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."
Statement from Mayor Charlie Hales on alteration of police officers' badges
MONDAY, NOV. 24, 2014 -- We learned this morning that three officers altered images of the official Portland Police Bureau badge. 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.
Mayor Helps Hacienda CDC Win $18 Million in Tax Credit Program for Valuable Projects
MONDAY, NOV. 17, 2014 — Aided by support from Mayor Charlie Hales, Hacienda Community Development Corporation on Thursday, Nov. 13, closed on an $18 million New Markets Tax Credit Program deal to help finance three projects for the organization: construction of a new office building, construction of Portland Mercado, and rehabilitation of Ortiz Community Center.
Hacienda CDC is a Latino Community Development Corporation that seeks to strengthen families by providing affordable housing, home ownership support, economic advancement, and educational opportunities.
On Friday, Nov. 14, the organization gave “heartfelt thanks” to Mayor Hales for the tax credit deal that stacks $10 million in federal tax credits with $8 million in state tax credits.
“Hacienda CDC is an invaluable partner in our work to spread access and opportunity to all Portlanders,” Mayor Hales said. “Enlightened public policy, aligned investment, and partnerships will help make Portland a city of opportunity. Hacienda gets that. The organization informs policymaking, focuses investment, and builds partnerships that uplift Portland’s Latino community. I’m excited to see their contributions grow with this infusion of investment.”
The new Hacienda CDC office building will house all 40 of its staff members, who are currently divided between three office spaces. Construction will be financed through tax credits and a HUD loan from the Portland Housing Bureau. The Hacienda office, at the corner of Northeast Killingsworth and Northeast Cully, will place Hacienda staff in the midst of their largest affordable-housing campus, making the organization’s services easily accessible to the community. They expect to serve more than 3,000 people annually at the new site.
The Ortiz Community Center is adjacent to the new office site. It houses a Multnomah County health clinic, additional county social services, and provides community space to affordable-housing residents. It was built nearly 15 years ago; the tax credits will fund necessary repairs to the building.
Portland Mercado is a Latino public market and business incubator located in the Lents neighborhood. Mayor Hales toured the Southeast Foster site last month. It will be a prominent cultural and economic landmark for the Latino community, hosting around 20 businesses. Hacienda partnered with Wells Fargo Bank, New Orleans-based Enhanced Capital Partners, and Phoenix-based Raza Development to finance the Mercado. It is scheduled to open in spring 2015.
City Selects Team for Compliance Officer and Community Liaison to Support Police Reform
FRIDAY, NOV. 7, 2014 – Portland City Commissioners will enter negotiations next week with a team led by Dr. Dennis Rosenbaum of the University of Illinois at Chicago to serve as the Compliance Officer and Community Liaison.
Joining the Rosenbaum team will be retired Chief Justice Paul De Muniz of the Oregon Supreme Court.
Also on the team is Dr. Amy Watson, an associate professor at the University of Illinois’ Jane Addams College of Social Work, and a nationally recognized expert on police interactions with people experiencing mental illness.
The City Council will consider the ordinance at its Wednesday, Nov. 12, meeting.
“This is a world-class team, which will make sure the city remains in compliance with the settlement, and works in good faith with our community,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Adding Justice De Muniz to the team gives this position true gravitas.”
Commissioner Amanda Fritz coordinated the proposed selection of this team, in consultation with Mayor Hales and all Commissioners, after considering public input in the 30-day public comment period required by the Settlement Agreement.
“I was impressed with all three finalists for the position,” she said. “While I share some concerns we heard from community members that a team based in Chicago might have challenges becoming and staying connected in Portland, I believe the active involvement of Justice De Muniz will provide the necessary well-grounded local leadership.”
Rosenbaum is a professor of criminology; law and justice; and psychology at the University of Illinois. He was worked extensively on the issues of police interactions with communities.
De Muniz was the first Hispanic Chief Justice in Oregon, elected to the Supreme Court in 2000, and elected as Chief Justice in 2006. He also served on the Oregon Court of Appeals for 10 years. He attended Madison High School in Portland and Portland State University.
Also on the team are Dr. Geoffrey Alpert, professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of South Carolina; and Tom Christoff of the National Police Research Platform, which assists with the development of survey tools and research methodology in police-community interactions.
The city also is considering hiring a mental health advocate and specialist who will assist a Community Oversight Advisory Board, or COAB, on issues related to mental illness. Recruitment starts in December.
That board, along with the Compliance Officer/Community Liaison – also known as the COCL – are part of the settlement agreement between the city and the Federal Department of Justice to reform police practices in the city. The city, DOJ, the Albina Ministerial Alliance for Justice and Police Reform, and the police union came to an agreement on a settlement earlier this year, and a federal judge accepted the agreement in August.
The city has been enacting a wide array of the reforms, including in the areas of police training and discipline; use of force and use of Tasers; and de-escalation policies. In October, Mayor Hales announced that Assistant Chief Larry O’Dea would be promoted to chief, starting in January. O’Dea has been a leader in enacting police reforms and building relationships with the community.
The naming of the Compliance Officer and Community Liaison is the latest step in years of work to improve police procedures.
The role of the COCL includes auditing, surveying and analysis of the level and quality of the city’s implementation of the DOJ settlement. The COCL also will collaborate with the community to measure success of improvements to police interactions.
Draft Regulations for Short-term Rentals in Apartments, Condos Proposed
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 staff to explore options for expanding the program to include multi-dwelling structures (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,” Hales said. “We want to ensure that Portland is a city of opportunity in which bureaucracy doesn’t get in the way of innovation, but safety and fairness are assured.”
