minds on this and any other issue. Our Police Bureau policies on demonstrations reflect our city’s commitment of these rights.
We are fully prepared to support the people who choose to publicly demonstrate. We will work to facilitate safety for all demonstrations."
Mayor Talks to Destination DIY About the Sharing Economy
MONDAY, NOV. 24, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales talked to the podcast Destination DIY about the city's role in the sharing economy -- including regulating the two best-known platforms, Airbnb and Uber.
"We're not a schoolmarm, wagging our fingers; we're adopting regulations for when things don’t work out," Hales said. "The tide is very much moving toward these sharing concepts. We live in a data-rich environment that people can access in the palm of their hands. Little ol’ Portland, Oregon, or, frankly, little ol’ New York City is not going to stop that tide. So I’d rather we stay with it and surf with it than get washed away from it."
LISTEN TO THE FULL STORY: https://soundcloud.com/destinationdiy/fair-share
Mayor Responds to 3 Officers' Social Media Posts
MONDAY, NOV. 24, 2014 -- The city on Monday morning learned that three Portland Police Officers altered the image of the Bureau's badge to express support for the officer involved in the Ferguson, Mo., shooting that has gained national attention. The Mercury has full coverage.
Upon learning about the issue, Mayor Charlie Hales issued a statement:
"We learned this morning that three officers altered images of the official Portland Police Bureau badge, relating to the situation in Ferguson, Mo. Chief Reese did the right thing by immediately ordering the officers to remove these symbols, and by ordering Professional Standards Division to review this matter for possible policy violations.
We have been actively participating in collaborative dialog with community leaders and other Portlanders on issues of police and community relations. Recently, police participated in specific dialog related to possible reactions to the upcoming release of a verdict from the grand jury in Ferguson, Mo.
The actions taken by these three officers here in Portland do not help get us to that goal.
The officers made a political statement by altering the city’s official badges. They were wrong to do so. Their actions do a disservice to the hundreds of Portland Police Officers who are building relationships and partnerships with the community every day.
I urge officers to follow the guidelines issued by my office, and by the Portland Police Bureau command staff, to work with our community in the days to come, cooperatively, and to address the very real issues of police and community relations."
UPDATE: The Portland Police Bureau has initiated a Professional Standards investigation into the three officers' conduct. Mayor Charlie Hales also directed the chief not to deploy the officers to protests on the issue.
Leaders Walk Streets, Discuss Options for Homelessness
FRIDAY, NOV. 21 – Leaders from throughout the Portland area got a chance to experience a small slice of homelessness today, during a day of awareness, a forum, and a walk through the streets of Portland.
“Finding answers for houseless citizens is a priority for the city, the county, the state and the nation,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “It takes the for-profit and nonprofit communities, the faith community, the education community, the service providers. In short, it takes all of us, together, to begin to address this crisis.”
Participants in the Day of Homeless Awareness included Paul Schroeder of the New City Initiative, Allan Lazo of the Human Rights Commission, the Rev. Kate Lore of First Unitarian Church, Israel Bayer, executive director of Street Roots, and many more.
The day included a walk through the streets of Portland.
Mayor Supports Obama's Immigration Proposal
THURSDAY, NOV. 20, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales today applauded President Barack Obama for taking action to address this nation’s broken immigration system.
"President Obama deserves credit today for taking action to address the nation’s broken immigration policies," Hales said. "His proposal is modest but an important step forward for an estimated 3.7 million long-standing residents of this nation, and for their children. This is an issue of basic equity. Now I urge Congress to act as well, and to pass meaningful immigration reform."
Putting immigration on the front burner of public discussion is a positive move, Hales said.
"We are a nation of immigrants, and the nation’s illogical, unworkable and uncivil immigration policies have an uneven impact on cities," he said. " Like mayors throughout the nation, I applaud the president’s action."
Mayor Talks to 'Think Out Loud' About Proposed Street Fund
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 19, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick, in charge of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, this afternoon talked about the street fund on OPB's "Think Out Loud" program.
They were joined by two vocal opponents of the proposal, which would use a small fee and modest income tax to generate about $46 million to repair streets and improve safety. One guest on the show, a woman who owns a business, said that although her fee would be $3 per month, she objects to the fund on principle.
Hales challenged the basis for opposition, saying the city needs to do this -- the street fund -- or do nothing, or do something else. Opponents were unable to offer alternate revenue-generating proposals.
Listen to the full interview here: https://soundcloud.com/thinkoutloudopb/city-rolls-out-the-latest-1
Mayor Talks to KATU About Proposed Street Fund
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 19, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales last week talked to KATU News' "Your Voice Your Vote" program about the street fund, which will be heard at City Council tomorrow, Thursday, at 2 p.m.Hales tells the program: "Taxes aren’t popular. I want to remind people that we have a crumbling street system in the city of Portland. It’s been crumbling for decades. And we have three options: Do this. Do nothing. Or do something else."
Hales has heard from residents and businesses that the new street fund is a manageable solution. The fee for businesses and income tax for residents (starting at $5 per month for households with, after deductions, a $40,000 annual income) will cover basic maintenance and paving (56 percent) and basic safety, such as building sidewalks (44 percent). Hales emphasized that the fund is only a start: "We also need state and federal governments to step up and raise revenue."
Why push is the mayor pushing for this revenue? "It ought to be possible for children in Portland neighborhoods to walk to school on a sidewalk. That’s not true today. It ought to be possible to get across streets with heavy traffic, and right now that’s not the case. Last year, we had 35 Portlanders killed in traffic in a city that only had 16 homicides. Each of those people was lost to a Portland families. Safety is a big deal."
Mayor Joins Coalition to Support Obama on Net Neutrality
TUESDAY, NOV. 18, 2014 -- Along with other mayors, Mayor Charlie Hales argues that the most effective way to truly protect the open Internet is for the FCC to break with its previous approach and reclassify broadband Internet as a telecommunications service subject to regulation as a common carrier.
Hales and other mayors back President Barack Obama's plan to reclassify the Internet as a public utility.
"In our ongoing effort to close the digital divide so everyone has access to the opportunity that comes with technology, net neutrality is critical," Hales said.
Read the full article in The Hill: http://thehill.com/policy/technology/224262-mayors-back-obama-on-net-neutrality#.VGvOMU8Vbvw.facebook
Listen to Mayor Hales' speech today at the Digital Inclusion Network summit: https://soundcloud.com/mayorpdx/digital-inclusion-network
AARP Ranks Portland Among Cities Best for Aging
TUESDAY, NOV. 18, 2014 -- AARP in an article lauds Portland and 14 other cities for taking the lead on making cities livable for the aging population.
"We’re proud that Portland is among the first American cities to join the Best Cities for Successful Aging collaboration," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "Being an age-friendly city is in our DNA: Portland has been a walkable city for well over a century; we’ve embraced public transit with buses, light rail trains and street cars; and we have countless urban parks to explore. The beauty and amenities of the city should be available for everyone, and that includes older residents."
Mayor Speaks at Digital Inclusion Network Summit, Calls on Partners to Bridge Digital Divide
TUESDAY, NOV. 18, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales joined partners working to close the digital divide this morning at the Digital Inclusion Network Summit, challenging partners to build on the progress they've already achieved to make digital inclusion their animating principle in Hales' effort to make Portland a city of opportunity for everyone.
The partners present at the summit, the first of its kind, convened in the Multnomah County Library, working to make technology accessible to everyone. Hales called out the good work of Free Geek, Worksystems Inc and Treehouse Code Oregon, Portland Community Media, and Multnomah County Library.
LISTEN TO THE FULL SPEECH: https://soundcloud.com/mayorpdx/digital-inclusion-network
Director of Strategic Initiatives Talks Uber on Think Out Loud
FRIDAY, NOV. 14, 2014 -- Josh Alpert, the mayor's director of strategic initiatives, talked to Think Out Loud about Uber in Portland, explaining how the regulatory process will work.
"We will have Uber or some other ride-sharing platform in Portland," Alpert said. "But there are a lot of interests to balance to ensure safety and access -- the purpose of city regulation."
(Think Out Loud host Dave Miller):
What role does the mayor think he should play when we’re talking about a disruptive industry here? In polls many consumers have said they want this to come; for whatever reason, they want this to be one of their options. You’re saying the mayor is weighing the potential effect on the livelihood of people who right now have jobs in one industry when a new technology has come along that could hurt them. Why should that be the mayor’s concern?
(Mayor’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, Josh Alpert):
One: It’s a human and humane concern.
And two: It’s an economic concern.
The last thing we want to do in a shifting economy bringing in new technology is not take care of those who may be displaced by it. I think that is part of both our premises that our role is safety and access. By displacing workers, having them left to unemployment rather than being contributing members of the economy doesn’t help us in safety or in access. Instead, we do welcome change. We just want to have plans in place to allow it to happen naturally.
Listen to the interview: https://soundcloud.com/thinkoutlo…/uber-launches-in-portland
Downtown Holiday Kickoff Highlights Local Businesses
THURSDAY, NOV. 13, 2014 -- Today Mayor Charlie Hales joined the Portland Business Alliance to kick off the holiday shopping season in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
The kick-off featured pop-up shop owners who will appear in Old Town this season. In remarks at the gathering, Hales said one of the special things about Portland is the number of local businesses that offer unique, interesting, fun, very "Portland" gifts.
"Support local merchants this season!" he said. "And, in the spirit of '#uglysweaterpdx,' see how your sweater compares to the animals downtown."
Mayor Calls on Education Leaders to Tackle the 'Human Equation' for Student Success
THURSDAY, NOV. 13, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales last week called on education partners to help solve the "human equation": Just as Portland solved the urban equation to build a livable city, Hales is calling for "relentless creativity" to make everything loved about Portland accessible to everyone.
Hales gave the speech at an All Hands Raised event bringing together partners in education. The mayor has supported education with city resources: He invested nearly $300,000 in the fall bump in Concordia Early Childhood Learning Project and SummerWorks to support Portland children and young people, and in the general fund budget invested in expanding SUN Schools and Early Works at Earl Boyles Elementary. At speaking events this fall he's been calling on education and business leaders to use their knowledge and resources to help young people obtain quality educations and useful skill sets.
Listen to the full speech on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/mayorpdx/all-hands-raised-tackling-the-human-equation-for-student-success
Mayor Committed to Drop-Off Center for People in Mental Health Crisis
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 12, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales will contribute money toward the build-out of a mental-health drop-off center if the state and county mental heath departments commit to operating such a facility.
"The city's role is not health care or mental health care; we don't have that bureau or department or agency, but the county and state do," Hales said. "However, a center at which police could drop off people in mental health crisis is necessary and critical."
Denis Theriault from The Mercury got the scoop: http://blogtown.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownPDX/archives/2014/11/12/hales-promises-city-funding-for-mental-health-facilityprovided-others-pony-up-too
Mayor in Op-Ed: DOJ Appeal Designed to Clarify, Won't Stop Reforms
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 12, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales in The Skanner newspaper writes about how the narrow appeal to the DOJ settlement will have zero impact on police reforms, which the city has wholeheartedly embraced.
"What we heard from groups like the Albina Ministerial Alliance for Justice and Police Reform is this: We do not trust the city.
But moving forward, here’s what I say to the alliance: We trust you.
You’ll be there, every step of the way, along with allies such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the League of Women Voters. You’ll be watching us.
You’ll have my ear. And you’ll have the ears of every member of the council. You’ll have access to the Compliance Officer and Community Liaison. You’ll have access to the Community Oversight Advisory Board. Nothing will change, in regard to the Independent Police Review within the City Auditor’s Office. You’ll be able to report your findings to the United States Department of Justice. And you’ll be able to speak before the judge.
We hope to get clarity on the judge’s role and his hearings. But whether we get that clarity or not, none of those oversight mechanisms will be affected."
READ THE FULL OP-ED ON THE SKANNER WEBSITE: http://www.theskanner.com/news/northwest/22112-doj-appeal-designed-to-clarify-ruling-won-t-hurt-reforms
Portlanders brave chilly winds to celebrate Veterans Day in Hollywood Neighborhood
TUESDAY, NOV. 11, 2014 -- Thousands turned out in the Hollywood area on Tuesday to celebrate those who have served our nation in the armed forces. Brisk winds couldnt' keep away the families, veterans and public servants who took part.
Mayor Charlie Hales spoke after the event and reminded people to call 211 for more information on how to assist during this week's unexpected cold snap. "Too many veterans -- too many people, period -- are without shelter tonight. And we all have to help," Hales said.
Mayor, Commissioners Present Spirit of Portland Honors
FRIDAY, NOV. 7, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales last night awarded four Spirit of Portland awards, recognizing individuals and organizations that have demonstrated exemplary dedication to positive change in the community — those who have gone above and beyond to make a lasting impact.
“These honorees exemplify Portland’s spirit of communitarianism,” Hales said. “They are part of the deep roots of Portland’s character—the character that regularly brings people to City Council to testify; that garners a vast network of volunteers; that motivates constituents to write and call our office on a regular basis.”
Hales bestowed the Spirit of Portland Mayor’s Award on the Rosewood Initiative and Andre Baugh.
The Rosewood Initiative is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to making the Rosewood area, located in a 15-block area around the intersection of 162nd and East Burnside, a desirable place to live, work and play. The organization is building a safe, healthy, respectful, vibrant and inclusive community for everyone in Rosewood, and is working for meaningful change in partnership with agencies across Portland, Gresham and Multnomah County. Residents and businesses connect with one another to align resources and achieve shared goals. Through the work of staff and volunteers, the Rosewood Community Center has become a neighborhood hub, where neighbors can stop by for myriad reasons including Zumba classes, parent/child classes, afterschool activities, community space rental, and computer/Internet access. Additionally, through a partnership with Work Systems Inc., the community center now provides valuable employment services, coaching, and research for community members looking for employment.
Andre Baugh, an Oregon resident for most of his life, has served the local community in numerous ways. He was appointed to the Portland Planning commission by Mayor Potter in 2008, and has since served under both Mayor Adams and Mayor Hales. He became chair of the Planning and Sustainability Commission in 2011. As chair, Baugh has been instrumental in involving equity and health in decision-making and planning processes. He was involved in the nationally recognized Portland Plan and the planning for West Hayden Island, and is currently leading the Comprehensive Plan update.
Mayor Hales also awarded Aber Starks of Conscious Coils and Portland Mercado the Community Award.
Amber Starks is a model, a business owner (Conscious Coils), and hair braider who’s a proud champion of natural hair. As a leader and advocate, she fought—successfully—to change Oregon law to increase economic opportunity for people who practice traditional natural haircare, focusing on the braiding, weaving and locking of hair without the use of chemicals. Amber is a 2012 graduate of the Urban League of Portland’s Social Justice and Civic Leadership Program, which empowered her to successfully navigate the legislative process. As a result, in 2013, State Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer introduced House Bill 3409 to created licenses for natural hair stylists. It passed in the House and Senate and was signed into law by Gov. Kitzhaber on June 4, 2013.
Portland Mercado is a community economic development initiative of Portland nonprofit, Hacienda CDC. It’s a grassroots initiative—Hacienda CDC’s response to the high percentage of unemployed Latinos living in the region, and the lack of access to culturally specific products and affordable business opportunities available in the city. Since 2010, Hacienda CDC and its “comunidad viva,” along with governmental, fiscal and community supporters, have teamed up to create a true cross-sector development that has the potential to transform the livelihoods of Latino business owners, families and neighbors spanning the Lents Urban Renewal Area. Portland has the opportunity to develop amenities to neighborhoods without displacing people, and the Foster Corridor is a great place to do it right. The Portland Mercado is just part of the current efforts to transform a neighborhood with a lot of history and community support.
Other Spirit of Portland honorees include:
Ronault L.S. Catalani (Polo): Equity in Practice Partnerships
Donita Fry: Native American Youth and Family Center
George T. Nicola: Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN)
Ramón Ramírez: Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste
East Portland Action Plan
Write Around Portland
Sandy Diedrich Environmental Stewardship Award:
Don Baack: SWTrails
Members of the Oregon State Police Salem Area Command
Kristi Jamison: Portland Commission on Disability
Dr. Karen Fischer Gray: Parkrose School District
Stephen Marc Beaudoin: PHAME
American Red Cross, Cascades Region
Jade District Steering Committee
Rose City Futsal
Mayor Discusses Priorities with Oregon Board of Rabbis
THURSDAY, NOV. 6, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales today met with the Oregon Board of Rabbis to discuss his priorities and answer questions about their interests.
Oregon Board of Rabbis Question: What can the city do to help people returning to society from serving time be successful?
Mayor Hales’ Answer: Helping returning citizens be successful is important on many levels. It’s part of that human equation [we discussed earlier]—working to prevent people from being left behind by giving them the opportunity to succeed.
There’s immediate opportunity with Code Oregon. Code Oregon is an effort sponsored by Worksystems, Inc. and Treehouse, a local business; Treehouse is being paid to provide this service. Treehouse is a software company that has 10,000 free slots to teach people how to become code writers for software. It’s free—free! These folks are being paid to teach 10,000 of our fellow citizens to do this, and they’ve only got about 4,000 signed up.
I suspect each of us knows a smart person who is looking for the next job and who might be suitable for this. They need about 30,000 people to sign up, because not everyone has the aptitude or interest in being a code-writer. I’m planning on reaching out to correctional institutions to see if we can get people started in the program before they’re released, so they could have a new skillset upon re-entry. I’m going to mention Code Oregon at every opportunity, wherever two or three are gathered together, until 30,000 people sign up. So please, spread the word.
At the city, we’ve also “banned the box,” removing a major barrier for people trying to re-enter the workforce. Among my priorities is expanding that initiative.
We’re also working on a returning citizen tax credit that would give businesses an incentive to hire returning citizens. Philadelphia did it, and their recidivism rate is just 7 percent—7 percent! Even if our results were half that, the program would still be a tremendous success.
Q: Portland’s poverty level seems to be persistent, with more than half of schoolchildren on free or reduced-priced lunches. What can we do about this?
A: In a causal sense, a lot of poverty among Portland schoolchildren is due to annexation of parts of East Portland that are historically low-income, such as around the Parkrose and David Douglas school districts. In a broader sense, more than half of our schoolchildren on free or reduced-priced lunches is our challenge to solve the human equation.
Let me make a case here on Portland being the exception. I’ll start with the fact that Portland, in the last several decades, proved to be the exception to the conventional wisdom about the urban equation—about the future of cities. There was a conventional wisdom that cities were in decline; schools were all going to get worse; prosperity was going to the suburbs; races would never get along; and urban life was the lesser choice. With a combination of enlightened public policy and broad partnerships, Portland became an exception. Through our sustained efforts, we solved the urban equation, and the world beat a path to our door.
If we can be that kind example in the urban equation, proving that conventional wisdom wrong, I believe that we can also be that kind of exception in the human equation.
Right now the conventional wisdom is that we are a stratified society—the rich are always going to get richer, and everyone else is always going to be left behind. The reality is, we are in a society where housing costs are moving out of reach for more and more of our citizens. We’re in a country where 400 people earn the same amount of money per year as the bottom 155 million people. We’re an economy in which, during this economic recovery, the top 1 percent saw a 31 percent increase in their earnings, and the bottom 99 percent are flat or declining. The conventional wisdom is those are traditional macroeconomic forces; there’s nothing you can do about it. I don’t agree with that conventional wisdom because I saw us disprove the conventional wisdom about cities. I believe that we here in Portland can disprove that conventional wisdom here in our community, for our people.
I call you, as faith leaders, to be as relentlessly creative on the human equation as we were on the urban equation. I think we can make a great deal of difference.
In East Portland, we’re working on developing complete neighborhoods, with walking-distance amenities in every neighborhood. We’re revisiting the Comprehensive Plan; looking for the most socially responsible development in Lents; working with the school districts to ensure access to SUN Schools and workforce development. We’re working hard to provide opportunity for everyone—especially people in the most diverse yet lowest income region in the city.
Q: Are you using this extra money the city has for homelessness or the safety net?
A: The $10 million or so we have is part of a budget adjustment that regularly occurs halfway through the year. The City Budget Office makes an educated prediction about how much revenue the city will receive, and we budget off of that at the beginning of the calendar year, for spending during the fiscal year starting July 1. The prediction is always conservative, and this year it came within 1 percent of actual revenue, with a $10 million surplus.
I’ve proposed a general fund reconciliation budget that includes about $4 million in capital projects for streets and building maintenance, as well as funding for unforeseen, one-time costs. While commissioners didn’t request funds specifically for safety net programs, we do have allotments for youth, equity and education. We’re funding translation services through the Office of Equity and Human Rights; business development funds for East Portland through Venture Portland; and support for the Concordia Early Childhood Learning Project, among others.
Q: Why are you appealing the DOJ settlement?
A: Council voted to appeal a narrow portion of the settlement. It will not slow down police reforms, which we started to implement long before the judge’s ruling. The DOJ recommended we change our policies for hiring, promoting, training and disciplining officers. And we did. That will not be affected by this appeal.
“Appeal” is a legal term and mechanism. When we say we’re appealing the judge’s order, we’re simply trying to remove ambiguity about the role of the parties and the judge during the annual court hearings. We want clarity, not ambiguity, in police reform.
Q: Looking at Ferguson, what does this mean for Portland?
A: Portland is not Ferguson. The Police Bureau respects and values citizens’ right to protest, and wants to ensure safety as they exercise that right. Officers have reached out to local activists and the African-American community to help safely facilitate any demonstrations related to Ferguson that may occur.
The sentiments behind protest aren’t in a vacuum. We recognize that these are long-term, historical issues, and we’re working to build trust between police and community members. We’re implementing the DOJ settlement; improving accountability; and refining policies. We’re also focused on building relationships with the community through walking beats and partnerships with youth, immigrant and other groups—a benefit for officer job satisfaction, police-community interactions, and all Portlanders. Very soon we’re appointing a Compliance Officer/Community Liaison to oversee reforms and ensure community accountability—not just with the Albina Ministerial Alliance or parties to the agreement, but every community subset, including you, as faith leaders. Ultimately, our goal is to institutionalize the value of community relationships and collaboration as inherent to successful policing.
City Ready for Recreational Marijuana Use
Oregon voters have approved the use of recreational marijuana, and the City of Portland has been working since the summer to craft policies that reflect that change.
“It seemed prudent to get started on this issue long before voters spoke,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “The goal is to make sure city policy reflects the changing legal and social climate, and to craft policy that is not unduly burdensome.”
In October, the City Council passed a 10 percent tax on recreational marijuana and dismissed the idea of a tax on medicinal marijuana. The tax on recreational marijuana will defray the cost of enforcing regulations.
With the passage of Measure 91, Oregon will allow the legal use of recreational marijuana beginning July 1, 2015. The state, through the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, will regulate use, and the city will work over the next several months with the state to smooth implementation.
Have questions? Contact the city at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parks Bond Passes Overwhelmingly
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 5, 2014 -- Last night Measure 26-159 passed with more than 72 percent support, bringing $68 million into the Portland Parks system.
“With this vote, Portlanders affirmed their love of and desire to maintain our parks system, and we're grateful," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "I offer deep thanks to my colleague and Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. She's indefatigable, and when I assigned her the Parks Bureau, I knew she was the one to see this through.”
The success of this measure means:
- About 15 playgrounds across the city will be replaced;
- Bridges and trails, including in Forest Park, will be restored;
- Swimming pools at community centers will not have to be closed;
- Restroom facilities will be upgraded in quite a few parks;
- A large portion of our city parks employees will have a safe work environment;
- Our city’s living room will be rejuvenated;
- And barriers will be removed allowing more access for people with disabilities.
The Council will appoint a five-person oversight commitment responsible for annual reports. The Bureau expects money would be available to begin projects by July, 2015. The current bond project list is available at www.ParksReplacementBond.org.
Mayor Charlie Hales Releases Conservative Plan for Fall Budget Adjustment, Preview of Fiscal Year 2015-16 Budget
PORTLAND, ORE. – An improving economy, plus fiscally conservative decisions last year, mean the City of Portland heads into the second half of the year in excellent financial shape. On Tuesday, the City Council will discuss plans for $10.1 million of unspent resources from last fiscal year, as well as receive a preview of the December General Fund Financial Forecast.
The $10.1 million isn’t, “ ‘found money,’” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “This is what happens when the economy is good and the city’s budget-writers guess conservatively, as we asked them to do at the start of the summer.”
“Ten million represents only about 1 percent of the general fund revenue and expenses, so we were actually pretty close,” City Economist Josh Harwood said. “You don’t want to guess too far in either direction. This is right where we want to be, in good times and in bad.”
Despite the good economic news, Hales released a proposed supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2014-15 that will adhere to his guidelines: “We need to be smart and conservative with people’s money, with a focus on equity and public safety,” he added.
A City Council work session is set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at City Hall, 1221 S.W. Fourth Ave., Portland. The meeting is open to the public but public testimony will not be taken at this hearing. Staff of the City Budget Office will run through the reports on the city’s economic situation, and will outline the Budget Monitoring Report for the 2014-15 budget.
Looking ahead, the FY 2015-16 budget also will benefit from three factors:
● Increased revenue as a result of the improved economy.
● For the second year in a row, Mayor Hales has proposed a plan to pay down city debt early, which frees up additional resources.
● Mayor Hales last year revamped much of the city’s Urban Renewal Areas, which put an estimated $1 billion back on the tax rolls and immediately added $1.5 million to the city’s coffers, without going to taxpayers for additional money. The URA changes also resulted in an immediate cash influx for Multnomah County and the Common School Fund.
Andrew Scott, director of the City Budget Office, will present the budget picture to the City Council this morning. “Though many things can change between now and when the budget is written in the spring, the City Budget Office believes that there will be a modest amount of ongoing resources totaling around $5 million available for FY 2015-16,” Scott said. “Meanwhile, there should be one-time resources available, likely in excess of $10 million.”
Mayor Hales urged bureaus and City Commissioners to focus budget changes on:
● Equity and Opportunity: Bolstering economic and housing opportunity for all Portlanders, as well as equity in service delivery.
●Complete Neighborhoods: Extending Portland’s livability to more areas of the city.
● Emergency Preparedness: Equipping bureau operations and our citizens to better withstand a disaster.
“Fairness and safety,” Hales said. “Those are the pillars for this fall’s budget talks. I’ve asked every bureau and every office to focus on those things.”
DETAILS OF MAYOR’S PROPOSED SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET
Over the past couple of months, requests for new funds in the fall supplemental budget have far outstripped the actual $10.1 million. The City Budget Office has collected more than $45 million in capital projects, and more than $28 million for new requests.
“The budget writers and I are saying ‘no’ to a lot more projects than we say ‘yes’ to,” Hales added. “These are relatively good times, economically. But such times still call for smart, conservative spending of taxpayer dollars.”
On Tuesday, the City Council will hear details of the mayor’s proposed budget changes that include:
● $1.94 million to repair the roof of an older Bureau of Emergency Communications building.
● $1 million of general fund money to go into the Bureau of Transportation for bridge and structure repairs. Also, $1 million for signals and street lights. “We will be asking Portlanders to pay a street fee for safety and maintenance. It was important to put some of our General Fund money into the effort as well,” Hales said.
Those three projects mean nearly $4 million of the $10.1 million is earmarked for capital projects.
The mayor’s proposed budget changes also include:
● Bureau of Development Services: Approximately $160,000 for the Extremely Distressed Properties and Nuisance Abatement programs.
● East Portland: $300,000 for a new master plan for eastside parks. And $100,000 for Venture Portland, with a focus on outreach to small businesses on the eastside.
● DOJ settlement implementation: More than $350,000 will create six analyst positions to implement the settlement that outlines police reforms, part of the ongoing effort to adhere to the letter and spirit of the agreement.
● Halprin Fountains: $500,000 for renovation of the historic parks in downtown Portland. Supporters have raised an estimated $2.1 million already to restore the fountains, and the city will use its $500,000 to help restore the fountains, parks and adjacent space.
● Emergency preparedness: The Mayor is proposing that Council adopt a comprehensive solution to the City’s aging fuel station infrastructure, including $9.7 million to replace five existing fuel stations; $3.1 million for a new fueling station at the Jerome Sears Building on the West side; and $800,00 for an additional emergency fuel site in East Portland.
“These are vital emergency needs,” Hales said. He will propose issuing bonds to pay for all of the projects. “Our budget-writers are convinced this is the right path forward, and I agree.”
Mayor Answers Questions at Interfaith Breakfast
FRIDAY, OCT. 31, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales joined faith leaders from across the city Thursday morning at the New City Initiative interfaith breakfast.
The breakfast was an opportunity for elected officials and faith leaders to exchange ideas, concerns and information. Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury attended.
Attendees had the opportunity to ask the officials questions:
Question from pastor visiting from San Francisco: What can you do to provide a better response to physical and mental health needs?
Answer from Mayor Hales: In Portland, city and county government services run parallel; they don’t intertwine. We need better coordination of services to confront a very real problem: 50 percent of Portland Police Bureau calls have to do with mental health. I can tell you that de-escalation is happening. Every morning I get reports from police, and they detail nuanced, thoughtful approaches to de-escalating tense incidents. That’s a result of changes in training; it’s working.
But mental health is still an issue. Take the I-84 incident in September. From a police perspective, it was a successful response: People were protected and officers used the least amount of force necessary to arrest the suspect. But from a human perspective, it was a travesty. We spent $30,000 on that police response. Think about what that $30,000 could have done for that man if we had proper mental health resources.
We need to change our trajectory so a Portland Police officer is the last person dealing with people in mental health crisis rather than the first.
Question from a pastor in Rosewood: Poverty seems to have left the inner city and moved to East Portland. How can we be a city of opportunity and prosperity for everyone if that’s happening?
Answer from Mayor Hales: This is a decades-long problem that we’ve been addressing incrementally. Before East Portland was annexed into the city, it was managed poorly, without adequate infrastructure or amenities. The region was incorporated into the city in order to build infrastructure; it was a large swath of unsewered land. Since then, the city has been working to remedy those shortfalls. We’ve added sewer, streets, and parks where there weren’t before.
We’re still working on developing East Portland. Now we’re revisiting the Comprehensive Plan, which will address issues in East Portland. We’re looking for the most socially responsible development ideas in Lents. We’re working with the school districts to ensure access to SUN Schools and workforce development. We’re working hard to provide opportunity for everyone—especially people in the most diverse yet lowest income region in the city.
All of this will take time. It’s not just this administration, or the next one, or the next one. It took decades, and will take decades. Your job is to keep pushing us to make progress. Tell us what needs to be done. Hold us accountable. Keep pushing.
Question from Catholic church in East Portland: What can you do about the food desert in East County?
Answer from Mayor Hales: The city’s main tool is creating an urban renewal district that can give the private sector an incentive to do something sooner or better than they would eventually do on their own.
Natural Grocers coming to Northeast Portland is a great example of that. It will provide healthy food in an area that lacks grocery store options. And, through a community benefits agreement with the city, the store will also provide free, on-site health coach services, and free nutrition education classes, demonstrations and lectures. That’s the kind of thing the city can do.
We’re also refocusing Portland Development Commission’s mission on making the most socially responsible investments possible, which will have a big impact in East Portland neighborhoods, such as Lents.
Question from St. Francis church: What can you do to better prioritize affordable housing in the city?
Answer from Commissioner Saltzman: The Housing Bureau’s longtime goal is to make sure people can live near where they work. We contributed several million dollars to St. Francis’ 100 percent affordable housing building. And, under the mayor’s budget direction for the Housing Bureau, we’ve been working on preventing displacement, and providing opportunities for people who were displaced to return to their neighborhoods. We are making the investment in housing—millions through every budget, even those we’ve had to cut.
That said, we’re coming off the largest multi-family construction boom Portland has seen in a long time. We have a lot of market-rate development, and we need to do better capturing a greater market share for affordable housing.
Mayor Meets with Mexican General Consulate, Discusses Expanding Relationship
FRIDAY, OCT. 31, 2014 -- Mayor Hales this week officially welcomed the newly installed Mexican Consul General Armando Ortiz Rocha—a formality required by international protocol that allows the consul general to begin his service.
As consul general, Ortiz Rocha serves Mexican nationals living in Portland with administrative duties—providing passports, visas, consular representation—and also builds ties between Portland and Mexico.
Prior to arriving in Portland in September, Ortiz Rocha was consul general in San Antonio, Texas, for six years. There he played a critical role in maintaining close economic and cultural ties to Mexico, and promoting U.S.-Mexico economic development.
During the meeting, Mayor Hales gifted Ortiz Rocha a Portland Garment Factory tie, and the two discussed the consul general’s priorities for his service in Portland. Ortiz Rocha is interested in expanding economic opportunity for both Mexico and Portland by going beyond education and cultural exchanges with Portland’s sister city, Guadalajara, Mexico.
City, Parks Rangers Reach Accord
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 29, 2014 -- The City of Portland and Laborers Local 483 have reached a tentative agreement after contract negotiations involving Portland Park Rangers.
The parties entered into the recently concluded negotiations in order to craft a mutually beneficial agreement over wages, hours and working conditions.
“Portland Park Rangers serve admirably as the goodwill ambassadors of our parks and natural areas, and I am pleased we have come to this agreement,” Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz said. “We thank our rangers for continuing to provide a positive presence for all visitors to Portland parks and park facilities, for doing an excellent job in offering social services to those in need, and for keeping their sharp eyes out for any potential problems.”
Highlights of the new contract include:
● Both seasonal (those who work up to a maximum of 1400 hours annually) and full-time rangers will receive a pay raise to keep them on par with competitive salaries.
● Starting Jan. 1, 2015, seasonal rangers will be eligible for health care benefits under the City of Portland’s Seasonal Workers Plan.
● Seasonal rangers who perform satisfactorily will be given priority to return to work in the upcoming year if they wish.
● Full-time rangers gain seniority rights.
● Seasonal rangers gain discipline and grievance rights similar to the established system used for the City’s seasonal maintenance workers.
”Both the City and rangers have an interest in and commitment to a well-trained work force and safe work environment,” saidPortland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté. “I want to commend and thank our rangers for continuing to distinguish themselves by their work ethic, dedication and compassion.”
The agreement is expected to be formally signed on Friday, Oct. 31, and will run through June 30, 2017.
Rangers serve multiple roles by providing information, helping solve park user conflicts, and enforcing City Code such as proper use of park permits, prohibitions against camping, alcohol consumption and more.
Annual Survey Highlights Portlanders’ Opinions of City Services
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 29, 2014 – The Portland Auditor’s Office released its annual survey of community opinions today, noting that less than half of residents rate city government’s overall service delivery as “good” to “very good.”
Ratings for police have climbed during this decade – by double digits in some neighborhoods – while the percentage of Portlanders satisfied with street maintenance dropped significantly.
“Americans have lost faith in federal government, in the media, and in the business world,” Mayor Hales said. “These are serious trends. Even in this this environment of loss of confidence, city government still needs to competently provide basic services.”
The mayor’s priorities include equity and fairness; changing the relationship between the police and communities; and placemaking – the amenities that enhance Portland’s famed livability.
“The things we love about Portland, we want all Portlanders to share equally. That’s the goal,” he said. “This survey gives us a snapshot of how those priorities align with the satisfactions, and dissatisfactions, of our community. The survey is greatly helpful.”
The 24th annual survey was conducted from June to August. Surveys were sent to 9,800 randomly selected households, and 35 percent were returned. The citywide results have an accuracy of plus-or-minus 1.7 percent; the neighborhood results are plus-or-minus between 4 percent and 5 percent.
“Most respondents felt positively about their city and their neighborhoods,” according to the summary from Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade. However, only 45 percent rated city government’s overall job as “good” to “very good.” That is the lowest rating since the Auditor’s Office began asking the question in 1994. Since 2010, that number has fallen 6 percentage points.
In other findings:
● Overall satisfaction with police services remains positive. Since 2010, the percentage rating public safety services as “good” to “very good” has risen slowly but steadily from around 60 percent to 64 percent.
The most notable change was in the Northwest/Downtown neighborhood, where the percentage rating police services positively climbed 11 percent since 2010.
Police began reintroducing walking beats to portions of the city, including downtown, this summer.
Mayor Hales dedicated much of the first two years of his four-year term to overseeing reform of the Police Bureau, including policies for hiring, training and discipline; use of force protocols; de-escalation policies; expansion of the Behavioral Health Unit; and enhancement of the Crisis Intervention Team. The city is in the process of selecting a person to serve as a Compliance Officer and Community Liaison – a public safety watchdog – and in December will begin creating a Community Oversight Advisory Board.
In the survey, residents reported feeling about as safe during the day and at night in their neighborhoods, parks and downtown as they did in 2010.
“Our Police Bureau didn’t wait to hear what a judge had to say about the Department of Justice settlement,” Hales said. “We began implementing these change. We have adopted them wholeheartedly. These changes are improving the relationship between the police and the community.”
The city and the federal Justice Department reached a settlement this summer. The settlement has been accepted by a federal judge, and annual hearings in the court are expected to start next year.
“We have made great progress but we are not done,” Hales said. “The annual survey shows that people are not satisfied with government, and that’s one reason we have eagle-eyed community groups watching our Police Bureau and our reforms – as they should. Together, we are changing the nature of policing and community relations in Portland.”
● Ratings of street maintenance have declined since 2010. This year, 29 percent of residents rated city street maintenance positively, a 9 percentage-point decline over five years.
Mayor Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick have spent most of this year working on the creation of a street fee to pay for maintenance and safety projects. The Portland Bureau of Transportation has seen a steady revenue decline this century; the federal government has not increased the gas tax since 1993 and the state gas tax continues to decline each year. Unlike police, fire, parks and housing, PBOT is not funding by general city revenue.
“Our streets are the largest single asset we own, and we haven’t maintained them in decades,” Hales said. “We should have created a dedicated fund two decades ago. We didn’t, and community satisfaction has plummeted. That’s no surprise. We cannot kick this can down the pothole-filled road any longer.”
Other findings in the annual survey:
● Overall satisfaction with fire and emergency, 911 and police: Largely unchanged since 2010.
● Water service: 62 percent rated it positively – down 15 percentage points since 2010.
● Garbage, recycling and composting services: 74 percent positive – relatively unchanged in five years.
● Parks and Recreation: More residents reported visiting city parks weekly and monthly than they did in 2010.
● Neighborhood and city livability: Remains steady since 2010, but people feel less positive about how development looks, and how development affects their neighborhood.
Mayor Tours Lents, Prioritized for Development into Complete Neighborhood
TUESDAY, OCT. 28, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales last week went on an informational tour of Lents, a neighborhood struggling with development. The mayor learned from neighborhood activists, business leaders and developers how they envision prosperity in Lents.
“This reinforced that we need to bring in developers that have in mind the best change for the neighborhood,” Hales said.
Hales has prioritized the development of complete neighborhoods to combat what he calls a “tale of two Portlands: 45 percent of Portlanders live in complete neighborhoods. That’s fantastic,” Hales said. “But 55 percent do not. That’s unacceptable.
“We want everything we love about Portland to be accessible to everyone. We want to uplift more people, ensure everyone has access to opportunity. That’s work that needs to be done in Lents.”
Portland Development Commission, the city’s urban renewal and economic development agency, has an eye on Lents, with several open requests for information for development sites along Southeast 92nd Avenue and Foster Road. From PDC:
“PDC is seeking statements of interest and development concepts from qualified development teams for the purchase and development of multiple sites located along SE 92nd Avenue & Foster Road in and around the Lents Town Center. PDC will offer more than six acres for development, and is poised to employ significant financial and other resources to ensure attainment of community goals and redevelopment objectives in the Lents Town Center.”
Learn more in the FAQ: http://www.pdc.us/our-work/urban-renewal-areas/lents/current-projects/lents-rfi.aspx
Hales also toured some bright spots in Lents, including Portland Mercado, a Latino public market at Southeast 72nd and Foster, funded by PDC and Hacienda Community Development Corporation. The remodel of a former car dealership is rolling along, and is likely to be finished by spring.
The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is also active in Lents, working on turning a vacant lot into a community orchard and gathering place. Learn more about the project: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/507700. Design meetings will be held Nov. 15 and 19. Click the link for details.
Mayor Visits Roosevelt Cluster Schools; Encourages Mentor, City, Industry Partnerships
FRIDAY, OCT. 24, 2014 — A fifth grade teacher at Sitton Elementary School on Thursday threw out a question to her class: What made historical Native American tribes different?
Hands popped up around the room. The teacher, Christine Campanella, waited. More hands popped up. Then most were up.
Right side of the room to left she pointed to each hand. As if it was rehearsed, students in succession named a difference: Food, house, clothes, etc.
“That was just inspiring,” said Mayor Charlie Hales, who was at the Portland Public Schools elementary school during the All Hands Raised event Principal for Almost a Day. The event allows decision-makers in government, nonprofits and industry to get inside public schools to see where their money and efforts go, and where they should be directed.
Hales visited Sitton Elementary, George Middle School, and Roosevelt High School. All three have struggled with their performance ratings, but have fresh leadership and ideas to help kids reach their full potential.
“This was a remarkable day,” Hales said. “It really is a myth that our public schools are in disarray; it’s evident when you walk in there.
“I’ve helped the county fund SUN Schools. I’ve invested in SummerWorks and City Hall has hired 100 of those interns. But there’s more we can do to help our kids succeed. The city needs to connect language classes with our sister cities in Japan, China, and Mexico. Industry should partner with high schools for training in the trades. And we can all help our youngest children—be a mentor or a SMART reader. Just get into a school and help.”
Sitton Principal Dana Nerenberg said the school is working to grow Campanella’s teaching style.
“She’s creating an atmosphere where kids think, then respond,” Nerenberg said.
“I want to film that and play it at training,” said Charlene Williams, senior director of the eight schools in the Roosevelt Cluster, as well as Benson High School.
Since she arrived this year from Washington, D.C., Nerenberg has been on a full-court press to nurture Sitton’s 405 students and their parents. The school now has universal free breakfast, lunch, and fruit or vegetable snack. Every month Nerenberg hosts a coffee gathering with parents, with upward of 50 attending each time. She hosts café communitario for Lantino parents, whose children are 40 percent of the school’s population. The school has learning programs that last until 5 p.m. They have celebrations for classes with the best attendance—the biggest challenge in staying on track with learning goals.
Ultimately, Nerenberg said, “We want people to actively want to come to Sitton.”
At George Middle School, a grant to support STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics—purchased Chromebooks, allowing teachers to combine computer lessons and STEM instruction.
“We’re focusing on ‘smath’—combining science and math to get kids more engaged and excited about it,” said George Principal Ben Keefer.
George Middle, Roosevelt High, and other schools in the Roosevelt Cluster sport flags of colleges from across the country to get students comfortable with the idea of higher education. They’re also using the AVID method—Advancement Via Individual Determination—to help kids work through their schoolwork with critical thinking and peer collaboration.
Roosevelt has also been focusing on culturally responsive practices, adjusting administrative response to challenges with consideration of income status, religion, ethnicity, and other characteristics
“Those factors all make people respond differently,” said Williams, the senior director. “Cultural responsiveness is compassionate, and the school has been brave enough to have that conversation. We’re not checking the ‘cultural competence’ box and moving on.”
Principal Filipe Hristic said Roosevelt is also looking forward to its $90 million modernization, which will include specially designed STEM classrooms and gym improvements. They’re also hoping to turn trades people on site into a teaching tool, so students can learn about what they do—and maybe even help.
“It’ll be an inspiration for kids to walk into a building that’s representative of what’s going on inside,” Hales said. “It will send a message to students that they’re cared for, and their education is important.”
Mayor Discusses Portland's Equity Efforts, Development at Two Events in New York
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 22, 2014 -- Mayor Hales was in New York on Tuesday for two opportunities to talk about Portland -- successes, struggles, innovations, obstacles:
In the Urban Land Institute Rose Center Forum for Development panel on equity in economic development, the mayor talked about Portland's success in making more neighborhoods complete, e.g. building parks in underserved neighborhoods and extending internship opportunities to underserved young people. But he also talked about how the city is grappling with ensuring fair access to Portland's amenities for all residents. He talked about his commitment to being a city of opportunity, supporting public-private partnerships, private sector incentives, and other economic tools to encourage economic opportunity for all Portlanders.
At the JM Kaplan Fund conversation about better cities, Mayor Hales talked with David Bragdon about Portland's innovation in building a better city. A unique blend of communitarian spirit and experimentation made Portland a trail blazer in the sharing economy, the locavore movement, light rail and bike route development, and a range of others. They discussed how mayors have had to raise funds to support city maintenance -- for instance transportation infrastructure -- because they can't rely on state and federal governments. And the mayor discussed why civic engagement and volunteerism are critical for a healthy city.
Mayor Makes Equity a Priority for Fiscal Year 2015-16 City Budget
TUESDAY, OCT. 21, 2014 – Mayor Charlie Hales announced last week to City Bureau Directors that equity is one of three specific priorities in preparing the City’s Fiscal Year 2015-16 budget.
Hales said he will focus any new General Fund resources on requests that make measureable progress in one or more of the following areas:
- Equity and Opportunity: bolstering economic and housing opportunity for all Portlanders, as well as equity in service delivery
- Complete Neighborhoods: extending Portland’s vaunted livability to more areas of the City
- Emergency Preparedness: equipping bureau operations and our citizens to better withstand a disaster
“I am excited and encouraged that Mayor Hales is prioritizing equity in the City’s budget process,” said Dante James, Office of Equity and Human Rights director. “Tying equity to City bureaus’ budgets ensures that leaders are considering the impacts of their programs and policies on all Portlanders. It’s another positive step to institutionalizing this work within Portland city government.”
Effective last fiscal year, bureaus are required to use a Budget Equity Assessment Tool developed by the Office of Equity and Human Rights in preparing their budgets. The tool guides bureau leaders and their Budget Advisory Committees to determine how budget requests or decisions benefit and/or burden communities, specifically communities of color and people with disabilities.
Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights provides education and technical support to City staff and elected officials, leading to recognition and removal of systemic barriers to fair and just distribution of resources, access, and opportunity; starting with issues of race and disability.
Mayor's Office Proposes Draft Regulations for Short-term Rentals in Apartments, Condos
MONDAY, OCT. 20, 2014 — A draft of short-term rental regulations for multi-dwelling structures is now available for public review and comment.
This summer Council approved regulations for short-term rentals in single-family homes. While Mayor Charlie Hales lauded this as a step in the right direction to support the sharing economy, he felt it didn’t go far enough and directed his staff to explore options for expanding the program to include multi-dwelling structures, such as apartment buildings and condominiums. Hales’ staff convened a working group with an array of stakeholders to discuss issues related to short-term rentals in multi-dwelling buildings.
Here is the detailed proposal: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/506947. Printed copies are also available at the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, 1900 SW Fourth Ave., Seventh Floor.
“We worked with stakeholders to ensure a fair compromise among everyone’s priorities,” said Mayor Charlie Hales. “We want to ensure that Portland is a city of opportunity, where bureaucracy doesn’t get in the way of innovation, but safety and fairness is assured.”
The new rules would be similar to those already in effect for single dwellings: Basic safety measures must be met and required notice sent to surrounding residents. The recommendations also propose allowing accessory short-term rentals in up to 10 percent of the total units in multi-dwelling structures such as apartments and condominiums. In buildings with fewer than 10 units, one accessory short-term rental would be permitted.
City Council will host an opportunity for public comment on the proposed draft on Wednesday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1221 SW Fourth Ave.
Aside from the Nov. 19 hearing, people may submit comment through writing to the mayor and commissioners. Send written testimony to:
1221 SW Fourth Ave, Suite 130
Portland, OR 97204
Mayor to Washington Post: 'There are some really deep cultural roots to the character of Portland'
MONDAY, OCT. 20, 2014 -- The Washington Post column "Wonkblog" on Monday focused on Portland's success as a destination city -- one people move to because it's great, then find a job and make a life here.
Reporter Emily Badger interviewed Mayor Charlie Hales about Portland, and followed up with economist Joe Cortright on the facts of Portland's success:
- Portland has contained urban sprawl with urban growth boundaries.
- Unemployment rate for 25-to-34-year-olds with a college degree in metro Portland is 4.8 percent -- lower than it is in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta or New York City.
- Its long-held values -- sharing economy, local food sources, entrepreneurship -- are now trendy.
Hales, whose interview with Badger prompted the piece, praised it as a fun, insightful look at Portland.
City Appeal to Clarify Judge’s Role in DOJ Settlement
FRIDAY, OCT. 17, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Amanda Fritz on Wednesday will present City Council with a resolution to authorize the City Attorney’s Office to appeal one condition Federal Judge Michael Simon placed on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) settlement agreement.
The judge approved the settlement — an agreement among the City, Portland Police Association, DOJ, and Albina Ministerial Alliance — on Aug. 29. It followed a 2011 DOJ investigation into the Portland Police Bureau.
Hales and Fritz support the reforms outlined in the settlement agreement. Under Hales’ leadership, the Police Bureau started implementing aspects of the agreement long before Simon approved it. The Police Bureau remains committed to moving forward with reforms outlined in the agreement, and will continue to implement all of the changes regardless of court proceedings.
The purpose of the appeal is to clarify the judge’s role. In his order, Simon wrote that the parties were “to present evidence … as so directed by the Court.” The City’s appeal will ask the court to clarify that broad statement.
“All the parties are committed to this settlement. All parties have agreed to this settlement,” Hales said. “Now we want to move forward, get out of court and get to work.”
Fritz said she’s glad Judge Simon accepted the settlement agreement: “It clearly identifies that the Council is directly responsible for oversight, which ensures that Portlanders know who is responsible and accountable for managing the Police Bureau in conformance with the community’s values. The settlement emphasizes community engagement. I believe that public trust in policing in Portland depends on all Council members demonstrating that we are committed to implementing the Agreement fully. I accept that responsibility. I look forward to collaborating with all Portlanders on this crucial work, especially those with lived experience enduring mental illnesses.”
Hales further emphasized that police reforms would continue as outlined under the settlement agreement: "This appeal does not challenge the settlement that four stakeholders — the U.S. Department of Justice, the City, Portland Police Association, and Albina Ministerial Alliance — agreed to. The City and the Police Bureau are fully committed to the reforms outlined in the settlement agreement. Chief Mike Reese, our next chief Larry O’Dea, and the entire bureau remain dedicated to continually improving the service our police officers deliver to the community. This resolution authorizes a narrow appeal to clarify the judge’s role in the implementation. We all want to move forward, get out of court and get to work.
Update: Coverage from The Mercury.
Mayor Presents Awards at Annual Abilities in Motion Ceremony
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 15, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales presented awards at the annual Connecting Communities Coalition Abilities in Motion Awards Ceremony on Tuesday night, recognizing those who make innovative, inclusive and empowering changes to the lives of Portlanders with disabilities.
"We are a city of opportunity, and the people at the ceremony last night demonstrated that," Hales said.
So congratulations to this year's winners, who highlight inclusive recreational and sporting opportunities:
-- Blind Ambition Dragon Boat Team
-- On-The-Move Community Integration
-- Portland Pounders Wheelchair Rugby
-- DJ Lamar Wright
Mayor Encourages Public Comment on COCL Candidates
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 15, 2014 — The City of Portland continues to seek public feedback on three candidates vying for the Compliance Officer/Community Liaison (COCL) position that will oversee the police-reform agreement crafted with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
In September the candidates went through a public interview process. Now, the community is invited to give advice to City Council regarding candidate strengths and weaknesses. Public input is welcome until Oct. 29.
Mayor Charlie Hales has encouraged participation, emphasizing the importance in the community having a hand in choosing its liaison to the Police Bureau. “Everyone’s input is important as the city works toward fulfilling the settlement agreement,” Hales said.
On Hales’ website is a video of the public interviews, the applicants’ original applications, and supplemental information provided by the applicants after the interviews. On the same page is an online form for public comment. The link: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/65898
Public comments may also be submitted by e-mailing email@example.com or by calling his office at 503-823-4120.
Mayor Hosts Meeting with Community Leaders, Future Chief Larry O'Dea
TUESDAY, OCT. 14, 2014 — Last week Mayor Charlie Hales hosted Assistant Chief Larry O’Dea, freshly named as the police chief’s successor, and community members to introduce O’Dea and to get feedback on community interests.
The Rose Room at City Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 8, was full of elected officials, representatives from nonprofits, and stakeholders in the biking, African-American, faith, immigrant, and other communities.
Themes to the feedback arose. Community members want:
> A clear statement in words and action that O’Dea wouldn’t be the status quo; they don’t want “business as usual.”
> More engagement with the immigrant community, revisiting ideas such as Russian-speaking police officers appearing on Russian Radio 1010 AM, which was touted as successful outreach.
> Diversity in interview panels for entry-level and sergeant jobs, as well as in police outreach activities like the Citizens Academy. The academy is a one-day, day-in-the-life training in which citizens can learn about an officer’s day. Particularly since the bureau’s new training facility will serve as the sole location for the academy—rather than upward of four locations previously—the community requested more outreach to people of color, the immigrant community, and low-income citizens.
For facilitators, a few individual ideas stood out:
Gale Castillo, president of the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber: Castillo suggested better outreach to Latinos and other people of color to encourage them to become non-sworn, community service officers. Such entry-level positions provide non-emergency police services, which sets them on the path to becoming sworn officers.
Jonathan Maus, bike advocate and founder of BikePortland.org: Maus suggested using bike patrol units on the Springwater Corridor, where there has been an influx of homeless campers. Maus also asked O’Dea to consider forming a bike theft task force to address what he says is a growing problem.
Avel Gordly, community organizer and former state senator: Gordly encouraged O’Dea and the Police Bureau’s Behavioral Health Unit to work closely with the Avel Gordly Center for Healing at OHSU, which provides culturally specific mental health care.
Dr. T. Allen Bethel, pastor at Maranatha Church: Bethel asked for intentionality around the chief’s office appointments. People in the room nodded in agreement when he specified intentionality in appointing people of color.
Street Fee Package Handed to Council; Mayor Comments
MONDAY, OCT. 13, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales, following the street fee work session this afternoon, commented on the progress of the street fee:
"I appreciate all the work that was done this summer to really “Portland-ize” this street funding proposal. We have come away with a much better product than we started with — one that provides revenue for street maintenance and safety improvements without being overly burdensome.
I’ll emphasize that this package would pay PART of the cost of street maintenance. We’re still counting on the Oregon State Legislature to adopt a bill to help properly fund our roads. We’re still counting on the federal government to pass legislation to raise the gas tax. We’re hoping taking this action will inspire action by two other levels of government.
The street fee work has now been handed back to Council. While a few criteria need to be finalized, we are close to putting a proposal together that I believe emphasizes fairness, while starting the process of repairing our system.
Ultimately, it’s not going to be a perfect mechanism, but I knew that when we began. But we’re within striking distance of something that’s fair for all Portlanders and that begins the critical work of repairing our biggest city asset: our streets."
Work group summary: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/504260
How money will be spent: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/65945
Mayor Joins Coalition of 65 Mayors Calling on Congress to Raise Minimum Wage
FRIDAY, OCT. 10, 2014 -- In an op-ed exclusive to The Portland Tribune, Mayor Charlie Hales called on Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, part of a U.S. Conference of Mayors initiative to encourage opportunity by closing the income gap; 64 other mayors nationwide took similar steps on Friday -- $10.10 on 10/10.
Read on The Portland Tribune: http://portlandtribune.com/pt/10-opinion/236656-102149-close-the-income-gap-with-a-1010-minimum-wage
This summer I signed on to the U.S. Conference of Mayors Cities of Opportunities initiative, which recognizes that rising inequality and declining opportunity are serious threats to both our fundamental values and the nation’s economic growth. And I accepted that, we, as mayors, will work to address it through early childhood education, the technology divide, and income inequality.
Portland has made some commendable progress on this agenda. Since I took office, we’ve instituted paid sick leave, acted on broadband access, supported youth internships and jobs, and “banned the box” from city job applications, which helps reduce barriers for returning citizens.
But there’s still work to be done to make sure everyone has access to everything we love about Portland. To make sure everyone who works hard and plays by the rules has a fair shot at achieving the American Dream. Over the next year I’ll be leading efforts to make sure opportunity and fairness have no barriers in this city, paving the road for all Portlanders to achieve that dream. But we can’t do it alone. It’s time for all hands on deck.
That’s why on Friday, Oct. 10, I joined 64 other mayors from across the nation and political spectrum to urge Congress to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10. We support the passage of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, which would increase earnings for nearly 28 million workers across the country.
As with some other issues, particularly climate change and transportation, the federal government isn’t demonstrating the leadership we need. Congress should raise the federal minimum wage to address our country’s massive — and growing — income inequality. This is fact: The richest 400 people in the country earn more than the poorest 155 million people combined.
The $7.10 federal minimum wage won’t close that gap; parents paid minimum wage would have to work three jobs to keep a family of four above the poverty line. In Portland, where the state’s minimum wage is $9.10, families are still struggling. Last year 670,000 people relied on food pantries.
If we don’t tackle inequity, our country is in trouble. We are not the America of the American Dream and that’s a scary prospect. We can and must do better.
Join me and mayors across America to urge Congress to act on minimum wage.
Mayor Encourages Young Business Leaders to Become Civically, Politically Involved
FRIDAY, OCT. 10, 2014—Mayor Charlie Hales on Thursday called on young leaders with the Portland Business Alliance to become involved in public service. Hales talked about Portland as a city of opportunity, noting initiatives to promote, encourage and ensure fairness in Portland, such as the Black Male Achievement program in which the mayor invested. But he also talked about work that needs to be done to ensure that everyone has access to everything that’s loved about Portland — affordable housing, parks with amenities, good schools.
“I encourage all of you to get involved civically or politically. You’re already leaders; that’s why you’re here today. So get involved,” Hales said. “Find a candidate you believe in and work on his or her campaign. Find a ballot measure you support and work on that campaign. Find something you believe in and get involved.”
The mayor also responded to questions from participants. The questions, in the order they were asked:
PBA Young Leader question: There seem to be increasingly more homeless people downtown. What is the city doing?
Mayor Hales answer: Police and Clean & Safe respond to calls about people on the sidewalks, but business owners have responsibility too. They’re in charge of the sidewalks around their establishments, and they can do more. That said, Old Town-Chinatown has been prioritized. The community-developed plan for development should help draw positive things to the area—middle-income housing, businesses, restaurants—something more than bars and services. That will make the neighborhood more complete, diluting the impact of having services concentrated in one area. Meanwhile, you can support organizations that help lift people up, like Street Roots. They’re going weekly; carry a couple dollars and buy a couple issues.
PBA: Why are there more homelessness people now in Northwest Portland?
Hales: They were probably displaced. While we have police walking beats and bicycle beats and park rangers working to connect people with resources, homelessness has proven to be an intractable problem. We’ve poured money into housing and resources, but we still see people sleeping on the street. That’s part of why we’re working on the tiny homes project. It could be a solution to an ongoing, serious problem.
PBA: What about the Portland Police Bureau’s reputation? I was told it’s bad because of the media and other reasons.
Hales: It’s not the media’s fault. They don’t like anyone; that’s not their job. Their job is to be critical. But I disagree that the police have a bad reputation. Polling shows that overwhelmingly the public has a positive view of Portland Police. With walking beats and increasing community engagement, it’s especially evident that the polling is accurate.
PBA: Why should we care about the proposed 2035 Comprehensive Plan?
Hales: This is our opportunity to adjust to Portland’s rapid growth, and to make sure our planning reflects our goals. Especially in East Portland, we need to catch up with parks and infrastructure, like good streets and sidewalks. And we want to move toward less car-centric planning, and this is how we do it.
PBA: What is our greatest infrastructure challenge?
Hales: Transportation. That’s why we proposed that clunky mechanism of the street fee. People aren’t used to knowing they’re paying for their streets. There’s the gas tax, but that’s lumped in so people don’t think about it. But we’re at a point where the state can’t afford to maintain its bridges and highways. The federal Highway Trust Fund is close to insolvency, with the same tax rate since 1993. That’s why we, as a municipality, have had to step up to try to fund our own streets.
Beyond that, parks. We need to make sure every neighborhood has access to a good park, and that’s why we have a measure on the ballot. Schools: Portland Public Schools is gradually making improvements using bonds, but our schools need help. And sales tax: All of these challenges could be addressed with revenue from sales tax. Then we’d have tourists helping support our streets, our parks, and our schools.
PBA: Thankfully I’m a homeowner, but if I were shopping for a home now, I don’t think I could be. What’s your vision to keep Portland a livable and affordable city?
Hales: Right now we dedicate 30 percent of our urban renewal area funding to affordable housing. Even when I cut the budget by $21.5 million, I dedicated money to housing. So we’re actively working to address affordable housing. Another strategy is scaling up the community land trust model, where a nonprofit buys land and a people own the home, just not the property underneath. That helps keep owning a home affordable—and Portland is a city of homeowners. The Comprehensive Plan can also help shape affordability. Realistically, though, there’s no stopping the fact that as it grows, Portland will become more expensive. We’re trying to meter that trajectory rather than stop it.
PBA: What’s the most challenging decision you’ve had to make so far?
Hales: I’d say the decision to move forward with the street fee even though I knew it’d be unpopular. But Commissioner Steve Novick and I decided it would be irresponsible to ignore the problem and pass it on to our successors or to future generations. There’s been a storm of anger and denial, but we’re doing the right thing.
Another challenge has been getting Nancy to stop reading the online comments. Read the article, sure; but don’t read the comments!
Chief Reese Announces Retirement; Mayor Names Assistant Chief Larry O’Dea as Successor
TUESDAY, OCT. 7, 2014 – Chief Mike Reese today announced his plans for retirement from the Portland Police Bureau. Mayor Charlie Hales has named his replacement: Assistant Chief Larry O’Dea.
“Larry O’Dea is one of the most decorated officers in the bureau — 11 medals and 75 letters of commendation,” Hales said. “He shares my goals and aspirations. He has been living the idea of community engagement. He has led the bureau’s equity work. He has the respect of the command staff, the rank-and-file, and the community. He is the right leader at the right time.”
Hales, O’Dea and Reese today will host a press conference about the transition, which is planned for January 2015. It will be the first smooth transition between chiefs in two decades.
The mayor praised Reese’s tenure as chief, citing not only the U.S. Department of Justice settlement, but also the opening last month of the most complete law enforcement training facility in the region. Under Reese’s leadership, the bureau instituted new discipline guidelines, new training procedures, and has hired a more diverse set of new officers in recent recruitments.
“I thank Mike Reese for his leadership and his service,” Hales said. “Mike saw us through the investigation and settlement with the DOJ. This was a key milestone for our city and the community’s relationship with the bureau.”
Reese joined the bureau in 1994 and served as a sergeant, lieutenant, captain and commander. A native Portlander and graduate of Roosevelt High School, he has served as chief since May 2010.
O’Dea will immediately begin leading strategic planning that has long-term impacts for the bureau, including the DOJ settlement implementation, budget, staffing study, promotions, and transition to a new records management system.
O’Dea has served with Portland Police since 1986. He has been a uniformed patrol officer, sergeant, lieutenant, and captain. He has served as assistant chief of services and assistant chief of operations.
He has an executive certificate from the Mark Hatfield School of Government at PSU; a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Portland State University; and an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Portland Community College.
“We have made important strides in diversifying the bureau, in hiring, in training, in discipline guidelines, in de-escalation,” Hales said. “And with Mike taking a well-earned retirement, Larry O’Dea is exactly the right person to handle the big challenges ahead.”
Hales said his priorities for the next chief will include:
● Expanding community engagement. That includes the walking beats re-introduced this year.
● Focusing on equity and diversity issues, including training for officers and continued recruitment of a more representative workforce.
● Critiquing the Police Bureau’s budget, ensuring taxpayers’ dollars are used wisely.
● Implementing the DOJ settlement on schedule.
Among the DOJ settlement’s requirements are consistent leadership and smooth transitions between chiefs. O’Dea participated in all aspects of the DOJ discussions, and understands the nuances of the complex agreement.
O’Dea said he is honored to accept the position of police chief.
“My four primary focus areas are: Community trust and relationship building; diversifying the bureau and bureau leadership; communications and collaboration; and being fiscally smart and responsible,” O’Dea said.
“I am so excited about the direction we’re moving,” he added. “You can see it in the command staff and in the rank-and-file. It’s about relationships with the community. It’s not about the number of arrests; it’s about working on the things that are important to the community.”
Update: Coverage from Willamette Week.
Mayor Hales Speaks at 'Legacy of the Civil Rights Act' Discussion
MONDAY, OCT. 6, 2014 -- Mayor Hales today spoke at the Legacy of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Past, Present and Future event today, talking about the city's role in ensuring equity.
"Civil rights is access," said Erious Johnson, Oregon Department of Justice. "Without money, protection, power, you do not have equality."
Mayor Hales discussed ways he has worked to make the city more equitable by expanding opportunity for money, protection and power. For example:
- Money: The Ban the Box initiative allows returning citizens (not ex-offenders) to apply for jobs in the city without having to disclose their criminal past, giving them a chance to move on from crime and into a stable income.
- Protection: Mayor Hales has began implementing U.S. Department of Justice settlement, which in part makes the police department more responsive to the community.
- Power: Mayor Hales is one of 11 mayors nationwide who has invested in a Black Male Achievement program, which works with community leaders to elevate young, black men into bright futures.
Mayor To Visit Old Town Street Activation Experiment
FRIDAY, OCT. 3, 2014 -- Tonight and Saturday afternoon Mayor Charlie Hales will tour the Better Block PDX set-up in the Entertainment District in Old Town.
The district was established under Mayor Sam Adams in response to rampant crime in the area, and because of its success in reducing crime and facilitating police response, was continued by the current City Council. Now bar owners in the area have invested in an experiment to create pedestrian space and a bike lane.
“The bar owners are stepping up to address a problem in their own neighborhood. It’s to their credit that this proposal is moving forward,” Mayor Hales said. “We will take the time necessary to study the results of this experiment and then will move forward together.”
On Saturday at 1 p.m. Mayor Hales will tour Better Block PDX's activated street -- pedestrian friendly, filled with vendors, booths, the Saturday Market, and other attractions to bring people into the right of way.
Mayor Marks National Manufacturing Day at Benson High
FRIDAY, OCT. 3, 2014 -- Today is National Manufacturing Day, when “more than 1,600 American manufacturers will open their doors and take up the important work of inspiring our young people to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering,” reads President Barack Obama’s proclamation.
"National Manufacturing Day carries a special meaning in Portland, a city of makers," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "We brew beer. We make outdoor and athletic gear. We build everything from airplane parts to really tall bikes."
Standing before a group of about 50 students at Benson Polytechnic High School, Hales talked about his grandfather, who spent his career as an engraver at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, hand-engraving plates to print money. He couldn’t smoke or drink because he had to have the steadiest of hands. When he retired, his trick was tracing the outline of a dime and writing the entire Lord’s Prayer inside of it.
“I come from a family of makers,” Hales told the high school students. “That’s part of why I love Portland.”
The students today will visit several manufacturing companies to learn what they make and how they make it. In his proclamation, President Obama said such tours are an important part of a future of American manufacturing: “Today’s science, technology, engineering, and math graduates will power the next chapter of American production and innovation, and harnessing their potential is an economic imperative. When our manufacturing base is strong, our entire economy is strong. Today, we continue our work to bolster the industry at the heart of our Nation. With grit and resolve, we can create new jobs and widen the circle of opportunity for more Americans.”
October Food Drive for Sunshine Division
THURSDAY, OCT. 2, 2014 -- During Hunger Action Month in September, Mayor Hales worked with community members to pack food for the Oregon Food Bank.
Help continue the stand against hunger this month with the Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division’s cereal drive. Through October, barrels will be in city buildings—City Hall, the Portland Building, all police facilities, and the 1900 Building—to collect cereal.
The Sunshine Division can use all non-perishable food, but cereal is always in short supply. Boxed cereal, oatmeal and other cereals are badly needed.
“I know that you receive many requests for charitable assistance," Mayor Hales says. "But I ask that you think about a small contribution — just a box of cereal — to help those in need.”
Alaska Airlines Magazine Profiles Portland as City of Makers
THURSDAY, OCT. 2, 2014-- Alaska Airlines Magazine dedicated part of its October edition to delving into Portland's maker economy.
The magazine talked to 16 pages-worth of businesses and Portlanders, including First Lady Nancy Hales, painting a picture of a city that supports innovation and ideas. The profile starts on page 142 of this online magazine (click here).
"This is a stellar feature," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "It's a nice reminder of how fantastic our city really is."
Mayor Talks Transportation with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Foxx
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 1, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales joined U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and other leaders Wednesday at Tilikum Crossing to talk transportation—both the benefits of infrastructure and the funding need.
“Investment in transportation infrastructure and transit builds places, strengthens communities, and creates jobs,” Hales said. “Even as we address local funding gaps, we need a strong partner at the federal level.”
Foxx, who was mayor of Charlotte, N.C., before President Obama appointed him to Secretary of Transportation, is touring the West Coast to talk about the GROW AMERICA Act, the Obama administration’s transportation bill, which would provide additional funding for transit projects.
City, state and federal governments face shortfalls in transportation funding. Oregon Department of Transportation is facing shortfalls in gas tax revenue, even as most of its bridges and highways are in need of repair. The federal Highway Trust Fund is on the brink of insolvency; the federal fuel tax, its revenue source, has been stuck at 18.3 cents per gallon since 1993. And in Portland, nearly half the streets are rated in “poor” to “very poor” condition. Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick this summer kept a promise to pave 100 miles of streets in one year, but now are looking to raise revenue to bring more of Portland’s streets up to par.
Hales, Foxx, Novick, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, and TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane toured Tilikum Crossing as a successful transportation project. When completed, the bridge will provide mass transit, bicycle and pedestrian crossing to Southwest Portland—Portland’s first car-free bridge.
Foxx stopped in Portland to tour a location where economic development has immediately followed transportation systems investment; such investments revitalized the Transit Mall and neighborhoods along the streetcar loop, and the same results are expected on either end of Tilikum Crossing.
“Portland is a model,” Foxx said. “These regional and federal partnerships have worked in Portland, and if that model can work here, it can work across the nation.”
Hales praised the Obama administration’s commitment to supporting transportation infrastructure—stepping up to help fund the Eastside Streetcar Loop and Tilikum Crossing—and Foxx’s efforts at transportation funding through the GROW AMERICA Act, an acronym for Generating Renewal, Opportunity, and Work with Accelerated Mobility, Efficiency, and Rebuilding of Infrastructure and Communities throughout America.
“The fact that Secretary Foxx was a mayor means he’s focused on solutions,” Hales said. “He’ll get things done.”
Mayor, Disaster Policy Council Practice Earthquake Response
TUESDAY, SEPT. 30, 2014 -- Mayor Hales and members of the Disaster Policy Council, including Commissioner Dan Saltzman, today went through a tabletop exercise to practice the city's response to a moderate earthquake.
"Practice ensures readiness for a disaster, enabling the city to be prepared when residents need it most," Hales said.
For more on the city's disaster responses, visit the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management website.
City Seeks Public Comment on COCL Candidates
MONDAY, SEPT. 29, 2014 — The City of Portland is seeking public feedback on three candidates vying for the Compliance Officer/Community Liaison (COCL) position that will oversee the police-reform agreement crafted with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
Today the candidates went through a public interview process, including presentations to and questions by the Selection Advisory Committee. Now, the DOJ agreement requires a 30-day public comment period to collect community advice to City Council regarding candidate strengths and weaknesses. Public input is welcome until Oct. 29.
“Everyone’s input is important as the city works toward fulfilling the settlement agreement,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “The community members who committed their time to the interview process were tremendous. Now I ask the community as a whole to participate and contribute feedback on the candidates.”
An online form for public comment on Hales' website will include a link to video of the interviews, which aired live today on Channel 30. It also includes links to candidates’ original applications and a link to the Portland Police Bureau’s webpage on implementation of the settlement.
Public comments may also be submitted by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling his office at 503-823-4120.
More on the candidates:
● John Campbell of Campbell DeLong Resources Inc., a Portland firm that has provided research, training, facilitation, and planning for the purpose of public safety problem-solving, community-oriented policing, and the goal of more effective law enforcement results since 1989.
● Dennis Rosenbaum of Chicago, executive director of the National Police Research Platform, which oversees a seven-university research program in more than 100 U.S. cities, funded by the National Institute of Justice, Department of Justice, to advance the current state of knowledge and practice in American law enforcement.
● Daniel Ward of Portland, executive director of the Oregon Drug and Alcohol Policy Commission and a former CEO (2009-12) of Metro Crisis Services Inc. in Colorado.
Gang Violence Task Force Re-named to Reflect Mission: Community Peace Collaborative
MONDAY, SEPT. 29, 2014 — Community members last week voted to change the name of the Gang Violence Task Force to better reflect the task force’s mission. It is now called Community Peace Collaborative: A Coalition for Violence Prevention and Achievement.
“It’s fitting,” said Mayor Charlie Hales, whose office chairs the collaborative. “The name recognizes the progress achieved, outreach performed, and goals ahead.”
A community member suggested changing the name at a meeting on Aug. 29. Community members and agency representatives at the task force — including the Police Bureau and Multnomah County Department of Community Justice Services, as well as schools, housing and nonprofits — discussed the topic at two subsequent meetings.
The group of committed partners come together twice monthly to develop solutions, interventions and prevention strategies to reduce violence and crime in Multnomah County. The progress and achievements of the Community Peace Collaborative will be a result of collaborative strategies, responsiveness to community priorities and our focus on the reduction of crime and the fear of crime.
Ultimately, the group’s goal is that all citizens of Multnomah County live free of violence. The Collaborative seeks to achieve this by positively affecting the youth, families, and residents whose lives have been impacted by violence, and by promoting public safety through incorporation of the best and most innovative practices of community partnership to reduce violence, and crime.
Last Sunday Parkways of the Season Attracts Families to Southwest Portland
MONDAY, SEPT. 29, 2014 -- Southwest Portland hosted the final Sunday Parkways of the series yesterday, and Mayor Charlie Hales joined the hundreds of families on the 3-mile route.
"It was hilly, and the mayor kicked my butt," said Jackie Dingfelder, an avid cyclist and a policy adviser to the mayor.
"It was a perfect day," Hales said. "I had some great conversations along the tour of a beautiful neighborhood -- exactly what the event is meant to accomplish."
News on Death of Dr. Steven Fritz
Statement from City Hall, 10:45 a.m.
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 24, 2014 – Dr. Steven Fritz, husband of Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, died today in an auto accident on Interstate 5. No other details are available at this time.
Today’s City Council meeting has been cancelled. More details will be forthcoming as they are available.
We ask for privacy for the family and staff as they work through this difficult time.
Statement from Greg Roberts, Superintendent, Oregon State Hospital:
We are heartbroken by this news. This is a great loss for patients, staff, and the mental health community, and we will dearly miss our co-worker and friend.
Dr. Fritz has been with the state working to help people with mental illness for more for more than 27 years. He was a gifted psychiatrist, respected and beloved by both his colleagues and his patients. During his tenure, he was a leader at Oregon State Hospital. He served as supervising physician and interim chief medical officer. He was also the President of the local 3227, Council 75 AFSCME Physicians union. However, his first love and passion was working with patients and his unwavering belief that people can recover and live life to the fullest. He had an immense and lasting effect at the Oregon State Hospital and in the lives of patients and staff.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Gov. Kitzhaber Acts to Protect Low-Income Oregonians
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 17, 2014 – An estimated 140,000 Oregonians will be protected from federal cuts to the so-called food stamp program this year, thanks to a decision by Gov. John Kitzhaber.
The Associated Press reports that Kitzhaber and 11 other governors around the nation blended home heating assistance with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP, which used to be known as Food Stamps. That effort stopped the cuts enacted this year by Congress, and helped support low-income, at-risk Oregonians throughout the state.
He did not act alone. Oregon’s congressional delegation, in both the Senate and House, fought the SNAP cuts. Mayor Charlie Hales also was among those at the 2013 U.S. Conference of Mayors urging Congress not to cut food stamps.
“The governor made the right call,” Hales said. “The ‘Great Recession’ is over, but you couldn’t tell that by talking to low-income Oregonians, who are still struggling. I applaud the effort by the governor, and by our congressional delegation, to protect low-income families.”
The decision means law-income households in Oregon will continue to receive an additional $4.64 million each month in food stamps, totaling about $56 million a year.
Chief of Staff talks Transportation Need in Portland
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 17, 2014 -- Gail Shibley, the mayor's chief of staff, at the Oregon Coast Economic Summit in August was interviewed about transportation needs in Portland -- how the mayor fulfilled the 100-mile paving promise, the street fee, and taking care of what we have and investing in what we need.
"In the city of Portland alone we have 56 miles of unpaved streets -- unpaved, nothing there, gravel. No sidewalks, no crossings for kids," Gail said. "Better streets are a real need -- a public safety need, a mobility need."
Join the Mayor in a Stand Against Hunger
Forum to Focus on Affordable Housing
TUESDAY, SEPT. 16, 2014 – The first of four community forums on affordable housing is set for Thursday at Highland Christian Center, 7600 N.E. Glisan St. Dinner is at 6 p.m., followed by the session from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Registration is not mandatory but will help staff plan for the event. Translation and child-care services will be available.
The City of Portland is investing $20 million over the next five years in North/Northeast Portland to help address the need for affordable housing. This is atop $16.6 million already earmarked for the region. Mayor Charlie Hales and Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman are calling upon the community to offer suggestions about how best to allocate the affordable-housing funds.
Further forums are slated for:
● Matt Dishman Community Center, 77 N.E. Knott St., Saturday, Sept. 27, with lunch at 1 p.m. and the session from 1:30 to 4 p.m.
● Gresham City Hall, 1333 N.W. Eastman Parkway, Gresham, Thursday, Oct. 9, with dinner at 6 p.m. and the session from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
● New Song Community Church, 2511 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Saturday, Oct. 11, with breakfast at 9 a.m. and the session from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
Visit the Portland Housing Bureau website for more details.
Event to Raise Awareness, Funds for Ebola Victims in Liberia and Sierra Leone
MONDAY, SEPT. 15, 2014 – The Oregon Association for Liberia and Sierra Leone Community are organizing an event to raise awareness of the Ebola virus in West Africa and to collect donations for the relief effort.
The event takes place from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19, at First Unitarian Church, 1034 S.W. 13th Ave, Portland.
Organizers will share insight on epidemic conditions in West Africa and hope to collect donations such as medical gloves and masks for medical personnel. The also seek financial donations to support Ebola victims and families in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
“The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is a global health issue,” said Koffi Dessou of the Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights. “This is an opportunity for city governments, county governments, Oregon communities and international communities to come together to stop the spread of the virus and support the victims.”
According to the Oregon Association for Liberia, doctors and nurses in the region have been exposed to the Ebola virus, a hemorrhagic fever, and are dying mainly due to insufficient medical protective gear, including gloves and masks. Although Doctors Without Borders is onsite and equipment is provided, the need is still huge and additional donations are necessary. An economic crisis has arisen from the epidemic as towns and rural areas now need money to buy bottled water to avoid contaminated sources.
Government agencies and community groups have come together to sponsor Friday’s event, including the Office of Equity and Human Rights, Multnomah County Health Department, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), Africa House, and First Unitarian Church.
For more information, please contact Jeff Selby at email@example.com.