The new rules would be similar to those already in effect for single dwellings: Basic safety measures and notice to surrounding residents would be required. 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 a hearing for public comment on the proposed draft 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
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.”
Portland to Be Featured at Launch of National, City-to-City Broadband Initiative
One of 31 inaugural partner cities of Next Century Cities
THURSDAY, OCT. 16, 2014 — Portland will be featured as an inaugural member of Next Century Cities, a bipartisan, city-to-city initiative dedicated to ensuring the availability of next-generation broadband Internet for all communities. The launch event will take place Monday, Oct. 20, in Santa Monica, Calif., and will be simultaneously webcast. Register to join the webcast at http://bit.ly/next-century-cities.
Mary Beth Henry with the Office for Community Technology will be representing Portland on a panel discussing Building the Next Century City.
Joining Portland will be 20 elected officials, as well as other leaders from the 31 cities joining together to form Next Century Cities. Featured speakers and panelists will discuss the importance of broadband Internet to communities nationwide, and how this new initiative will support communities and their elected leaders as they seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet.
WHAT: Next Century Cities Launch
WHO: Mayors and city leaders from 31 cities across the country
LINK: Register to join the webcast at http://bit.ly/next-century-cities
WHEN: 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Monday, October 20
Next Century Cities: Inaugural Partner Cities (31)
- Ammon, ID
- Auburn, IN
- Austin, TX
- Boston, MA
- Centennial, CO
- Champaign, IL
- Chattanooga, TN
- Clarksville, TN
- Jackson, TN
- Kansas City, KS
- Kansas City, MO
- Lafayette, LA
- Leverett, MA
- Louisville, KY
- Montrose, CO
- Morristown, TN
- Mount Vernon, WA
- Palo Alto, CA
- Ponca City, OK
- Portland, OR
- Raleigh, NC
- Rockport, ME
- San Antonio, TX
- Sandy, OR
- Santa Cruz County, CA
- Santa Monica, CA
- South Portland, ME
- Urbana, IL
- Westminster, MD
- Wilson, NC
- Winthrop, MN
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.”
The press conference is at noon at the Justice Center in the Wayne Sullivan Room, 14th Floor, 1111 SW 2nd Ave.
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.
Death of Dr. Steven Fritz
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.
Portland wins worldwide honors for climate action plan
TUESDAY, SEPT. 23, 2014 – Portland is among 10 cities worldwide to receive the City Climate Leadership Awards 2014. The Awards honor cities all over the world for excellence in urban sustainability and leadership in the fight against climate change.
Siemens and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group – or C40 – announced the winners Monday evening at a ceremony in New York City. They are:
• Amsterdam: Finance & Economic Development
• Barcelona: Intelligent City Infrastructure
• Buenos Aires: Solid Waste Management
• London: Carbon Measurement & Planning and Air Quality
• Melbourne: Adaptation & Resilience
• New York City: Energy Efficient Built Environment
• Portland: Sustainable Communities
• Seoul: Green Energy
• Shenzhen: Urban Transportation
“Portland stands proudly alongside the global megacities that make up the C40,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “We're delighted to have the honor and recognition that the Portland’s Healthy Connected City approach has proven to be a powerful carbon-reduction strategy.”
Eduardo Paes, mayor of Rio de Janeiro and chairman of the C40 group, praised the honorees. “I commend the winning cities for their leadership and commitment, and am confident that their knowledge and experience will help drive other cities to implement on-the-ground solutions faster and more efficiently. Through cooperation and collaboration, cities continue to deliver the results that are having a global impact.”
Hales praised Susan Anderson, director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and Michael Armstrong, senior sustainability manager, along with outside partners ranging from Metro to Multnomah County to the state government. He said the private sector plays a huge role in the honor as well.
“In Portland, the basic idea is to develop the centers of our existing neighborhoods into 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.
Portland’s plan also calls for offering new housing opportunities so even more residents can live in complete neighborhoods. And then connecting these neighborhoods with low-carbon transportation options.
“We are 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.”
The winners were celebrated at an Awards Ceremony featuring C40 Board President Michael R. Bloomberg and Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Norwegian Prime Minister. The event brought together more than 250 decision-makers from cities around the world including national leaders, mayors, city planners, policy makers and representatives from the business world.
Josh Alpert, special projects adviser to Mayor Hales, attended to accept the award.
The award-winning cities were selected for the following actions:
Sustainable Communities recipient: Portland for its ‘Healthy Connected City’ network. The city is developing “complete neighborhoods” to give all residents safe and convenient access to the goods and services needed in daily life. In 2012, 45 percent of the Portland population lived in complete neighborhoods, a figure which the city aims to raise to 80 percent by 2035. The city’s ambitious and successful initiative shows a unique and valuable pathway to sustainable, resilient, and low carbon communities.
Finance and Economic Development recipient: Amsterdam for its
‘Investment Fund’. With this innovative project the city demonstrates how environmental and climate protection initiatives can be effectively incorporated into a city’s economic development strategy. Amsterdam designed a powerful financing instrument of USD 103 million to be invested in sustainable energy projects, some of them focusing on small businesses. The fund lowers energy bills for citizens and businesses and contributes to Amsterdam’s overall CO2 reduction targets: In 2010, the city had already achieved a 20 percent reduction, compared to 1990 levels.