Jade District Night Market Celebrates Asian Culture
SATURDAY, SEPT. 13, 2014 -- First Lady Nancy Hales on Saturday attended the final Jade District Night Market, an event that is part festival, part Portland Saturday Market, part food cart pod and celebrates Asian culture and promoting the Southeast Portland business district. Previous night markets were Aug. 23 and 30, and Sept. 6.
"It was wonderful--packed with so many families, kiddies, neighbors," Nancy said. "Families walked in from neighborhoods all down 82nd to event! It was extremely well-organized with many volunteers."
Nancy spoke at beginning of the event and welcomed everyone on behalf of mayor and city. She thanked the organizers, and encouraged much shopping, eating, and celebrating. She shared empanadas and rice beer with the band The Slants--Simon Young (bass), and Tyler Chen (drums)--and loved the Fasca Yo Yo Team, performing traditional work from Taiwan.
Neighborhood House Opens Children's Center, Head Start Program
FRIDAY, SEPT. 12, 2014 -- Neighborhood House -- a nonprofit social service provider whose programs help low-income, recent-immigrant and other vulnerable populations -- on Friday cut the ribbon to open their brand new Children’s Center.
The center will house a Head Start program serving 96 children, ages 3 to 5. Kiddos will come from around the Southwest neighborhood, with 22 spaces for children at Stephens Creek Crossing, the newest affordable housing in Southwest Portland.
“Head Start may be the smartest money ever spent on education,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “For decades, studies have shown that students need a solid foundation early on, upon which to build their education. Neighborhood House will be providing just that to these children. What a tremendous public service.”
The Head Start program still has eight spots available for 3- to 5-year-olds in the Southwest and Northwest neighborhoods. Call 503-244-1800 for information.
Donors to the $5.2 million project helped add an educational and recreational feature to Southwest Portland, contributing to Mayor Hales' ambition for "complete neighborhoods," in which Portlanders regardless of background or income have access to quality amenities and opportunities. The location will serve a diverse community of children from Somalia and other East African countries, from Middle Eastern countries, and from Latin America.
Mayor Hales to Meet with Refugee, Immigrant Group
THURSDAY, SEPT. 11, 2014 -- In a week Mayor Hales will meet with the New Portlanders policy council, a group through Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights that works to integrate immigrants and refugees — New Portlanders — into this dynamic city.
The group’s programs and people help connect newcomers with Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), Latino Network, education institutions, and other groups to help make the most of Portland.
“Portland’s growing immigrant and refugee population have brought a new flavor to our city, building a more diverse, more cultured Portland,” Mayor Hales said. “This meeting will help identify what the city can do to make new Portlanders feel welcome and safe, what we can do to ensure they thrive in their new home.”
More on New Portlanders: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/oehr/62226?
World Suicide Prevention Day: Raising Awareness to Try to Prevent Suicide
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 10, 2014 -- Today in Council, Commissioner Fritz drew attention to #WSPD World Suicide Prevention Day, observed today, Sept. 10. On average, someone will die by suicide every four days in Portland.
"We talk about the high number of people killed in car wrecks and homicides, but we don't talk about suicides--more than wrecks and homicides combined," Mayor Charlie Hales said.
Recent high number of fatal car wrecks in Portland: 34 in 2011. Recent high number of homicides in Portland: 29 in 2012. Between April 2011 and June 2013, 202 people committed suicide, the Portland Police Behavioral Health Unit reports.
Commissioner Fritz held up the phone number to call for help: 503-97-23456
Behavioral Health Unit video: What if you could turn back the clock on suicide?
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.
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.
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. The 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.
“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!”
AIDS Walk Portland Raises Money for CAP Support System
SATURDAY, SEPT. 6, 2014 -- First Lady Nancy Hales kicked off AIDS Walk Portland on Saturday, thanking Cascade AIDS Project's (CAP) leadership and contributors to the walk, CAP's annual fundraising effort. Nancy spoke about Mayor Hales' commitment to their work supporting people with HIV and AIDS through services, housing, education and advocacy.
"I reminisced about my first grant to CAP 15 years ago, when I was the executive director at the Community Foundation," Nancy said. "We funded transitional housing for youth infected with the virus -- a watershed initiative, and CAP was at the frontier of the effort locally."
The fundraiser is just shy of the $450,000 goal. To support CAP's work, visit www.aidswalkportland.org to donate.
“There are times when Portlanders come together to fight for a good cause, and the annual AIDS Walk is one of those,” said Mayor Charlie Hales. “It makes a difference as a fundraising event, and it makes a difference by telling HIV and AIDS survivors and their families that we are all in this together.”
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.
Mayor Charlie Hales is leading a delegation there, followed by a visit to Tokyo. 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, toured Portland Square at Horoshira Bridge, visited the Sapporo International Art Festival and took part in the 55th anniversary ceremony of the Portland Pavilion in Sapporo Art Park.
Walking Beats on Hawthorne Change Tenor of Community
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.
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.”
To 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.”
Hales 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.”
Oregon Story Board Announces Accelerator Class
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 3, 2014 – Oregon Story Board announced today the five early-stage companies that have been selected for its inaugural accelerator class.
The companies represent the mix of film and video, digital media, content, animation and gaming industries that make up Oregon’s digital storytelling ecosystem. The accelerator program will start Monday, Sept. 8, and will run through the fall, with a Demo Day in January.
Founded as a nonprofit in 2013, Oregon Story Board is dedicated to job creation and economic growth within the digital storytelling ecosystem.
“We believe collaboration between these industry sectors, all of which are built on powerful storytelling, will generate more economic opportunity than if they operate in silos,” said Jenny Moede, executive director of Oregon Story Board. “The five companies we selected bring an exciting mix of creativity and business vision to the accelerator, which we’ll cultivate through mentor relationships and exploration.”
Mayor Charlie Hales praised Oregon Story Board and the accelerator class. “We are a community of makers: Everything from welders and machinists on Swan Island, to the latest software designers. Oregon Story Board has focused on some of the coolest, most innovative facets of Portland’s ‘maker-chic’ environment. I can’t wait to see what gems will come from his inaugural class.”
Oregon Storyboard receives program support from the Portland Development Commission, which falls within Mayor Hales’ portfolio.
The Oregon Story Board accelerator companies are:
Chroma makes high-design tools for the creative class. Their first product is Chroma Signal, a mobile app that allows users to create, share, and subscribe to YouTube playlists. Chroma makes it easier to create and distribute “lo-fi” TV content with great storylines.
Built Oregon is a digital magazine that will highlight the statewide network of entrepreneurs and innovators through compelling narrative, engaging content and focus on storytelling both written and interactive. These stories will inspire entrepreneurs and create connections between businesses and support organizations. Built Oregon stories will be read and shared beyond the state lines.
Mountain Machine is a game studio founded in 2012 by a group of six friends with a passion for story, art, music and video games. Based in Portland, Mountain Machine is bringing a new perspective on emotional storytelling into the gaming world.
Studio Kate is a Portland video production house that gives voice to people who – and issues that – need to be heard. Studio Kate tells meaningful stories to jolt the world into understanding, empathy and action.
A Fourth Act
A Fourth Act designs processes and builds digital tools that unleash the full potential of stories to create long-lasting, positive impact. By blending technology and participatory practices, the company deepens the connection between storytellers and communities creating opportunities for co-creating knowledge, reframing issues and inspiring innovative solutions.
What’s next: Oregon Story Board will host two, three-month accelerator classes per year, with low-cost co-workspace offered to companies in the digital storytelling ecosystem.
Oregon Story Board currently is housed in the decommissioned and refurbished IMAX theater projection room within OMSI. OSB's primary funding comes from an operational grant from the Oregon Innovation Council, a state initiative designed to create jobs, create companies and bring outside dollars back to Oregon.
Beyond the Portland Development Commission, Oregon Story Board also has cultivated partnerships and program support from Intel, OMSI, InFocus, Citizen, Portland Incubator Experiment, Southern Oregon University, Environments, Bon Appétit, Oregon Film and CenturyLink.
Pipeline Company to Build Terminal at Port of Portland, a $500 Million Investment
Pembina Pipeline Corporation, a Calgary, Canada-based company, announced today that it has chosen the Port of Portland for a West Coast propane export terminal project—a half a billion dollar investment.
“This is great news," said Mayor Charlie Hales. "We welcome this investment and these jobs in Portland. The city is committed to growing our economy on the land we already have, and holding industry to very high environmental and public safety standards. This proposal meets these goals."
Under the agreement with the Port, Pembina will undertake extensive environmental and regulatory reviews and assessments and, with the Port, begin to obtain all the required permits and approvals to develop the terminal.
"Signing the Terminal Agreement is a tremendous milestone for the Project," said Mick Dilger, Pembina's President and Chief Executive Officer. "It marks the beginning of consulting and engaging with stakeholders, governments and the environmental and regulatory authorities. Building trust with the communities where we operate is a top priority for Pembina, and over the last 60 years, we have developed a reputation for honesty, transparency and treating our stakeholders with respect."
Pembina plans to develop a 37,000 barrel per day propane export facility with an anticipated in-service date of early 2018.
It is estimated that the project will generate between 600-800 temporary construction jobs and approximately 35 to 40 new, permanent positions to operate the terminal. This employment is valued at approximately $7.2 million in wages and benefits annually. Additionally, an estimated $3.3 million in annual tax revenues would go to the City of Portland, as well as $2.4 million to Multnomah County and $3.1 million to Portland Public Schools annually.
The company expects the West Coast Terminal to provide growing Canadian propane supply—derived from natural gas produced in Western Canada—with access to large, international markets while complementing the company’s expanding integrated service offering for products that are derived from natural gas.
Labor Leaders Gather in Oaks Park
Monday, Sept. 1, 2014 -- Mayor Charlie Hales joined a wide array of statewide leaders on Monday at the annual Labor Day picnic in Oaks Park. The tradition sees officeholders and those seeking elected office coming together to celebrate organized labor.
Mayor Kicks Off Symphony Season in Waterfront Park
THURSDAY, AUG. 28, 2014 – The 2014-15 Oregon Symphony season kicked off with a bang – as in fireworks – Thursday in Tom McCall Waterfront Park, with the annual Concert in the Park celebration.
Mayor Charlie Hales conducted John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.” The symphony, under the baton of Carlos Kalmar, also offered works by Aaron Copland, George Gershwin and Ludwig von Beethoven. The night ended with the fireworks of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovski’s “1812 Overture.”
The season includes guest appearances by Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Herbie Hancock, Béla Fleck, among others.
Portland Connects with Sister City Guadalajara on Both Sides of the Border
THURSDAY, AUG. 28, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales this week talked livable cities with a delegation of business and government officials visiting from Guadalajara, Mexico — less than a week after Portland Fire & Rescue made its own splash in the sister city.
Since 1983, Portland has maintained the sister city relationship with Guadalajara through cultural, educational and economic exchanges. The delegation’s trip to Portland lays the groundwork for stronger ties — e.g. a new air service scheduled to start in October. Volaris Airlines will provide a direct air service between the two cities.
This week the delegation — including officials from the city, as well as from the state of Jalisco and from businesses such as Mundo Cuervo, the distillery that makes Jose Cuervo — toured Portland’s sustainable features and met with local businesses. The group was interested in learning about Portland’s best practices to advance the livable city movement.
“These relationships are so important,” Mayor Hales said. “Maintaining ties for over three decades makes both cities richer in culture, trade and education.”
Portland in Guadalajara
Last week, Portland’s presence was felt in Guadalajara: The city accepted a fire engine and a ladder truck from Portland Fire & Rescue, the third such donation since 1999. Guadalajara Director of International Relations Mario Reynoso via Twitter thanked the city for its donation, which arrived Aug. 22, Mexico’s National Firefighters Day.
The mayor and City Council approved the donation in November 2013, but there was nine months of international red tape to work through before the trucks could be delivered to Guadalajara.
Before Portland Fire started training and equipment donation with Guadalajara 15 years ago, the city had four stations serving 1.5 million people; Portland has 30 stations for 600,000 people. Now Guadalajara has 17 stations across the city, allowing firefighters to respond to calls within 5 minutes instead of up to 45 minutes.
“This makes a huge difference for them,” said Portland Fire & Rescue Lt. Joe Troncosso. “The only way to keep those stations is with equipment.
“These trucks started on the front lines here; then they were back-up; then they sat unused in the lot. Now, they’re back on the front lines again, doing what they’re supposed to: save lives.”
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.
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.
Leaders Gather at Oregon Coast for Economic Summit
MONDAY, AUG. 25, 2014—Mayor Charlie Hales’ office joined Oregon’s heavy hitters last week for the third Oregon Coast Economic Summit, discussing topics ranging from economic development, to disaster preparedness, to sustainable energy.
“This was an excellent example of collaborative leadership,” said Gail Shibley, Hales’ chief of staff. “We’re all in this together. You can’t have a name like ‘Portland’ without understanding the importance of connecting with the communities around you.”
The summit, each year hosted by one of four coastal Native American tribal nations, was a forum to discuss both Oregon Coast and statewide issues. This year’s was held in Florence on Wednesday and Thursday. Each day was packed with keynote talks by elected officials and panels covering topics such as tribal relations, natural resources, collaborative leadership, sustainable energy and economic growth, and education and economic growth.
“An all-star cast of statewide decision-makers and public and private sector folks made the two days incredibly productive,” said Martha Pellegrino, director of Portland’s Office of Government Relations.
Mayor Charlie Hales has reached out to the rest of Oregon. He gathered a coalition of 50 mayors during the 2013 legislative session to push for full funding for public K-12 schools. He also meetings regularly with mayors from throughout the state. “We face many of the same issues, and more often than not, we’re allies when it comes to working with the Legislature or Congress,” Hales said.
The coastal summit hosted Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, along with most of Oregon’s Congressional delegation. The governor’s office, state legislators, Oregon Supreme Court and federal judges, and representatives from state and local government, business, labor, tribes, and nonprofit sectors attended.
Shibley was on a panel for “The American Leadership Forum of Oregon: A sustainable model for collaborative leadership.” She spoke of developing better connections between the coastal and Portland economies, and of the opportunities for Portland and other cities in Oregon to work together on issues of common concern. Those include economic development, transportation, and import and export rules.
Pellegrino said that as Portland’s lobbyist, she was interested to hear priorities of different levels of government and private sector for the 2015 legislative session.
“From a lobbying perspective, this gave us a valuable look at where there are shared interests and alliances in the agenda,” she said.
The city’s government relations team by late fall will have a draft of legislative priorities for the city’s bureaus. The legislature convenes February 2015.
Shop with a Cop Primes 200 Low-Income Kids to Look Sharp on the First Day of School
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 20, 2014 — The 10-year-old girl held a pair of shoes up to a dress.
“Are those high-heels?” asked Deanna Wesson-Mitchell, police policy director for Mayor Charlie Hales’ office — and a mom. “Would your mother approve?”
The girl’s face broke into a giant smile.
“Let’s go find some flats,” Wesson-Mitchell said.
The policy director (and former police officer) joined Portland Police Bureau and 200 kids early Tuesday morning at the Gateway Fred Meyer store for the annual Shop with a Cop event, put on by the Izzy’s Kids program in the bureau’s Sunshine Division. For 12 years Shop with a Cop has paired low-income kids with a police officer to shop for new school clothes at Fred Meyer. Most of the children are from Boys and Girls Club of Portland and are invited based on both financial need and their volunteer efforts in the community.
“Back-to-school shopping is an American tradition, and most people take it for granted,” said Wesson-Mitchell, noting the back-to-school advertisements that become ubiquitous before fall. “When kids don’t have resources, it’s a big deal to miss out on it.
“This is a way to make sure kids go to school looking their best. And every kid should have the opportunity to go to school looking great.”
This year Fred Meyer provided $150 gift cards for each child — bolstered by discounts and coupons employees handed out.
Wesson-Mitchell’s shopper, a Scott School student and Blazers Boys and Girls Club member, was confident and knew what she liked: No pink; bold colors. She came away with seven pairs of pants, eight shirts, two pairs of shoes, a dress, and 16 pairs of socks.
“It’s great to spend time with kids who are facing a lot of obstacles, and still being successful,” Wesson-Mitchell said. “It’s a fun, rewarding way to start your day, and these kids deserve it.”
Community Meeting Encourages Residents to Say 'Enough is Enough'
TUESDAY, AUG. 19, 2014 — In a packed meeting room at the Community Policing Facility on Monday evening, Lucy Mashia’s voice broke.
Gang members, “have gotten so bold they’re kicking in doors and shooting women,” said Mashia, whose son Leonard Irving Jr. was shot and killed in 2011. She called for people to come forward with information. “The whole community knows who killed my son, but they still haven’t been arrested.”
Mashia was among the mothers of victims of gang-related shootings who shared their experiences at a community meeting aimed at galvanizing support for the “Enough is Enough” campaign against gang violence. The campaign is an effort to build a culture of witnesses coming forward with information, creating an environment in which gangs cannot operate.
This weekend marked the 87th gang-related violence call in the city this year—a dramatic increase from recent years. Ervaeua Herring, a 21-year-old pregnant woman, was fatally shot in a gang-related attack in her apartment on Sunday; she was the city’s 15th homicide. Last year there were 16 homicides by the end of the year.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and to the neighbors of everyone affected by this violence in our city,” Mayor Charlie Hales said Monday. “This is intolerable. The city and police are continuing to do what we can to stop the violence in the community. But we need the community’s help.”
Antoinette Edwards, director of the Office of Youth Violence Prevention, on Monday encouraged the crowd to brainstorm ways to break the “snitch code” of silence, and to come forward as witnesses to help put attackers behind bars.
“Where’s our outrage?” Edwards asked the crowd. “This is what this meeting is about: Our community, making a difference. Enough is enough.”
The mayor’s Office of Youth Violence Prevention has several multi-agency efforts to reach out to youths and families to break generational ties to gangs (Gang Impacted Family Team); to reach out to gang members (Street-Level Gang Outreach Program); and to connect misdemeanor offenders with resources such as mentors, housing, job readiness and education in order to support stable futures (Court Bench Probation Project).
The community-generated “Enough is Enough” campaign hopes to add to those efforts a ubiquitous message: The community will not tolerate gang activity.
Michael Alexander, president and CEO of the Urban League of Portland, in a heavy voice said, “Standing up is hard. But it’s easier than watching loved ones die. Enough is enough.”
Roosevelt High Freedom Fighter Project Honors Local Civil Rights Leaders
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2014 -- Khalil Edwards’ work with the LGBTQ community started when he was a kid and his North Portland house was the safe haven for lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender, and queer youth.
Through adulthood Edwards has continued that work: He founded the PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays) Portland Black Chapter — the first chapter for African-Americans in the nation; was honored as a PFLAG Queer Hero; and does racial justice and alliance-building work for Basic Rights Oregon, an advocacy group dedicated to ending discrimination of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Edwards, along with other community leaders who have worked to advance the civil rights of various races, cultures and religions, was interviewed by Roosevelt High School freshmen for their Freedom Fighter Project. The display of profiles and portraits was exhibited in City Hall last week.
Yasmin Mohamed, a Roosevelt student who interviewed leaders for the project, wrote, “I learned that when you fight for social justice you need to fight for what you believe. You shouldn’t care what people say about you.”
Mayor Charlie Hales walked through the exhibition Friday, pointing out people he knows. They were profiled for their historical social justice work, and are now involved in the mayor’s Black Male Achievement initiative to support young, black men with employment and education; supporting newcomers to Portland at Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization; and working to improve education opportunities for low-income and minority students.
“This is a really neat project for kids to connect to civil rights history,” Hales said. “And good timing, with the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 this year.”
As part of the project, Roosevelt students visited the Oregon Historical Society, interviewed community civil rights leaders, and wrote about the interviewees’ experiences and their own reactions to the powerful stories. University of Portland School of Education students helped with the project, combining lessons in local history, civil liberties studies, and journalism.
“Student writing is richer and more interesting when it has a real purpose,” said Charlene Williams, Roosevelt principal, who was quoted in the exhibit. “The … Freedom Fighter Project creates opportunities to take writing out of the classroom. Writing comes alive when it is shared and has impact and influences the community in positive ways.”
Antoinette Edwards, director of the mayor’s Office of Youth Violence Prevention and Khalil Edwards’ mother, lauded the exhibit for connecting young people to their Portland past.
“In our house, when Khalil was growing up, we were very aware that we are here because our ancestors chose to survive,” Edwards said. “We said, ‘We’re here because folks paved the way for us, so how do we give back?’
“The Freedom Fighter Project connects generations, keeps history relevant,” Edwards said. “It also lets young people know that there are heroes and 'she-roes' right here today, living history. It is empowering for young folks to know that there are great people among us — everyday folks who do what they do for the right reasons.”
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.
“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.
Street Roots Grows its Presence in Portland
FRIDAY, AUG. 8, 2014 – Street Roots, the publication by and for Portland’s homeless population and their advocates, is pushing to go weekly.
The paper, sold by vendors throughout the city core, now is biweekly.
“Street Roots is woven into the heart and soul of this city,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “It works as a government watchdog. As a resource for the houseless community. As a voice of advocacy for those who traditionally don’t have a voice. And, at the end of the day, it’s a great publication worth reading if you want to know this city in all its wholeness and complexity.”
Israel Bayer, the paper’s executive director, said the expansion to weekly will benefit the men and women who serve as the vendors. "Everything we do is for those guys," Bayer said in an article by The Oregonian’s Anna Griffin. "They're the ones who asked us to go weekly. They're the ones who'll benefit if we can."
Bayer began at Street Roots as a volunteer in 2000 and rose to executive director in 2003, Griffin writes. He meets regularly with the mayor and members of the City Council as an advocate and adviser issues of poverty and homelessness.
Street Roots also producing the Rose City Resource guide, a listing of services for the houseless community. Copies are available in the offices of many city and county elected officials – including Mayor Hales’ office – and are handed out by Portland police for people seeking services.
Dana Haynes, communications director for Mayor Hales, praised the publication for its sense of community journalism. “Portland is a vibrant media market with some great journalism going on all around us, and Street Roots is a strong part of that. The paper, and its reporting of the news, regularly affect our decision-making here at City Hall,” he said.
World’s Eyes on Portland for MLS All-Star Game
THURSDAY, AUG. 7, 2014 – The best of American soccer came to Portland yesterday for the Major League Soccer All-Star Game, which featured the best domestic players vs. the Bayern Munich football club of Germany.
And in case you doubted that the world was watching, here’s the coverage from the Indo-Asian News Service, India’s largest independent news service. The story also quotes from the Xinhua news service of China:
Portland (United States), Aug 7: American footballer Landon Donovan scored in the second half to help the MLS All-Stars team beat German giants Bayern Munich 2-1 at Providence Park, Portland. Robert Lewandowski scored in the eighth minute to give Bayern an early lead Wednesday. MLS All-Stars found their rhythm in the second half, levelling the match with a powerful shot from Bradley Wright-Phillips, reports Xinhua.
Donovan found a chance in the 70th minute and his right-footed shot from the centre of the box went straight to the goal. It was the sixth goal for Donovan in MLS All-Stars games, tying Brian McBride, who is the all-time leader in the league’s history.
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.
“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.
“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.”
Congressman Calls on Mayor, Other Leaders Discuss Transportation Issues
TUESDAY, AUG. 5, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales on Monday joined some of the most influential leaders in transportation for in-depth discussion of funding streets, roads and highways at U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s “Forum on the Future of America’s Transportation Infrastructure.”
“Portland is in competition with other cities for quality of place — and other cities are being more aggressive, improving their streets, sidewalks, bikeways and public transportation,” Hales said. “When 40 percent of our streets are in ‘poor’ to ‘very poor’ condition, we need to do something.”
Blumenauer organized the forum to discuss federal, state, regional and city transportation funding issues, and to brainstorm ways to pay for transportation infrastructure outside of federal funding. Leaders also discussed “climate smart” transportation planning, emphasizing sustainable modes of transportation that also reduce wear and tear on roadways.
Ultimately, leaders said, transportation improvements boil down to more revenue. Representatives from trucking and associated industries supported higher taxes to pay for infrastructure, which would benefit their industries in the long run. Likewise, Hales said, Portlanders and Oregonians paying for their streets and sidewalks today will have long-term payoffs.
“Right now we call our highways in this country ‘freeways,’” Hales said. “That’s unrealistic. We’re going to have to get used to paying as we go. It’s taking care of the infrastructure we have and investing in long-term growth.”
In other parts of the country, sales tax and highway tolls pay for transportation and other needs. With the federal Highway Trust Fund stagnant at 1993 funding levels and inadequate state gas tax revenue, Hales said, eventually that also will be Oregon’s reality.
“We’ve gotten used to a state of affairs that can’t last,” he said.
The street fee proposed by Hales and Portland Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick would raise the revenue for pavement maintenance, safe routes to schools, building sidewalks, improving crosswalks, and building protected bike lanes.
“It’s a clumsy method to raise revenue,” Hales said. “I’m open to other ideas that can raise the $53 million we need for streets. But so far, there hasn’t been a viable alternative.
“Streets are only getting worse. There are unpaved gravel roads in the city limits,” he added. “Potholes are driving neighborhoods crazy. Kids in some neighborhoods don’t have proper sidewalks or crosswalks. We need revenue to address these problems.”
‘Cool Britannia’ Finds Another Nexus of Coolness – Portland
MONDAY, JULY 28, 2014 – Monocle, a London magazine covering global affairs, has listed Portland as America’s most livable city. And, well, America's only livable city.
“Long shadowed by Seattle and San Francisco, Oregon’s largest city has achieved its own renown for an outdoors lifestyle, environmental emphasis and clichéd-but-real mania for coffee, beer, food and wine,” the magazine raves.
It also chided Portland’s lack of a daily newspaper.
“I always say, people don’t move to Portland because of some tax break or whatever,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “They live here, stay here or move here because of a sense of place. We call it placemaking. It’s in the very soul of Portland. And we’re pleased to see that it translates across the Atlantic, too.”
Statement from Mayor Hales on Refugee Children Coming to Oregon
Immigration is a federal issue. The City of Portland has no official position on this topic.
But I’m not just a mayor. I’m a father. And speaking as a father, I stand with Gov. John Kitzhaber and welcome these refugee children to Oregon.
Sending children back to failed states is unacceptable to me. That’s not the spirit of Portland, or the spirit of Oregon.
The governor said, "These children are fleeing their homelands because of overwhelming violence and economic hardship, and they do not deserve to become political fodder. Oregon has been a welcoming home to unaccompanied minors and refugee children, and will continue to be so while we wait on Congress to adopt more responsible immigration policies."
I second the governor’s thoughtful, humane concerns for these children.
People seeking more information on refugee children should contact:
US Department of Health & Human Services
Office of Refugee Resettlement
Administration for Children and Families
901 D St. S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20447
Phone: (202) 401-9246
Mayor Charlie Hales
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.”
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 Capt. Mike Geiger on Wednesday spoke in support of the funding. His highlighted the tremendous need to support safe places for trauma victims.
Below is his 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.”
Airbnb, Portland, San Francisco Leaders Visit White House, Announce New Emergency Preparedness Partnership
SAN FRANCISCO – July 29, 2014 – Today, officials from Airbnb and the cities of San Francisco and Portland will visit the White House for the White House Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery Initiative Demo Dayand announce new partnerships that will help the Airbnb community and cities prepare for and respond to local emergencies.
The partnerships between the cities are outlined in two Memorandums of Understanding signed by Airbnb and the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management and the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management.
As part of the agreements, Airbnb will work with the cities before, during, and after disasters to leverage the Airbnb community’s resources to build resilience in these cities. Specifically, Airbnb will partner independently with both San Francisco and Portland over the next year to:
● Provide disaster and emergency preparedness educational materials to Airbnb hosts to help them become the most prepared residents on the block.
● Use Airbnb mobile and web technology to notify hosts and guests about significant hazardous incidents.
● Facilitate community emergency response trainings to cultivate Airbnb hosts as trained leaders within their neighborhoods.
"Residents looking after residents. Neighbors taking care of neighbors. This is such a 'Portland' thing," said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. "This project matches the city's spirit perfectly."
“This partnership applies an innovative approach to increase Portland’s ability to provide shelter following a disaster,” said Portland Bureau of Emergency Management Director Carmen Merlo. “We appreciate Airbnb’s willingness to work with us to make help make Portland a more resilient community.”
“The sharing economy was born here in the Innovation Capital of the World, and its growth is leveraging technology and innovation to connect people and help our City become more prepared and resilient against disaster,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “This new partnership with Airbnb ensures greater access to important emergency preparedness information and facilitates temporary housing needs for our City’s residents, should the need arise during an emergency or disaster.”
“Having a warm place to stay or even knowing more about what’s going on helps us feel like we’re not alone during an emergency,” said Anne Kronenberg, Executive Director, San Francisco Department of Emergency Management. “The impact of sharing and community are more powerful than the force generated by any earthquake, tsunami, or fire.”
“Opening doors to people who need a place to stay is in the DNA of the Airbnb community,” said Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky. “When Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast, 1,400 Airbnb hosts in New York opened doors and cooked meals for those left stranded. We were inspired by these stories to build a disaster response initiative with our community. Today’s announcement is an exciting next step forward in this commitment.”
When Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast, Airbnb altered its website to ensure hosts could take in displaced neighbors for free. In 2013, Airbnb expanded these efforts with a disaster response initiative that makes it easy for Airbnb hosts to provide space for people in need at little or no cost when disasters strike.
Airbnb has previously launched the initiative in San Diego in response to major fires, in Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia for people affected by the Balkan floods, in London, Sardinia, and Colorado after serious flooding hit these regions, in Kefalonia after an earthquake hit the island, in Toronto and Atlanta following severe ice storms, and in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan.
The new partnerships will help our community collaborate with regional disaster relief organizations in advance of an event, reach a broader audience and help more people during an emergency. We are currently exploring additional partnerships and look forward to announcing additional initiatives in the future.
OHSU nets $100 million to go toward Knight Challenge
MONDAY, JULY 28, 2014 – Oregon Health & Science University announced today a $100 million gift to the Knight Cancer Challenge. The gift comes from an anonymous source.
Reporter Elizabeth Hayes of the Portland Business Journal posted this article.
That brings the university closer to its goal of $500 million. It has until February 2016 to reach that amount. Nike Founder Phil Knight and his wife Penny said they will match it with another $500 million for cancer research.
“This is tremendous news for the entire city,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “The Knight challenge gives OHSU the opportunity to vastly increase scientific research, clinical trials and patient care, in the arena of cancer studies. The construction phase alone could result in $892 million in total economic output.”
Mayor Hales championed the Knight challenge before the 2014 Oregon Legislature. The City of Portland fully backed a proposal, passed by the lawmakers, to approve $200 million in capital improvement bonds to support the challenge.
Once fully operational, the facilities are expected to support $134 million in annual economic output, would generate 3,400 jobs during each year of construction and nearly 400 new ongoing positions at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, including many middle-income jobs.
Hales also pointed out that Phil and Penny Knight's pledge of $500 million would be, “four-times the largest donation ever given to Harvard University. That’s a staggering figure for the city of Portland.”
Former Seattle Mayor Paul Schell Passes Away at 76
MONDAY, JULY 28, 2014 –SEATTLE — Former Seattle Mayor Paul Schell, who led the city during the World Trade Organization protests in 1999, has died. He was 76. The Associated Press offered this remembrance.
Schell died Sunday at a Seattle hospital.
“My condolences to the city of Seattle, to his family and friends,” Portland Mayor Charlie Hales said. "Mayor Schell began his term the same time I started my first commission term. He was very focused on smart growth. We worked together on an array of issues. He served his city well.”
During his time as mayor, Schell oversaw funding to build the world-renowned downtown library, and played a key role in constructing the Olympic Sculpture Park and City Hall. He also led efforts for Seattle’s first parks levy, right around the time then-Commissioner Hales was doing the same for Portland.
Schell, Seattle’s 50th mayor, served from 1998 to 2002.
Mayor Hales Touts Portland Transportation Issues to Nation’s Mayors
FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2014 – Portland’s innovative transportation policies were highlighted in the July edition of U.S. Mayor, a publication of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Hales attended the June mayoral conference in Dallas, Texas. He serves as vice chairman of the Transportation and Communications Committee for the nationwide association.
While in Dallas, he discussed the metro region’s bus service, light rail, street car, walkability, bridges dedicated to non-automobile transportation and thriving bike culture.
“We’re just trying to be the best European city in the U.S.,” he said.
The conversation included metro-area bridges dedicated to bicycles, pedestrians and mass transit options, which few other cities in America have. He told the crowd that the Hawthorne Bridge carries more than 8,000 cyclists and 800 TriMet buses per day.
Municipal planning needs to drive transportation planning, Hales has said, and not the other-way-around. He called community involvement the “critical first step” in planning for both.
“It’s important to view (transportation) projects as placemaking,” Hales said. “And not just ‘plumbing.’”
Swing and Classical Conductor Norman Leyden Remembered
Norman Leyden, longtime leader of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, died Wednesday at age 96.
Leyden worked with Glenn Miller, first in the Air Force Band, and later the Glenn Miller Orchestra. He also conducted music for popular performers such as Rosemary Clooney, wrote for “The Jackie Gleason Show,” and arranged songs in the 1960s for Disney studio hits, including “Cinderella” and “Alice in Wonderland.”
He joined the Oregon Youth Philharmonic in 1968 and the Oregon Symphony in 1970. He retired in 2004.
Two Portland Artworks Net National Honors
WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 2014 – Americans for the Arts has recognized 37 outstanding public arts projects completed in the United States in 2013, including two artworks managed by the Regional Arts & Culture Council in Portland.
A total of 345 projects from across the country were submitted to AFTA for consideration for this year’s Public Art Network Year in Review, the most prestigious national honor in public art.
Portland projects to be honored are:
● Streetcar Stop for Portland By artist Jorge Pardo located just north of the Rose Quarter, at Northeast Broadway and Weidler.
The eccentric, multifaceted structure includes more than 300 individual panels in shades of gray and brown on the exterior, with warm hues of orange and yellow on the interior, sheltering streetcar passengers and marking the stop in a highly visible and fantastically colorful way. Pardo’s creation provides a “rainy on the outside, sunny on the inside” experience for Portland’s Streetcar riders. The inspiration for the exterior palate derives from an evening photograph Pardo took and then simplified and mapped onto the surfaces. He intended the piece to be best appreciated when it is dark and rainy and the interior lighting creates a warm glow that stands out like a beacon amongst its dark surroundings.
● Inversion +/- By Lead Pencil Studio. This is a monumental scale sculpture in three parts located at the bridge approaches for the Hawthorne and Morrison Bridges in Portland’s Central Eastside Industrial District. The elements draw “ghosts” of buildings demolished in the 1950s for highway construction, including a cast-iron foundry, a warehouse, and an apartment building.
At Hawthorne, two large elements are constructed with a matrix of weathered steel to form the front and back corners of a building. At Morrison the matrix renders the perimeter of the same building form emphasizing the negative space surrounding it. In reconstructing remnants from the past and building out to the previous property lines, the sculpture explores the scale and complexity of the lost civic fabric.
“Streetcar Stop for Portland” and “Inversion +/-” were both funded through the City of Portland’s Percent for Art program, which sets aside 2 percent of most publicly funded capital construction projects – in this case, the Portland Streetcar’s eastside expansion – for the creation and maintenance of public art.
“We are honored that these two works have been recognized among the country’s excellent and innovative public artworks last year,” said Eloise Damrosch, executive director of the Regional Arts & Culture Council, or RACC. “What I like the most about these two projects is how they engage people along our streets in very different ways – one is human scaled and neighborhood focused, while the other is of much greater size and intended to be viewed from a distance or from below looking upward against the sky. Inversion references the past, while Streetcar Stop is a nod to our future, emphasizing the importance of public transit and sustainability.”
Mayor Joins International Celebration for Track and Field Championships in Eugene
TUESDAY, JULY 22, 2014 — Portland Mayor Charlie Hales on Monday joined the international celebration in Eugene celebrating the United States’ return to hosting the International Association of Athletics Federations World Junior Championships track and field meet.
The kick-off dinner Monday night welcomed Oregon leadership — including Hales and Gov. John Kitzhaber — and heads of federation’s more than 200 members. Track and field events began today at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus, and continue through Sunday.
The international championships haven’t been held in the U.S. since 1992, in Boston. Eugene’s winning bid brought the 15th World Junior Championships back to the country, hosting 1,540 athletes from 167 countries. And in an Oregon coup, Portland will host the 2016 World Indoor Track and Field Championships. Now Eugene is bidding for the 2019 World Championships.
“Eugene is Track Town U.S.A., Portland is home to the world’s greatest outdoor and athletic companies,” said Mayor Charlie Hales. “It’s a great fit. Oregonians have been running since before it was cool. We’re an outdoors state. It’s part of our culture.”
Federation president Lamine Diack, who arrived in Portland from Senegal on Thursday, said for years he’d wanted to hold an event in the United States.
“It has been my dream to have an IAAF event in the U.S.A.,” Diack said at a press conference. “The World Junior Championships this week marks an important moment for the future of track and field in the U.S.A., the most powerful athletics nation in the world.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mayor Speaks Out Regarding Capt. Kruger Settlement
THURSDAY, JULY 17, 2014 – On Wednesday, the community learned the details of a settlement between Capt. Mark Kruger and the City of Portland.
Community reaction has been outrage. I hear that outrage and agree with much of the substance of it. The issues involved bring up very personal, long-standing feelings of hurt and anger. These issues awaken our values as a community, especially where it comes to the behavior we expect from our public servants.
I do not minimize these feelings. The community has every right to feel this way.
The Portland City Council shares these values, as well as frustrations with this situation.
As mayor, I signed the settlement agreement. I am not happy with this settlement. I wish it had turned out differently. But it did not, and I take full responsibility for signing the document, making it a binding legal agreement. Mayors often must make distasteful decisions for the good of the city. This is one of those times.
My signature does not mean I condone, in any way, the actions of Capt. Kruger in 1999.
Instead, this complex settlement marks the end of multiple legal battles that have engulfed the city for more than a decade and involved four mayoral administrations. The constitutional issues present in the situation meant that past mayors were advised by counsel that the city might well have lost a court fight. I have been advised the same.
I’m not happy with the settlement. But I signed it. The final decision was mine.
Regarding the Portland Police and relationships with the community, we have implemented significant structural changes, including:
● The hiring of a more diverse workforce.
● Creation of a new discipline guide.
● Implementation of new rules of conduct regarding use of force.
● Implementation of officer performance evaluations.
We also have pushed forward with the implementation of reforms negotiated after a Department of Justice investigation, even though a judge has not yet ruled on the issue. We did not wait for the judge, but are working with the DOJ, the Police Bureau, and others in Portland to improve the relationship between the Police Bureau and the community.
Here’s what we have not done, but will do: Create a better process by which the details of major, important disciplinary issues – regardless of which bureau – are flagged for the attention of the full City Council. Currently, this process involves the City Attorney, Human Resources, the city’s Risk Management, the bureau and a single commissioner, but does not always include a full discussion with the full City Council. That will change.
I and other members of the Portland City Council intend to address that process immediately.
But in regards to the legal issue between the city and Capt. Kruger: The outrage felt by the community is right and just.
This case needs to be resolved. I take responsibility for ending the legal dispute about past performance, and for setting clear expectations for future performance in service to Portlanders.
Independence Day Fireworks in the City
THURSDAY, JULY 3, 2014 — Celebrate Independence Day in the city tomorrow with fireworks over the Willamette River at the Waterfront Blues Festival in Tom McCall Waterfront Park on Southwest Naito Parkway. Fireworks begin at 10 p.m., and admission is $10.
For downtown fireworks without the fee, high-elevation spots across the city include Mount Tabor Park, parking garages with open deck parking, and open bridges with a good view of the South Waterfront — Hawthorne, Morrison and Burnside bridges, and maybe the Steel.
Oaks Amusement Park, 7805 S.E. Oaks Park Way, also will have a fireworks display starting about 10 p.m. Gate admission and parking are free; rides and attractions start at $5.