Intelligent City Infrastructure recipient: Barcelona for its ‘Urban Platform’. This project introduces a new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) architecture that provides a single platform, which interconnects the entire city. The platform enables the city to manage resources efficiently and reduce the impact of urban infrastructure on the environment. It will help the city save energy and reduce pollution thanks to sensors monitoring water levels for irrigation, garbage containers, parking, people flow, energy efficiency in city buildings, etc. The program is also geared towards citizen engagement and features a web platform called “GO” (Open Government), which publishes all data publicly.
Solid Waste Management recipient: Buenos Aires for its ‘Solid Urban Waste Reduction Project’. This project is not only improving the city’s cleanliness, but it is also a well-integrated and easily replicable strategy that includes strong citizen engagement and job growth. The city has committed to reducing waste sent to landfill by 83 percent by 2017, achieving this through an ambitious waste treatment program based on waste separation at origin, recovery, recycling and valorization. The city’s efforts have already resulted in a significant reduction of waste sent to landfills.
Carbon Measurement and Planning recipient: London for its assessment of city-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Between 2012 and 2013, the
Greater London Authority (GLA) took a holistic approach to measuring GHG emissions. It was the first city worldwide to report direct and indirect city wide GHG emissions following internationally recognized GHG accounting and reporting principles. The effort builds on the C40 and partners’ Global
Protocol for Community-scale GHG Emissions (GPC) (in which London was also a pilot city), including a wider range of indirect emissions and a separate consumption-based methodology.
Air Quality recipient: London for its ‘New Taxi for London’ project. Transport accounts for 60 percent of all air pollutant emissions in London. This project seeks to develop new zero emission-capable vehicles with manufacturers; it will use GPS-based geofencing to switch hybrid vehicles to its zero emission drive cycle and will provide a range of innovative financing solutions. The aim of the project is to reduce emissions from the city’s iconic black taxi fleet by up to 100 percent in central London and around 75 percent in the rest of the city. Since the introduction of age limits more than 3,000 of the oldest taxis have been retired and from 2018 all taxis will be newly licensed. This project is a unique approach of aligning the Government Office for low emission vehicles, the European Investment Bank and the UK Green Investment Bank.
Adaptation and Resilience recipient: Melbourne for its ‘Urban Landscapes Climate Adaptation Program’. By increasing green space to 7.6 percent of municipal space and doubling the tree canopy, the program’s goal is to cool the city by 4°C and reduce drought vulnerability using green infrastructure. The city’s actions have already led to the planting of 12,000 new trees and the addition of 10,000 square meters of green space. The program includes running extensive citizen engagement initiatives, which together with the other actions provide a wide range of benefits including improved air quality and city resilience, reduced energy demand, and reduced heat-related illness and morbidity.
Energy Efficient Built Environment recipient: New York for its ‘Greener, Greater Buildings Plan’ and New York City ‘Carbon Challenge’ program.
Launched to back up New York’s environmental goal of reducing citywide GHG emissions by 30 percent by 2030, these programs benefit building owners through energy savings, and improve both air quality and public health. By reducing an estimated 5 percent of GHG emissions, this program can save the city USD 7 billion in energy costs and create roughly 17,800 jobs over the next 10 years. The NYC Carbon Challenge is designed to reduce emissions by more than 600,000 metric tons by the end of the program.
Green Energy recipient: Seoul for its ‘Make Seoul a City of Sunlight’ project. The city is building more photovoltaic facilities, targeting a reduction of greenhouse emissions as well as the city’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels, oil and nuclear and coal power plants. This project is part of the ‘One
Less Nuclear Power Initiative’, designed to reduce the city’s energy demand by two million tons of oil equivalent, which is the same amount as the output of one nuclear plant. Seoul’s aim is to function as a huge solar power plant and create energy independent communities.
Urban Transportation Award recipient: Shenzhen, for its ‘New Energy Vehicle Promotion’ project. As of December 2013, Shenzhen has introduced a new energy vehicle fleet of more than 6,000 units, making it the largest zero-emissions fleet in service worldwide. The project aims to add 35,000 new energy vehicles to the fleet in the next two years and to reach a zero emission ecosystem in the long term. Between 2009 and 2013, this program has cut CO2 emissions by 160,000 tones, leading to the city being ranked in the top 10 for best air quality in China according to China’s Environment
About the Awards competition:
This year marks the second collaboration between C40 and Siemens on this awards competition, which recognizes innovative city driven climate actions. Cities around the world submitted 87 applications. An independent, seven-member judging panel consisting of former city mayors, architects, representatives of the World Bank, as well as C40 and Siemens evaluated 31 projects in 26 cities as award finalists.
The City Climate Leadership Awards are part of a broader collaboration between Siemens and C40, announced in New York City in April 2013. In addition to the Awards, Siemens supports the C40 Measurement and Planning Initiative –an effort dedicated to enhancing each member city’s ability to measure data, take action and track progress towards self-identified goals. Siemens’ technical expertise is directly available to C40’s robust network of cities.
City Moves Forward To Hire Compliance Officer/Community Liaison to Implement DOJ Settlement
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 10, 2014 – The City of Portland is moving forward with the latest requirement of a police-reform agreement crafted with the U.S. Department of Justice: hiring a Compliance Officer/Community Liaison to oversee the City’s compliance with those reforms.
On Aug. 29, Federal Judge Michael Simon approved the settlement between the DOJ and the city.
The three candidates are:
● 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.