Rumor has it both downtown and Oaks Amusement Park fireworks are visible from Sellwood Park, Southeast Seventh Avenue at Miller Street.
Mayor Hales, Commissioner Novick Mark Fulfilled 'Back-to-Basics' Promise
MONDAY, JUNE 30, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick on Monday announced they had bested their “back-to-basics” promise, with more than 100 miles of streets paved in one year.
“We paved a lot of streets with a limited amount of money,” said Hales, standing in front of the paver that will complete the city’s 104th paved mile of 2013-14 alongside the Lloyd Center MAX tracks. “The bad news is, to keep this up we need new revenue for our transportation system. Our mindset needs to be taking care of what we have by investing in what we need in order to build world-class neighborhoods.”
Portland Bureau of Transportation spent $11 million paving 100 miles; 53 miles were treated with fog seal and 47 miles with grind-and-pave. Low-traffic streets, such as residential streets around schools, were treated with the less pricey fog seal, and high-traffic streets were ground down and repaved.
Before the mayor took office, only around 30 miles of streets were repaved annually. Hales and Novick, Transportation commissioner, last year vowed to get “back-to-basics,” with city government taking care of its assets.
Streets are like teeth, Novick said Monday: Just as brushing is a lot cheaper than a root canal, maintaining streets as they’re beginning to show signs of wear is a lot cheaper than rebuilding them.
Town Hall Tonight Focuses on Parks Bond
WHAT: A Town Hall discussion about how the Parks Replacement Bond will help address urgent maintenance needs with no increased tax rates for Portlanders. Co-hosted by Portland Parks & Recreation and Portland Parks Foundation
WHERE: Cleveland High School Cafeteria, 3400 S.E. 26th Ave.
WHEN: TONIGHT - June 30, 6:30 to 8:30 pm
MONDAY, JUNE 30, 2014 – Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz will discuss her Parks Replacement Bond proposal tonight at a community Town Hall, including announcing specific examples of critical projects that could be funded if voters approve the bond this fall.
Example projects include repairing or replacing 10 to 20 neighborhood playgrounds at risk of failing, repairing several community swimming pools to prevent emergency closures, and repairing trails and bridges to preserve access to natural areas and open spaces like Forest Park.
“Commissioner Fritz has crafted the right plan at the right time,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “This is all about the city taking care of what it has and investing in what it needs. This proposal has my full support.”
All Portland residents are encouraged to join tonight’s discussion.
Over the last century, Portlanders created and have maintained a world-class parks system through a series of capital investments (bonds and levies). However, park structures and facilities have finite life spans, and require ongoing investment to remain safe and accessible. As Portland’s existing parks bond — approved in 1994 — is paid off in 2015, the city has the opportunity to address critical park needs without increasing tax rates by referring a Parks Replacement Bond to voters now.
A recent survey shows that more than 65 percent of Portlanders are supportive of a replacement bond, which would not increase tax rates and would fund some of the most critical repairs to our parks system.
Homeowners currently pay $.0877 per $1,000 on their assessed property value for the expiring 1994 parks bond. A replacement bond measure would replace the expiring one – without increasing property tax rates. If the 1994 bond expires in 2015 and is not replaced, the annual property tax rate paid by a typical homeowner with a home valued at $150,000 would decrease by $13.
(Note: The property tax levy rate for the expiring bonds is approximately $0.0877 per $1,000 of assessed value. This is the estimated levy rate for November 2014. The proposed debt service of the new bonds would maintain the same levy rate of approximately $0.0877 beginning in November 2015. As the levy rate would stay approximately the same, the actual amount each taxpayer pays annually may change based upon possible changes in assessed value of individual property. Collection of property taxes to repay the potential new bonds would not happen until after the current bond expires.)
Mayor Hales, Commissioner Novick Agree to Pull Back Charter Amendment; Push Forward with Street Fee in 2015
THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 2014 – A proposed change to the city charter from Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick, designed to lock in the use of the proposed street fee for maintenance and safety, will be pulled off the table.
“The issue was confusing to people,” Hales said. “We listened to hours of testimony. We’ve received hundreds of emails and calls. Local media claim it confuses them. We’re listening. If the charter change is muddying the real message – that we must take care of our streets – then we’ll take it off the table.”
Hales and Novick have held 10 town hall meetings and have discussed a street fee at many City Council meetings this spring and summer. In 2012, Hales ran on making street maintenance a priority. And he’s talked about it since arriving in office 18 months ago.
“The independent auditor tells us we need more than $75 million per year to take care of the largest thing we own: our streets. We haven’t even gotten close to that. Our streets are in disrepair, the state and federal governments are not going to swoop in with a more robust gas tax to save us. It’s up to us.”
Hales and Novick are committed to ensuring that revenue from any new funding mechanism would be dedicated to improving the maintenance and safety of our city’s transportation network, including paving and sidewalks. The charter amendment that would go to voters in November is one way of codifying that commitment.
But residents who attended town halls, or who contacted the mayor’s office, have said the proposal is confusing.
“We don’t want any confusion on this: We have not taken care of our streets; we have to turn that around; we don’t have the millions-per-year necessary now to do it; no one else is going to do this except us; we need a street fee,” Hales said. “None of that has changed. We’re told that the charter amendment was adding confusion. So we’ll take that off the table for now, until we’ve reached a consensus on a funding proposal.”
Work groups will be created this summer to examine the best way to enact a residential fee and a non-residential fee. All meetings will be open to the public.
Hales and Novick expect a council vote on the transportation fee by this fall. It is expected to be enacted by July 2015.
Hundreds Line Up to Speak at 10th Street Fee Hearing
THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 2014 – An estimated 120 people jammed into a community space at Kaiser Permanente Interstate on Wednesday to express their views on the proposed city street fee. Mayor Charlie Hales, Commissioner Steve Novick and Leah Treat, director of the city Transportation Bureau, sat through more than two hours of emotional testimony.
The street fee has been proposed by Hales and Novick to address the backlog of maintenance and safety repairs to the city’s streets. Historic funding mechanisms – federal and state gas tax – have become woefully inadequate in the 21st century.
“Our options are to do this, to something else, or to do nothing,” Hales said, noting that more than 40 percent of the city’s streets are rated at “poor” to “very poor” condition. “Frankly, ‘doing nothing’ is not an option. I refused to leave this to our children and our grandchildren to pay for.”
Treat said the city formerly had repaired about 30 miles of street per year. Last year, Hales and Novick vowed to repair 100 miles – of the estimated 5,000 lane-miles owned by the city.
Transportation crews will hit the 100-mile mark within a week.
“At this rate, it would take 48 years to repair all our roads,” Treat said.
Hales and Novick are proposing a street fee for residents and non-residents, to begin in July 2015. They have held 10 public hearings on the topic. Work groups for both the residential and non-residential will be formed this summer. All meetings will be open to the public.
“Nobody wants fees,” Hales said. “We hear you. But our largest asset is our streets. The feds won’t bail us out. The state won’t bail us out. It’s up to us.”
Street Fee: Residents Sound Off at Town Hall
TUESDAY, JUNE 24, 2014 — Business owners expressed their concerns, complaints, and support for a street fee Tuesday morning at the Oregon Convention Center during the ninth town hall addressing the mechanism proposed to improve Portland’s streets and sidewalks.
The transportation user fee would raise around $53 million annually for street maintenance, safety and projects, such as paving gravel roads — less than the billion dollars in need, but enough to prevent street maintenance from becoming cost prohibitive in the future.
“We have not taken care of our largest asset: our streets,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “If we do nothing, your children and your grandchildren will get the bill. And it will be much, much higher than it is today. We cannot do nothing.”
Mayor Hales, Commissioner Steve Novick and Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat noted people’s concerns about the flawed trip-generator model and regressive nature of the fee, as well as some suggestions for alternate sources of revenue — a 40-cent higher gas tax, tax on studded tires, and a sales tax. Some business owners asked to broaden the scope of the fee to raise more revenue.
Most of the 30 speakers acknowledged a need to improve streets; one speaker read a news story about potholes in Southwest Portland, and several business owners said they were aware that better streets and sidewalks are good for business.
The town hall drew about 140 people. A 10th town hall to discuss the residential fee will be Wednesday, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Kaiser Permanente’s Town Hall, 3704 N. Interstate Ave.
Street Fee Town Hall Moves to Larger Venue
JUNE 20, 2014 – With higher-than-expected interest in the transportation funding proposal, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has decided to relocate Tuesday’s town hall to the Oregon Convention Center, Portland Ballroom 255.
The event is free and open to the public. The Tuesday meeting is intended to focus on how the transportation fee would work for businesses, non-profits and other non-residential land uses. Participants are encouraged to discuss ways improve the proposal or suggest alternative ways of raising money for transportation safety and maintenance. A Wednesday night meeting will focus on the fee for households.
“Portlanders are passionate about participating in local government,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “We welcome ideas about how they want to improve the transportation fee, or alternative proposals on par with the $53 million it would raise. There’s no question we need to invest in basic transportation maintenance and safety.”
The Tuesday event is the first of two town halls coming up:
Town Hall on Business and Non-Residential Fee: 8 to 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, June 24, at Oregon Convention Center, Portland Ballroom 255, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Directions and visitor info.
Town Hall on Residential Fee: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 25, at Kaiser Permanente’s Town Hall, 3704 N Interstate Ave.
The town hall meetings will provide an opportunity for the public to speak with transportation staff, ask questions and make comments to Mayor Hales, Commissioner Steve Novick and Transportation Director Leah Treat.
The City Council delayed the proposal June 4, after five months of Our Streets PDX town halls, online surveys, advisory committee meetings and a five-hour public hearing May 29. Two upcoming town halls will kick off the next phase of outreach through October, designed to gather input to address the needs of businesses, non-profits and low-income households.
For more information about the Our Streets PDX funding conversation and the proposed Transportation User Fee, see the project web page: www.ourstreetspdx.com.
See updated information on the proposed fee the council amended May 29:
Updated online calculator: PBOT has updated an online calculator that estimates the monthly fee for residential and non-residential ratepayers. PBOT has updated the web calculator from the proposed $11.56 fee to the 3-year phase-in starting at $6 a month for single-family properties.
Transportation User Fee rate details: Details on the way the fee is calculated, to help business owners find the right information.
Frequently Asked Questions: This series of questions and answers will help the public learn more about why the fee was proposed and what it would pay for.
Email us for more information at TUF_Administrator@portlandoregon.gov
Street Fee: Council Vote Delayed, but Not Fee Itself
TUESDAY, JULY 3, 2014 -- The proposal by Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick to launch a street fee in 2015 remains on schedule. However, the council vote on how to structure the fee will be pushed back until November.
"We have not taken care of our largest asset: our streets. We have to change that," Mayor Hales said. "We’ve been talking about this for 13 years, and we held several town halls this winter and spring to hear from people. Despite that, many constituents still haven’t been heard yet. We get that. Postponing the Council vote will give people time to weigh in on whether this is the best solution to this dire need, and to consider changes to make it work better."
"The last street fee proposal in 2008 was derailed by a lobbyist filing a referendum petition," said Commissioner Novick. "This one has been temporarily delayed due to concerns voiced by small business owners and low-income people and advocates. We are in a hurry to get to work, but if we’re going to be delayed, it’s for the right reasons."
The City Council on Wednesday will still vote on referring a charter change that would lock in the use of any street fee for transportation purposes. "Voters need to be assured that we will spend this money the way we say we will," Hales said. "A charter change will ensure that we stay true to that commitment, administration after administration."
However, the council vote on both the residential fee, and the non-residential fee, will be pushed back to November.
Further public forums will be scheduled to hear from residents and the business community.
And two work groups will be formed. Their charges:
● To analyze city policy regarding low-income residents and fees. The work group will look at the street fee as well as fees for other city utilities, including water and sewer, to see how well low-income residents are being served and how widely discounts can be applied.
● To further engage with small business, nonprofit and government partners on design and implementation of the fee.
"Think of this as a track race," Hales said. "We haven’t moved the finish line, which is July 2015. But we’re moving the starting blocks. We heard from the community: We are taking our time to hear a more robust debate on the details of this fee. But we have not wavered in our resolve. It is our intention to finally address our deteriorating streets."
Miller to Stay as CAO for City
FRIDAY, MAY 30, 2014 – Fred Miller, interim chief administrative officer for the City of Portland, has agreed to stay on in that position.
In December 2013, Mayor Charlie Hales invited Miller to temporarily take on the role of director of the Office of Management and Finance. In other cities, that role would be roughly akin to a city manager.
“The ‘problem,’ if you can call it that, is that Fred has done such a great job and has raised the bar so high,” Hales said. “That’s why I asked him to stay on. He’s a steady hand on the tiller. I’m thrilled that he agreed.”
Miller served in leadership positions under four Oregon governors, Democrats and Republicans, from 1976 to 1992. He is the former director of the Oregon Executive Department, now known as Department of Administrative Services, which is roughly equivalent to the city’s OMF.
Miller also ran the state departments of Transportation and Energy.
Miller left state government in 1992 and joined Portland General Electric. He retired as an executive vice president. He has a bachelor’s degree from Portland State University and both a master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from Michigan State University.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Tours Willamette River Site
FRIDAY, MAY 23, 2014 –Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, came to Portland on Friday to discuss global warming, the Super Fund cleanup site in the Willamette River, and the roles played by the city, state and federal agencies to protect the environment.
She spoke at Portland State University with Gov. John Kitzhaber, Congressman Earl Blumenauer, and Mayors Charlie Hales of Portland and Denny Doyle of Beaverton.
After meeting with media, Hales and Blumenauer showed McCarthy a section of the Willamette River that has faced decades of contamination.
“We are serious about cleaning up this river,” Hales said. “We need the EPA to step up and do its part.”
He also told McCarthy about Portland’s “Big Pipe” project to stop the flow of sewage into the river, and the “Big Float,” the annual celebration on the river, held in July, to celebrate the fact that the river now is approved for summer swimming.
“Cleaning up this river isn’t just a dream. We’re doing it,” Hales said. “And we have a lot more to do. We’re all in this together.”
McCarthy spoke about President Obama’s Climate Action Plan – Portland adopted such a plan in 2009 – and added, “Officials here understand the problem and "are unafraid to face it … It's the federal government that's been a little late to the table," McCarthy said.
McCarthy has been EPA administration since 2013 and was assistant administrator before that. She formerly served in an array of positions in the Massachusetts state government.
Students to Mayor: Yes We Can!
WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2014 – Mayor Charlie Hales has been invited to take part in Portland Public School’s ¡Sí Se Puede! (“Yes, we can!”) Latino Student Recognition Event, set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 20, at Blanchard Education Service Center, 501 N. Dixon St., Portland.
“This is such an honor. These students and their families inspire us all,” Hales said. “I get to do a lot of great things as Mayor, and this event is among the best.”
Eighteen students will be honored this year for their contribution to family, community and school; creative accomplishments; academic achievement; and commitment to growth after high school.
'¡Sí Se Puede!'
MIERCOLES, MAYO 16, 2014 -- El Alcalde, Charlie Hales, ha sido invitado a participar en el evento ¡Sí Se Puede! organizado por las escuelas públicas de Portland. Este es un evento para reconocer a 18 estudiantes Latinos que han salido adelante en la escuela; estos estudiantes han contribuido a la comunidad o su familia; o han se han comprometido de continuar con una educación superior.
“Es un gran honor. Estos estudiantes y sus familias nos inspiran". dijo el Alcalde Hales. “Como alcalde, he tenido la oportunidad de hacer muchas cosas memorables y este evento es uno de ellos”.
El evento está planeado para el Martes a las 5:30pm en Blanchard Education Service Center, 501 N. Dixon St., Portland.
Yom HaShoah - Volunteers Read Names of Children Who Died in Holocaust
MONDAY, APRIL 28, 2014 – The Oregon Area Jewish Committee and the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center sponsored Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Day, in Pioneer Courthouse Square from 10:00 am - 5:30 pm. Monday.
People from throughout the community read from a list of names provided by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Resource Center. More than 6,000 names were read during the course of the day. Readers included public officials, clergy and community leaders.
‘Doctor’ Jack Ramsay, Blazer Icon, Dies at 89
MONDAY, APRIL 28, 2014 – Jack Ramsay, a famed part of the Portland Trail Blazers, has died at age 89. Ramsey coached the Blazers to their only NBA championship in 1977 and went on to be one of the deans of professional sports announcing and analysis.
“Rip City, Blazermania, and respect for ‘Dr. Jack’ are baked into the DNA of longtime Portlanders,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “He’s part of the legacy of the city and always will be. We are grateful for his contributions.”
Throughout two decades on the sidelines, Ramsay finished with a .525 record, with 864. In 1996, the NBA named Ramsay one of its top 10 coaches of all time.
In 1977, he led an improbable upstart Blazer team past the Los Angeles Lakers and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then past the Philadelphia 76ers and Julius Erving to win the NBA Finals. For the past several decades, he served as a veteran radio and TV broadcaster, and traveling adviser for coaches and players, known throughout the league as “Dr. Jack.”
Jack Ramsay died Monday of complications from cancer. He had five children and 13 grandchildren. His wife, Jean, died in 2010.
Trader Joe's Won't Reverse Decision on MLKJ Boulevard Store
TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 2014 – Mayor Charlie Hales announced today that Trader Joe’s will not be returning to a project on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Northeast Portland.
An official from the grocery chain’s Los Angeles headquarter contacted the mayor on Friday with the news.
“I told them it was a shame because that section of Portland is vibrant and on the rise,” Hales said. “We’re confident that another, similar project will happen there, and I’m dedicated to making that happen.”
Hales said he will instruct the Portland Development Commission to restart the development project immediately. “We can start afresh,” he said, “but this time with better relationships, more input and a stronger result. We’re in a much better place as a result of the efforts to date.”
Developer Majestic Realty Co. had been selected to coordinate the Trader Joe’s project on the 2-acre parcel at Northeast Alberta Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Major Hales has announced that he will ask Majestic will stay on in that capacity.
“Majestic knows the site, they know the players, and they know the issues of concern. If we want to fast-track a development that meets the needs of the neighbors, the business community, and the city, then Majestic should take the lead.”
The mayor heard from hundreds of people in the community who supported the project, including both residents and business owners. However, Trader Joe’s officials said they pulled out due to some community concerns.
Looking to the future, Hales said another retailer, such as a grocery store, would be ideal for the site.
Some observers had recommended adding affordable housing to the site. The mayor sided with an analysis that said affordable housing isn’t appropriate at the specific site but is badly needed in the neighborhood. In March, the PDC recommended boosting funds for affordable housing in the King neighborhood by an additional $20 million.
In March, Hales called a meeting of almost 50 leaders, including leaders of the African American community and the business community. The consensus of that meeting was that the retail development on the site – boosted by affordable housing in the neighborhood – would be an ideal combination. After that meeting, Hales began a campaign to get Trader Joe’s to reverse its decision.
The NAACP of Portland also held a press conference after the mayor’s meeting to praise the project.
Colas Construction was on board to serve as primary contractor for the project. Company president Andrew Colas and Mayor Hales both worked with Trader Joe’s leadership to get the corporation to change its position.
“This isn’t the news we’d hoped for. But I wouldn’t advise anyone to bet against this neighborhood,” Hales said. “Every stakeholder in the community has come together with a focus on jobs, affordable housing and more development for the area. We will find the right projects for the neighborhood. And together, we will build this into the best Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in America.”
The Oregonian wins Pulitzer for editorial writing
The Oregonian newspaper received a Pulitzer Prize on Monday for editorial writing. The winning entry pertained to Oregon's Public Employee Retirement System, or PERS.
It is the eighth Pulizer won by the newspaper.
Also announced Monday, The Oregonian's Les Zaitz was a finalist for his reporting about Mexican drug cartels in Oregon.
Charles Jordan, Former City Commissioner, Portland Parks & Recreation Director, Dies at 77
FRIDAY, APRIL 4, 2014 -- Former City Commissioner and Portland Parks & Recreation Director Charles Jordan passed away in his home this morning after a long illness.
Charles Jordan was a pioneer for Portland Parks & Recreation, and implemented lasting and landmark programs for all Portlanders. Jordan’s legacy has and continues to enhance the lives of current and future generations. Just a few hallmarks of Jordan’s tenure include popular PP&R programs such as the free annual series of Movies in the Park, plus innumerable youth initiatives. Jordan gained public support for critical parks bond and levy measures. He oversaw 44 new Portland parks and natural areas during his tenure. Charles Jordan’s leadership, commitment to Portland, and innovative policies are anchors of Portland Parks & Recreation’s mission and philosophy now and going forward.
“Charles Jordan is established in history as one of the heroes of Portland,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “His many contributions to our community live on, and his memory will inspire others to reach beyond ordinary goals to achieve greatness. “Charles Jordan epitomized the best in community-building leadership in Portland.”
“Charles Jordan was one of my heroes,” says City Commissioner Nick Fish, a former Parks Commissioner. “One of the greatest moments in my public service was honoring Charles at the dedication of the Charles Jordan Community Center in the Portsmouth neighborhood. He was a national leader in the parks movement. Today is a sad day for the Portland Parks & Recreation family.”
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales has ordered all City flags to fly at half-mast from today through Saturday, April 12.
“As Portland’s first African-American City Commissioner and Portland Parks & Recreation Director, Charles was the champion for much of what we love about Portland's parks,” says Mayor Hales. “Charles Jordan was most of all about access to parks and recreation programs for everyone. He was passionate about that principle, and the rest of us caught the inspiration from him.”
“Charles Jordan inspired us all,” says PP&R Director Mike Abbaté. “His energy and positive attitude were contagious; he drew people to him and motivated people to help themselves, and their community. At Portland Parks & Recreation, Charles transformed us from a bureau to a family. We continue that tradition even today among all “Parkies”. His loss leaves a hole in our hearts, but Charles’ legacy lives on.”
Jordan’s memorial service will be private, for family only.
About Charles Jordan
Charles Jordan was a former Portland City Commissioner, and former Director of Portland Parks & Recreation whose leadership over more than three decades will be felt indefinitely. In June, 2012, the Portland City Council voted unanimously to rename Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R)’s University Park Community Center in honor of Charles Jordan.
“There never has, and there never will be, someone more deserving of this honor,” said Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish at the time. “He was the person who took Portland Parks & Recreation to the next level. Charles Jordan is a champion for the environment and conservation nationwide. His commitment to children, families, and to building community is extraordinary.”
The renamed Charles Jordan Community Center – a building made possible by his efforts – was dedicated on Sunday, July 22, 2012 with a free public celebration.
After spending his early life in rural Texas, Jordan served as an officer in the U.S. Army. He received his B.S. from Gonzaga University in Education, Sociology, and Philosophy. In 2001, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Law degree by the University of Vermont.
Jordan spent 10 years as Portland’s first African-American City Commissioner beginning in 1974. He served 14 years as Director of Portland Parks & Recreation and retired in 2003. Jordan literally changed Portland’s landscape by overseeing 44 new parks and natural areas during his tenure.
Jordan was the force behind Portland landmarks such as Pioneer Courthouse Square, the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, Delta Park, Southwest Community Center, renovations to Tom McCall Waterfront Park and Matt Dishman Community Center, and many more public projects and successes.
As City Commissioner, Charles Jordan was noted for his innovative and unconventional approaches to problem solving. He developed the Community Juvenile Officer Program that put Portland Police officers in local schools to engage youth through positive interaction and activities. As Fire Commissioner, he developed an outreach training program to recruit people of color to the Fire Bureau.
On the national stage, Charles Jordan broadened the agenda of the environmental movement and land conservation to make it more inclusive. He is known for his groundbreaking approach to putting people – particularly people of color – at the heart of the American Conservation Movement.
“His great saying was ‘Parks are more than just fun and games,’” says Michelle Harper, who worked with Jordan for years in several capacities. “He is a spiritual person with a strong connection to his church, and he saw us all as being connected. Portland’s parks were where we could come together to build community and family.”
Notable Charles Jordan quotes
“What people don’t understand, they won’t value; what they don’t value, they won’t protect; and what they don’t protect, they will lose.”
“Today you follow, but tomorrow you will be expected to lead.”
“If change is to be, it’s up to you and me.”
“Dreams are simply goals with wings.”
“Don’t let anyone steal your joy.”
“Take good care of yourself and you can care for others.”
“We’re more than just fun and games.”
“Develop a passion for something and do it well.”
“Model the way – you never know who is watching and wanting to be just like you.”
A chance to embrace Charles Jordan’s memory
PP&R is proud to offer a chance to learn more about Charles Jordan at the third annual New Columbia Community Health Fair on Saturday, April 5, from 12pm-3pm.
Free and open to all, Portlanders are invited to celebrate the legacy of the community center’s namesake, former City Commissioner and PP&R Director Charles Jordan. Jordan’s new book More than Just Fun and Games will be available for purchase. Proceeds from the sale of More than Just Fun and Games will go directly towards Charles Jordan Community Center.
The community fair will also feature free health screenings and information, children’s activities, food samples, and amazing raffle prizes including a bicycle.
WHAT: Charles Jordan Book Release and Community Health Fair
Please join us for a social event featuring the release of Charles Jordan’s book at the community center named in his honor, plus health awareness and activities for the whole family.
WHEN: Saturday, April 5, 12pm-3pm
WHERE: Charles Jordan Community Center, 9009 N. Foss Ave.
WHO: Free and open to all friends and neighbors
For more information, call 503-823-5300 or visit portlandparks.org.
Activist, Professor Sam Oakland Dies
MONDAY, MARCH 31, 2014 – Activist Sam Oakland died last week at the age of 80. The retired PSU professor of English was a staunch advocate of causes that resonate today throughout Portland and the rest of Oregon.
“Professor Oakland was heartfelt in his passionate advocacy for Portland, for Oregon, and for our shared history,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “He was a champion of our community, and such advocates are rare. He shall be missed.”
He was an advocate of bicycle transportation in Oregon and a founder of the Bicycle Lobby in 1967 to promote bicycle use and trails in the state. In 1971, Oakland led a group of bike riders from Portland to Salem to lobby for a 1-percent set-aside of highway funds, to benefit bicyclists and pedestrians. The Oregon Bicycle Bill passed that year and was signed into law by Gov. Tom McCall.
Terry Richard of The Oregonian wrote an article on Professor Oakland’s passing in Monday’s paper. According to the article, Oakland recently was accepted into the Peace Corps and was expecting to report for duty in Albany this September.
Oakland took on many other political challenges, including the closing of the historic post office in Pioneer Courthouse Square. He taught at PSU from 1967 to 1985.
Airbnb, Portland Unveil ‘Shared City’ Model
FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 2014 –Airbnb, the rapidly expanding online vacation rental service, has moved its North American hub to Portland. And this week, the company unveiled a plan that it calls “Shared City,” a collaboration designed to give back to the communities it serves – starting here in Portland.
The company proposes to start “Shared City” in River City, then roll it out to cities around the world.
“We talk a lot about ‘placemaking’ in Portland,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Sometimes people come here for jobs, and sometimes jobs come here for the people. Either way, there's more to working and living in Portland than a paycheck. There’s a sense of contributing, of belonging. That's ‘placemaking.’ And Airbnb gets that. Which is exactly why it’s the kind of company we want here in Portland.”
Under the “Shared City” model, Airbnb will make smoke and carbon monoxide detectors available to every host who requests one in Portland, for free.
The company also has begun working with the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management to establish training programs to help hosts respond to crises, such as disasters or public-safety emergencies.
And Airbnb is working with Visit Portland on joint campaigns to promote the city and its small businesses.
Over the coming months, the company will hire approximately 160 employees in Portland, “who will help guests have smooth trips and meaningful experiences all over the world,” Airbnb said in a statement. “We’ll have customer experience, management, training, IT, and facilities staff in Portland who will be moving into a permanent office in the Blagen Block building later this summer.”
The Blagen Block is on Ash Street between First and Second, in Old Town/China Town.
Mayor Hales broke the news of Airbnb’s move to Portland during his State of the City Speech, March 14 at the City Club of Portland. Hales praised the move, and also discussed the news that Portland – along with Gresham, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Lake Oswego and Tualatin – are under consideration for ultra-fast Google Fiber to the Home. That announcement is expected later this year.
“The Airbnb news is especially welcome in light of the Google Fiber challenge,” Hales said. “If that comes about then our tech-savvy city is really poised to make a leap forward. It’s pretty exciting.”
Mayor Delivers 2nd State of the City Address
MONDAY, MARCH 17, 2014 – Mayor Charlie Hales delivered his second State of the City address on Friday, March 14, before an estimated 450 people at the City Club of Portland.
Mayor Hales touched on three themes:
● Getting the Basics Right.
● Rebuilding Trust
● Using Partnerships to Open Opportunities.
His speech ranged widely, from challenges of 2013, to the opportunities of today, to his goals moving forward. Topics included the improving city budget, as well as jobs, transportation, parks, schools, housing and police.
He focused much of the speech on equity, including the Black Male Achievement initiative and working with African-American leaders for development on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Got Google Fiber? Here's Some Info That Might Help
TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 2014 -- In February, Mayor Charlie Hales announced that Portland and the region are in the running to get Google Fiber to the Home in 2015.
Callers began reaching out to City Hall immediately, saying that want access to the gigabyte-fast broadband service.
To demonstrate interest in Google Fiber for your community, go to: https://fiber.google.com/newcities/ to see if Google Fiber is available for your address, then sign up for updates. Google uses this information to determine the level of interest for a city/area.
• Click on the "Check Address" button at the top right of the window.
• Enter your street address and select “Go”. This will take you to a new page: https://fiber.google.com/other/.
• Enter your email address to get updates.
• Check the "Send updates about service availability for this area” box
• Click on the "Get Updates" button. It will say "Service isn't currently available here," but this demonstrates your interest.
Cities on the list for consideration include Portland along with Gresham, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Lake Oswego and Tigard.
In order to make the cut, the cities have to do some research. For a link to the cities' checklist, click on:
Metro-area cities are putting together this information between now and May 1
For further information on ultra-fast broadband:
- The Case for Fiber: the benefits gigabit networking offers the community
- Broadband Speeds - according to Ookla Netindex (www.netindex.com) Portland ranks 200th among cities
- Portland Broadband Strategic Plan
A Message from Commissioner Dan Saltzman
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 28, 2014 -- Thousands of Portland residents face hunger every day. Around this time of year, the bounty of holiday donations begins to dwindle and food pantries look to fortify their shelves. That is why we have partnered with the Oregon Food Bank to help do our part, holding a food drive here at City Hall and the Portland Building from now through Tuesday, March 11.
Look for donation barrels on the first and second floors of City Hall, as well as by the ground floor display case just beyond the elevator banks of the Portland Building.
Oregon Food Bank is looking for these nutritious foods:
● Foods high in nutrients, such as canned fruits and vegetables (preferably with reduced sodium and reduced sugar)
● Peanut Butter
● Whole-grain foods such as brown rice, whole grain cereal and whole-wheat pasta
● Soups, chilies and stews (preferably with reduced sodium and reduced fat)
● 100 percent fruit juice (canned, plastic or boxed)
● Unsaturated cooking oils
● Other nutritious, healthy-choice foods (preferably with reduced fat, sodium and sugar)
On behalf of the Food Bank, I would also like to convey their gratitude for all the city employees who signed up for our food repack event Friday, March 7. The response was huge and fantastic.
Thank you again for considering donating to the Oregon Food Bank.
-- Commissioner Dan Saltzman
City Seeks Compliance Officer, Community Liaison
MONDAY, JAN. 27, 2014 – The City of Portland is seeking a person to serve as a Compliance Officer and Community Liaison, to assess the City’s implementation of a Settlement Agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.
The application deadline is Monday, March 10, 2014.
The Compliance Officer/Community Liaison will gather data and input from the public, in order to create reports about the city’s compliance with the agreement. This new position will not be attached to any one city office, will not be a City of Portland employee, and will be wholly independent of the police bureau. The person hired will be responsive to the entire City Council, the public and the Justice Department.
City Workers, Bureaus Rally Through Stormy Weekend
TUESDAY, FEB. 11, 2014 – “The City That Works” shifted into emergency mode last weekend as a cascade of snow and freezing rain pummeled the region.
Portland City bureaus shifted into emergency mode from Thursday through part of Monday, with offices either closed or opening late, many non-essential employees working from home, and essential workers keeping the city functioning.
“You practice and practice for emergencies,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “But weeks like this, it’s great to see city staff rise to the occasion.”
City leaders “met” via conference call several times per day during the storm. Participants included Mayor Hales, Commissioners Nick Fish and Steve Novick, their staffs, and bureau directors and public information officers.
The city introduced the Wireless Emergency Alert system on Sunday, which sent closure warnings directly to people’s cell phones to warn them about a wave of freezing rain that arrived before meteorologists had predicted.
Carmen Merlo, director of the Office of Emergency Management, said the system works for newer cell phones, but not for older ones. However, it allows real-time alerts to go to thousands of people in the region.
Also this weekend:
● Water Bureau: Responded to nine water main breaks around the city, which involved pipes up to 20 inches in diameter. “We fielded 904 calls for service over the weekend, including 265 on Sunday, which was by far our greatest volume,” Water Bureau Director David Shaff said.
● Housing Bureau: An estimated 1,000 shelter beds are available on any given winter night in Portland, but over the weekend, an additional 350 shelter beds were made available each night. Beyond the city, partners include Red Cross, JOIN, Transition Projects, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, the Salvation Army, 211info.com and Union Gospel Mission.
● Portland Police: Officers spent much of the weekend helping get people to shelter. They also responded to 302 traffic crashes and 196 “hazard” calls; delivered food boxes for the Sunshine Division; and provided traffic control at water main breaks.
● Transportation Bureau: Crews cleared 518 miles of roadway … not once, but 20 times. Those are transit and emergency responder routes. Crews also dropped more than 1,000 cubit yards of gravel and 12,000 gallons of deicer.
“After the storm, PBOT crews will go back out and pick up that gravel, and send it to our Sunderland Yard facility to recycle and reuse,” PBOT Director Leah Treat said.
● Fire & Rescue: Emergency calls were up by an estimated 50 percent over normal, Chief Erin Janssens said. Crews also focused on getting people without homes into shelters for the night.
“The situations our crews saw were amazing,” Janssens said. “One woman wore flip-flops, others had wet clothes, and others thought they didn’t have options because they had pets with them.”
Crews from Fire & Rescue and Housing, working with Multnomah County Animal Control, found kennels that homeless people could use, so they could move into the warming shelters with their pets.
Many other bureaus ramped up their efforts for the storm, as well. For instance, at the Bureau of Emergency Communications, call-takers, dispatchers and supervisors worked around the clock throughout the storm. And at the Bureau of Environmental Services, crews kept wastewater treatment plants running and pumping stations functioning – tasks that are greatly complicated by snow storms.
“We have the best crews of any city anywhere,” Mayor Hales said. “You really see that when emergencies hit. This week’s efforts were amazing.”
Late Opening for Monday
Monday, Feb. 10: Due to the inclement weather, all City offices will delay opening to the public until 10 a.m.
Police Bureau: Non-essential employees are expected to work their normal schedule. Any employees who cannot safely report to work on time must notify their supervisor.
Parks Bureau: Employees should report to work in time for community centers to open at 10:00 a.m.
All other non‐essential City employees: Expected to report to work in time to open to the public at 10:00 a.m. Employees who report to work by the time the City opens will be paid for their full workday. Those who do not report by this time must use accrued leave to cover the time they miss.
Employees should check the website or call (503) 823-4000 after 7:00 a.m. in case there are any updates to the opening time.
Message from Mayor Charlie Hales
FRIDAY, FEB.7, 2014
City of Portland facilities will be closed this weekend.
Over the weekend, essential City employees are expected to report to work at their usual starting time. Non-essential employees in the Parks Bureau and Police Bureau, who normally are scheduled to work, should check with their manager or supervisor to determine if they need to report to work.
The city's message will be updated early Monday morning.
Essential telephone numbers for city services include:
911 -- Emergencies
211 -- Housing, shelters. Anyone seeking shelter should contact 211info, reached by dialing 2-1-1. Additionally, shelter information, as well as a list of needed donations and other ways to help, are available online at www.211info.org.
(503) 823-4874 -- Water Bureau, for broken pipes and other water emergencies
(503) 823-4000 -- General information
(503) 823-1700 -- PBOT street hazards
(503) 823-3333 -- Public safety non-emergency
Severe Weather Notice
MONDAY, FEB. 3, 2014 – The National Weather Service forecasts overnight lows with wind chill to be as low as 5 degrees in the Portland area for tonight and Tuesday, Feb. 4.
Anyone seeking shelter should contact 211info, which can be reached by dialing 2-1-1. The service is available to identify shelter and warming center resources all day, every day.
Additionally, shelter information is available online at www.211info.org.
City Hall Celebrates Chinese New Year
FRIDAY, JAN. 31, 2014 – City Hall celebrated New Year’s Day on Friday, with a delegation of Chinese and Chinese-American guests.
Friday marked the beginning of Lunar Year 4712, the Year of the Horse.
On hand for the event were students from students from Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, China. A sketch performance group from Shenzhen, “China Grace Youth, Man and Nature,” performed.
Other guests included Cathy Chinn, president of Portland’s Suzhou Sister City organization; Yi Xianrong, deputy consul from China; former City Council member Jim Francesconi, and State Rep. Jeff Barker of Aloha.
Congressman Blumenauer: A New Look at Marijuana Policy
U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer will be the guest today at The City Club of Portland's Friday Forum. Veteran Portland-area journalist Laural Porter will moderate.
Congressman Blumenauer will lay out his vision of why and how the federal government needs to change federal drug laws and allow states, as the laboratories of democracy, to continue the evolution and refinement of marijuana policies.
U.S. Labor Secretary Touts Paid Sick Leave Ordinance
FRIDAY, JAN. 24, 2014 – Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, while at a White House meeting Thursday with President Obama, Vice President Biden and Cabinet members, said Labor Secretary Tony Perez highlighted Portland's paid sick leave ordinance as an example of local leadership.
“The secretary spotlighted Portland and this ordinance, championed by Commissioner Amanda Fritz,” Hales said. “The secretary said that, at a time when little is coming from Congress to support working families and to address worsening income inequality, local efforts like Portland's are where progress is being made.”
The Portland City Council passed the ordinance in 2013. It ensures that everyone working in Portland can earn sick time to use when they or a family member are sick, injured or need preventative health care.
Hales is in Washington, D.C. for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Mayor Hales To Appear Today on Al Jazeera America
FRIDAY, JAN. 24, 2014 – Portland Mayor Charlie Hales will be a guest on today’s edition of “Inside Story” with Ray Suarez, a news talk show airing on Al Jazeera America.
Hales is in Washington, D.C., for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. On Thursday, he attended a conference in the White House with President Obama, Vice President Biden and members of the President’s Cabinet.
“Inside Story” is a half-hour news program featuring veteran TV and radio journalist Ray Suarez, best known for his work on the PBS program “NewsHour” and the NPR program “Talk of the Nation.”
“Inside Story” airs at 2 p.m. Pacific Time. Al Jazeera America can be found on Comcast Channel 107; DIRECTV Channel 347 and DISH Network Channel 215.
Guests on the show will be Hales, Mayor Jean Quan of Oakland, and Mayor Bill Peduto of Pittsburgh.
Community Gathers to Honor Rev. Dr. King
TUESDAY, JAN. 21, 2014 -- Link to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “Letter From Birmingham City Jail.”
Did you partake in a Day of Service on Monday? Send us your photos, care of firstname.lastname@example.org.
MONDAY, JAN. 20, 2014 – City, county and state leaders gathered Monday at the Oregon Convention Center for the 28th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast. They were joined by leaders of the for-profit, non-profit, education and faith communties.