“We are pleased to continue moving forward with the letter and spirit of the Department of Justice settlement, through the process of hiring the Compliance Officer/Community Liaison,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Since the request for proposals became public in January, these candidates have shown great patience as we have worked through the process. This is a major step forward in the city’s commitment to the settlement.”
“I encourage all Portlanders to engage in this process, first to advise on selection of the Compliance Officer/Community Liaison and then in the crucial work of making Portland a safer place for people experiencing mental illnesses,” said Commissioner Amanda Fritz, a retired psychiatric nurse. “The Settlement Agreement clearly assigns responsibility and accountability for police actions to all five Council members. I am eager to do my part to ensure equitable treatment of every citizen, with respect for all.”
Twelve people initially applied for the position in January. Assessment of the applications has been coordinated by Joe Wahl, Deputy Director of the Office of Equity and Human Rights, in partnership with Commissioner Fritz and a planning committee of City staff and community members. Panels of reviewers – including community members with experience in mental health care services, the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, and city staff – chose the three candidates to be interviewed.
The DOJ settlement requires the City to identify a list of three potential candidates for public review, from which the City Council will select one.
The candidates will be interviewed on Monday, Sept. 29. Community members are welcome to observe. (See below.) The initial presentations by the candidates will be broadcast on Channel 30 via Portland Community Media, and the video posted on the City’s website. With input from the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition and advocates for people experiencing mental illness, an advisory group has been created to help work through the selection process for hiring the COCL. (See below.)
The City Council also will interview the candidates, in addition to the community process. The City Auditor, Portland’s sixth elected official, was invited to participate in these interviews but declined.
“While I appreciate the invitation to participate in the interview of the three COCL candidates, I must recuse myself from that process,” said Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade. “The person hired in this position will be responsible for evaluating a number of aspects of the City’s compliance with the DOJ agreement, including the work of the Independent Police Review (IPR) division in my office. My participation in the selection process would create a serious and inappropriate conflict for my role as City Auditor and as the elected official charged with oversight of IPR.”
Following the interviews on Sept. 29, the DOJ Settlement requires a 30-day public comment period for community advice to the Council on which candidate should be selected. Public input will be welcome through Oct. 29. An email address and phone number for comments will be announced on Sept. 29.
The Council is expected to enter into contract negotiations later this fall.
After the hiring of the Compliance Officer/Community Liaison, the next step is the creation of a Community Oversight Advisory Board, or COAB, to work with the COCL on assessing whether the Police Bureau and the City are meeting the terms of the DOJ agreement.
“I want to thank Commissioner Fritz and the advisory group for their work,” Hales said. “As a Portlander, and as Police Commissioner, I take these issues seriously, and so does the community. Hiring the compliance officer is a major step forward for the City Council. I look forward to having the officer’s independent assessment of the positive changes already made as well as advice about how to implement the remaining tasks.”
COCL Interview Process
In a theater-style venue, each candidate will have a maximum of 25 minutes to present an overview of their plan in an open public meeting with all members of the Advisory Committee in the audience. The order of presentations will be assigned by random drawing. Candidates will not observe other teams’ presentations. No additional questions from the Advisory Committee or the public will be asked in this phase. The presentations will be covered by Portland Community Media, with videos posted on the City’s website and broadcast on Channel 30.
After a break, candidates will rotate through three panel interviews moderated by facilitators, where Advisory Committee members will ask follow-up questions to clarify statements made in initial presentations, and explore the additional questions assigned to each group. Each panel interview will be 40 minutes. Interview rooms will be open to the public, however only Advisory Committee members will interact with the candidates.
Community interviews will be concluded by 1:05 p.m. Candidates will be interviewed by pairs of the City Council later in the afternoon, or the previous day.
9 a.m. – 10:25 a.m. Applicant presentations in Portland Building Auditorium or City Council chambers. Each 25 minutes with 5 minute break in between.
9:00 a.m – 9:25 a.m. 1st presentation
9:25 a.m – 9:30 a.m. 1st break
9:30 a.m. – 9:55 a.m. 2nd presentation
9:55 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. 2nd break
10:00 a.m.– 10:25 a.m. 3rd presentation
10:25 a.m. – 10:35 a.m. Break, then candidates and Advisory Committee members go to first panel interviews (10 min)
10:35 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. First small-group interview sessions (40 min)
11:15 a.m. – 11:35 a.m. Break, snacks, candidates rotate (20 min)
11:35 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Second small-group interview sessions (40 min)
12:15 p.m. – 12:25 p.m. Break, candidates rotate (10 min)
12:25 p.m. – 1:05 p.m. Third small-group interview sessions (40 min)
1:05 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Break, lunch provided for Advisory Committee (40 min)
1:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Advisory Committee discussion, recommendation to Council on whether to forward all three applicants for public review and 30-day comment period. Public meeting, audience may observe, no public comment at this time. (2 hours)
Coalition for Justice
Dr. LeRoy Haynes, Jr.
Portland Commission on Disabilites
Disability Rights Oregon
Elders In Action
Lee Po Cha
Advocate for Houseless People
Cascadia Behavioral Health
Dr. Maggie Bennington-Davis
Human Rights Commission
Citizen Review Committee
Community Mental Health
Press Release: Mayor Charlie Hales leads trade mission to Japan
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 3, 2014 – Portland Mayor Charlie Hales this week will lead a small delegation of city leaders on a trade mission to Japan. The group departs Wednesday, Sept. 3, and returns Tuesday, Sept. 9.