The Skanner Newspaper, and Editor Bernie Foster, have hosted the event for more than two dozen years. This year’s participants from the city included Mayor Charlie Hales, Commissioners Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish, and Patrick Quinton, executive director of the Portland Development Commission. They were joined by several city employees, as well as First Lady Nancy Hales.
Mayor Hales read a proclamation in honor of the day.
Keynote speaker for the breakfast was Dr. Bruce Goldberg, director of The Oregon Health Authority and temporary executive director of CoverOregon.
Delivering the Invocation at the event ws Pastor Emmett Wheatfall of Remember the Hope Christian Fellowship.
Canned goods and boxed meals were collected for the St. Andrew’s Catholic Church food pantry.
‘Arts Tax’ Funds Distributed
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 15, 2014 -- The first allocation of so-called Arts Tax funds has been distributed to the cities six public school districts and the Regional Arts and Culture Council.
The tax, known as the Arts Education and Access Fund, was approved by voters in November 2012. It took effect at the start of 2013 and faced several legal hurdles, before city leaders felt they were ready to distribute the funds.
The primary purpose of the tax was to help pay for arts instructors in Portland’s public schools. Six school districts are fully or partially within the city limits.
The first of two disbursements included:
• Portland Public Schools: $2,247,805.16
• Reynolds School District: $179,522.26
• Riverdale School District: $20,113.89
• David Douglas School District: $482,180.79
• Parkrose School District: $147,794.11
• Centennial School District: $270,365.26
• RACC - $200,000
The next disbursement likely will take place in March and the funds for the school districts should be the same or similar.
As the Arts Education and Access Fund was crafted, the districts receive money first, and then RACC. Consequently, RACC’s disbursement is linked to the percentage of taxpayers who don’t file.
The city’s revenue office said the “non-payment” figure for the first year is at about 14 percent, which is average for a new tax and had been predicted.
Portland, Trade Unions Reach Tentative Agreement
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 15, 2014 – The City of Portland and the District Council of Trade Unions have come to a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract. The agreement still requires a vote of the membership and a vote of the City Council.
The council, or DCTU, is a coalition of seven unions that operate jointly in bargaining with the city. Affiliate unions are AFSCME Local 189, Laborers' Local 483, IBEW Local 48, Machinists Lodge 24, Operating Engineers 701, Plumbers and Pipefitters 290, and Painters and Allied Trades Council 5.
“These are a lot of our front-line workers: the people you see when the city is out doing some of our most vital work,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “I’m thrilled that the council and the city have come to agreement. This is good news for the workers in the affiliate unions, but also good news for everyPortlandresident.”
"The DCTU Bargaining Team did an excellent job representing the interests of a very diverse workforce, it's now time for the members to vote," said Rob Wheaton, DCTU Chief Spokesperson.
The final bargaining points focused on outside contracting, along with sick leave, overtime calculations, promotions, grievances and more.
Impasse was declared earlier this month. However, talks continued beyond that declaration, and led to this week’s tentative agreement.
"It was a difficult bargaining process. We appreciate the Mayor stepping up to demonstrate leadership and see the process through to resolution,” said Cherry Harris, DCTU President.
“It involved both sides being at the table, listening to each other and working together,” Hales said. “I want to thank the city’s team for working so hard. We wanted to find creative solutions that value our workers. And we did.”
The DCTU contract is the City of Portland’s largest labor agreement, bringing together more than 1,600 workers. From delivering clean water and maintaining city sewers, to taking care of parks and responding to weather emergencies, DCTU members are involved in virtually every aspect of city government and work around the clock to keep Portland working.
Community Outreach Manager Joins Mayor's Staff
MONDAY, JAN. 13, 2014 – Mayor Charlie Hales has announced an addition to his staff.
Diana D. Nuñez will join the team as Community Outreach Manager, beginning in February.
Nuñez has worked for Multnomah County Library since 2003, serving in customer service, as a library clerk and as an assistant librarian. She became a bilingual librarian for the system in 2010.
In her role, Nuñez manages, develops and coordinates the premiere early literacy program in Multnomah County, which reaches more than 14,000 “at risk” children in the community.
She also has developed a new, innovative early literacy project for the county, managing the transition of budget, training manuals and curriculum. She also helped develop culturally appropriate library programs for youths and adults to promote literacy and their informational needs.
She is a member of the Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights Advisory Committee, and the Multnomah County Immigrant and Refugee Employee Resource Group. She has co-chaired Multnomah County Library’s Diversity Steering Committee from 2011 to the present.
“Diana has the skills and experience necessary to help make sure I am connected with all the richly diverse communities within the city,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Equally important, she will help these communities stay connected with me and my office. After my first year getting key internal city functions on track, I’m eager to spend more time outside City Hall. Diana will help make sure our outreach connects with all Portlanders.”
Mayor Hales’ staff remains relatively small with 14 people: 12 with offices at City Hall and two at the Youth Violence Prevention Office. Nuñez brings the staff to 15. The previous mayor had a staff of approximately 26.
Flu Hitting Oregon; Flu Shots Recommended
TUESDAY, JAN. 7, 2014 – It’s flu season and the Public Health Division of the state of Oregon is urging Portlanders to get a flu shot.
“As of Dec. 28, there have seen 179 hospitalizations in the Portland metro area and, so far, the state has seen one fatality; a youth in Eugene,” Portland Mayor Charlie Hales said. “It looks like the flu is hitting younger populations this year. And getting a flu shot remains the best precaution.”
The strain to hit Oregon is H1N1, which reached international pandemic proportions in 2009-10, and which is still circulating. It now is a human seasonal flu.
“It’s the same strain that circulated big-time during that pandemic year, but has been at very low levels since – until this season,” said Dr. Paul Cieslak, manager of Acute & Communicable Disease Prevention and medical director of the Oregon Immunization Program.
“Getting your flu vaccine can spare you getting sick, plus missing work and school,” Hales said. “A case of the flu can put even a previously health person out of action for as many as five days. So getting the vaccine a good option for you, but also for everyone you work with.”
Beyond getting a flu shot, the state also recommends:
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your arm when you cough or sneeze.
• Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers also are effective.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• Stay home if you become sick.
Mayor To Appoint Tom Kelly to PDC
THURSDAY, JAN. 2, 2014 -- Portland Mayor Charlie Hales today nominated Tom Kelly, president of the Neil Kelly Co., to serve on the Portland Development Commission.
The appointment requires approval of the Portland City Council.
Kelly would serve a four-year term. If approved, he replaces Steven Strauss on the five-member commission. Strauss, whose term was set to end this summer, is leaving the position early to focus on his work as president of Glumac.
Founded in 1958, the PDC serves as the city’s economic development and urban renewal agency.
“Tom is a great example of a Portlander who lives his values, including in his business,” Hales said. “He has credibility and is knowledgeable, both statewide and right there in his company’s neighborhood base in North and Northeast Portland.”
The Neil Kelly Co. is a design-build-remodeling firm founded by and named after Tom’s father. It is the largest remodeling firm in the Pacific Northwest, with 180 employees.
If approved by the City Council, Tom Kelly would be a second-generation commissioner. His father, Neil Kelly, who died in 1995, served on the PDC from 1985 to 1990.
Tom Kelly won the 2012 Hope and Liberty Award from the Oregon League of Minority Voters; the 2011 Fred Case Entrepreneur of the Year Award; and the 2010 Dean’s Award for Family Business Leadership from Oregon State University. He has chaired the board of Loaves & Fishes; is a past chairman of Volunteers of America of Portland; co-chaired Oregon Solutions effort to build a new school in Vernonia after flooding in 2007; was founding chairman of Oregon Business Association; and served on the Habitat for Humanity capital campaign committee.
Street Roots Resource Guide Released
TUESDAY, DEC. 31, 2013 – The Rose City Resource, a publication of Street Roots, has been released.
“This is an invaluable asset,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “A lot of organizations do a lot of good in the metro area. This resource guide is a comprehensive listing of who does what, and how to reach them.”
The guide includes updated lists of services for people experiencing homelessness and poverty in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties. It is available at the Street Roots website, as well as in government offices throughout the region, including the mayor’s office at City Hall.
Portland Lawmaker Tina Kotek Nets National Honors
THURSDAY, DEC. 26, 2013 – Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, is getting national recognition from Governing Magazine as a state legislator to watch in 2014.
According to The Oregonian’s Christian Gaston, Rep. Kotek is one of a dozen state lawmakers highlighted by the magazine, which covers trends in policy and public affairs debates.
"You can't overestimate the importance of the Speaker in Oregon's Legilsature," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "Having someone as smart and progressive as Tina Kotek in that role is good for all of Oregon, of course, but we're proud that one of Portland's own carries the gavel."
Kotek's diistrict includes a portion of North and Northeast Portland including St. John’s.
Interim Chief Administrative Officer Hired for City
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 18, 2013 -- Mayor Charlie Hales announced today that Fred Miller will join the city as interim chief administrative officer and director of the Office of Management and Finance.
Portland does not have a city manager. The director of the Office of Management and Finance, or OMF, fills some of those traditional roles.
Miller, 71, will replace Jack Graham, the former chief administrative officer for the city. Miller will serve until a permanent replacement is selected.
The mayor has begun the process for an outside analysis of the financial and management sides of OMF. That analysis should be completed early in 2014. Following that process, a nationwide search for a permanent chief administrative officer will commence.
Miller said he will not be a candidate for a permanent position at OMF.
He served in leadership positions under four Oregon governors, Democrats and Republicans, from 1976 to 1992.
“Fred brings decades of expertise to the city,” Hales said. “He knows how to get the most out of a large organization like the city. He knows how government works, especially here in Oregon. He brings knowledge of the public and private sector, and he’s a longtime Portlander. He’s exactly who we need right now.”
Miller served as director of the Oregon Executive Department – now known as Department of Administrative Services, or DAS. He also ran the state departments of Transportation and Energy.
Director of the Oregon Executive Department, “is roughly equivalent to OMF director for Portland,” Hales said. “It’s the department that lets all the other departments function at their best.”
Miller left state government in 1992 and joined Portland General Electric and retired as an executive vice president. His areas of service included distribution, consumer service, delivery system planning, engineering, public affairs and corporate communications.
He has a bachelor’s degree from Portland State University and both a master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from Michigan State University.
Jack Graham stepped down in November and will stay with the city in an advisory capacity through the end of January, when OMF’s annual budget proposal is due to be completed.
The OMF position is Hales’ fourth opportunity to hire a director at the city, and he has ordered national searches for all four. Other open positions in 2013 included Director of Transportation, City Attorney and Director of Fire & Police Disability & Retirement Fund.
George Azumano, founder of Azumano Travel, dies at 95
Portland business leader Ichiro “George” Azumano died Monday at age 95.
During World War II, he was confined in an internment camp in Idaho. He then dedicated much of his life to improving relations between the United States and Japan. And connecting Oregonians to the world.
In 1982, the Japanese government awarded him the Emperor’s Medal of the Fourth Order of the Rising Sun, according to Richard Read’s obituary in The Oregonian.
During his years as a business ambassador, Azumano held audiences with both Emperor Hirohito and Emperor Akihito.
The world has been transfixed this past week with the death of Nelson Mandela, who dedicated his life and leadership to reconciliation over retribution, and healing over hatred. On a smaller scale, George Azumano leaves much the same legacy right here in Portland.
Reports: Nelson Mandela Has Died
Nelson Mandela has died at 95, according to the Washington Post.
Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid activist who went on to serve as president of that country from 1994-99.
“The passing of such a historic figure makes us pause and think about our role in the world,” Portland Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Nelson Mandela overcame prison, and prejudice, and unimaginable inequality. He didn’t turn to hate, to turned to leadership. The entire world benefited from his greatness.”
Dembrow Appointed to Oregon Senate
MONDAY, NOV. 18, 2013 – State Rep. Michael Dembrow has been appointed by the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners to fill the vacant seat in Senate District 23, representing portions of Northeast andSoutheast Portland.
He replaces Jackie Dingfelder, who stepped down Nov. 3 to be a policy director for Mayor Charlie Hales.
Dembrow, 62, was first elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 2008.
A swearing in ceremony has been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, in the Senate Chambers at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.
“Michael Dembrow will be an extraordinary state senator,” Senate President Peter Courtney said. “He’s very versatile. He’s talented. He’s learned. Much will be expected from him and I know he will deliver. We’re ready to get him sworn in and put him to work.”
In the House, Dembrow was the chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee and was a member of both the Rules Committee and Energy and Environment Committee. For the remainder of the interim, Courtney said, Dembrow will serve as chair of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee; and as a member of the Judiciary Committee and the Ways and Means Sub-Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.
He also is a member of the Oregon Workforce Investment Board.
Dembrow has taught English and film studies at Portland Community College since 1981. He earned his undergraduate degree in English from the University of Connecticut and his master’s degree in comparative literature from Indiana University.
He and his wife, Kiki, have lived in Portland for more than 25 years. They have a son, Nikolai, and a daughter, Tatyana, and two grandchildren. Dembrow is an avid runner and has completed the Portland Marathon multiple times.
Korean War Vets Honored
FRIDAY, NOV. 15, 2013 – Six veterans of the Korean War took part in a tour of Ulsan, South Korea, on Sept. 30 to Oct. 5, as part of the Portland/Ulsan Sister City Program.
The veterans spoke to the Portland City Council on Nov. 14 about their experiences.
Who Represents You in Salem and Washington, D.C.?
Want to locate your legislators and congressional representative?
Go to the Portland Office of Government Affairs.
Click on “Learn More About The Legislative Process”
Click on “Find Your Legislators”
Type in your address.
The interactive maps will show who represents you in the Legislature and Congress, and show the boundaries of your district.
Gay rights bill passes Senate under leadership of Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley
THURSDAY, NOV. 7, 2013 -- A bill that would ban workplace discrimination against gays trans-gendered individuals passed the Senate Thursday under the leadership of Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley.
Sen. Ron Wyden also is a vocal supporter of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, known as ENDA.
"I couldn't be more proud of our Senate delegation," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "Passing ENDA shows tremendous leadership. This is a very good day."
The act passed on a 64-32 vote in the Senate.
It faces a difficult fate in the House where Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, charged that the bill could invite a new wave of litigation against employers and said he didn't intend to take it up.
Oregonis one of 21 states that have similar statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation against gays in employment and in public accommodations. And it is one of 17 states that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity
Mayor Hales Leads Delegation to Urban Land Institute
THURSDAY, NOV. 7, 2013 – Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and three other city leaders have been named a 2013 fellow of the Urban Land Institute’s Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership.
Hales will begin the year-long fellowship by traveling to the institute’s headquarters in Chicago, Nov. 7-8, with three city leaders: Susan Anderson, director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability; Patrick Quinton, executive director of the Portland Development Commission, and Leah Treat, director of the Bureau of Transportation.
The mayor returns to Portland on Friday.
Hales selected these three to take part in the year-long project.
“This area is complex, but presents a great opportunity,” Hales said. “Participating in the Daniel Rose Fellowship ensures the integration of these three bureaus to make sure we get it right. It allows the directors time to really dive into this at the leadership level, not just the staff level. And it nets us the resources of the nationally recognized institute.”
Rounding out the 2013 fellowship are Mayor Kirk Caldwell of Honolulu, Mayor Gregory Ballard ofI ndianapolis and Mayor A. C. Wharton Jr. of Memphis, along with senior staff from each city.
The purpose of the fellowship program is to provide city leaders with the insights, peer-to-peer learning and analysis needed to successfully build and sustain their cities. The fellowship’s program of work includes a study tour of another U.S.or foreign city, a working retreat, and study visits to each of the four fellowship cities.
The fellows will travel to Portland in February.
"This Rose Fellowship is timely as we begin developing a new 25-year plan for the Central Eastside,” said Susan Anderson of Planning and Sustainability. “Working with our peers from across North America, we are sure to learn new ways to meet the needs of existing industry, while providing flexibility to address the future needs of companies that will develop products that perhaps we can't even imagine today."
"The ULI Fellowship presents a great opportunity for me to learn from seasoned practitioners with incredible credentials," Treat said. "Portland has had great success building communities near public transit stations, but we still have challenges. Cities are now experiencing a resurgence and Portland is among them. We have built an amazing, multimodal network on the inner east side that is now intersecting with a longstanding industrial district. The neighborhood is becoming a destination and is developing its own social fabric. The tensions this creates among users of the right-of-way, economic development and long-range land use are good problems to have. But they are complex and the experience of this fellowship and further engagement of the business community will help us find solutions."
The 2013-14 Daniel Rose fellows serve as the fifth class of the program, with each class serving a one-year term. During the five years of the fellowship program, teams have been successful in leading change in their communities after receiving technical assistance and strategic advice from ULI. Past classes of Rose Fellows have tackled challenges including revitalization of Detroit’s Livernois Avenue; upgrading and re-branding Louisville’s Fourth Street corridor; the redevelopment of Tampa’s downtown riverfront;Kansas City’s historic livestock district; and the transformation of Sacramento’s nearly empty downtown rail yard.
More information on the fellowship and the Urban Land Institute is available at www.uli.org.
Mayor Hales Mourns Passing of Nohad and Dirce Toulan
TUESDAY, OCT. 29, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales expressed his sadness today at the passing of Nohad Toulan, 81, and his wife Dirce Angelina Moroni Toulan, 78. They died Monday in a traffic accident in Uruguay.
Mayor Hales and his wife, Nancy Hales, are on a mission to China.
“Both Nancy and I were very close to Nohad and Dirce,” Mayor Hales said. “He and I spoke just before his departure for Uruguay. And typical of Nohad, he was excited about the trip and eager to meet again and talk about planning and public administration ideas after they got back.”
Dr. Toulan was Dean Emeritus of the College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University, and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Urban Studies and Planning.
“He was a mentor to both Nancy and me; the wise and warm-hearted sage who really cared about you,” Mayor Hales said. “Everyone in Portland who wanted to learn something about the way cities work, or should, sat at the feet of Dr. Toulan ... and listened.”
Wim Wiewel, Portland State University President, said funeral arrangements are pending and a memorial service will be announced.
The Toulans are survived by their adult children, Mariam and Omar.
Mayor Hales Hires Policy Director For Police
MONDAY, OCT. 28, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales today announced the addition of Deanna Wesson-Mitchell to his staff. She will serve as policy director for Portland Police.
Wesson-Mitchell is a nine-year veteran of the Portland Police Bureau. She is a sworn officer.
“She is of, and from, the community. She is of, and from, the bureau,” Mayor Hales said. “She is focused on the goal of making this the best urban police departments in the country. She’s exactly who we need right now.”
Wesson-Mitchell was born and raised in Portland and graduated from Jefferson High School. She has a bachelor’s degree in history from The George Washington University in Washington,D.C.
Since joining the Portland Police Bureau in 2004, Wesson-Mitchell has served as a patrol officer (2004-08), an investigative officer (2008-11) and recruitment coordinator for the Personnel Division. She also has been a Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) instructor, and has been involved with the Making Positive Choices Youth Forum; Racial Profiling Committee; Citywide Diversity Committee; Police Equity: Leadership Council; and Community and Police Relations Committee.
She lives in Lents with her husband, JaMarr Mitchell, and their sons.
Her first day in the mayor’s office will be Nov. 18.
“I am very excited to continue the equity work began in the police bureau two and a half years ago,” Wesson-Mitchell said. “We have made forward progress and, with support of the Mayor’s office, will continue to build capacity and specific skills, which promote equity in both service toPortland’s diverse communities and internal operations.”
Portland Police Chief Mike Reese praised the hire. “We are very pleased that the mayor’s office has selected Deanna for this important role,” Reese said. “I have a great deal of respect and appreciation for the work Deanna has done at the Police Bureau. In addition to being an excellent police officer, in her recent role in the Personnel Division, she has assisted the bureau in recruiting and hiring diverse officer candidates. She has also been a member of the Community and Police Relations Committee and taken an active role in helping the bureau with issues regarding equity.”
That was echoed by Officer Daryl Turner, president of the Portland Police Association. “I think she’d be a wonderful addition to the mayor’s staff. I look forward to working with her,” Turner said.
Under Portland’s commissioner style of government, the five elected members of the Portland City Council also serve as bureau commissioners. Hales’ bureaus include Portland Police, as well as several others.
Hales, who took office in January, initially hired Baruti Artharee to serve as policy director for police. Artharee retired this fall.
Wesson-Mitchell is the second recent hire for the mayor. Earlier in October, he announced that State Sen. Jackie Dingfelder will leave the Legislature and will join the staff as a senior policy director.
Wesson-Mitchell and Dingfelder join Josh Alpert and Ed McNamara as the primary policy directors for the mayor. All four work under the direction of Chief of Staff Gail Shibley.
Portland Hosts Career Expo for Job Seekers with Disabilities
THURSDAY, OCT. 24, 2013 – The City of Portland is partnering with Incight and Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services to host a career expo for jobs seekers with disabilities. The event, called Meet Business, will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, on the second floor of the Portland Building, 1120 S.W. Fifth Ave. Twenty bureaus from the City of Portland will be exhibiting.
In addition to networking opportunities, job seekers will receive a 10-minute overview of each participating bureau and will have the option to attend workshops on how to apply for a city job.
The complete schedule is available with registration at MeettheCity.eventbrite.com
The City of Portland recognizes the value of hiring employees with disabilities. This event is intended to facilitate conversation and to break down barriers that may prevent people with disabilities from applying or advancing through the city’s recruitment process.
“This is a great opportunity for both city staff and job seekers with disabilities to gain more exposure and awareness about what each other brings to the workplace,” said City of Portland Human Resource Director Anna Kanwit. “We would love for people with disabilities to see the City of Portland as an employer of choice and a great place to work.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, the value to employers for hiring people with disabilities is increased retention, exposure to a $260 million market share, and bringing unique perspectives that can enhance service delivery.
Nearly 70 percent of the able-bodied population takes part in the labor force, but only 21 percent of the disability community participates, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau records that the number of people with disabilities is the largest and fastest growing minority group in the nation, with 54 million Americans currently claiming at least one disability.
American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters will be available for attendees with hearing impairments. Interested participants who would like to attend, but need any other accommodations may contact Incight at email@example.com or call (971) 277-0305.
Call to City and County Employees/Artists!
If you are an employee of the City of Portland or Multnomah County, and are also an artist, you are invited to submit your work for the 17th annual All the Art the Fits exhibition in the Portland Building.
Only original artwork created by current employees of the City and County is eligible. All artwork must be ready to hang and overall dimension may not exceed 36” high by 36” wide. Sadly, free-standing artwork cannot be exhibited due to space restrictions.
To participate, go to http://racc.org/public-art/racc-opportunity-17th-annual-all-art-fits-exhibition-portland-multnomah-employees-only and get all the details. Then, bring your art to the Portland Building lobby on Wednesday, November 20 between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m.
The show opens on Thursday, November 21st and runs until January 3rd. I can’t wait to see if we have a hidden Picasso among us!
Downtown Portland Skateboard Assault Suspect Arrested
October 18, 2013. 18-year-old Daniel Delbert Dorson, wanted for assault in connection with a July attack on a 70-year-old man, was arrested yesterday in Humboldt County, California.
This investigation began on Monday July 15, 2013, at 2:30 p.m., when Central Precinct officers responded to the report of an assault outside the Portland Outdoor Store. Officers and medical personnel arrived and located the victim, 70-year-old Larry Allen, suffering from a head injury. He was transported to a Portland hospital for treatment to the non-life-threatening injury.
Witnesses told police that a large group of transient "street kids" were involved in the assault of the man, an employee of the Portland Outdoor Store. Witnesses told police the victim was hosing off the sidewalk when he was attacked.
Assault detectives followed leads in this case which have identified Daniel Dorson as the suspect with the skateboard.
Dorson was booked into the Humboldt County Jail inEureka,California where he will await extradition toOregon.
Follow this Link to See a Great Story about our Sister City Friendships!
City Seeks Input for Pilot Project to
Enable Community Uses on Unpaved Streets
Portland has about 60 miles of unpaved, dirt and gravel streets within the city limits. While the City does not maintain these unimproved streets, some residents have taken the initiative to create garden plots, rest areas and other community uses in these public spaces.
Mayor Charlie Hales has directed the Portland Bureau of Transportation to gather community input on how the City can enable such community uses on streets. Starting Oct. 19, students from a Portland State University civic leadership class will be going door-to-door on behalf of the City in the Cully and Outer SE Division neighborhoods to gather ideas and gauge public interest in two areas that have concentrations of unimproved streets.
The concept came from Mayor Hales, who thought the City should try to empower communities to help determine what their neighborhoods look like by creating something useful and attractive. Many homeowners on unimproved streets have said that expensive paving projects are not what they prefer, but lower cost alternatives such as placing benches or gardens in the public right of way would still require a City permit.
“Too often, the City comes at a problem with a one-size-fits-all approach,” Hales said. “But when we have dozens of miles of public space taken up by streets that predate the City’s development rules, that the City can’t maintain, we should allow neighborhoods the flexibility to create appropriate uses for these public spaces.”
The PSU students will ask residents if they would prefer to use some or all of an existing unimproved street as a pocket park, community garden site, or other option. Residents may see a need to provide a mix of vehicle access with community amenities along a single street.
“This is very much an idea still in the exploratory stage,” Hales said. “We may find no interest, or we may find a lot of excitement to transform gravel roads into something both functional and appealing to the neighborhood. We are happy partnering with PSU to get some input from residents and see if it’s a viable idea to alter, rather than just pave.”
City Commissioner Steve Novick praised the effort.
“As Commissioner in Charge of Transportation, I appreciate the Mayor’s approach to identify creative uses of unimproved streets,” Novick said. “I look forward to the outcomes of the pilot project to address this long running community concern.”
The public is also invited to share their ideas at two upcoming community meetings. This will be an opportunity to share issues and concerns City staff should take into consideration as they develop the project:
- Monday, Nov. 4, 6:30 to 8 p.m., EastPortlandCommunity Center, Poolside Room #1, 740 SE 106th Ave.
- Wednesday, Nov. 13, 6:30 to 8 p.m.,HollywoodLibrary, Community Meeting Room,4040 NE Tillamook St.
If there is interest in this new approach to dealing with gravel streets, the next step will be setting criteria for evaluating candidate pilot street projects and further engagement this winter with neighborhood and community groups. The city’s goal is to select four unimproved streets from sites proposed by community groups and homeowners throughout the city for an initial pilot project in 2014.
No final decisions on street alterations are expected before summer 2014.
NW Cornell Road to Close on Friday Night
October 17, 2013. The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation advises the traveling public thatNW Cornell Roadwill be closed overnight Friday, October 18 beginning at 8 p.m. The road is scheduled to reopen Saturday, October 19 at 6 a.m.
The closure allows work crews to clean roadway debris in and around theCornell Roadtunnel.
The closure applies to all travelers, including people traveling by bicycle and foot. Local access will be provided and flaggers will be present to reroute traffic.
Detour signs and flaggers will be stationed on the east end of the closure at NW 25th Avenue andNW Lovejoy Street to detour traffic toNW Burnside Street. On the west end, detour signs and flaggers will be present atNW Skyline Boulevard andNW Cornell Road.
We ask the public to travel cautiously, observe all lane closures and directions by flaggers, and use alternate routes if possible. This work is weather-dependent, and the schedule may change.
State Senator to Join Mayor’s Staff
Gail Shibley, Chief of Staff for Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, announced today that State Senator Jackie Dingfelder will be stepping down from her elected role to join the Mayor’s staff as a senior Policy Director.
Senator Dingfelder has represented Portlanders in the Oregon Legislature since 2001. In 2008, she was elected to the Oregon State Senate for District 23, which includes portions of NE and SE Portland andMaywood Park. While in the Senate, Dingfelder chaired the Senate Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources. She also served on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Ways and Means Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources. In 2011, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters named her the Environmental Champion of the Year. She was also one of only eight state legislators to receive a perfect score of 100% on the OLCV’s issues scorecard.
Senator Dingfelder holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geography-Ecosystems Management from theUniversityofCalifornia,Los Angeles; a Master’s Degree in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina; and is currently a PhD candidate atPortlandStateUniversity,HatfieldSchoolof Government.
“I am delighted that Senator Dingfelder is joining my team,” said Mayor Charlie Hales. “She brings a diverse portfolio of academic and professional expertise to us on sustainability, planning, social justice, and environmental issues. Her political and policy background will be a huge asset for us and for the city. Soon all of Portlandwill know what District 23 already knows about her effectiveness!”
Senator Dingfelder is stepping down from the Senate to accept her new role.
“I have been privileged to serve Northeast andSoutheast Portlandfor many years. However, now I look forward to bringing my skills to all the people of Portland,” she said.
“This is a staggering loss forOregon’s environment,” said Senate President Peter Courtney. “Jackie Dingfelder has been the Legislature’s go-to person on the environment for more than a decade. It’s a tremendous boost for the quality of life in the City of Portland. I’ve never seen a legislator who was more prepared. I know she will serve Portland well. I will really miss her.”
Senator Dingfelder’s first day in City Hall will be November 4, 2013.
Officer Involved in 2011 Shooting Terminated from Portland Police Bureau
October 15, 2013. The Portland Police Bureau notified Officer Dane Reister that his employment has been terminated for violations of Directive 315.30 (Unsatisfactory Performance) and Directive 1050.00 (Less Lethal Weapons and Munitions)
The Violations stem from the June 30th, 2011 incident in which lethal rounds were fired, rather than less lethal shotgun rounds by officer Reister. The actions resulted in William Monroe's being critically injured.
“This has been a long and thorough investigation, which had complexities due to the pending criminal charges,” said Portland Police Chief Michael Reese.
“This is an appropriate ending to a very sad story,” commented Mayor Charlie Hales.
Sunshine Division Needs Cereal!
Portland Police Chief Mike Reese has sent out an email to all City employees asking for extra help for the SUushine Division annual food drive. They are in great need of hot and cold cereal. The Sunshine Division is a year-round emergency food and clothing supplier for hundreds of needy families each MONTH! The Cereal Drive is especially critical. So, if you work where there is a Sunshine Box, or you knw where one is, please help out! Many thanks!
Centennial Neighborhood Business Robbed at Gunpoint
Tuesday October 15, 2013. At 7:41 p.m., East Precinct officers responded to the report of an armed robbery at Baxter Auto Parts, located at 16716 Southeast Division Street.
Employees told police that the suspect entered the store armed with a shotgun, and demanded money. After obtaining an undisclosed amount of money the suspect left the store and was last seen walking eastbound on Division Street.
Officers, including a Police K-9, checked the area but did not locate anyone matching the suspect's description.
The suspect is described as a white male, 30-40 years old, 5'10" tall, thin build, wearing a camouflage jacket and pants, armed with a shotgun.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Robbery detectives at (503) 823-0405.
City Hall Food Carts Up and Running!
October 15th, 2013. The Mayor was all smiles as he welcomed the Portlandmedia to the opening of three food carts at City Hall’s 4th Avenue entrance courtyard. Three mini-food carts are part of a pilot program to offer good food and a place to sit outside for City Hall employees, as well as anyone else passing by. Mayor Hales has worked to make City Hall more accessible and welcoming to visitors, by removing a lot of the barriers that sent, in his opinion, a message of “hey, we’re not so sure we want you to come in.”
“This is all part of what I’ve been trying to do at City Hall since elected Mayor. Put a friendlier face on City Hall. Sometimes you get to work on big issues, and sometimes you get to work on small issues that can have a big impact.”
The three carts in the pilot program are Al Forno Ferruzza, Saigon Noodle, and Olympic Provisions.
Following his statements, the Mayor bought lunch at Olympic Provisions and sat outside in the beautiful autumn sunshine to enjoy it with fellow employees.
Suspect Arrested after Fleeing Police and Crashing into a Power Pole
Monday October 14, 2013. At 7:27 p.m., North Precinct officers responded to the 10300 block of NE Prescott Streeton the report of a single vehicle crash into a power pole.
Officers arrived and found the car, a sheared-off power pole, and a 12-year-old girl in the passenger seat. The driver fled the crash scene. He was eventually located and arrested at Northeast 103rd Avenue and Tillamook Street.
East Precinct officers had earlier attempted to stop the vehicle in the area of Southeast 102nd Avenue and Stark Street but the vehicle sped away. Officer pursued the car briefly before they terminated the pursuit.
The suspect, 43-year-old Arnell Wendell Brown, will be booked into the Multnomah County Jail on several charges. The 12-year-old girl did not appear to have any serious injuries but was transported to a Portland hospital as a precaution. She is the daughter of an associate of Brown's.
Pacific Power & Light (PP&L) will be replacing the power pole.
Stabbing in Old Town/Pearl
October 10, 2013. At 11:24 a.m., Central Precinct officers responded to the report of a stabbing at Northwest 9th Avenue and Couch Street.
Officers arrived and located the 38-year-old male victim suffering from a traumatic injury to his torso. Medical personnel transported the victim to a Portland hospital for treatment. The victim's current condition is not known, but he was awake and alert at the scene.
Officers talked to witnesses at the scene who described the suspect as white male in his mid-30s, 5'7" tall, medium build, wearing a maroon jacket, white t-shirt, and gray pants, armed with a knife. Witnesses told police that the suspect was last seen running northbound on 9th Avenue. Witnesses described a disturbance between the two men prior to the stabbing.
Anyone with information about this stabbing is asked to call Assault detectives at (503) 823-0400.
Forewarned is Forearmed
Heads up! The Portland Bureau of Transportation and Portland Police Bureau will conduct a crosswalk enforcement Tuesday, October 15th, 2:30 to 4 p.m. on SW Capitol Highway at SW 26th Avenue.
October 15th is National White Cane Safety Day and emphasizes safety for pedestrians who are blind and crossing the roadway using a white cane or seeing-eye dog, while also informing the public of longstandingOregon crosswalk laws.
Each crosswalk enforcement action will involve a pedestrian decoy positioned at a marked or unmarked crosswalk. Police will monitor how motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians adhere to traffic safety laws. Drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk and pedestrians who jaywalk may be issued a warning or citation by the Portland Police Bureau.
The SW 26th Avenue crossing is heavily used by pedestrians who use nearby TriMet bus stops and the Mittleman Jewish Community Center. The crossing itself has pavement markings and signage mounted overhead and on poles.
“Being able to safely access community resources like Mittleman Jewish Community Center is important for my independence and quality of life,” saidPortlandresident Stephen Butler who will attend the enforcement action. “Having drivers stop for me and others that are blind when we are in the crossing increases our ability and right to access this and other valuable community resources.”
Crime Stoppers to Feature Vehicle Vandalism
October 8, 2013. The Portland Police is asking for the public’s help in solving hundreds of attacks of vandalism on vehicles in Portland.
Hundreds of attacks have been reported since last May, including punctured tires, “keying” paint jobs, and slashing convertible tops and motorcycle seats. The neighborhoods affected are Alameda ,Irvington, RoseCity and Grant Park, but there have also been reports that indicate it is spreading to Laurelhurst, Richmond, Sunnyside, Sellwood and Kerns neighborhoods.
Portland Police is working with Crime Stoppers to offer a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest in this case. Leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at http://crimestoppersoforegon.com/submit_online_tip.php text CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip, or call 503-823-HELP (4357) and leave your tip information.
Portland Police Respond to Shooting
October 7, 2013. At 2:00 pm, Portland Police Officers from North Precinct responded to the area of 10000 North Burr Avenue on the report of a shooting. One adult victim was located in the area. The condition of the shooting victim is unknown at this time. George Middle School is currently in lock down status.
This is still an active scene and officers are currently looking for all individuals involved in this incident.
New issue of Pathways to Portland & Bologna Features Mayor
In case you missed the event in August, here’s a replay of the Portland Bologna Sister City Association Youth Ambassador’s Honored by Mayor Hales in City Council Meeting
Shots Fired During Armed Robbery in SE Portland
Thursday October 3, 2013. At 9:28 p.m., East Precinct officers responded to "Mr. Dealers Double-Up Cafe" at 12306 Southeast Powell Boulevardon the report of a robbery with shots fired.
Officers arrived in the area and contacted a bar employee who told police that the suspect entered the bar and demanded money. The suspect then pulled a handgun and fired multiple shots inside the bar. No one was hit. The suspect obtained an undisclosed amount of money, then ran out of the bar.
Several officers, including a Police K-9, searched the area but did not locate anyone matching the suspect's description – a male wearing all dark clothing and armed with a handgun.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Robbery Detectives at (503) 823-0405.
Naked Man Arrested After Running into Freeway Traffic
Thursday October 3, 2013. At 3:28 a.m., Central Precinct officers responded to the report of a naked man running and yelling in the area of Southwest 1st Avenue and Yamhill Street.
Officers initially made contact with the man at Southwest 16th Avenue and Taylor Street but he was not responding to commands and ran away westbound towards I-405. Officers saw the man jump down approximately 15' and land on his back on the freeway, then get up and start running through oncoming freeway traffic. Several cars were forced to swerve to avoid hitting the man. Officers were eventually able to catch up to him and deployed a Taser to get the man into custody.
The man, later identified as 19-year-old Oleg Orestorich Lakotiy, was cited for Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree and Reckless Endangerment and transported to a Portland hospital for treatment for a drug overdose of methamphetamine
WOODLAWN NEIGHBORHOOD SHOOTING INJURES ONE
On wednesday October 2, 2013, at 8:45 p.m., North Precinct officers responded to the report of multiple shots fired in the 1700 block of Northeast Holman Street.
When officers arrived they spoke with witnesses and learned that a gunshot victim was driven to a Portland hospital prior to police arrival. Witnesses could not provide any suspect information to police.
Officers contacted the victim, an 18-year-old male, and learned that he did not live at the residence that was the apparent target of gunfire but was only visiting. The victim suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound and was expected to be treated and released from the hospital that evening.
Based on a preliminary investigation, the Gang Enforcement Team is responding to investigate.
It is not known if this shooting is connected with the shooting earlier in the evening at Northeast 15th Avenue and Lombard Street.
Anyone with information about this shooting is asked to contact the Gang Enforcement Team at (503) 823-4106.
Mayor Hales Interviewed by the Today Show
WEDNESDAY, OCT 2, 2013 – Mayor Hales was interviewed by Erica Hill, anchor of NBC’s Weekend Today for a story highlighting Harper’s Playground, a fully accessible play area in Arbor LodgePark. The Mayor, who was a supporter of the project even before he was elected mayor, touted the playground as an example of a public/private partnership making good things happen. He compared it to the old story of “Stone Soup” where everybody brings something to contribute to the pot, with great results for all.
The NBC crew also interviewed the Goldberg family, who spearheaded the fundraising effort to build a park that their special needs child, but that all children enjoy.
The story will air on Weekend Today within a couple of weeks, but no specific air date has been set yet.
Arrests Under Morrison Bridge; Dog Bites Officer
TUESDAY, OCT. 1, 2013 – Portland Police contacted several people sleeping on the sidewalk along Southwest Naito Parkway under the Morrison Bridge around 8 a.m. today, conducting routine "wake-up" calls and asking folks to pick up their property.
A dog running loose attacked and bit an officer, causing a minor injury. Several people became combative with officers, who deployed pepper spray in the course of making two arrests.
The dog has been taken by Multnomah County Animal Control.
The names and charges of those arrested will be released at a later time.
Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum: Portland Parks & Recreation has Halloween Fun!
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 25, 2013 – Portland Parks & Recreation is planning haunted happenings throughout the city toward the latter half of October.
Workshop To Help Artists Understand Portland’s Mural Process
TUESDAY, SEPT. 24, 2013 – Portland’s Regional Arts & Culture Council will help artists and community members learn how to organize and navigate two different paths for creating murals in the city of Portland.
The free workshop is set for 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Oct. 12, at Miracle Theater, 425 S.E. Sixth Ave. It will be led by Peggy Kendellen, manager of the Public Art Murals Program for the council, known as RACC, along with Jean Hester from the Portland Bureau of Development Services, and local artists Addie Boswell, Gage Hamilton and Antwoine Thomas.