“Portland is an international city, and we are seeing this increasingly in our economy,” Hales said. “We have come through the Great Recession and we are seeing our economy on the rise. But broadening international relations will hedge the city’s bet against the next recession.”
Joining the mayor on this trip are two members of the city’s Office of Government Relations – Director Martha Pellegrino and Hector Miramontes, the city’s international relations director – and Mitsushiro Yamazaki, business development officer at the Portland Development Commission.
This year marks the 55th anniversary of Portland’s longest-running sister city relationship, that of Sapporo, Japan. The overseas trip will include events in Sapporo and Tokyo.
This trip comes after Mayor Fumio Ueda of Sapporo brought a delegation of approximately 90 people to Portland in June during the Portland Rose Festival.
Mayors Hales and Ueda will sign an agreement to form an arts exchange between the sister cities.
In Sapporo, Hales will meet with the Hokkaido Shimbun Newspaper, tour the Sapporo International Art Festival and take part in the 55th anniversary ceremony of the Portland Pavilion in Sapporo Art Park. The delegation also will tour Portland Square at Horoshira Bridge.
A Saturday symposium will focus on “Lifestyle Portland,” and will feature author and architect Ryohei Suita. Hales will speak, along with Jeff Hammerly of Travel Portland and Mitsushiro Yamazaki of PDC.
The delegation heads to Tokyo on Sunday to meet with representatives of Sekisui House, Japan’s second-largest homebuilder, which is focusing on green building and sustainability.
“We have a lot to learn from Japan’s green building industry, and they have a lot to learn from us,” Hales said. “This is an opportunity share best practices.”
The delegation will meet with representatives of the Japanese government’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism, which has jurisdiction over such issues as land-use planning, urban development, housing, harbors and disaster preparedness.
“The ministry’s areas of expertise align with a lot of the driving issues here in Portland,” Hales said.
The Tokyo visit includes a meeting with Mitsui Fudosan, the largest real estate developer in Japan and founding member of Japan’s Smart City Planning Inc.
This is Hales’s third overseas trip since taking office in January 2013, following trips to China and South Africa.
Statement Regarding Judge Simon's Decision on DOJ Settlement
Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 --
“We all want our Police Bureau to treat all people with humanity and dignity, and to have the tools and training necessary to deal with the complexities of mental illness. This agreement, now affirmed, solidifies Portland’s commitment to serving our diverse community.”
“Judge Simon’s order, approving the settlement, helps move us forward in implementing reforms related to hiring, training, rules of force and discipline of police officers. We are in the process of hiring a Compliance Officer/Community Liaison. We’re serious about having a police force that appreciates the issues around mental illness and that utilizes de-escalation tactics.” -- Mayor Charlie Hales
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.
Mayor Nominates New Commissioner to PDC Board
THURSDAY, AUG. 21, 2014 — Portland Mayor Charlie Hales today nominated Mark Edlen to serve on the board of the Portland Development Commission. The three-year term requires approval of the Portland City Council.
“Mark is one of the smartest, most innovative individuals working in the real estate development industry,” Hales said. “His years of experience creating great urban places coupled with his passion for the city make him the ideal candidate to serve on the PDC Board.”
Edlen is the chief executive officer of Portland-based Gerding Edlen Development (GED). Since its founding in 1996, GED has developed more than 60 projects worth more than $5 billion in real estate value throughout the United States.
He also serves on the Ecotrust board. And last year he and his wife established the Mark and Ann Edlen Scholarship Endowment Fund for students in the University of Oregon Lundquist College of Business.
“I’m thrilled Mayor Hales has nominated Mark to serve on the Board,” said PDC Board Chair Tom Kelly. “Mark’s expertise in sustainable development is unrivaled. His work has played a significant role in establishing Portland as the epicenter of green development in the U.S.”
Edlen replaces Scott Andrews on the five-member commission. Andrews stepped down following the end of his term in early July.
“Projects like The Brewery Blocks are the reason Mark is a great addition to the PDC,” Hales said. “We talk a lot about ‘placemaking,’ and the things that make Portland so vibrant. Mark’s career has embraced that concept. He gets it.”
Statement from Mayor on Gun Violence, Aug. 16-17, in Portland
MONDAY, AUG. 18, 2014 – This weekend, Portland saw an intolerable outbreak of gun violence: a 12:37 a.m. Sunday shooting on Southeast Third Avenue; a 5 a.m. shooting on Powell Boulevard; a 10:41 p.m. shooting in Northgate Park.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and to the neighbors of everyone affected by this violence in our city. This is the 87th gang-related violence call in our city this year – a dramatic increase from recent years.
The community is organizing an “Enough is Enough” meeting, 6 p.m., at the Community Policing Center, 449 N.E. Emerson St. This is a meeting organized by the community, for the community. The goal is to stop violence within our community; and to provide support for victims, their families, and Portlanders at large.
Participants will be asked for their guidance and advice within their areas of interest.
For more information, contact the Office of Youth Violence Prevention at (503) 823-3584.
Violence in Ferguson, Mo.
Statement from Portland Mayor Charlie Hales:
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Michael Brown, the young man shot in Ferguson, Mo. My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire community of Ferguson. And also to the African-American community in Portland, and throughout Oregon, and throughout our nation.
No law-abiding people should ever have reason to fear the police. Yet we must honestly admit that, too often, this is not true for a wide swath of our community: people of color.
That’s why I’ve made it a priority to join with many of my fellow mayors to focus on the lives of young black men in our community. Mayors like Michael Nutter in Philadelphia, and Mitch Landrieu in New Orleans, and I are focusing on this very topic through the Black Male Achievement Initiative.