The city offers two options for painting a mural on a wall: The city has an Original Art Mural Permit Program, which costs only $50, and RACC’s Public Art Murals Program, which is free, and approved projects may receive up to $10,000 in matching funds.
The RACC process requires building owners to provide easements that allow the mural to be added to the city’s public art collection. The workshop is designed to help artists, property owners, business owners and community members understand the two options available for creating murals.
Participants will hear from Thomas and Boswell who – along with almost 100 community volunteers – created the community mural on Southeast 162nd and Stark.
Also presenting will be Hamilton, who – along with Hellion Gallery – organized the recent Forest For the Trees project using the city’s process to obtain permits for 10 murals by 16 local and international artists.
The workshop is free but space is limited and RSVPs are required. To sign up, contact Cheryl Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (503) 823-5865.
Harl Haas, former judge and legislator, dies at 80
TUESDAY, SEPT. 24, 2013 -- Harl H. Haas Jr. died Saturday at the age of 80. He was a retired Multnomah County circuit judge, former district attorney and former Oregon legislator, serving in both the House and Senate.
He died as a result of lung cancer.
“Harl Haas served Oregonians long and well,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. “His contributions to the law – in the Legislature and on the bench – are part and parcel of our system of government now.”
Haas worked as a trial lawyer before running for the Oregon House in 1969. He was appointed to a seat in the Oregon Senate in 1971.
He was elected as Multnomah County district attorney in 1972 and served two four-year terms. Haas was elected to the Multnomah County Circuit Court in 1985.
Haas retired as a full-time judge in 2001.
Portlanders Pound the Pavement to Raise Money for Cascade AIDS Project.
Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 -- An estimated 10,000 walkers took to Portland streets Sunday for the 27th annual AIDS Walk Portland. The goal is to raise an estimated $500,000 for the Cascade AIDS Projects.
Oregonian City Hall Reporter Lauded
MONDAY, SEPT. 23, 2013 – Brad Schmidt, who covers Portland City Hall for The Oregonian, took home first-place honors last week from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association.
The C.B. Blethen Memorial Awards are given each year in memory of the man who published The Seattle Times from 1915 until his death in 1941. Daily newspaper members in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Alaska, Alberta and British Columbia are eligible to enter the contest.
Schmidt first place for papers with 50,000 circulation or greater, in the category of Distinguished Coverage of Diversity, for his story “Locked Out,” which ran in 2012.
New shelter beds at Portland Rescue Mission help ease shortage, at least a little
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2013 -- The Portland Rescue Mission this month added 36 new beds to the city's tight shelter space, with another 16 to open in the near future.
A $250,000 remodel of its longtime facility on West Burnside just off the Burnside Bridge turned the second and third floors into sleeping areas for men and women who are looking to get off the street -- a small but significant dent in Portland shelters' temporary housing needs.
Men moved into the 36 third floor beds Sept. 5. Sixteen women's beds will open on the second floor once a grant is approved.
The biennial homeless census in January counted 2,869 people living on the street or staying in emergency shelters, while there are about 700 shelter beds regularly available. Nearly 1,600 temporary housing spaces are full with waiting lists, say those who work with Portland's homeless.
A smattering of recent renovations has introduced cumulative 63 beds to the shelter offerings, with another 58 on the way.
Outreach groups try to get people off the street and into temporary housing as soon as possible to prevent a full descent into street life.
"It's hard for people who stay on the street to get back off," says Marc Jolin, executive director of JOIN, a nonprofit that helps homeless people into housing. "All the challenges in life become more difficult when you're sleeping outside. As time passes, people become more and more disconnected."
The Portland Rescue Mission ground floor holds 58 emergency shelter beds.
Its second and third floors until June were used for the men's recovery program, which helps homeless men kick addictions and get off the streets. The second floor held a learning center and the third was a dorm for 15 men. The recovery center this summer relocated to a renovated facility in Northeast Portland, which expanded capacity to 42 beds.
Before the renovation, men who were trying to transition off the street through the organization's "Link" program used beds in the emergency shelter, reducing capacity to 22 beds per night.
The Link program helps men transition to life off the streets through community building, says Alexa Mason, public relations specialist for the mission. For about three to six months, participants have access to the mission's services -- meals, showers, a bed, mail -- in exchange for working for the organization until they get a job and apartment.
Since the program started in January 2012, 204 men have participated and 105 have transitioned out of homelessness, Mason says. The program continues to be filled to its 36-man capacity with around 40 on the waiting list.
Mission officials say the new space will improve the program with separate sleeping quarters and a living room for participants.
"The men work together, live together, sleep together. They build a friendship and community base," Mason says. "Our focus is foremost building relationships and having a safe place for people to do that."
In November the mission will open a women's day room on the second floor. Once a grant is approved, there will also be 16 beds for women who are trying to get clean and off the street but haven't been accepted into a rehabilitation program.
Those beds will add to the Salvation Army's women's shelter off West Burnside Street, which opened in May. It has 50 beds each night for women, though it also has a waiting list of on average 160 women.
By next spring the Salvation Army hopes to be finished building 42 transitional rooms on the second floor of the shelter.
"That's 42 more women who can get off the street," Salvation Army divisional secretary Maj. Don Gilger said at the shelter opening. "Hopefully then we'll only have 50 women on the waiting list."
Artists Paula Rebsom, Grant Hottle present ‘Forecast’ through Oct. 11 at Portland Building Installation Space
TUESDAY, SEPT. 17, 2013 – “Forecast,” which marks the first in a series of collaborations between installation artist Paula Rebsom and painter Grant Hottle, opened Monday in the lobby of the Portland Building and runs through Oct. 11.
These two artists work in different ways but share a common interest in shifting perspectives, imagined realities and broken landscapes. Their joint project draws on the strengths of both by combining painted two-dimensional work with sculptural elements to build a thought-provoking installation.
Hottle and Rebsom both received master’s degrees in fine arts from the University of Oregon, in 2007 and 2006 respectively. Individually, they have shown widely on the West Coast and elsewhere in the nation.
Hottle teaches at Clark College in Vancouver, Wash., and at Lewis & Clark College in Portland. Rebsom just completed a month-long residency the Djerassi Resident Artist Program in Woodside,Calif., and teaches at Marylhurst University, south of Portland.
City Slickers Head East
Mayor Charlie Hales led a delegation to this weekend's Pendleton Roundup, including First Lady Nancy Hales, Chief of Staff Gail Shibley and Martha Pellegrino, head of the city's Government Relations Office.
Daimler To Build $150 Million HQ on Swan Island
FRIDAY, SEPT. 13, 2013 – Daimler Trucks North America confirmed that it plans a massive new waterfront headquarters on Swan Island, a $150 million project that the German-owned company says will result in 400 new, high-wage, white-collar jobs.
The Oregonian’s Mike Rogoway reported that Daimler's decision is a major economic boost for the city and region. Daimler already employs about 2,000 in Portland-- 1,200 at Swan Island and hundreds more scattered in offices across the city -- plus 750 workers who turn out as many as 30 Western Star trucks a day. The new headquarters will bring all workers to Swan Island.
Mayor Charlie Hales was on hand for today’s announcement, along with Gov. John Kitzhaber and Tina Kotek, Speaker of the Oregon House, whose district includes Swan Island.
At a time when a lot of the buzz is around software and apps, Hales said, "We're still a real manufacturing city. We make steel and make things out of steel."
Daimler's decision erases doubts about the city's receptiveness to large businesses, said Patrick Quinton, director of the Portland Development Commission.
"It sends a really strong message about where the economy is going here in Portland and how large companies, with global operations, view the city as a place to do business," Quinton said.
Portland Streetcar Mobile Tickets Now Available
TUESDAY, SEPT. 10, 2013 -- Portland Streetcar Inc. makes it easier than ever to ride public transit with the introduction today of a new mobile ticketing application for use with iPhone or Android devices. Portland Streetcar riders can now download the free PDX Streetcar Mobile Ticket app from an app store and begin buying and using Streetcar tickets with just a few clicks.
“Providing our customers with a new channel to purchase Streetcar tickets is very exciting,” said Rick Gustafson, Executive Director of Portland Streetcar. “Now, Portland Streetcar riders can buy tickets directly from their phones without having to wait in line or have exact change.”
The application was developed in partnership with local software developer GlobeSherpa. Features include:
- Easy registration and user interfaces for quick and convenient purchasing
- A secure payment system for credit/debit card information
- Platform for single rider or multiple riders purchases
- Streetcar 2-hour tickets andStreetcarAnnualPassoptions
- Animated tickets with built in security features
- Portland Streetcar arrival time information
- Safety light with Portland Streetcar logo
How to get the app:
To download the free Portland Streetcar mobile ticket app, visit an Android or iPhone app store and search for PDX Streetcar. Enter your account information, select fare type and ticket quantity, then press “Checkout.” Load your credit or debit card information into the secure system and then you’re ready to ride. It’s that easy! There’s a minimum $5 purchase requirement but the tickets you buy, such as five Streetcar 2-Hour tickets at $1.00 apiece, can be stored on the device and activated individually at any time.
For help downloading the app, email email@example.com or call 503-242-0084.
Street improvements to close lane on N Portland Road
TUESDAY, SEPT. 10, 2013 -- The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation advises the traveling public that street improvements will require a lane closure on N Portland Road between N Columbia Boulevard and N Marine Drive from Tuesday, Sept. 10 through Thursday, Sept. 12. The lane closure is in effect 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
The public is advised to expect delays on North Portland Road while improvements are made. One lane will remain open at all times. We ask the public to travel cautiously, observe all lane closures and directions by flaggers, and use alternate routes if possible.
The closure allows crews to apply a fog seal coat to protect the asphalt and extend the life of the street. Fog seal is a mix of asphalt, water and fine grit that will be sprayed onto the street leaving a dark black appearance. It will remain wet and sticky for up to six hours after application. The public is advised to keep children, pets, bicycles, shoes, and vehicles off the pavement until all barricades and traffic controls are removed.
Local access to residences and businesses will be provided.
This work is weather-dependent, and the schedule may change.
City Commissioners Fritz, Novick Team up to Look For a Solution to Save NE Portland’s Historic Rayworth House
FRIDAY, SEPT. 6, 2013 -- Commissioners Amanda Fritz (Development Services, Parks & Recreation) and Steve Novick (Transportation) announce a new timeline for the preservation of the historic Rayworth House.
Complications arose Thursday, Sept. 5, when city staff learned that the height of the home during its cross-town move was actually three and a half feet taller than previously indicated in the permitting process. This information, coming less than 72 hours before the home was to be moved, raised significant concerns over vital infrastructure issues such as traffic impacts, utility/electric and communication line impacts, and on impacts to both private and city-owned trees.
This change necessitates a new route for a potential move and new permits. Property developer Andre Koshuba has agreed to a one-week delay of demolition to allow for additional route planning.
Fritz, Novick and city staff will continue to work with all parties to find a new or modified route that minimizes impacts on traffic, gives advance notification of impacted neighbors, and includes a thorough assessment of utility/electric and communication line issues and the structural and safety-related impacts to both privately and city-owned trees.
The city offers thanks to neighborhood advocates Roy and Kim Fox, who committed to saving the home, located on Albina Street, and have made a significant financial and emotional investment in preserving the historic structure. Further, the city offers special thanks to developer Andre Koshuba who has graciously granted several needed extensions to avoid demolishing the house. Commissioners Fritz and Novick also are appreciative of the advocacy of Boise Neighborhood Association.
“Everyone wants to make this move happen, in a manner that protects neighbors and the house,” says City Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “I very much appreciate the efforts of Mr. and Mrs. Fox, of Mr. Koshuba, of Pat Brady of Emmert International, and everyone involved.”
Commissioner Novick praised the work of staff from the several bureaus to work together to try to find a way to relocate the house while protecting infrastructure the community depends on every day.
“The Transportation Bureau has to protect the trees, power lines and traffic signals that are in the public right-of-way,” Novick said. “I’m glad we may be able to find a way to preserve this house, which reflects the character and charm of Portland. But all parties need to continue to work together to protect the utilities and other infrastructure that are essential to our quality of life.”
The home is believed to have been built in 1890 by Edwin Rayworth. It went into foreclosure in 2010. Koshuba, the developer, then bought it and plans to replace it with a pair of homes on the Rayworth property’s existing site.
Project to close lane on NE Weidler
SATURDAY, AUG. 24, 2013 – Street improvements will require a lane closure on Northeast Weidler Street between 102nd and 112th Avenues beginning today and continuing through Tuesday, Sept. 17, from 7 a.m. through 4 p.m. each day.
The public is advised to expect delays on Weidler while repairs are being made, according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation. Drivers are asked to travel cautiously, observe all lane closures and directions by flaggers, and use alternate routes if possible.
This closure is necessary to remove and replace both the base and the surface layers of sections of Weidler to stabilize the foundation of the road and to prevent potholes and other surface distress.
Local access to residences and businesses will be provided. This work is weather-dependent, and the schedule may change.
What Nashville Can Learn from ‘Portlandia?’
FRIDAY, AUG. 30, 2013 – Talented writer Jamie McGee of the Nashville Business Journal wrote a story this week on the impact of “Portlandia” on our city, comparing it to the impact of the TV show “Nashville” on her town.
The story was picked up by reporter/producer Saadia McConville at Bloomberg Television in New York.
McGee's closing line of her story: "Portlanders, as a rule, love nothing so much as making fun of Portland."
Sewage leak near the Sunset Highway stopped
THURSDAY, AUG. 22, 2013 – City maintenance crews finished temporary repairs Wednesday afternoon to stop a leak from a sewer line just south of the Sunset Highway about 300 yards west of the Washington Park Zoo exit off the Sunset Highway.
The city will design a project to permanently repair the pipe, according to the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.
Wednesday morning, field crews discovered the leak and estimated the rate of release at about one gallon of sewage per minute. The sewage was flowing into a small, unnamed creek that drains to the Tanner Creek sewer, a storm sewer that empties into the Willamette River several miles away near Northwest Front and Ninth avenues.
Input Sought for Gateway Green
Oregon Kitchen Table is looking for the community’s thoughts on Gateway Green, a 38-acre plot of unused, partially wooded land in East Portland, where the Interstate 84 and Interstate 205 highways come together.
Oregon's Kitchen Table is a project of the College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University, and was created by a group of non-partisan, non-profit community organizations dedicated to helping Oregonians have a voice.
To participate, go to http://oregonskitchentable.org/
Police: Bike Project Benefits Youths in Togo
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 21, 2013 -- Portland Police Bureau will donate approximately 100 bicycles to Alaffia’s Bicycles for Education Project, which benefits youths in Togo, West Africa.
The event is set for 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, in partnership with Whole Foods Market Hollywood, 4301 N.E. Sandy Blvd.
Community members may donate adult-sized bicycles in any condition at this location from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day. All donations are tax deductible.
"Portland is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the United States,” said Assistant Police Chief Donna Henderson. “We felt that, in participating with Alaffia’s Bicycles for Education program, we are sharing a part of Portland with children across the globe."
Henderson will speak at the Aug. 22 event along with Alaffia founder Olowo-n'djo Tchala.
Both the Village Bicycle Project and Alaffia's Bicycles for Education program provide much-needed transportation for students in Togo, West Africa. The donated bicycles are from the Portland Police Property and Evidence Division and are unclaimed or disposed-of property.
“Alaffia thanks Mayor Charlie Hales, the Portland Police Bureau, Whole Foods Markets, and the good people of Portland for this generous donation to our Bicycles for Education Project," said Lanessa Inman, Alaffia community project coordinator. “Our bike recipients have a 98 percent graduation rate. Because of Portland's contribution, more than 100 girls in Togo will be empowered with an opportunity for an education, which will provide a lasting impact on alleviating poverty in our communities in Togo. We are deeply grateful and look forward to working with Portland communities again in the future
Information about Alaffia's Bicycles for Education and other Community Empowerment Projects can be found at http://www.alaffia.com/bicycles.asp.
Longtime Area Journalist Dies at Age 64
THURSDAY, AUG. 15, 2013 – Lee Perlman, a longtime journalist for a variety of community newspapers in the Portland area, was found dead Friday at his home in northeast Portland, according to the Portland Observer.
“Lee was a diligent reporter,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “He asked tough questions but he was always courteous. He was deeply connected to the city’s neighborhoods. This is a difficult loss for the community.”
Perlman, 64, wrote stories and delivered newspapers for the Observer for more than 20 years, according to that newspaper. “He was a valued free-lance reporter specializing in reporting on government affairs and planning issues. Some of his recent stories included the first Jim Pepper Native Arts Music Festival inParkroseand employment opportunities for the soon to be opening Williams Avenue New Seasons Market,” the Observer noted.
Perlman also wrote for the Hollywood Star, Mid-County Memo, Southeast Examiner and Southwest Post. His career in Portland community journalism started in the 1970s after he moved here from the East Coast.
Venue Changed for Bargaining Session
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 14, 2013 -- The next bargaining session between the city of Portland and the Portland Police Association – the union representing police officers – has been changed.
The bargaining talks are set for 8:30 a.m. to noon, Thursday, in Room 2500 A, Second Floor, 1900 SW Fourth Ave., Portland.
Arson was Cause of Aug. 8 Apartment Blaze
MONDAY, AUG. 12, 2013 – Last week’s fire that destroyed the six-story apartment complex under construction at Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. and Monroe was arson.
No one was injured in the fire.
Investigators made the arson determination after an examination of the site and the evidence at the five-alarm fire on Aug. 8.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is seeking tips and offering a reward. Tips can be called into 1-(888)-283-3473 (ATF-FIRE).
The federal bureau, known as ATF, is offering a $2,500 reward for information about the fire.
Portland Fire & Rescue estimated the damages to the Monroe Apartments development at about $5 million. That estimate did not include damage to neighboring homes and property.
Fire destroys apartment in Northeast Portland
THURSDAY, AUG. 8, 2013 – A five-alarm fire has destroyed an apartment complex and reached adjacent homes in Northeast Portland's Elliott neighborhood. No one was injured.
Portland firefighters were on scene early today, along with volunteers from the Trauma Intervention Program: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/fire/article/378472
Computers are encouraged to avoid the area this morning. Northeast MLKJ is closed in both directions south of Fremont due to the fire. Commuters are encouraged to use Vancouver/Williams or 7th instead.
Mayor Charlie Hales was on site early this morning, along with Fire Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Fire Chief Erin Janssens.
“Our firefighters did a great job. Fortunately, no one was hurt – none of the residents and none of our firefighters, either,” Hales said from the scene.
“You see the best of Portland in a terrible situation like this,” he added, pointing to the volunteers from the Trauma Intervention Program, Portland Fire & Rescue and Red Cross. “The people who were displaced are being cared for.”
Hales pointed out that crews from other Portland fire stations are on hand, along with firefighters from Gresham to Vancouver. “The system works. We have mutual-aid agreements in this kinds of fires."
The fire burned and destroyed an unoccupied four-story apartment under construction at the corner of Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Northeast Monroe Street.
Lt. Rich Chatman, a spokesman for Portland Fire & Rescue said no one was injured, including firefighters.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard., a busy north-south throughway, isclosed between Northeast Knott and Ivy Streets, as more than 120 firefighters and fire equipment used the street to stage their assault against the flames.
Fire spread to two or three nearby buildings and residents from between six and 10 homes were evacuated, with people loaded onto TriMet buses, Chatman said.
Five ladder trucks pumped between 1,200 and 2,000 gallons of water a minute onto the still burning rubble.
City Expands Program to End Lawlessness on Sidewalks
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 7, 2013 – The City of Portland today began expanding a program to reduce the number of people living on city sidewalks.
The program started in front of City Hall in July. Today, Portland Police informed people in other sections of the central city that it is illegal to establish a home on the sidewalks.
“This is about lawlessness; this is about activities that are appropriate and inappropriate in the right-of-way,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Some of the people involved have said that the laws don’t apply to them. And they’re wrong.”
Police began monitoring specific sidewalks in July, making note of persons who had been in one place, and who had established large piles of belongings on the sidewalks. Today, police returned and told those people they were in violation of city ordinance and had to move.
Those who do not can be charged with interfering with a police officer. The charge can lead to arrests and court time.
Today’s actions are under way at several locations.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s staff has assisted the police in establishing criteria regarding which persons may be cited.
The sidewalk plan began at City Hall after police reported receiving 113 calls for service there in the first 180 days of the year. Portland residents called the mayor’s office often to say they felt they could not go to City Hall because they had been harassed by the Occupy Protesters living on the sidewalk.
“We started at City Hall because of the many police calls,” Mayor Hales said. “Also, this is the people’s building, so there was an urgent need to start here. We’re rolling this out slowly and methodically. We’re taking our time and doing this right.”
Since July 22, the street in front of City Hall has been cleaned daily. Protesters still arrive each day to speak for and against specific city, state, federal or international policies. And homeless people can sleep on the sidewalk overnight. But people no longer are allowed to live on the sidewalk for weeks or months at a time.
“This has become a quality-of-life issue for people in the central city,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Certain activities – including drug- and alcohol-use on city sidewalks, or establishing a makeshift home on the sidewalk – aren’t permitted. And almost everyPortlandresident agrees with these rules.”
The enforcement project is expected to continue throughout the summer.
Note: A list of resources for the homeless can be located at the Portland Housing Bureau.
Stats For Violent Crimes Continue To Stay Low
MONDAY, AUG. 5, 2013 – The Portland Police Bureau released statistics today that illustrate that violent crime continues to remain at levels not seen since the mid- to late-1960s.
Part I crimes are mostly violent crimes, such as murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft and arson. Portland's crime rate per 1,000 population in 2012 was 58, which is consistent with the mid-1960s.
In analyzing the last 50 years, the lowest crimes were in the early 1960s and the highest in the late 1980s.
"Crime statistics are down, and that's to the credit of our Police Bureau and the community, working together for years and years, to change things for the better," said Mayor Charlie Hales. "That's part of the social contract we have between the police and the community. And it's proof that we're on the right track. Is there more to do? Obviously. Are we proud of these trends? Absolutely."
Despite the decline in violent crime, many people continue to perceive it as higher. A 2012 study by Portland State University found that Portlanders still have a perception that crime is rising, some due to their exposure of media.
"We are pleased that Part I crimes continue at low levels," Police Chief Michael Reese said. "We measure Part I crime as every city in the country does, but it doesn't illustrate the whole picture. Today, officers are spending more time on social disorder, including responding to people with mental health issues, including suicides. Officers are responding to people with addiction issues, homelessness and general services failure. Most of these incidents don't make the news like crime does."
Crime analysts suggest the decline in violent crime in Portland and across the nation can be attributed to many things, including: the fall in crack cocaine use; demographic shifts such as baby boomers aging; and better use of technology by police.
"Officers are doing great work out there," Reese said. "The examples of the community-police collaboration that has occurred at Albina and Killingsworth or 162nd and Burnside shows what kind of success we can have using this kind of approach. Its smarter policing and its working."
Despite the decline in Part I crimes, the Portland Police Bureau encourages community members to take measures to avoid becoming victims of crime. Police continue to warn the community not to leave valuables in their vehicles, lock-up bicycles, and ensure your home is secure, especially in Summer, where windows, doors and garages are often left open.
For downloadable crime prevention brochures, visit the Police Bureau's website: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/29869
For further information on crime prevention, visit the Office of Neighborhood Involvement at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/oni/53530
Streetcar track work to close lanes on Southeast MLK Blvd. Aug. 5-9
THURSDAY, AUG 1, 2013 – Portland Streetcar track installation is slated at the intersection of Southeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Stephens Street for five days beginning at 2 a.m. Monday, Aug. 5, and continuing through Friday, Aug. 9.
A single block of Southeast Stephens between MLK Boulevard and Grand Avenue will be closed, and construction also will require the following travel lane restrictions along MLK Blvd south of the Hawthorne Bridge through the Stephens intersection:
- • Two lanes of Southeast MLK Blvd.will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- • One lane will be open from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- • Sidewalks will remain open for pedestrian and bicycle access.
The Portland Streetcar CL Line will be shut down during this work with a bus replacement shuttle serving the line. Stops located on the left side or center of the street will board from the right side curb (map available on www.portlandstreetcar.org). Streetcar service is scheduled to resume Aug. 6.
The project involves removing existing track to install new connections as well as installing a new section of track to allow streetcars to turn around at Southeast Stephens and bypass the viaduct to the Southeast Water/OMSI platform.
That platform will be closed later this fall for two months as part of the “Close the Loop” project, connecting the southern terminus of the CL Line to theTriMet Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge.
Track construction will take place 24 hours per day for five days to expedite the process and to ensure the lanes and Portland Streetcar service are open as soon as possible. The traveling public is asked to follow signs and use caution in work zones.
Coordinating Southeast Portland Construction Closures
The streetcar project is one of several construction projects this summer in southeast Portland. Public agencies are working together to inform the public about closures and traffic disruptions and to minimize traffic impacts by preventing overlapping closures on major projects.
This project coincides with the start of a 19-day closure on Southeast Division Street from 26th to 29th avenues for sewer repair work and streetscape improvements. It follows the conclusion of closures of the Southeast 8th, 11th and12th avenue crossings south of Division Street for the construction of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project, and the closure earlier this summer of a segment of Southeast Cesar Chavez Boulevard for sewer reconstruction, a project that concluded 10 days ahead of schedule.
For more streetcar construction information, visit www.portlandstreetcar.org/node/12.
View a map and details of other Southeast Construction Projects and details at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/62715
Sunshine Division: Hey, It’s a Tough Job, But Somebody’s Gotta Do It
WEDNESDAY, JULY 31, 2013 -- The Sunshine Division is looking for volunteers at the 42nd annual Portland Classic LPGA Golf Tournament, taking place at Columbia Edgewater.
The tourney runs Monday, Aug. 26, through Sunday, Sept. 1. Three volunteer shifts are available each day and will start at 6 a.m. daily. Shifts run until the closing of the event at 8 p.m.
Volunteers will staff various tents as greeters and will fulfill other customer-service related duties.
Volunteers will be outfitted with an official tournament polo shirt upon checking in at the Sunshine Division tent, and will have access to complimentary food and water during and after their shift. Volunteers also will have will have free access to view the tournament before or after their shift and also will have access to a complimentary ticket for viewing the tournament on a different day.
Those interested in volunteering should contact Kris at the Sunshine Division at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (503) 823-2176.
Fire & Rescue Personnel See Layoff Notices
WEDNESDAY, JULY 31, 2013 -- Layoff notices to 26 personnel in Portland Fire & Rescue were handed out on Tuesday, as part of the City’s 2013-14 budget that was finalized by the City Council in May.
If layoffs happen, they would occur in October. The notices are not guarantees of layoffs. Under labor rules, the notices are required, even though other funding could kick in before October.
“The City’s budget deficit is real. Unfortunately, these layoff notices are the result,” Fire Commissioner Dan Saltzman said. “We delayed these layoffs as long as possible. We will continue to explore cost savings through innovation, as well as potentially seeking federal assistance.”
Mayor Charlie Hales announced this spring that all city bureaus would share in the effort to reduce the budget shortfall. Bureaus were asked to reduce budgets by 10 percent. Fire & Rescue offered a budget that would have closed seven fire stations.
The City Council rejected that option.
Working with Fire & Rescue and the firefighters union, a deal was struck to initiate the layoff notices; to seek alternative funding to avoid layoffs; and to seek savings through innovation, such as the use of ambulance-sized Rapid Response Vehicles for medical calls, and so-called Quints, which combine the technology of pumper trucks and ladder trucks.
Rather than do layoffs July 1, the city offered $587,000 in “bridge funding” through the first quarter of 2013-14. The bridge money was drawn from the bureau’s Apparatus Reserve Fund.
That delayed the layoffs until October, allowing the city time to consider conditions for applying for a grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fund personnel positions. The timing to apply for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response, or SAFER, Grant is between July 29 and Aug. 30.
“What we don’t know yet, is what strings are attached to the FEMA grant,” Mayor Hales said. “The rules for the grant already have been delayed by months, and we’re just now finally seeing them. We want to read the rules carefully before we decide to apply. The devil’s in the fine print.”
These are the city’s latest and last layoff notices as a result of the budget approved this spring. Other bureaus saw layoff notices prior to the end of the fiscal year in June.
Crosswalk enforcement July 31 on East Burnside at 16th
THURSDAY, JULY 25, 2013 – The Portland Bureau of Transportation and Portland Police Bureau said today that a crosswalk enforcement action is scheduled for Wednesday, July 31, too raise awareness of pedestrian safety and traffic law.
The enforcement action will be from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the marked crossing on East Burnside Streetat 16th Avenue.
The law requires drivers to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk and requires pedestrians to cross at an intersection and not mid-block. At the enforcement action, violators may be issued a warning or citation by the police.
Crosswalk enforcement actions are an effective way to communicate pedestrian right of way laws to both drivers and pedestrians. The transportation and police bureaus do enforcement actions in response to community requests and to educate the general public on the rules at marked and unmarked crossings. They are conducted approximately once per month.
Burnside Street has been identified by the Transportation Bureau as one of 10 High Crash Corridors, areas with higher incidents of serious injury crashes. The enforcement action is the second at the intersection, following a May action primarily focused on education with Mayor Charlie Hales shortly after the median’s installation.
Learn more about the Transportation Bureau’s safety work at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/54892 and pedestrian rights and responsibilities at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/435879
Portland Seeks to Draw Attention to Traffic Fatalities
THURSDAY, JULY 25, 2013 – Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick have asked Portland Police to provide targeted enforcement on Thursday, designed to improve traffic safety this summer. An unusually high number of traffic fatalities so far this year is cause for concern, they say, and the public needs to know driver awareness can help keep the roadways safe.
“Our message is the same for drivers, for bike riders and for pedestrians,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “You have the power. If you share our streets, and if you do so without undue distraction, you can make a dramatic difference in the number of injuries and fatalities. But it takes all of us, equally, to make that difference.”
“Safety is the transportation bureau’s top priority,” said City Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees the bureau. “We’re building safer crosswalks as fast as we can and working with the community to address our high crash corridors. But everyone plays a role by paying attention no matter how you’re getting around.”
“We have had 23 fatal crashes this year compared to 17 at the same time last year,” said Police Chief Michael Reese. “People are dying or being injured on Portland’s streets from traffic crashes that often can be avoided. We usually see a seasonal increase in traffic fatalities this time of year, due to more motor vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians on the road during summer months. However, we are concerned at the rising number of fatalities this year and we want to remind people to slow down, not drive distracted or impaired and make traffic safety a priority.”
Traffic safety mission details
Why: 23 fatal crashes this year (17 same time last year)
When: Thursday July 25, 2013. noon – 3:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Who: Portland Police Traffic Division, East Precinct and Central Precinct; the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office; and, the Oregon State Police
What:Mission will focus on all traffic violators, including distracted and speeding drivers, pedestrian violations and unsafe bicycle operation.
The first phase of the mission, from noon to 3:30 p.m., will focus on Southeast Division Street, from 82nd to 162nd Avenues.
The second phase of the mission, from 7 to 10 p.m., will be on Southwest Barbur Boulevard, from Hamilton Street to Capitol Highway.
Both of these areas among the 10 corridors in the city’s High Crash Corridor Program, where the City of Portland is working with residents and businesses to identify traffic safety solutions and encourage compliance and additional enforcement of traffic laws. To learn more about the Transportation Bureau’s High Crash Corridor Program, see: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/54892
Statistics about recent traffic crashes
- · To date in 2013 there have been 23 fatal traffic crashes in the City of Portland. There were 31 in all of 2012.
- · At this time last year, there had been 17 fatal traffic crashes.
- · Breakdown of 2013 fatalities: 14-motor vehicle; 3-motorcycle; 6-pedestrian; 0-Bicyclists
- · 12 of the 23 fatalities have involved impaired drivers with BAC’s ranging from .15 - .25 %
- · Of the 6 pedestrian fatalities, motor vehicle drivers have been at fault in 4 of them
- · There were 4 traffic fatalities in 6 days from July 5 to 11. Two involved speeding and impaired drivers.
- · Driver/pedestrian distraction or inattention: 4 of the 6 pedestrian fatalities could have been avoided if the pedestrian and/or driver were focused on their actions
Police Seek Help in Case of Skateboard Attack
FRIDAY, July 19, 2013 – The Portland Police Bureau, in cooperation with Crime Stoppers of Oregon, is asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect in a Downtown Portland assault.
At 2:30 p.m. Monday, Central Precinct officers responded to Southwest Third Avenue and Oak Street on the report of an assault outside the Portland Outdoor Store. Officers and medical personnel arrived and located the victim, Larry Allen, 70, suffering from a head injury. He was transported to a Portland hospital for treatment to the non-life-threatening injury.
Witnesses told police that a large group of transient “street kids” were involved in the assault of Allen, an employee of the Portland Outdoor Store. Witnesses told police the victim was hosing off the sidewalk when he was attacked.
Officers recovered a skateboard possibly used in the assault but have not identified the suspect.
Detectives believe that there may be several witnesses associated with the suspect that have not spoken to police.
The suspect is described as a white male in his 20s, 6-feet tall, thin build, light-colored eyes, and blond and brownish hair. At the time of the assault, the suspect was associated with a group of at least two other males and one female.
Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in this case, or any unsolved felony. People leaving information may remain anonymous.
Leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at http://www.crimestoppersoforegon.com , text CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip, or call (503) 823-HELP (4357) and leave your tip information.
Visit http://www.tipsoft.com to download the Crime Stoppers App for the iPhone or Android.
Statement from Mayor Charlie Hales on Today's Federal Court Hearing before Judge Michael Simon
THURSDAY, JULY 18, 2013 -- “I am pleased the court provided such clear guidance to all parties regarding next steps in the City’s and U.S. Department of Justice’s draft Settlement Agreement.
Both the Justice Department and the public are expecting us to change practices in our Police Bureau. We are doing so, and will continue to do so, because they are the right things to do. I believe that, by setting a potential trial date a year in the future, the court is expressing trust in our continued focus and action.
The result will be the same whether commitments are codified in a Settlement Agreement or in City Policy: we will demonstrate continuous commitment to civil rights in the Portland Police Bureau.”
WEDNESDAY, JULY 17, 2013 -- A celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act is set for Portland City Hall on July 26!
Joe VanderVeer, chair of the Portland Commission on Disability, and Commissioner Amanda Fritz are slated to open the celebration. Commissioner Fritz will read a proclamation and a report on her work as a City Commissioner regarding the ADA.
A current project is under way to make Waterfront Park’s Battleship Oregon Memorial accessible.
Police Seek Missing Woman, 25
--UPDATE -- Roseanna Jean Dickenson has been located safely and is no longer a missing person. --
MONDAY, JULY 15, 2013 – The Portland Police Bureau Missing Persons Unit is asking for the public's help in locating missing 25-year-old Roseanna Jean Dickenson.
Dickenson was last heard from on Friday and has not been in contact with family or friends since then, which is highly unusual behavior, according to family. She has no vehicle and is a frequent TriMet user. She is described as five feet, six inches tall, 120 pounds, with short red hair.
The photo at right is from 2011.
Anyone seeing Dickenson is asked to call 911. Anyone with non-emergency information is asked to call the Portland Police Bureau Missing Persons Unit at (503) 823-0400.
Legislature Secures funding for East Portland Sidewalks
MONDAY, JULY 8, 2013 – The Oregon Legislature today secured $3.6 million for sidewalks and crosswalks on Southeast 136th Avenue in Portland. The funding had been a top priority for State Rep. Shemia Fagan and several other area lawmakers.
The Oregon Legislature is expected to finish its business and call the 2013 session to an end later today.
“The goal is safety for all residents, regardless of the mode of transportation they prefer,” said City Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees the Bureau of Transportation. “Sidewalks, crosswalks, signage, paving, bike lanes – they all come down to safety. Today’s news from Salem means the Legislature and the city are working hand-in-glove on this issue.”
The issue became galvanized on Feb. 28 when 5-year-old Morgan Maynard-Cook of Portland was struck by a car and killed while crossing a stretch of Sutheast 136th.
“For too long, East Portlanders have been told to ‘be patient,’” Rep. Fagan said today. “But Morgan’s family, and every family, has a right to be very impatient when it comes to the safety of their children. I am proud to make East Portland a big winner in my first session in the Oregon House.”
Mayor Charlie Hales praised the lawmakers for their action. “When the city needed partners on this sidewalk project, Rep. Fagan was right there. So were Sens. Monroe, Dingfelder and Thomsen, and Reps. Reardon, Keny-Guyer and Vega Pedersen,” he said. “We often say safety is the northern star that guides our decisions. Our legislators obviously live by that code, too.”
Sen. Thomsen spoke about the project on the Senate Floor today, calling it one of his top priorities for the 2013 session.
The first of three phases of a city project to create sidewalks on Southeast 136th Avenue between Powell and Holgate boulevards will get under way this fall or winter. The city budgeted the project at $1.2 million.
The Legislature’s action today will prove to be a huge boon for the project, Hales and Novick said.
Legislation Bans Housing Discrimination Against Section 8 Renters
MONDAY, JULY 8, 2013 – Oregon landlords no longer will be able to broadly turn away prospective tenants because they receive federal rent assistance under a bill that passed the Oregon Senate on Monday.
The new law will go into effect July 1, 2014, according to The Oregonian’s Brad Schmidt.
The law makes it illegal to discriminate against renters who use the federal Section 8 voucher program.
“Section 8 is the country’s largest housing program,” said Commissioner Nick Fish, an advocate for this change. “Nearly 7,000 people in our community use housing choice vouchers – almost half are families, one-third have a disability, and one in five is a senior citizen. They are veterans, immigrant families, older adults – they are the face ofAmerica.”
The bill was a priority for House Speaker Tina Kotek, who proposed the bill and fought for it. Kotek's district includes portions of North Portland.
"This victory would not have been possible without Speaker Tina Kotek’s strong and persistent leadership and the support of landlords, housing authorities, and housing activists," Fish said.
"Our thanks go to the Speaker," Mayor Charlie Hales added. "She doesn't just get the thanks of the city. The big winners in all this are the many advocates of low-income housing."
Passage of this bill marks the third major victory for the City’s housing agenda in this legislative session. They include renewal of the city’s tax exemption program for low income and first-time homeowners, known as HOLTE; clarification on the tax-exempt status of city-owned affordable housing properties; and, today, Section 8 reform.
Fanno Trail re-opens today
WEDNESDAY, JULY 3, 2013 -- Environmental Services has completed sewer repairs that closed a portion of the Fanno Trail on June 10. The trail will re-open at Southwest 84th and 82nd avenues at about 5 p.m. today after final paving.
The trail closed for a project to replace three maintenance access structures in the Fanno Pressure Sewer that were damaged when Environmental Services activated the Fanno Basin Pump Station in November 2012. After replacing the access structures, testing showed a loss of pressure in the sewer. The city’s contractor quickly located and repaired the source of the pressure loss and completed repairs to re-open the Fanno Trail before the July 4th holiday.
Environmental Services also has completed installing a surge tank at the pump station to protect the pressure sewer by absorbing surges when the pump station cycles on and off in the future. The Fanno Basin Pump Station currently is not operating and sewage is flowing by gravity to a Clean Water Services sewage treatment facility. Environmental Services will activate the pump station later this summer.
Construction will begin next month on the Southwest 86th Avenue Pump Station near the Fanno Basin Pump Station to increase capacity and to ensure that the system can handle all wastewater flows during large rain storms. The new pump station will operate year-round and the existing pump station will operate only during wet weather to manage higher wastewater flows. Both facilities will be connected to the Fanno Pressure Sewer.
Environmental Services will replace several other maintenance access structures along the pressure sewer before activating the new Southwest 86th Avenue Pump Station in early 2016.
Police Crack Down on Speeding, Other Violations Near SE Portland Construction Zone
WEDNESDAY, JULY 3, 203 -- The Portland Police Bureau has stepped up enforcement of speeding and other traffic laws near the closure of Southeast Cesar Chavez Boulevard to ensure motorists follow detour and construction signs and to prevent cut-through traffic on residential streets.