In Portland, we are focusing on ways to collaborate with the community and to intercede on behalf of young African-Americans in the areas of jobs, education and incarceration rates. This is vital work. That is as true in Portland as it is everywhere.
Also in Portland, we have put a priority on new training for our Police Bureau, with an emphasis on the appropriate use of force, on de-escalation and on equity. Bureau members have begun receiving training on systemic inequities, implicit bias and cultural diversity. In July, as mayor and police commissioner, I joined in three intensive days of training for my staff and the top officials of the police department, on these very topics. The training, called White Men as Full Diversity Partners, was controversial to some but understood by many. But this week’s headlines provide just one example of why such training is vital.
We, as a society, have consistently failed multiple groups of Americans. We cannot continue to do so in the future.
Mayor Charlie Hales
Wage Gap Widens From Recession as Income Inequality Grows
TUESDAY, AUG. 12, 2014
NEW YORK CITY – Jobs gained during the economic recovery from the Great Recession pay an average 23 percent less than the jobs lost during the recession, according to a new report released Monday by The U.S. Conference of Mayors.
“It’s not just Portland, it’s everywhere,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, who was in New York for the U.S. Conference of Mayors Cities of Opportunity meeting. “We are working to retain jobs, and to draw jobs, to Portland, but this report outlines the difficulty. Overlay this with our focus on equity and gentrification, and you can see how complicated the situation is.”
The annual wage in sectors where jobs were lost during the downturn was $61,637, but new jobs gained through the second quarter of 2014 showed average wages of only $47,171. This wage gap represents $93 billion in lost wages.
Under a similar analysis conducted by the Conference of Mayors during the 2001-02 recession, the wage gap was only 12 percent compared to the current 23 percent -- meaning the wage gap has nearly doubled from one recession to the next.
“There’s a ‘walling off’ of the American Dream from a growing number of Americans,” Hales said. “Massive income inequality means the American Dream is in trouble.”
Prepared for the Conference of Mayors by IHS, the report was released in conjunction with the inaugural meeting of the USCM Cities of Opportunity Task Force in New York City. The Task Force, led by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, was established at the Conference’s Annual Meeting in June to identify strategies for addressing income inequality, promoting economic mobility and creating jobs in America’s cities.
“While the economy is picking up steam, income inequality and wage gaps are an alarming trend that must be addressed,” said U.S. Conference of Mayors President Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.
“This Task Force will recommend both national and local policies that will help to give everyone opportunity. We cannot put our heads in the sand on these issues,” Johnson said. “The nation’s mayors have an obligation to do what we can to address issues of inequality in this country while Washington languishes in dysfunction.”
The report also shows the gap between low- and higher-income households is growing and will continue into the foreseeable future. In 2012, the latest year for which figures are available, 261 (73 percent) out of 357 metros had a larger share of poorer households (those making less than $35,000 per year), than upper income households of above $75,000.
The report forecasts that middle-income households will continue to fall behind as higher income levels capture a greater share of income gains. In 2014 median household income is projected to increase by 2.5 percent in nominal dollars, and then by 3.8 percent per year from 2015 through 2017. But average (mean) income is expected to rise faster, 2.7 percent in 2014 and by 4.1 percent through 2017. Faster growth in mean income compared to median income demonstrates growing income inequality.
Adjusted for inflation, average household income fell 3 percent, while median income fell 5.5 percent from 2005-12, according to the report.
“The inequality crisis facing our cities is a threat to our fundamental American values. Reducing income inequality and ensuring opportunity for all is nothing less than the challenge of our times. As mayors, we are on the front lines and we must act now,” de Blasio said. “The Cities of Opportunity Task Force is bringing mayors from all corners of the country together to work together and leverage the power of municipal governments to advance a national, common equity agenda, and to also encourage action on a federal level.”
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh added, “Recognizing that each city has both universal and unique challenges, we identified three areas in which many of us believe there can be short-term, meaningful impact. In addition to this work we are committing to do together, we will all continue to work in our respective cities on disparity across all policy areas. In our conversations to date, we have identified additional factors related to housing, transportation, financial empowerment and a whole host of other issues that we plan to address moving forward. This is a long-term commitment for all of us, to effect lasting change in the lives of real people in our cities.”
Most notably, the report found that, since 1975, the increasing share of income earned by the highest quintile – the 20 percent of households with the highest incomes – rose from 43.6 percent in 1975 to 51 percent in 2012. Most of that gain occurred in the highest 5 percent of incomes, which rose from 16.5 percent in 1975 to 22.3 percent in 2012, a gain of $490 billion in 2012 income.
The lowest two quintiles, or 40 percent of households, received just 6.6 percent of all US income gains since 2005, while the share of total income gains from the top 20 percent was 60.6 percent and the top 5 percent received 27.6 percent.
The report concludes that according to IHS economic models, the drift toward income inequality will persist in the coming years as it is a structural feature of the 21st Century economy.
“Unless policies are developed to mitigate these trends, income inequality will only grow larger in the future,” said Jim Diffley, director of US Regional Economics at HIS and author of the report.
More than 30 mayors from cities across the country attended the first meeting of the USCM Cities of Opportunity Task Force. The list includes:
KEVIN JOHNSON, Sacramento, CA – USCM President
BILL DE BLASIO, New York, NY – USCM Cities of Opportunity Task Force Chair
MARTIN WALSH, Boston, MA – USCM Cities of Opportunity Task Force Vice Chair
KATHY SHEEHAN, Albany, NY
RICHARD BERRY, Albuquerque, NM
ED PAWLOWSKI, Allentown, PA
LEE LEFFINGWELL, Austin, TX
BILL FINCH, Bridgeport, CT
BYRON BROWN, Buffalo, NY
RAHM EMANUEL, Chicago, IL
JAMES BRAINARD, Carmel, IN
STEPHEN BENJAMIN, Columbia, SC
NAN WHALEY, Dayton, OH
J. CHRISTIAN BOLLWAGE, Elizabeth, NJ
PEDRO SEGARRA, Hartford, CT
ANNISE PARKER, Houston, TX
STEVEN FULOP, Jersey City, NJ
SYLVESTER JAMES, Kansas City, MO
PAUL SOGLIN, Madison, WI
TONI HARP, New Haven, CT
MITCHELL LANDRIEU, New Orleans, LA
SETTI WARREN, Newton, MA
FRANK ORTIS, Pembroke Pines, FL
MICHAEL NUTTER, Philadelphia, PA
BRIAN WAHLER, Piscataway, NJ
CHARLIE HALES, Portland, OR
LOVELY WARREN, Rochester, NY
RALPH BECKER, Salt Lake City, UT
JAVIER GONZALES, Santa Fe, NM
GARY MCCARTHY, Schenectady, NY
STEPHANIE MINER, Syracuse, NY
MARILYN STRICKLAND, Tacoma, WA
JOHN MARKS, Tallahassee, FL
VINCENT C. GRAY, Washington, DC
DENNIS P. WILLIAMS, Wilmington, DE
Mayor Charlie Hales Joins Nationwide Mayors Equity Task Force
WEDNESDAY, AUG.11, 2014 – Mayor Charlie Hales is in New York today, to take part in a nationwide Cities of Opportunity Task Force, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
“Mayors from throughout the nation face many of the same equity issues,” Hales said. “We want to learn other cities’ best practices and, frankly, a lot of other cities want to learn from Portland, too. We are talking about, thinking about and acting on equity issues, and that has not gone unnoticed among the nation’s mayors.”
The year-long task force will develop and share governing methodologies to empower cities to make equity a central governing principle; explore how municipal powers are best used to advance an equity agenda and how cities can work together to produce the most meaningful impact; and catalogue potential tools – such as overall budget decisions, purchasing power, regulatory controls, and procurement policies – and offer a set of best practices for using these levers of municipal government to drive greater equality and opportunity.
Chair of the group is New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, with vice chairman Mayor Martin Walsh of Boston. Other mayors on the task force include Michael Nutter, Philadelphia; Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles; Mike Rawlings, Dallas, Texas; and Annise Parker, Houston, Texas.
“The purpose of cities is to lift up residents and build a community and economy that works for everyone,” said Kevin Johnson, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and mayor of Sacramento. “That means having a higher minimum wage, expanding the supply of affordable housing and ensuring every child has access to Pre-K.”
De Blasio said such issues are best tackled at the city level. “We are living in a time of rising inequality and declining opportunity,” he said. “This is a threat to our fundamental values and an obstacle to the nation’s economic growth. Mayors are starting to respond to this crisis, and this task force is going to organize and focus the progressive ideas coming out of cities across the U.S., and put city issues back on the national agenda.”
The task force will develop a plan for cities to take action in developing aggressive equity agendas and implement changes. This plan will include real, practical tools and best practices – both previously executed and newly developed by the task force – which cities can use to make the most equitable decisions they can, with the powers they have, to create more equitable cities.
For Portland, equity work under way has included a new emphasis on equity in the re-write of the city’s Comprehensive Plan; the mayor’s Black Male Achievement initiative; and an unprecedented, three-day training for the mayor, members of his senior staff, and the command ranks of the Portland Police Department, on the issue of equity. More programs for ensuring equity in city services will be forthcoming over the next few months.
Participating mayors gathered Sunday in New York for a reception, following by a work meeting today at Gracie Mansion, 8:30 a.m. to noon (Eastern Time). That will be followed by a 12:30 p.m. press conference.
Statement from Mayor Hales on Refugee Children Coming to Oregon
WEDNESDAY, JULY 30, 2014 -- 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 Calls for Collaborative Action to Address Gang Violence Among Youth
TUESDAY, JULY 7, 2014 — Two homicides in one week and the recently released Multnomah County Comprehensive Gang Assessment illustrate the serious gang problem facing Portland, said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.
“The data are clear: The complex dynamics around our young people getting involved in gangs means all of us have a part to play,” Hales said. “I remain committed to helping lead the city’s effort to ensure that young people in Portland have hope for the future.”
The city is one of many partners working to combat gang activity issues through the Multnomah County Local Public Safety Coordinating Council, a 19-year-old work group co-chaired by Hales and County Commissioner Judy Shiprack that coordinates criminal justice policy among government entities.
Last week two shootings in Portland resulted in two deaths. An early morning shooting outside a strip club in East Portland on Saturday left Hahrahcio Roy Branch, 26, dead. That came five days after Andrew Leon Coggins Jr., 24, was killed in a drive-by shooting on Monday afternoon in North Portland, near McCoy Park.
Hales through his Office of Youth Violence Prevention is pushing for collaborative action, including the people most impacted by gangs and violence in order to address the collective impact of the issues.
The Gang Impacted Family Team works with a number of governmental and nonprofit organizations to break youths’ generational ties to gang activity that goes back up to three generations.