On Friday, June 28, sewer construction closed Southeast Cesar Chavez from Hawthorne Boulevard to Division Street for up to 21 days. During the 24-hour-a-day closure of Cesar Chavez, detour signs are directing traffic to Southeast 30th and 50th avenues.
As of late Monday, officers from the Traffic Division had issued more than 80 traffic citations in the neighborhoods surrounding the construction area. The police enforcement is part of a collaboration among multiple city bureaus and public agencies to minimize the impact of several large-scale construction projects this summer in Southeast Portland.
“Police are really concerned that people will come to these closures, get frustrated and drive too fast through the neighborhood streets,” said Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees the Portland Bureau of Transportation. “So please plan your trip, don’t drive fast through the neighborhood streets and know that the police are going to be doing some targeted enforcement of the neighborhood streets to catch people if they are speeding.”
TriMet, the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Portland Bureau of Transportation are working on projects to expand public transit access, update the streetscape design on SE Division Street and improve sewer service. To minimize the inconvenience to the public, the agencies have coordinated their construction schedules to try to ensure that major road closures on north-south corridors don’t overlap. They are working with the Police Bureau to provide targeted traffic enforcement in neighborhoods near the construction zones.
“Residents in the area surrounding the Cesar Chavez construction zone have noticed a significant increase in traffic through their neighborhood,” said Lt. Chris Davis of the Traffic Division. “The city has received numerous complaints about speed and stop sign violations in the area. The Portland Police Bureau encourages people travelling through the area to use major streets instead of side streets.”
Residents passing through Southeast Portland can plan ahead by viewing the Southeast Portland Summer Construction Road Closures maps and details at www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation. The site includes links to the several major street closures in Southeast Portland this summer.
Anyone who uses Southeast Cesar Chavez as a regular commute route is advised to use 30th or SE 50th avenues, the designated detours, or other major north-south streets.
Some of the largest transportation corridors in Southeast Portland will be closed around the clock for weeks at a time this summer.
- SE Cesar Chavez closed on June 28 for up to 21 days for a sewer construction project.
- Construction related to the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project will close Southeast 8th through 12th avenues from July 15 to Aug. 5.
- On Aug. 5, sewer construction will close SE Division Street from SE 26th Avenue to SE 28th Place for up to three weeks.
19 Firefighters Die in the Line of Duty in Arizona
MONDAY, JULY 1, 2013 -- Nineteen of 20 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew died this weekend in the line of duty. Our hearts go out to the survivors and the families of those who died protecting Arizona.
People can donate to the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter at:
Statement from Portland Fire Chief Erin Janssens on the tragic loss of life in Arizona:
“Yesterday ,Arizona lost 19 of its most skilled firefighters from Prescott while battling a wildfire raging through the small town of Yarnell. It’s a tragedy in the greatest order and our sympathy goes to the firefighters, their families, the cities of Prescott and Yarnell, and the state of Arizona. I cannot even begin to imagine their sorrow and how overwhelmed they must feel; this is every Fire Department’s nightmare.
“While there is a science to fire, like most things in nature it is willful and unpredictable. Firefighters go on duty each day knowing their work is dangerous; the risks are high, but so is the return – helping people and our community stay safe. These Hotshots were the best of the best – they are now forever in our hearts and their sacrifice will not be forgotten.”
Portland Parks & Rec Has Seven Pools Open for Independence Day
FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 2013 – Portland Parks & Recreation has seven pools open on the Independence Day Holiday, next Thursday, July 4.
East Portland Pool
740 S.E. 106th
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Family Swim
1 – 5 p.m. – Open Play Swim
2300 N.E. 33rd
Noon – 1 p.m. – Parent/Preschooler Swim
1:10 - 4:25 p.m. – Open Play Swim
4:30 – 6 p.m. – Family Play Swim
Mt. Scott Pool
5530 S.E. 72nd
Noon - 1 p.m. – Family Swim
1 - 3:30 p.m. – Open Play Swim
9341N. St. Johns
1-5 p.m. – Open Play Swim
7951 S.E. 7th
1 – 5 p.m. – Open Play Swim
6820 S.W. 45th Ave
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Family Swim
1 - 5:30 p.m. – Open Play Swim
Noon – 6 p.m. – Open Play Swim
City Wins Arts Tax Ruling In Court
The Portland arts tax passed a major legal hurdle today, when Circuit Judge Kelly Skye ruled the tax constitutional.
The Arts Education and Access Income Tax was created by the city in 2012 and passed by 62 percent of voters in November. It provided funds for arts educators in area K-12 public schools, and funds for arts organizations in the region.
The issue received three legal challenges. The first was a challenge to the ballot title in 2012. In the second, a challenge in federal tax court was thrown out in May for a lack of legal standing.
Today’s ruling clears the third legal hurdle.
“Asked and answered,” Mayor Charlie Hales said, upon hearing the news today. “Can the challenges be appealed? Yes, but we don’t know that they will. We want to wait to hear from the city attorney regarding our best options, and then we want to get the input of the entire City Council before moving forward.”
The plaintiff in this case, George Wittemeyer, had argued that the arts tax was unconstitutional because it is a “head tax,” or a tax on everybody. In response, Judge Skye wrote, “The Arts Tax is not a Poll or Head tax because it is not assessed per capita.”
Commissioner Nick Fish praised the ruling. He is the City Council liaison to the Regional Arts and Culture Council. “It passes constitutional muster. We’re very pleased,” Fish said. “But not all potential legal arguments were addressed, and (the federal tax court) suit could be appealed, too. We’ll seek the advice of the city attorney before moving forward.”
After the suits were filed, Mayor Hales decided not to disburse the arts tax funds to school districts or arts organizations, until the courts clarified the legal status of the taxpayers’ money. Distribution of that money had been scheduled for November 2013. In May, the mayor proposed a plan to distribute some of the money to the six area school districts, provided they would pay a portion of it back if the tax were deemed unconstitutional.
Hales said he would reach out to the superintendents of the six school districts immediately to explain the ruling and to discuss next steps.
Last Thursday to kick off for June
THURSDAY, JUNE 27, 2013 --
People are encouraged to come out and celebrate the arts at Last Thursday, from 6 to 10 p.m. on Northeast Alberta Street between 15th and 30th Avenues.
The monthly summer celebration, now in its 16th year, brings together artisans, performers, neighbors and the business community.
“One of the best ways to get to know Portland is neighborhood-by-neighborhood,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “The city has many street fairs every year. And Last Thursday is the biggest. It’s a great time to find out about Alberta Street, the businesses and the arts scene.”
The City ofPortlanddecided this week to go ahead with Last Thursday, after the event’s volunteer coordinators resigned on Monday. They cited goals set by the mayor’s office regarding the number of volunteers, security personnel and portable bathrooms.
Alberta Streetwill be closed to automobile traffic from 6 to 10 p.m. tonight.
Portland Police will be on hand. Standard rules established by the city and by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission will be enforced, including rules regarding alcohol consumed from open containers. Businesses that serve alcohol are reminded to maintain control of their establishments. Alcohol is not permitted outside the businesses.
Beyond police, other city personnel will be on hand too, including staff from the mayor’s office, Fire & Rescue, Transportation, Development Services, and the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, among others.
The city is providing portable toilets for the 15-block event. Neighbors in recent years have complained about finding urine and feces from Last Thursday revelers in their yards and driveways. One of the city’s goals has been to alleviate that stress on neighbors.
After the fair closes at 10 p.m.,Transportation Department streetsweepers will come through to cleanAlberta Street. “When shops open in the morning, they’ll find their neighborhood ready for business as usual,” Hales said.
Starting shortly after Hales took office in January, his staff began working with Last Thursday’s volunteers to help coordinate the event, and to alleviate concerns by some neighbors that the events had grown into all-night parties.
Staff laid out a number of goals for the May event, including an increased number of volunteers, security personal and portable bathrooms.
The volunteers were unable to reach those goals. In response to that, the mayor’s office suggested shrinking the time and size of the event: closing it at 9 p.m. rather than 10 p.m., and shrinking the “footprint” from30th Avenueto27th Avenue.
The volunteer coordinators resigned Monday over those suggestions.
Following tonight’s celebration, the mayor’s office will reach out to the neighborhood associations, the business community and the city’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement, to help find a new volunteer committee for future Last Thursday events. That could happen as early as next week.
“Organizing a street fair takes an amazing amount of hard work. In neighborhoods throughout the city, residents do it for free. We appreciate that,” Hales said. “We want to help identify the next volunteer leaders for Last Thursday, and then give them the tools they need to keep the event successful.”
Mayor Speaks Out on DOMA Ruling
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales joined a wide array of celebrants at Terry Schrunk Plaza, in front of City Hall, today to celebrate the end of the Defense of Marriage Act.
The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled 5-4 that the act, called DOMA, is unconstitutional. The court struck down the federal law because it denies same-sex couples the "equal liberty" guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.
The 1996 act bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages for purposes such as insurance benefits, taxes and immigration. Section 3 of the law defines marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife" and a spouse as "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."
Joining Mayor Hales was his wife, Nancy, along with Gov. Barbara Roberts; Brad Avakian, state labor commissioner; Ellen Rosenblum, state attorney general; and City Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Steve Novick.
Hales read from today’s ruling, as written by Justice Anthony Kennedy. He ended by holding his wife’s hand and shouting to the crowd, “Let’s put a ring on this!”
“DOMA stated, very clearly, that some Americans may marry the ones the love,” Hales said before City Council, earlier today. “And some Americans may not. In 1996, no state permitted gays and lesbians to marry. In 2013, 12 states and theDistrict of Columbiaauthorize same-sex marriages.Oregonis not one of them. In 2014: We can dare to hope that we will change that.”
Oregon does allow domestic partnerships. However, proponents have pushed for a statewide vote allow same-sex marriage.
“The late Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro once said, ‘We have chosen the path to equality, don't let them turn us around,’” Hales said. “Today’s ruling clears the way for all states – includingOregon– to be that pathfinder. And to find our way toward marriage equality for every Oregonian.”
City to Proceed with Last Thursday
TUESDAY, JUNE 25 – The City of Portland plans to go ahead with plans for Last Thursday, the once-per-month celebration of the arts community on Northeast Alberta Stree tbetween 15th and 30th Avenues.
The June event is set for this Thursday. It will run from 6 to 10 p.m.
The two volunteer coordinators for Friends of Last Thursday both resigned on Monday, citing goals from the mayor’s office regarding the number of volunteers, security personnel and portable bathrooms. Lacking a volunteer coordinating body, just three days before the event, the city has opted to move forward.
Agencies involved in Last Thursday include the mayor’s office, Police, Fire & Rescue, Transportation, Development Services, and the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, among others.
“The event is happening even if the volunteer board resigns,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “We will close off Alberta and we’ll see how it goes. I’ll be there to see for myself.”
Leading up to the May event, the mayor’s office laid out a number of goals for the volunteer coordinators, focusing on reaching the appropriate number of volunteers, security personal and portable bathrooms. The volunteers were unable to reach those goals.
In response to that, the mayor’s office suggested shrinking the time and size of the event: closing it at 9 p.m. rather than 10 p.m., and shrinking the “footprint” from 30th Avenue to 27th Avenue.
The volunteer coordinators resigned over those suggestions, calling them “onerous” and “unsavory.”
“We can’t pretend Last Thursday isn’t happening,” Hales said. “So we’ll make the best of it this week, and make plans for July.”
The city also will employ street-sweeping trucks after the 10 p.m. closure, to return Alberta Street to its usual state before the opening of business on Friday, and to encourage revelers to end.
Hales said he would reach out to the neighborhood associations, the business community and the city’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement, to help craft a new volunteer coordinating committee for future Last Thursday events. That could happen as early as next week.
“We don’t know who will step up, but we’ll be here to help them succeed,” Hales said.
Director selected for Fire, Police Benefits Board
TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 2013 -- Mayor Charlie Hales has appointed Sam Hutchison of Portland to serve as director of the Fire & Police Disability and Retirement Fund.
The fund administers disability, death and retirement benefits toPortlandfirefighters, police officers and their survivors.
The board of FPD&R met Tuesday to accept the appointment. Hutchison is slated to begin serving the city this summer.
He replaces Linda Jefferson, who is retiring after 25 years with the city.
“This is a small operation with a huge impact on the city,” Hales said. “We wanted to find a director with the financial background to do the job well. In Sam Hutchison, I think we have it.”
Hutchison brings to the position more than 25 years experience in disability, PERS and workers compensation issues. He is an assistant vice president at Standard Insurance Co. in Portland. Prior to 2001, he managed Group Benefits and Disability Benefits, and also served as a claims auditor.
“This position will require leadership, strategic planning and project management, and I think I’m the right fit for the job,” Hutchison said. “I’m excited. This is a great opportunity to serve a city I love.”
Hales said FPD&R is ready for the change, thanks to the leadership of Linda Jefferson. “She has seen the fund through a wide array of vital changes over the years. It has been in steady hands, and we thank her.”
‘Grimmfest’ Inspires Digitial Creators
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, 2013 – Story by The Oregonian’s Kristi Turnquist about “Grimmfest,” a competition to get the region’s digital storytelling community involved in the NBC drama, “Grimm,” which is filmed in, and set in, Portland.
The city’s own Shelley Midthun is part of the story, too. Shelley plays the role of air traffic controller between production companies -- working on such projects as "Grimm" and "Leverage" -- and the various city agencies.
"We really get to integrate the Portland film office into the idea of economic development and jobs creation," Shelley told The Oregonian.
For more detials on "Grimm," go to: http://www.nbc.com/grimm/
Portland selects transportation director
TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2013 – Following a thorough nationwide search, Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick has tapped Leah Treat as the city’s new Portland Bureau of Transportation Director.
Treat will be relocating from Chicago, where she is currently serving as chief of staff to Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein.
“Transportation is something that affects us every day,” Novick said. “Portland needs a transportation leader who has the budget management background to help us address our deficit in basic street maintenance and who understands the value of sustainable modes such as biking and walking. We know we have found the right person for PBOT in Leah Treat and we are excited to have her join us in Portland.”
Treat and Klein were selected by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to join his new administration in 2011, to deliver innovative projects and to push the city ahead of the curve in progressive transportation. Treat also served as Klein's director of finance in the Washington, D.C., Department of Transportation when its bikeshare system was launched and the streetcar network was designed.
Treat is passionate about livability and her love of transportation was born out of the connection between economic development, mobility and livability.
“I have always loved Portland,” Treat said. “It is one of the most progressive cities in the country and it syncs with my personality and lifestyle. I believe Portland to be a national leader in sustainable transportation modes and know we can continue to push an aggressive agenda by developing smart, fiscally responsible budgets, focusing on efficient operations and incorporating smart planning and economic development strategies into future city goals.”
Mayor Charlie Hales said that filling the leadership role at PBOT was not an easy task. “The job requires common sense plus innovation,” Hales said. “The new leader needs to help the bureau take care of the assets we have, and help us dream about the assets we could have. In selecting Leah Treat, I think Commissioner Novick threaded that needle.”
Treat has a deep background in public budgeting and finance, as well as operations. She managed a $1 billion transportation portfolio, including both highways and transit projects, while simultaneously increasing dedicated revenue.
Treat's career began in her native state of New Mexico where she served both the governor and the Legislature. Her love of cities brought her east to work for newly elected Mayor Anthony Williams in the District of Columbia. During her eight-year tenure with Mayor Williams, helped lay the groundwork for that city to become what is now nationally considered one of the best cities to live. Williams’ successor, Adrian Fenty, retained Treat when he took office in 2009, and much of her career during his term was dedicated to innovative financing and crafting policies to balance mode share.
Novick noted that, while in theDistrict of Columbia, Treat worked closely with regional partners in Maryland and Virginia. “It’s critically important for us in Portland to work closely with our regional partners, so that part of her experience was very important to us,” he said.
Treat will move to Portland this summer with her husband, Charles, their four small children and a Siberian husky that likes to sing.
Police Respond to 11 Gang-Related Shootings in 10 Days
TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2013 – In the past 10 days, Gang Enforcement Team investigators have responded to 11 gang-related shootings in Portland.
The Portland Police Bureau Gang Enforcement Team and Gun Task Force are continuing to investigate gang and gun crimes in the city. Anyone with information about gang and/or illegal gun crimes in the city is encouraged to provide information to the Portland Police Bureau.
If you see an illegal gun crime in progress, call 911.
At 10:48 p.m. on Monday, June 17, North Precinct officers in the area of Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Mason Street heard several gunshots. Officers responded to the area and located a crime scene with evidence consistent with gunfire but did not locate any victims.
More than an hour later – at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 18 – East Precinct officers responded to the report of several shots fired in the area of 160th Avenue and East Burnside Street. As officers arrived in the area, they were flagged down by a man who reported his car being struck by a bullet as he drove through the area. Officers do not believe that the man or the vehicle was the intended target of the shooting.
Both cases are being investigated by the Gang Enforcement Team. If you have any information about these or any other gang-related shootings, you are asked to call the Gang Enforcement Team at (503) 823-4106.
Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in any unsolved felony, and you can remain anonymous.
Leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at www.crimestoppersoforegon.com, text CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip, or call 503-823-HELP (4357) and leave your tip information.
Visit http://www.tipsoft.com to download the Crime Stoppers App for the iPhone or Android.
Drivers Needed for Saturday Food Box Delivery
TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2013 – The Portland Police Sunshine Division is in critical need of volunteers for this Saturday's food box delivery.
At 9 a.m. Saturday, June 22, the Sunshine Division, Portland Police Officers and community volunteers will deliver 1,000 food boxes to Portland area families as part of the Sunshine Division's second annual Hunger Doesn't Vacation program. The Sunshine Division needs 200 volunteer drivers to help deliver food boxes to local homes. Drivers can take as little or as many boxes as they want.
Delivery will begin at 9 a.m. at either the Sunshine Division Warehouse, 687 N. Thompson, or North Precinct, 449 N.E. Emerson.
Deliveries typically conclude by noon.
Those interested in volunteering should contact Kris Padden, volunteer coordinator with the Sunshine Division, at email@example.com or (503) 823-2176.
To make a contribution to the Hunger Doesn't Vacation program, visit: http://www.razoo.com/story/Hunger-Doesn-T-Vacation-2013.
Arts Tax advisory committee to meet
THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 2013 – The Arts Education and Access Citizen Oversight Committee has scheduled a meeting from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, June 24, in the Eighth Floor Conference Room of the Revenue Bureau,111 S.W. Columbia St.
The committee was formed to advise the city on issues related to the Arts Tax.
Portland Arts Tax: Estimated $7.6 Million Collected
TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2013 -- The deadline for Portland residents to file their 2012 Portland Arts Tax passed last night at midnight. City staff now are focusing on processing the estimated 10,000 paper tax returns and checks that are pending. Returns postmarked by June 10 are considered timely.
As of June 11, 2013, the Revenue Bureau has received an estimated $7.6 million in Arts Tax payments from more than 248,000 taxfilers. The Revenue Bureau expects to collect about $8.3 million by June 30, 2013.
City efforts to increase the capacity of the Arts Tax website worked as intended and no issues were reported.
The Arts Education and Access Income Tax ("Arts Tax") was passed by 62 percent of Portland voters on Nov. 6, 2012. The tax will fund art teachers and access, and is $35 for most adult Portland residents.
Details about tax can be found at www.portlandoregon.gov/artstax.
Senate Leaders Clear Way for Affordable Housing
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5, 2013 – Today the Oregon Senate took action on a bill that allows cities and counties to better serve low-income Oregonians seeking affordable housing.
House Bill 3112A, which passed the Senate on a vote of 28-2, specifies that residential buildings designated for low-income housing, and which are owned by local governments, are not subject to property taxes.
“Housing is a basic necessity, and Oregonians should be able to afford somewhere to live and still have enough money for groceries and other basic needs,” said Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum. “Today we’re ensuring that low-income Oregonians have a chance to find adequate affordable housing.”
Mayor Charlie Hales praised the bill, saying it clears a path to better serve low-income Oregonians. “Sen. Rosenbaum serves a portion of Portland but this vote serves the whole state. Her leadership on this will make the difference for an untold number of residents looking for a hand up.”
Current law does not clearly specify whether buildings owned by local governments are subject to property taxation when units in the building are rented to low-income tenants. House Bill 3112A provides a clear exemption such buildings, provided that the exemption is targeted at providing affordable housing opportunities for low-income Oregonians in need.
In 2001, the City of Portland acquired the Fairfield Hotel, an 82-unit single-room occupancy rental property that serves the community’s most vulnerable and low-income residents. Recently, the Multnomah County Assessor found the property to be taxable under an interpretation of the current law. House Bill 3112A resolves that ambiguity by making such properties not taxable.
“As we continue to struggle with the effects of the housing and foreclosure crisis, it’s especially important for communities to have affordable housing options available,” said Sen. Ginny Burdick, whose district includes portions of Southwest Portland, and who chairs of the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee. “Oregonians shouldn’t have to choose between paying the rent and putting food on the table, and providing this clarity on property taxes will hopefully expand housing options for Oregonians on limited incomes.”
The bill now goes to Gov. John Kitzhaber for his approval.
Flags Lowered to Honor Unidentified Child
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5, 2013 – Portland's city flag has been lowered today to honor a newborn girl, who was found last week dead at a recycling center.
The city flag has been lowered at City Hall, the Portland Building, the World Trade Center, Pioneer Courthouse Square and Jeld-Wen Field.
Commissioner Dan Saltzman asked anyone with knowledge to help provide information about the child. He also asked for a moment of silence at this morning’s City Council meeting.
Police are investigating the baby's death and detectives want to hear from anyone with information about this case. The mother of the baby may require immediate medical attention.
Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest in this case. Tipsters can remain anonymous.
Leave a Crime Stoppers tip online, text CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip, or call (503) 823-HELP (4357).
Visit TipSoft online to download the Crime Stoppers App for the iPhone or Droid.
Detectives Kristina Coffey and Erik Kammerer are conducting the investigation.
Email Coffey or call her at (503) 823-0696.
Email Kammerer or call him at (503) 823-0762.
The Portland City Council approved a resolution in 2009 to lower the flag in honor of children who die from abuse, neglect or homicid. This is the 10th time the flag has been lowered for this issue.
City, County, Court Leaders Come Together Over Issue of Domestic Violence and Firearms
TUESDAY, JUNE 4, 2013 – City and county leaders in the Portland area are coming together today to announce a common-sense step to address the epidemic of domestic violence.
“One of the best tools to combat domestic violence already exists, and we want to begin implementing it,” said Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman. “Existing state allows the court to restrict an individual who is subject to a domestic violence restraining order from possessing a firearm. It’s time to take this important step to protect the victims of domestic violence.”
Saltzman was joined by Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Multnomah County Circuit Court Presiding Judge Nan Waller, Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill, Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton and Portland Police Chief Mike Reese. Also standing with them was Sally Green, a Portlander whose daughter felt threatened after her former spouse was served with a restraining order.
The group came together to announce new procedures to implement state law regarding firearms surrender when an individual is under a domestic violence restraining order.
“The studies are conclusive,” Mayor Hales said. “Domestic violence victims are more likely to die when guns are around. We’re not asking for any new law. We are enforcing existing laws.”
Judge Waller said two-thirds of intimate-partner deaths in Multnomah County are hand-gun deaths. And DA Underhill said a quarter of all homicides in Multomah County are related to domestic violence.
Under Oregon law, courts may restrict anyone who is subject to a restraining order from possessing firearms, when the court deems the step necessary to protect the safety and welfare of a restraining order applicant, and any child or children in the applicant’s custody. When a judge issues such an order in Multnomah County, the restrained individual is served with the order by the Multnomah County Sheriff.
Under the new protocols, the restrained individual also will be able turn unloaded firearms to law enforcement at three locations in Multnomah County, or to an approved third party. In addition, compliance with the court’s orders regarding firearms possession will be closely monitored and tracked by law enforcement and the District Attorney. A person deemed non-compliant with the Court’s order could be found in contempt of court.
The city, county and court officials will be on hand Tuesday to discuss the collaboration and to take questions.
Less Than a Week Remaining to File Portland Arts Tax
The deadline for Portland residents to file their 2012 Portland Arts Tax is less than a week away, Monday, June 10.
The original deadline of May 15 was extended after too many users overwhelmed the payment website. The City has since expanded the website’s capacity. It takes approximately three minutes to pay your tax online.
To file and pay online, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/artstax. Taxpayers also can pay by mail or in person at 111 S.W. Columbia St., Suite 600. Payments postmarked on June 10 are considered timely.
The Arts Education and Access Income Tax (“Arts Tax”) was passed by 62 percent of Portland voters on Nov. 6, 2012. The tax will fund art teachers and access, and is $35 for most adult Portland residents.
As of June 3, 2013, the Revenue Bureau has received $7.2 million in Arts Tax payments from more than 251,000 taxfilers. The Revenue Bureau expects to collect about $8.3 million by June 30, 2013.
“We’re pleased that Portlanders are continuing to pay their Arts Tax,” said Revenue Bureau Director Thomas Lannom.
All income earning adults in the City of Portland are required to file an Arts Tax form. People and families who earn less than the 2012 federal poverty guidelines must file an exemption form, but are not required to pay any tax. For a family of four, the guideline is $23,050. Exemption details are outlined on the website at www.portlandoregon.gov/artstax.
Portland residents can call (503) 865-4ART (4278) for more information or to make a payment over the phone.
Pre-dawn Steel Bridge Closure toShut Bridge to All Traffic for Two Nights
THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2013 – Improvements to the Steel Bridge will require a complete closure from midnight to 5 a.m. on Monday, June 3.
The closure is expected to be repeated two weeks later, June 17, during the same hours, according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
To perform the bridge work, both the upper and lower decks will be closed, so the span will not allow crossings by motorists, public transit, bicyclists or pedestrians. Bus lines 4, 8 and 35 will be detoured during the closure. Two late night MAX light rail trains will be affected by the closure. TriMet will provide shuttle buses in place of those trains.
Monday early morning MAX trains will be allowed across the bridge before it reopens to all traffic at 5 a.m. Before using the bridge, the public is advised to check in advance at trimet.org/alerts.
The public should expect delays west of the bridge on Northwest Everett Street and Naito Parkway, and east of the bridge on North Interstate Avenue and Northeast Multnomah Boulevard. The public also is advised to travel cautiously, to observe all lane closures and directions by flaggers, and to use alternate routes if possible.
Crews working for Union Pacific Railroad will enhance the counterweights on the bridge to ensure they are appropriately weighted to handle heavier gauge rails and scaffolding that are being installed on the railway.
This work is weather-dependent, and the schedule may change.
Volunteers Needed to Help Deliver Food
FRIDAY, MAY 24, 2013 – The Portland Police Sunshine Division, Portland Police Officers and community volunteers will deliver 1,000 food boxes to Portland area families as part of the Sunshine Division's second annual Hunger Doesn't Vacation program, starting at 9 a.m., Saturday, June 22.
The Sunshine Division is looking for up to 200 volunteer drivers to help deliver food boxes to local homes. Drivers can take as few or as many boxes as they want. Deliveries will begin at 9 a.m. at either the Sunshine Division Warehouse, 687 N. Thompson, or North Precinct, 449 N.E. Emerson.
Deliveries usually conclude by noon.
The Hunger Doesn’t Vacation program is a partnership between the Sunshine Division, BedMart, Les Schwab Tire Centers and New Seasons Markets, working together to highlight the widespread issue of childhood hunger in our community while raising food and funds to combat this harsh reality.
In Portland Public Schools, nearly 50 percent of children annually receive free or reduced-price lunch and breakfast . Many of these children will not have access to these school-based food programs in July and August, so the need for food significantly increases for many low-income families with children during the summertime.
To make a contribution to the Hunger Doesn’t Vacation program, visit: http://www.razoo.com/story/Hunger-Doesn-T-Vacation-2013.
Beginning Monday, May 27, BedMart and New Seasons Markets will be raising funds for the campaign in theirPortlandmetro locations. Those interested in volunteering, should email Kris Padden, volunteer coordinator with the Sunshine Division, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (503) 823-2176.
Police Find Endangered 17-Year-Old
--UPDATE; FRIDAY, MAY 24, 1:15 P.M. --
Gabe Kearns has been safely located and is no longer considered missing. The Police Bureau and the family would like to thank the public for their interest in this case.
THURSDAY, MAY 23, 2013 – Missing Persons Unit detectives are asking for the public’s help in locating a missing and endangered 17-year-old boy from Northeast Portland’s Irvington neighborhood.
Gabriel Artoum Kearns is described as 5-feet-6, 120 pounds, with short blonde hair, last seen wearing a bright purple and green Nike running jacket, blue jeans and blue Nike shoes. The photo being released was taken two weeks ago.
Gabriel left his home this morning at approximately 10:45 a.m. without saying anything to his family. Gabriel does not attend school and is familiar with TriMet.
Due to some medical history, Gabriel is considered endangered. Portland Police would like the public’s assistance in locating him safely.
Anyone seeing Gabriel is asked to call 911. Anyone with non-emergency information can call Detective Lori Fonken at (503) 823-1081.
Interior Department to Hire Nearly 17,000 Young People to Work on Public Lands
THURSDAY, MAY 23, 2013 – In response to President Obama’s challenge to expand employment opportunities for youth, Secretary of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell today announced $4.2 million in grants to support conservation employment and mentoring opportunities for more than 600 young people ages 15-25 on public lands across the country.
Jewell spoke in Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge in Portland and was introduced by Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.
The grants, which support the Obama Administration’s efforts to develop a 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC), include $1.27 million from the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation, which helped leverage $2.65 million from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and $275,000 from Wells Fargo.
“This initiative is a model of how public-private partnerships can both conserve our land and provide opportunities for our young people to obtain jobs skills and broaden their horizons by connecting with the great outdoors,” Jewell said. “Through the 21CSC, we hope to expand these partnerships that foster economic opportunities and create a connection with nature for young people that lasts a lifetime.”
Hales praised Jewell, who formerly served as chief executive officer at REI and who has deep Northwest roots. “She understands the need for the public sector and private sector to come together to create green jobs,” Hales said.
The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps is a national collaborative effort to put America’s youth and returning veterans to work protecting, restoring and enhancing America’s great outdoors. This year, the Department plans to provide conservation employment opportunities to nearly 17,000 youth in national parks, wildlife refuges, and on other public lands.
Jewell and Hales kicked off the summer work season at Oaks Bottom and were joined by Krystyna Wolniakowski, Pacific Northwest Regional Director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, or NFWF, and members of the Northwest Youth Corps, one of this year’s grant recipients.
“By providing more than 600 conservation jobs, this partnership will help introduce young people from diverse backgrounds to meaningful employment opportunities, mentorships and the joy of the great outdoors,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “Our investment will be matched by more than twice that amount from the grantees, and helps to foster a new generation of conservationists.”
In 2009, the Department established the Office of Youth in the Great Outdoors to engage, educate, and employ youth. Since then, the Department has built one of the largest and most visible youth programs at the national level, employing more than 84,000 youth through direct hires and partnerships on public lands.
The grants announced today, awarded through a competitive process, will support 22 projects on public lands throughout the West. They are funded through the America’s Great Outdoors: Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists initiative.
In addition to providing valuable conservation work experience, the grants will result in more than 1,000 volunteer opportunities to expose young people to the great outdoors.
Portland Urban Youth Corps: The Portland Urban Youth Corps is a partnership between the Northwest Youth Corps, the BLM, Wolftree Inc. and the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council. The Portland Urban Youth Corps will build upon the Northwest Youth Corps’s existing conservation programs to expand opportunity for 40 Portland-area teens, ages 16 to 19, who are minority, urban and at-risk. This project will support crews as they carry out a total of 7,650 hours of paid conservation projects through a five-week program. Activities will improve habitat for endangered steelhead trout, fall chinook and coho salmon and maintain and create recreational trails in the BLM’s Sandy River Basin. Other partners include the Port of Portland and the Johnson Creek Watershed Council. $28,500 BLM; $50,000 Wells Fargo; $99,480 non-federal funds.
Habitat-fish status in Northeast Oregon ESA Chinook populations: The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will enhance an existing program in the Upper Grande Ronde Basin with monitoring restoration activities in Catherine Creek and reference sites in the Minam River. Wild populations of salmon and steelhead throughout the Pacific Northwest have declined to levels posing serous risk of extinction. Populations of chinook and steelhead in the Grande Ronde Basin are now federally listed as threatened. Scientists from state, federal and tribal agencies are monitoring salmonid adult and juvenile abundance, life stage specific survival and habitat conditions to assess status and evaluate responses to recovery actions. $75,587 Reclamation; $72,280 non-federal funds.
Engaging Young Adults in Native Plant Propagation: The Northwest Oregon Restoration Partnership (NORP) will engage young adults from the Columbia River Youth Corps, Tillamook Options Program School, Nestucca High School and the Oregon Youth Authority in the propagation of native plants to restore riparian, wetland and upland landscapes in northwest Oregon. NORP, which is coordinated by the Tillamook Bay Watershed Council, oversees the propagation of more than 75,000 native plants annually for landscape-scale watershed restoration projects implemented by its partners on private lands adjacent to or administered by the BLM Salem District in Oregon. The service area of NORP covers approximately 4,000 square miles within five counties (Tillamook, Columbia, Washington, Clatsop and Yamhill). Partners include the BLM, watershed councils, land trusts, Oregon State Parks, the National Park Service, Soil and Water Conservation Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, local schools and communities. $83,930 BLM; $180,000 non-federal funds.
Police Investigate Armed Robbery in Montavilla Neighborhood
THURSDAY, MAY 23, 2013 – Police responded at 8:54 a.m. today to the report of an armed robbery at the Division Market, 2404 S.E. 79th Ave.
The victim at the store said the suspect entered the market armed with a handgun and demanded money. After obtaining an undisclosed amount of money, the suspect left the store.
Officers searched the neighborhood using a canine unit but did not locate anyone matching the suspect’s description.
The suspect is described as a white male in his 20s, 5-feet-10, 180 pounds, blonde or brown hair, wearing a bandana covering his face, baseball cap, dark-colored jacket and blue jeans.
Robbery detectives have not determined if this suspect was involved in a series of the armed robberies on Wednesday afternoon.
Anyone with information about this robbery is asked to contact the Robbery Detail at (503) 823-0405.
Combined sewer overflow on the Willamette River
THURSDAY, MAY 23, 2013 – Heavy rain early today caused combined sewage and stormwater to overflow to the Willamette River from three outfall pipes:
Sewer overflow occurred: On the east bank of the river just north of the Morrison Bridge; on the west bank of the river at the Burnside Bridge; and on the east bank of the river just north of the Fremont Bridge.
The public should avoid contact with the water in the Willamette River north of the Morrison Bridge today and tomorrow.
The overflows from the three outfall pipes all began at around 2 a.m. today and lasted for several hours until heavy rain subsided.
Voters: ‘No’ On Fluoride, ‘Yes’ on Children’s Levy
Portlanders on Tuesday night rejected a plan to fluoridate city water, by 60 percent to 40 percent. The voter overturns a decision by the City Council in 2012.
“The measure lost, even with my own ‘yes’ vote,” Mayor Charlie Hales said Tuesday evening. “I’m disappointed but I accept the will of the voters.”
Meanwhile, voters easily approved a third renewal of the Portland Children’s Levy, with more than 70 percent of participating voters saying “yes.” The levy directs approximately $9 million per year to programs that support close to 14,000 children in such arenas as foster care, child-abuse prevention and after-school activities.
Commissioner Dan Saltzman led the charge to renew the Children’s Levy.
“Bravo Dan Saltzman,” Hales said. “The Children’s Levy is a good idea with good leadership.”
Citizens Rally to Save Horse Patrol
TUESDAY, MAY 21, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales today announced a plan to save the city’s Mounted Patrol Unit – or horse patrol – for at least two years.
The mayor had proposed not funding the horse patrol in his recommended budget for 2013-14. That has not changed, and the mayor is adding no additional funding.
A private group, Friends of The Mounted Patrol, has pledged to raise $200,000 per year for two years, to keep the horse patrol. And Police Chief Mike Reese has agreed to reconfigure the patrol to save money.
“I cut the budget for the horse patrol as part of the effort to address this year’s $21.5 million shortfall,” Hales said. “This is an example of the community stepping in, when city budgets are tight, to keep a beloved and effective community-policing program.”
Bob Ball, vice president of Friends of The Mounted Patrol, lobbied hard to keep the horses and the officers. But he also said he recognized the city’s tough economic situation.
“We want to thank the Mayor and the Council for listening to the people of Portland, and those around the world, who advocated for the Mounted Patrol,” Ball said. “We’ll be launching a fundraising campaign in the coming days on our Facebook page, but for today, we just want to say ‘Thank You.’”
The Friends will launch a website, www.OurMountedPatrol.com in the coming days to accept donations.
As part of the deal, Chief Reese offered personnel changes:
• Two officer positions are eliminated
• One sergeant position is transferred from property crimes to the Mounted Patrol Unit, or MPU
• Two officer positions transferred from personnel division to MPU
• One officer position transferred from training division to MPU
• One officer position transferred from complaint signer/detectives division to MPU
• 2.5 non-sworn positions transferred from non-sworn positions currently vacant to MPU
Mayor Hales accepted the chief’s recommendation.
Fatal Accident Closes Hayden Island Off-ramp
MONDAY, MAY 20, 2013 – A fatal auto accident at noon today has resulted in the closure of the Hayden Island off-ramp from northbound Interstate 5. The closure is expected until mid-afternoon.
Police and Fire & Rescue personnel responded to the report of a rollover crash on the Hayden Island exit from northbound I-5. The lone occupant of the vehicle was dead. Officers are conducting an investigation and are looking into the possibility that the driver may have suffered a medical event prior to the crash.
Northbound drivers needing access to Hayden Island should continue North on I-5 into Washington, then come back southbound to reach the island.
Budget Season Opens With Brokered Deal
FRIDAY, MAY 17, 2013 – The Portland area budget-crafting season has kicked off with a deal cut between Jeff Cogen, chairman of the Multnomah County Commission, and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.
Less than two hours before Thursday’s budget hearing at Portland City Hall began, the two leaders hammered out a joint agreement on funding for a wide array of area services – with the county picking up the tab on some and the city on others.
“What’s really great is that the city and county have collaborated to address the needs of our community,” Cogen told The Oregonian’s Dana Tims. “This spirit of partnership and collaboration leaves me feeling very hopeful about this arrangement.”
"Chair Cogen has been a great partner in these talks," Mayor Hales said. "He gets the whole focus behind collaboration and clarity in the budget-writing process."
Under the agreement, the city will maintain, for one year, its portion of the funding for the Crisis Assessment Treatment Center, known as CATC. Mayor Hales had planned to end that funding in his original budget.
In exchange, Multnomah County will pick up the city's share for the needle exchange program and a one-stop domestic violence center. And the county will provide one-time money to maintain the current level of funding for our community's senior centers and will split the cost of three SUN schools for one year, giving both the city and county time to work on a longer-term solution for both of those vital services. The county also will fund a needle exchange program.
Both governments’ budget hearings continue in coming weeks. Portland’s meetings are set for 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at Warner Pacific College, 2219 S.E. 68th Ave.; and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, May 23, at Jackson Middle School,10625 S.W. 35th Ave.
Multnomah County has two public budget hearings remaining, on May 22 at the East County building, 600 N.E. Eighth St.in Gresham; and on May 29 at IRCO,10301 N.E. Glisan St.in Portland. Both meetings begin at 6 p.m.
Multnomah County, City of Portland leaders reach budget agreement
Joint Statement from Chair Cogen and Mayor Hales
May 16, 2013
We are happy to announce we have reached a budget agreement to preserve key community services that include SUN schools, the needle exchange program, the one-stop domestic violence center, our senior centers and the Crisis Assessment Treatment Center.
Because Multnomah County is in a stable budget position this year, we agreed that the county will pick up the city's share for the needle exchange program and one-stop domestic violence center. And the county will provide one-time-only money to maintain the current level of funding for our community's senior centers and split the cost of three SUN schools for one year, giving both the city and county time to work on a longer-term solution for both of those vital services.
The city will fund its 50 percent share of the treatment center's funding for the coming year, and we are gratified that people having serious mental health issues will continue to have this vital resource. In the two years since the county and city jointly opened the CATC, the center has helped to stabilize about 1,300 people in a mental health crisis.
Both of us appreciate the collaborative spirit of our discussions to help the city deal with the budget shortfall it faces this year. We are optimistic this spirit will be a model for our future discussions. The good news today is that we have reached an agreement that will benefit our entire community.
Portland’s first budget hearing is tonight, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at City Hall, 1221 S.W. Fourth Ave., in the second floor council chamber. Two more hearings are set for 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at Warner Pacific College, 2219 S.E. 68th Ave.; and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, May 23, at Jackson Middle School,10625 S.W. 35th Ave.
Multnomah County has two public budget hearings remaining, on May 22 at the East County building, 600 N.E. Eighth St.in Gresham; and on May 29 at IRCO,10301 N.E. Glisan St. in Portland. Both meetings begin at 6 p.m.
Arts Tax Deadline Delayed
-- 10 A.M., THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2013 --
Portland Arts Tax deadline extension continues.
Wednesday night, the city’s website experienced a problem related to the overwhelming response of Portlanders paying their Arts Tax. The computer problem is being addressed this morning. The city has extended the Arts Tax deadline, and will maintain that extension until this problem is resolved. We appreciate everyone’s patience and hope to have further details later today.
-- 6 P.M., WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013 --
Due to the overwhelming response of Portlanders paying their Arts Tax, the City's website is experiencing a capacity issue. We are working on the situation.
At this point the deadline to pay the Arts Tax will be extended until the problem is resolved. We appreciate everyone's patience with this situation.
On a high-usage day the website will see about 230 concurrent users. Throughout the day we have been experiencing approximately double that number just on the Arts Tax website alone.
Portland Arts Tax Deadline is Today; More Than 220,000 Portlanders have Filed; Revenue Office will Remain Open Until 7 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013 -- The deadline for Portland residents to file their 2012 Portland Arts Tax returns is today, May 15. Tax returns and payments will be considered timely if postmarked with today’s date, or filed online by midnight tonight. To file and pay online, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/artstax.
Taxpayers also can file and pay in person at 111 S.W. Columbia St., Suite 600. The Revenue Bureau will keep its doors open to taxpayers until 7 tonight and any taxpayer filing in person by then also will be considered timely.
The Arts Education and Access Income Tax (“Arts Tax”) was passed by 62 percent of Portland voters on Nov. 6, 2012. The tax will fund art teachers and access to the arts, and is $35 for most adult Portland residents.
As of noon today, the Revenue Bureau has received more than $6 million in Arts Tax payments from more than 220,000 taxpayers, and expects more than $7 million by Friday, May 17. The Revenue Bureau previously estimated it would collect $8.6 million by June 30, 2013.
“I’m pleased that so many Portland citizens have already paid their Arts Tax, and many tens of thousands more will pay today,” Bureau Director Thomas Lannom said. “Despite changes and legal challenges, most Portlanders are stepping up and paying the tax on time.”
Taxpayers who do not file today may be assessed a $15 penalty. Taxpayers who do not file by Oct. 15 may be assessed an additional $20.
All income-earning adults in the City of Portland are required to file an Arts Tax form. People and families who earn less than the 2012 federal poverty guidelines must file an exemption form, but are not required to pay any tax. For a family of four, the guideline is $23,050. Exemption details are outlined on the website at www.portlandoregon.gov/artstax.
Portland residents can call (503) 865-4ART (4278) for more information or to make a payment over the phone. Staff will be available to answer calls until 7 tonight.
TUESDAY, MAY 14, 2013 -- Mayor Charlie Hales took the stage at Pioneer Courthouse Square on Tuesday to cheer on the Portland Winterhawks, who won the Western Hockey League tournament and now head on to the Memorial Cup championships in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Mayor Hales made a side bet with the mayor of London, Ontario – home of the London Knights – with the finest regional dinner going to the winning team’s mayor.
Also in the tourney: the Halifax Mooseheads and the Saskatoon Blades. The event starts Friday, May 26.
Asian Pacific Heritage Honored
TUESDAY, MAY 14, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales took part in Friday’s celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage month, sponsored by the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization.
IRCO’s Asian Family Center celebrated nearly two decades of outstanding service to the Asian and Pacific Islander communities of the Portland Metro area. This event HONOREDIRCO’s accomplishments of the past several years.
Arts Tax Deal Reached
MONDAY, MAY 13, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales on Monday proposed a deal on the 2012 city arts tax, which should allow all six school districts to hire art instructors for the coming year.
The arts tax – OK’d by voters in November, 2012 – has been challenged in two law suits. If the city were to lose either suit, the money might have to be given back to taxpayers. Consequently, the mayor announced in March that the city could not distribute the money to the schools, or to arts organizations, as intended; he understands, however, the importance of having teachers in classrooms.
Distribution of the money – an estimated $6 million – was scheduled to begin in November 2013.
Under the deal proposed by Hales, some city money would be freed up to help the six districts – Portland Public Schools, along with Centennial, David Douglas, Parkrose, Reynolds and Riverdale school districts.
The city will disburse $3 million in November, but no more during the 2013-14 fiscal year, pending favorable rulings or settlements on the law suits.
“The superintendents and I have been working to find a way to be true to the taxpayers, whose money this is, and to the voters, who approved the arts tax,” Hales said. “We think this does it.”
Of that $3 million disbursement, the risk will be shared equally: $1 million from the city’s contingency fund; $1 million from future budget appropriations to the Regional Arts & Culture Council, or RACC; and $1 million combined from the six school districts.
The money disbursed fall overwhelmingly to Portland Public Schools, the largest of the districts. About two-thirds of the dollars are earmarked for PPS; one-third to the other districts.
Each district will decide how it wants to spend the money. For instance, Superintendent Carole Smith of Portland Public Schools will recommend hiring an estimated 30 FTE arts teachers – not 45 FTE, or full-time equivalent – and spreading those 30 positions evenly across her district.
Other districts could spend the money to hire, or bank it in case the law suits go against the city and money has to be returned.
“We are not in the business of telling superintendents how to run their districts,” Hales said. “These decisions have been tough to reach, but it’s been a combined effort all along, and we’re grateful to the arts community and our school districts for working with us to find a practical solution. In the end, getting teachers in our classrooms will pay dividends for generations to come.”
The mayor said his focus has been on elementary school students in thePortlandarea. “We want these students to have the benefit of the arts education that taxpayers have supported, and to do it in a financially responsible way,” he said.
Lane Closures Continue on Cornell
THURSDAY, MAY 9, 2013 – Drainage work that requires lane closures on Northwest Cornell Road will continue through Friday, May 10.
The work began May 2 and had been expected to be complete by Tuesday, May 7, according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation. Lane closures will occur from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
One traffic lane on the two-lane road will remain open at all times, with flaggers directing motorists. The public is advised to use alternate routes if possible. Expect delays, travel cautiously and follow directions from flaggers.
This work is weather-dependent and the schedule may change.
Mayor Greets Dalai Lama
WEDNESDAY, MAY 8, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales greeted the Dalai Lama today as he arrived in Portland for four days of events.
His holiness will be in Portland through Sunday for a wide array of public activities.
The Dalai Lama is the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism. The current owner of the title is the 14th Dalai Lama. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
Details of his visit: http://www.dalailamaportland2013.net/schedule
Representatives of Kaiser Permanente came to City Hall on Wednesday to present a check worth $100,000 to Sunday Parkways.
Portland Sunday Parkways promotes healthy active living through a series of free events opening the city's largest public space - its streets - to walk, bike, roll, and discover active transportation while fostering civic pride, stimulating economic development, and represents the community, business, and government investments
Police Investigate Fatal Shooting
WEDNESDAY, MAY 8, 2013 – Portland Police are investigating a shooting in the 4500 block ofNortheast 60th Avenue.
Police from the North Precinct Police and Portland Fire & Rescue personnel responded at 2:23 a.m. They located two victims of gunfire.
Anton Lashawn Hill, 33, was deceased at the scene. The Oregon State Medical Examiner performed an autopsy this morning and has determined that Hill died of a gunshot wound to the head.
The other victim, a 21-year-old female, remains in a Portland hospital and is being treated for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound. Her name is not being released at this time.
No arrests have been made and detectives are continuing to investigate.
Northeast 60th Avenue, just North of Prescott Street, was closed to traffic for a portion of this morning.
Some People Due Refund for city Arts Tax
TUESDAY, MAY 7, 2013 – An analysis of the arts tax of the city o fPortland has revealed that some people who have received most or all of their income from Social Security or the Public Employees Retirement System have paid the tax. And those types of income are not a taxable by the city.
This means some people who have paid the arts tax are eligible for refunds.
This is the second revision so far for the tax, which was approved by voters in November 2012. Earlier this spring, an analysis of the tax showed that anyone in a household above the federal poverty level was expected to pay the $35 per year, even if an individual in that household made less than $35.
The City Council adopted a revision to the arts tax, setting excluded people who made less than $1,000 in 2012.
The deadline for people to pay the arts tax is May 15. “To date, the Revenue Bureau has collected over $4.25 million and thousands of checks are being processed daily,” said Thomas Lannom, director of the City Revenue Bureau.
People who don’t need to pay the tax are those who income derives solely or primarily from Social Security and PERS. Refunds are not applicable if people had $1,000 or more in other income that is taxable.
Social Security is not a taxable form of income inOregon, even though it often is taxable at a federal level.
The Revenue Bureau has not estimated the number of people eligible for the refund.
“This arts tax puts us in a bind,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “We want to be true to voters, who approved it in November. We have to be good stewards of taxpayers’ money. And we want to support the public schools and arts community. These problems – which stem from the way the tax was written – make it difficult to meet all those goals.”
Hales said staff will continue to study the arts tax, and will recommend changes, as directed by City Council in March.
The tax was created last year to support arts programs in public schools, as well as the metro area arts community.
Two law suits have been filed against the arts tax.
Portraits by Former City Staffer on Display
MONDAY, MAY 6, 2013 – Natalie Sept, who formerly worked at City Hall as a staff member for Commissioner Nick Fish, is the subject of an art exhibition at The Cleaners, at the Ace Hotel,403 S.W. 10th Ave.
Sept’s works will be unveiled at an opening, from 6 to 9 p.m., Thursday, June 6. Her works also are on display through May at Radio Room,1101 N.E. Alberta St.
Sept. works today in the Portland office of U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, whose district includes portions of Portland.
Police Seek Help in Locating Murder Suspect
The Portland Police Bureau, in cooperation with Crime Stoppers of Oregon, is asking for the public's help in locating a wanted murder suspect.
Lonnell Demarcus George, 23, is the subject of a murder warrant in connection with the March 27 homicide of Edward Jewell Paden Jr., 18. The homicide occurred a tNortheast 60th Avenue and Killingsworth Street in the Cully neighborhood.
Full article: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/435908
Multnomah County Releases Budget
THURSDAY, MAY 2, 2013 – For the first time in a dozen years, Multnomah County likely won’t need to make significant service cuts because of budget shortages, according to a story by The Oregonian’s Dana Tims.
The budget that county board Chairman Jeff Cogen has proposed relies on consolidations and recent wage freezes to avoid cuts that, in recent years, have resulted in layoffs and service reductions. Savings also were realized from Cogen’s order to managers several months ago to submit 1-percent across-the-board cuts to their departments, Tims reporter.
“We’re basically in a position of stability,” Cogen said. “For Multnomah County, that’s the best news we have had in a decade.”
Mayor Charlie Hales unveiled his budget on Tuesday.
PDC Contest Draws 16 Entrepreneurs
THURSDAY, MAY 2, 2013 – The Portland Development Commission named 16 semifinalists in a competition designed to boost entrepreneurship in the city and promote commerce in the "Produce Row" neighborhood.
Approximately 240 companies applied to participate in the Startup PDX Challenge, according to Oregonian reporter Mike Rogoway. The challenge will award up to six $10,000 grants, plus free rent and professional services for a year.
Grant High Constitution Team Wins Nationals
This is the second year in a row a nOregon team has won the contest. Lincoln High won last year.
Grant’s team is coached by David Lickey.
Budget Forums Slated
FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2013 -- Portland will hold three forums to hear citizens’ input on city spending in May, before the City Council adopts the 2013-14 budget.
Mayor Charlie Hales, city commissioners and city staff will listen to residents’ ideas on potential budget cuts and spending increases.
Those will be:
• Thursday, May 16, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Council Chambers, City Hall, 1221 S.W. Fourth Ave.
• Saturday, May 18, 3 to 5 p.m., Warner Pacific College, 2219 S.E. 68th Ave.
• Thursday, May 23, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Jackson Middle School, 10625 S.W. 35th Ave.
To review budgets requested by city bureaus: www.portlandoregon.gov/cbo/article/437463
State of the City 2013
FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales will present the annual State of the City speech at noon Friday at the City Club of Portland.
By tradition,Portland mayors have chosen the City Club as their venue for the annual speech. Hales was elected in November and took office in January, making this his first State of the City.
The City Club’s Friday Forums take place at The Governor Hotel,614 S.W. 11th Ave. They are broadcast live on Oregon Public Broadcasting and also can be heard and watched at the City Club’s website archives, as well as on radio and television. Times and stations are available at the club’s website.
Hail to the Chief
MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2013 -- Excellent Profile in The Oregonian this Sunday of Gail Shibley, chief of staff to Mayor Charlie Hales.
The story was written by reporter Ryan Kost, with photographs by Benjamin Brink.
Officials Discuss Impacts of Affordable Care Act
THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2013 – Dr. Bruce Goldberg, director of the Oregon Health Authority, came to Portland City Hall on Thursday to discuss the Affordable Care Act and expansion of Medicaid in Portland and Multnomah County.
Invited participants included Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick, along with representatives from Multnomah County, Health Share of Oregon, Volunteers of America, Central City Concerns, FamilyCare coordinated care organization and DePaul Treatment Centers.
“Expansion of Medicaid means serving many more residents who otherwise couldn’t afford care,” Mayor Hales said. “It was valuable to get an analysis of what the expansion means for the city.”
Topics of discussion included:
- Medicaid coverage for behavioral health services for currently uninsured people.
- Providing services for people involved in the criminal justice system.
- City and county outreach for those who are, or will be, newly eligible for Medicaid.
Currently, Medicaid and the Oregon Health Plan cover children whose households are up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, and only some low-income adults.
The Affordable Care Act – one of the signature achievements of President Obama’s first term in office – allows expansion of all adults ages 19 to 65 with income below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The act also allows coverage for single people making up to $15,856 per year, and a family of four making up to $32,499 per year.
As of Jan. 1, 2014, the Oregon Health Plan will cover all eligible adults with incomes less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, as well as children in families with income less than 300 percent of poverty level.
Candidates Line Up to be Transportation Chief
THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2013 – The job of director for the Portland Bureau of Transportation has drawn 44 candidates from throughout the United States.
The former director, Tom Miller, resigned in January. Interim Director Toby Widmer came out of retirement – having spent almost three decades at the bureau – to serve for six months. Meanwhile, Mayor Charlie Hales initiated a nationwide search for a permanent director.
The application deadline has passed. City officials hope to have a director hired in May or June.
The 44 candidates include 10 people living in Portland, and a total of 22 living in Oregon. Other candidates hail from close by –Washington,California and Idaho– as well as from across the nation, including North Carolina and Florida.
Goal!: City Council Recognizes the Thorns
WEDNESDAY, April 10, 2013 – Members of the Portland ThornsFootball Club, the city’s professional women’s soccer team, drop by City Hall on Wednesday to let the elected officials show their support.
Participants included (from left) Mike Golub, chief operating officer of the Portland Thorns and Timbers; Commissioner Amanda Fritz; Coach Cindy Parlow Cone; Mayor Charlie Hales; forward Danielle Foxhoven (a University of Portland alumna); Commissioner Nick Fish; and forward Christine Sinclair (another U of P alumna).
Bureau of Development Services Takes Action In Response to Citizen Complaint
MONDAY, APRIL 8, 2013 -- The Bureau of Development Services (BDS) received a complaint on Nov. 30, 2012, concerning BDS employees taking long breaks at a restaurant. BDS took immediate action to investigate the complaint and corrective actions are under way at this time. The details of the complaint, investigation and corrective actions are confidential.
“The reason this is coming to light now is because the Bureau of Development Services undertook the investigation, interviewed the employees, and is taking appropriate action,” said Paul Scarlett, Director of the Bureau of Development Services.
The Bureau of Development Services has clear and established rules and expectations that are communicated periodically to its employees about the use of City resources and time. Since receiving this complaint, BDS has reiterated these rules and expectations both in writing and verbally. The bureau continues to explore improved management tools to ensure compliance with work rules.
BDS takes this issue very seriously and does not condone any employee’s misuse of City time or resources, Scarlett said.
“The city has policies and bureau-specific work rules regarding use of work time and city resources," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "These are routinely communicated to employees. In this particular matter the bureau did exactly what it is supposed to--it conducted a prompt investigation into allegations of misuse and is taking appropriate steps to remedy this situation. While I can not discuss employee discipline matters, I support the actions taken by the bureau.”
Mayor, Police Chief Testify on Gun Violence Bills
FRIDAY, APRIL 5, 2013 – The Oregonian’s Jeff Mapes reported on today’s lengthy hearing at the State Capitol in Salem, regarding bills designed to address illegal gun violence.
Among those testifying on behalf of the bills were Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Portland Police Chief Mike Reese, and Gov. John Kitzhaber.
“Measures like the ones before you today will make it harder for certain Oregonians to get their hands on guns,” Hales told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “And almost all Oregonians, including gun owners, agree that some people shouldn’t have access to guns.”
Southeast 136th Safety Project Launched
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3, 2013 – A city of Portland project to create sidewalks on Southeast 136th Avenue between Powell and Holgate boulevards will get under way this fall.
The project is budgeted at $1.2 million and should begin in fall. It will stretch for 0.63 miles along 136th Avenue.
This winter, an audit of the city’s street maintenance program pointed to an historic lack of funding for street paving. In response, Mayor Charlie Hales asked Toby Widmer, interim director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, to find creative ways to increase funds for pavement projects within the bureau’s existing budget.
One of the options outlined by Widmer would have diverted funding for the136th Avenue sidewalk project to paving. Mayor Hales and city commissioners now have rejected that option.
“I asked Toby to be creative,” Hales said. “Long before we discuss any new funding, we want to make sure we were being as creative as possible with every dollar we have now. Toby did exactly what I asked of him.”
Hales said public safety remains the No. 1 factor for street maintenance programs. Paving, sidewalks, crosswalks and signage are all safety issues.
City Commissioner Steve Novick, along with Hales and Widmer, spoke to members of the media Wednesday morning at Gates Park, at 136th and Holgate, discussing the sidewalk project.
Members of the Oregon Legislature representing East Portland also were on hand, including Sens. Jackie Dingfelder, D-Portland; and Chuck Thomsen, R-HoodRiver, and Reps. Shemia Fagan, D-Clackamas; Alissa Keny-Guyer, D-Portland; Jeff Reardon, D-Portland; and Jessica Vega Pederson, D-Portland.
Project on Hold at 37th and Division
THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2013 – The mayor has instructed the director of the Portland Bureau of Development Services to suspend further review of the permit revision for an apartment project at 37th and Division.
“The city strives for fairness and doesn’t always get it on the first shot,” Mayor Charlie Hales said Thursday. “That’s why I’m taking this action.”
The city issued a stop-work order on Feb. 25.
Hales has pushed the Planning Commission to expedite a recommendation to the City Council regarding on-site parking for new, multi-family developments. The council will hear the commission’s policy recommendations at the Thursday, April 4, Portland City Council meeting.
Construction on the 37th and Division development has not resumed, and won’t be allowed until a new permit is approved. The developer can apply for a new permit no earlier than April 11.
Several neighbors in the vicinity had complained that they did not have an opportunity to speak out on a revised permit.
“The city did a disservice by not providing clear answers to the neighbors over the last month,” Hales said. “The neighbors acted in good faith.”
Senate Sends Tuition Equity Bill to Governor’s Desk
THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2013 – Legislation that will provide equity in tuition costs for Oregon high school graduates, regardless of their citizenship status, is on its way to the governor’s desk.
The Oregon Senate voted 19-11 Thursday in favor of House Bill 2787. The measure would allow graduates of Oregon High Schools who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents to pay the same in-state tuition rates paid by classmates who are legal residents of Oregon and the United States.
Mayor Charlie Hales applauds the move, noting that a Portland lawmaker, Rep. Michael Dembrow, was instrumental in advocating for the bill.
“So many children were brought to Oregon – often in families facing poverty and with English either not spoken, or as a second language – and then they go on to high achievement in high school,” Mayor Hales said. “Of course we must reward such students with in-state tuition. It’s the just and right thing to do.”
Currently in Oregon, undocumented students are forced to pay much higher out-of-state tuition rates, putting a college education out of their reach. If signed by the governor, HB 2787 will change that beginning with the next academic year.
“Tuition equity is critical to our goal of making higher education affordable and accessible to every high school graduate in this state,” said Dembrow, whose House District 45 includes portions of North Portland. “The passage of HB 2787 is a tremendous moment, a true beacon of hope for young Oregonians throughout the state."
This year marks a decade since tuition equity was first introduced in the Oregon Legislature.
Learn How to Prepare for Earthquakes
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20, 2013 -- The Portland bureaus of Emergency Management and the Development Services will play host to a free seismic-strengthening presentation at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21. The event is part of Earthquake Awareness Month and is set for the Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 S.W. Capitol Highway. Parking is available in the parking lot and on-street.
Area residents are invited to learn the basic, affordable steps involved in reducing the likelihood of earthquake damage to their homes.
Development Services Inspections Manager Jim Nicks will provide an overview of the permitting and construction processes required for seismic home-improvement projects, including a show-and-tell explanation of needed materials.
Emergency Management Director Carmen Merlo will share her own recent experience bracing her century-old house against earthquakes. She also will share tips for securing everyday household items.
Volunteers from Portland’s Neighborhood Emergency Team program also will be on hand to share information about community training and preparedness.
Mayor, Bureaus Speak Out on Traffic Fatalities
TUESDAY, MARCH 19, 2013 – The number of people dying in traffic crashes on Portland streets this year is unacceptable, according to Mayor Charlie Hales. In office for less than 80 days, the new mayor was alarmed that there have already been 11 traffic fatalities with five of those 11 involving driving under the influence.
“Every person who dies in a crash represents a family and community tragedy. So far in 2013, we’re averaging about one death a week. That’s unacceptable,” Hales said. “Leadership at the Transportation Bureau, Portland Police Bureau and I are alarmed that five people have lost their lives this year related to driving under the influence. Drive sober to save lives. Doing otherwise is illegal and reckless.”
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, citing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every day another 27 people die as a result of drunken driving crashes.
The Transportation and Police bureaus plan a crosswalk enforcement action for today, March 19, to raise awareness of pedestrian safety and traffic law.
The enforcement action will be from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the marked crossing ofSoutheast Powell Boulevardat28th Place.
A crosswalk enforcement action includes a pedestrian decoy positioned at marked or unmarked crosswalks. Drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk and pedestrians who jaywalk may be issued a warning or citation by the Portland Police Bureau.
Lt. Chris Davis of the Portland Police Traffic Division, also reflected on the 2011 fatalities. “As we travel, the choices we make can significantly reduce the chances that tragedy will strike. None of us leave the house planning to be involved in a traffic crash. But, we all can slow down, stay sober and follow the rules of the road. Our officers have been way too busy this year and the Portland Police Traffic Division is asking all Portlanders to recommit to travel safely no matter if you are walking, bicycle riding or driving.”
“The Transportation Bureau is working diligently to make streets safer for everyone and raising awareness that drunk and distracted driving is a killer. We’re fortunate to have the men and women of the Portland Police Bureau and Mayor Hales committed to traffic safety as well,” Transportation Director John Widmer said.
In addition to talking about traffic fatalities, the Transportation and Police bureaus held three community meetings in the last month to get input on improving traffic safety. Meetings were held to make Northeast Sandy Boulevard, Burnside Street on both sides of the river and Northeast Glisan Street safer places for people to walk, bike, use transit and drive.
An additional meeting is scheduled for April 8 with the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association, the location of another pedestrian fatality in 2013.
Burnside and Sandy are two of the 10 streets the bureau calls “High Crash Corridors.”Glisan Streetwas the location of the first pedestrian fatality of 2013. The High Crash Corridor program’s goal is to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and injuries where they are most prevalent.
Findings from the “Metro State of Safety Report” issued in April 2012 focused on major streets and high numbers of crashes. The report said arterial roadways comprise 59 percent of the region’s serious crashes, 67 percent of the serious pedestrian crashes and 52 percent of the serious bike crashes, while accounting for 40 percent of vehicle miles travel. That is why the City focuses safety funding toward these corridors through education, enforcement and engineering activities.
The report also said alcohol or drugs were a factor in 57 percent of fatal crashes. More information about the report is online at http://news.oregonmetro.gov/1/post.cfm/crashes-cost-more-than-congestion.
The Portland Police Bureau partnered with transportation on these efforts, particularly through enforcement actions designed to educate drivers and pedestrians of crosswalk laws and cite those who break them. On January 23, police cited 12 people and warned two others for traffic safety violations at a crosswalk on Northeast Sandy Boulevard at Northeast 85th Avenue. And on February 26, police issued 27 citations in 90 minutes on at a crosswalk on West Burnside Street at Northwest 21st Place.
Mayor Proposes Arts Tax Fix
MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2013 – The Arts Tax, as approved by voters in November 2012, contains a significant flaw, and the Portland City Council will take action this month to address the issue.
As written, any Portland resident with any income – living in a household above the poverty line – has to pay the $35 annual arts tax. So in a household that is above the poverty line, a teenager who made $10 last year dog-sitting is expected to pay $35 of that $10 to the arts tax.
“No one crafting this tax intended this to be the rule,” Mayor Charlie Hales said Monday. “This is just silly. And we need to move right now to address the Law of Unintended Consequences.”
To fix that problem, Council will debate an emergency ordinance at the March 27 City Council meeting. The rule change would create an income threshold or $1,000, beneath which income is not taxed.
The change would be effective immediately and would affect Portland residents paying this year’s arts tax.
For those who already have paid, but whose annual income is less than $1,000, a refund will be required. City Revenue staff is aware of the situation and will work to address those who fall into this category.
There may be other issues of fairness in the arts tax to be considered at a later date.
Shamrock Run Paints Portland Green
SATURDAY, MARCH 17, 2013 -- Green-clad runners filled downtown streets this morning for the 35th annual Shamrock Run.
Farmers Market Open for Business
SATURDAY, MARCH 16, 2013 -- Mayor Charlie Hales on Saturday rang in the start of the Farmers Market in the South Park Blocks, amid the Portland State University Campus.
The market is open each Saturday now through Dec. 21 between Southwest Hall and Montgomery.
Mayor Learning What City Employees Do in the ‘City That Works’
FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales has taken part in “ride-alongs” with Portland police and firefighters. And now he’s toured street maintenance projects around the city.
“This is important,” Hales said Friday after meeting up with three crews from the Portland Bureau of Transportation, at Northeast Hancock Street, Northeast Cesar Chảvez Boulevard, and Southwest Barbur Boulevard. “We’re right in the middle of writing budgets for every bureau of the city. Knowing how our workers get the job done helps inform those decisions.”
Peter Wojcicki, Street Systems Division Manager, said crews spread out throughout the city most days, weather permitting, to address minor and major problems. Crews also coordinate with police, Water Bureau, and other divisions inside and outside the city, to make sure the timing for projects is right.
Portland has approximately 5,000 lane miles of streets, making it the city’s single largest physical asset. An analysis by the City Auditor’s office last month said the city has significantly underfunded street maintenance in recent years.
"This has to be a priority, taking care of our streets," Hales said. It's like taking care of the roof of your house. It costs a lot less if you stay on top of the maintenance projects, and not let your assets deteriorate."
The City Council is struggling to address a $25 million shortfall in the 2013-14 budget.
Other members of the Portland City Council often participate in ride-alongs with city employees as well. Mayor Hales has encouraged his own staff to participate in future opportunities.
City Council approves paid sick leave 5-0
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013 – The Portland City Council today approved a new sick-leave mandate for employers doing business in the city. The vote was unanimous.
Beginning next year, employers in Portland won’t be able to fire employees for taking a day off with an illness, or staying home with a sick child. Most employees will receive a week's paid sick leave at minimum.
A City Council subcommittee, consisting of Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Dan Saltzman, came together this year to craft the ordinance.
“The leadership of Commissioners Fritz and Saltzman were essential in making this happen,” Mayor Charlie Hales said today. “I think it’s the right move for Portland’s work force and the business community. Now we’d like to see the state of Oregon follow suit.”
The year-long delay in the provision is intended to put pressure on state legislators to enact the rule state wide.
Companies, nonprofits and governmental employers with five or fewer employees won’t have to provide paid time off, but no longer could fire workers who phone in ill. Those with six or more employees must offer at least five days’ paid sick leave to full-time workers, though other paid time off benefits may suffice.
It is estimated that 40 percent of private sector employees in Portland do not now have sick leave.
Blasting Begins for Sellwood Bridge Project
TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013 – Night-time blasting is scheduled Wednesday and Thursday as part of the Sellwood Bridge construction project, according to officials at Multnomah County.
The contractor is excavating the hill on the west side of Highway 43, to the north and south of the bridge. Blasting is needed to fracture underground rock into smaller pieces that can be excavated during the work day.
The bridge project will construct a Highway 43 interchange at the new bridge that will be wider than the existing interchange. The west-side hill will be excavated over the next few months and retaining walls will be built to hold back the slope. By 2014, traffic lanes will shift to the west and the contractor will begin rebuilding the east side of the interchange.
The contractor expects rock blasting will be needed for as many as four weeks this spring. Typically, blasting would happen on two or three weeknights per week. On a blasting night, two or three blasts typically would be detonated. The first blast would happen close to 9 p.m. and the later blasts likely between midnight and 3 a.m.
Highway and bridge traffic will be held for five to 20 minutes for each blast to keep the public out of the area. The outside southbound lane of Highway 43 will be closed near the bridge from as early as 7 p.m. to as late as 5 a.m. on blast nights. Travelers can avoid delays by using alternate routes.
Blasting is scheduled at night to minimize impacts to traffic. Blasts happen late at night due to procedures the contractor must follow for documenting the first blast and setting explosive charges before each blast.
Five minutes and one minute before each blast, a warning siren will sound. The siren likely will be louder than the blast itself, which happens deep underground.
For more information, visit www.sellwoodbridge.org/blasting.
Oaks Bottom Bluff Opens
SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2013 -- The Portland Parks Bureau celebrated the restoration of the Oaks Bottom Bluff this morning.
The trail is part of the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge in Southeast Portland. The project included a new boardwalk, as well as a vantage point for wildlife- and bird-watching. The $750,000 project began last August.
Sick Leave Goes To Vote
SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2013 -- The issue of protected sick leave goes before the Portland City Council at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 13.
The City Council will vote to authorize changes to the city code to require protected sick time for employees of businesses working in the city of Portland and who enter into a contract with Oregon State Bureau of Labor and Industries for enforcement. This item is on the council’s regular agenda for the Wednesday morning council meeting.
Mayor appears on ‘Your Voice Your Vote’
FRIDAY, MARCH 8, 2013 –Mayor Charlie Hales will appear on the political news show “Your Voice Your Vote” at 9 a.m. Sunday, March 10, on KATU, the ABC affiliate at Channel 2.
Topics for the half-hour show include the city’s budget-crafting process, an FBI arrest of a Portland city employee on terrorism-related charges; and efforts to lure more businesses into Portland.
Host Steve Dunn conducted the interview. Other recent guests on the show included Congressman Kurt Schrader and City Commissioner Amanda Fritz.
City Employee Arrested, Allegedly Linked to Terrorist Attack
TUESDAY, MARCH 5, 2013 – FBI agents today arrested a man on suspicion of assisting in a deadly 2009 bombing in Lahore, Pakistan. The man arrested, Reaz Qadir Khan, is an employee of the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.
Khan, 48, was charged in federal court on Tuesday with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. He has pleaded not guilty. He is scheduled to appear again in court Wednesday afternoon for a custody hearing.
Mayor Charlie Hales was made aware of Khan’s employment earlier today. He has no public statement on the man’s work for the city.
“The deplorable act of triggering a bomb at a federal building inLahoreresulted in approximately 30 deaths and 300 injuries,” Hales said. “However, we should all remember that the charges contained in Mr. Khan’s indictment are allegations only, and that Mr. Khan is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”
The charge stems from a May 2009 bombing of the headquarters of the Pakistani intelligence service – the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency – in Lahore.
“This week’s arrest brings home the reality that worldwide headlines can resonate right here in Portland,” Hales said.
Student Leaders Give Back to Green Spaces
TUESDAY, MARCH 5, 2013 – Eighteen local high school students have found the up side to grunt-work.
GRUNT – or Greenspaces Restoration & Urban Naturalist Team – is a program that provides volunteer naturalist and leadership training for high school students. Participants volunteer their Saturdays between February and June to learn about environmental science, restoration and job skills in Portland’s parks and natural areas.
This Saturday, Mayor Charlie Hales and his wife, Nancy Hales, stopped by during their bike journey through Oaks Bottom Park.
This year’s cohort of 18 students were recruited from Jefferson, Roosevelt, Centennial, David Douglas and Madison high schools, as well as the Student & Family Refugee Network, the Office of Youth Violence Prevention and Human Solutions.
After graduating from the program, participants have access to long-term mentoring and opportunities for employment and enrichment.
Secretaries of State visit City Hall
TUESDAY, MARCH 5, 2013 – Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown was at Portland City Hall today to hand out awards from the National Association of Secretaries of State. Joining her was Ross Miller, who serves as secretary of state for Nevada and president of the national association.
Brown will be association president next year.
Brown formerly served portions of Portland in the Oregon Senate.
Legislature's Budget-Writers Craft Plan for Schools
Monday, March 4, 2013 – The chief budget writers of the Oregon Legislature today released their proposal for funding public schools over the next two years. And the news is positive.
The co-chairmen of the budget-writing Ways & Means Committee proposed spending $6.75 billion for aid to schools in the next two years. That is $1 billion above the 2011-13 budget and more than the $6.4 billion proposed by Gov. John Kitzhaber.
The Oregon Legislature crafts its budget on two-year cycles, unlike many other states. Ways & Means is the budget-writing forum for the Legislature, and consists of members of the Senate and the House of Representatives. This year’s co-chairmen are Sen. Richard Devlin of Tualatin and Rep. Peter Buckley of Ashland.
Every two years, the governor proposes a budget; the Ways & Means Committee offers a compromise budget; and the full Legislature debates the merits of each. The coming budget must be ready when the 2013-15 biennium begins on July 1.
“This is a great step in the right direction,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. “For too long, we have allowed Oregon’s public K-12 schools to fade. The results: increased class sizes; the elimination of arts, music and shop classes; the loss of librarians and counselors; long delays to replace aging textbooks and roofs. The co-chairs are saying: Enough.”
As one of his first acts as mayor, Hales created a group known as Mayors for Oregon School Kids. The mayors are seeking responsible and predictable funding for Oregon’s public K-12 schools. Mayors on the committee represent small towns and cities; Eastern, Central, Southern and WesternOregon; the coast; rural, suburban and urban communities; and all political parties.
“We all know we cannot afford for our schools to lose any more teachers or school days,” Sen. Devlin said.
The framework unveiled by Devlin and Rep. Buckley will be the starting point for lawmakers, who must fit spending on school aid and agencies within the plan.
Governor, Mayor Meet to Discuss Issues for Portlanders
FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 2013 -- Gov. John Kitzhaber came to Portland City Hall on Friday to meet with Mayor Charlie Hales.
Kitzhaber is in an historic third term as Oregon governor, having served for two four-year terms, then stepping down for eight years. Similarly, Hales served on the Portland City Council for 10 years then left city government for 10 years, before seeking election last year as mayor.
Topics for the brief morning gathering included education, transportation, public safety and mental health.
Mayors Focus on Supporting Schools
THURSDAY, FEB. 28, 2013 – Mayors from throughout Oregon are coming together this week to discuss a shared concern for adequate state support for local public schools.
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales hosted a conference call Thursday to get the process rolling by launching a new group, Mayors For Oregon’s School Kids.
Hales and other Oregon mayors also have engaged the Legislature in discussions regarding sufficient and predictable funding for schools.
Hales – who was sworn into office in January – made the issue one of his three priorities for this year.
“I, for one, am tired of our schools being held together by bake sales and short-term financial Band-Aids,” Hales said. “Instead, our State Legislature needs to fund schools first, and fund them adequately, whether the school is in Pendleton, Coos Bay, Portland or Medford. The value of providing a first-class education to our students pays dividends in every city and town in Oregon.”
In years past, the city of Portland has earmarked millions of dollars to public schools. But this year's shortfall will make that impossible. Other cities and school districts face similar crises.
Beyond Portland, mayors participating in the discussion range from smaller communities such as Junction City and Cave Junction, up to large cities such as Hillsboro and Beaverton.
Information released by teachers, administrators and school board members have pointed to proposed budgets that would disenfranchise public schools even further. The numbers cited at the Capitol in Salem include:
$6.15 billion - Crisis budget
- Loss of teachers
- Increased class sizes
- Cutting more school days
- Elimination of many extra-curricular activities
$6.55 billion – More of the same
- Loss of teachers
- Increased class sizes
- Cutting more school days
$6.75 billion – Stability
- Some districts can restore some school days
- Status quo for class sizes
- Status quo for programs
“This is not an urban, suburban, or rural issue,” Hales said. “It’s an Oregon issue. I believe that there is power in mayors coming together with a unified front.”
Open house promotes Foster-Lents area
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 27, 2013 -- The Foster Lents Integration Partnership, the Foster Green EcoDistrict, and the Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association will host a public open house from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, at the historic Wikman-Arleta Building, 4420 S.E. 64th Ave. The program begins at 6:30 p.m.
The purpose of the event is to continue a conversation with the community around reviving the Foster Road corridor.
The partnership is a collaboration among public agencies, community groups and non-profit partners to improve economic, environmental, and social conditions in the Lents, Foster-Powell, Mount Scott-Arleta, and Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhoods. The partnership will develop the Foster Corridor Investment Strategy, an action plan to improve the neighborhoods and commercial areas along Foster Road from Southeast 50th Avenue to Southeast 122nd Avenue.
This is the third and final open house for a project that began last April to develop a collaborative investment strategy for a key commercial corridor in East Portland. Open house attendees will have the opportunity to comment on proposed strategies along Foster and specific projects to revitalize the corridor.
With the assistance of a $250,000 grant from Metro and matching funds from the Portland Development Commission and the Bureau of Environmental Services, the partnership will finalize the investment strategy by June 2013. The overall strategy will align city resources for the greatest impact to create job opportunities, spur private investment, and empower community-based organizations to participate in the implementation.
Charlie Hales Sworn in as Mayor
JANUARY 2, 2013 -- Mayor-elect Charlie Hales today was sworn into office.
He thanked supporters, and used his speech as a call to action to "work together in an open and collaborative manner to get things done."
"I say here in public what I have said to each of you in private," he said, "I can’t wait for us to roll up our sleeves and tackle the challenges facing our city."