The Street-Level Gang Outreach Program, started in 2009, funds three nonprofit organizations that reach out to gang-affected young people and families.
The office works with the Multnmah County District Attorney Office's Court Bench Probation Project to connect misdemeanor offenders with mentors, as well as resources such as housing, job readiness, and education.
Hales plans to supplement outreach with his Black Male Achievement Initiative, stemming from a National League of Cities grant of technical assistance. The initiative will offer young, African-American men paid internships and a year of wraparound services — job shadowing, networking, tutoring, community service, computer training, leadership development — to help them avoid gangs and achieve stability. The mayor has invested $200,000 and staff time in the effort.
“I want Black Male Achievement,” Hales says, “to develop into a community-led, comprehensive resource for young, black males in Portland to realize their fullest potential.”
Mayor Hales, Sen. Wyden, Commissioner Smith Kick Off SummerWorks' Sixth Year
TUESDAY, JULY 1, 2014 — City, county and federal partners today at the Portland Building kicked off the SummerWorks program’s sixth year placing young people in summer jobs.
Mayor Charlie Hales, Sen. Ron Wyden, and Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith praised the program for helping teens and young adults gain the work experience that is critical to their long-term success.
SummerWorks, a program through Worksystems Inc., since 2009 has placed 2,617 young people, ages 16 to 21, in summer jobs. The program emphasizes under-represented youth who face challenges such as growing up in poverty or at risk of dropping out of high school.
“We’ve been able to grow this program at Multnomah County since 2011 from 25 young men and women to 125 this year,” says Smith, who will accept an award July 13 on the program’s behalf at the National Association of Counties’ annual convention. “This program works because it connects young people with quality jobs at good pay and provides the skills they need to make their lives better now and in the future.”
The program formed in response to a persistent youth unemployment problem in Oregon; 36,000 young people are both out of school and out or work in the Portland metro area. Last year only about 25 percent of people 16 to 19 years old had a job. For young African-American men, that figure was only 12 percent.
Hales has prioritized working with public and private partners to build a more robust internship system to connect Portland students to the local workforce, and is particularly focused on ameliorating disparities in education, work and family outcomes for African-American men.
“There are several ways we as a community have failed the African American youth — education, employment, incarceration rates,” Hales says. “These internships help level the playing field in a key performance measure, employment. This program provides a leg up. It’s a small step, but a good one.”
Nearly 60 percent of SummerWorks’ funding comes from the city of Portland, Multnomah County, and Worksystems Inc., which is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Labor. Last year, Worksystems contributed $222,169 to the program; the city of Portland $188,071; and Multnomah County $173,475.
“The SummerWorks program is an indispensable tool in training the next generation of productive workers, in breaking the cycle of poverty, and in teaching young people the value of work and the self-esteem that comes with it,” Sen. Wyden says. “This program is the gold standard for demonstrating to the rest of the country that local governments and the federal government can come together with local nonprofits and private enterprise to find good jobs for young people who want to work and want to contribute to their community.”
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.
Mayor Hales Celebrates Community Unity with Good in the Hood
SATURDAY, JUNE 28, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales, First Lady Nancy Hales, and members of the mayor’s staff on Saturday paraded down Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to celebrate community unity at Good in the Hood.
For more than two decades, the Good in the Hood festival has sought to build unity in Northeast Portland, with a focus on community-building. The event started as a Holy Redeemer Catholic School fundraiser for education programs. Now the event includes more than 2,000 parade participants from across the city and vendors from across Oregon and Washington, expanding the community far beyond Northeast Portland.
On Saturday, the smell of Big C’s BBQ settled over Albina Park and people danced to covers performed by Elliot Young and the Smokin’ Section. The Ebony Strutters, a drill team of girls aged approximately 4 to 15, delighted the crowd with a dance routine; by the end of it, the audience — including the mayor — was dancing along.
Hales kicked off the festival by proclaiming June 28 “Unity in the Community Day.” Good in the Hood reflects the mayor’s goal to develop a city of “complete neighborhoods” — those with good schools, ample jobs, and streets, sidewalks and parks that are safe and in good repair. The event is an exemplar of civic ownership among neighborhood residents; its growth shows how positive momentum in neighborhoods benefits the city as a whole.
“In my office we don’t talk about world-class cities,” Hales says. “We talk about world-class neighborhoods. And Good in the Hood is an excellent example of that.”
Last Thursday - Noise Control
City of Portland
Paul van Orden
Noise Control Officer
Office of Neighborhood Involvement
City of Portland
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25, 2014 – The City of Portland has been working for the last several years to better balance the impacts of noise at the monthly Last Thursday on Northeast Alberta Street. The noise from the event impacts neighbors, businesses and street musicians who have been drowned out by excessive loud musical performances.
Beginning at this month’s Last Thursday, the City will work to equitably enforce noise violations that have an impact on the neighbors and businesses in the Alberta Street Neighborhood area.
“Musicians will be held accountable to comply with the existing 100 foot audibility standard in the Portland City Code for performances at Last Thursday,” said Paul van Orden, Noise Control Officer. “Citations will be issued for individuals and groups found in violation.”
As the event grows, the City regularly hears from the community that the event should be held to the same legal standards that are used at any other street festivals throughout the city. “It is simply not equitable to let one un-permitted event, such as Last Thursday, operate at louder sound levels than we would for other community events such as the Mississippi Street Fair, Good in the Neighborhood, Belmont Street Festival, or the Hawthorne Street fest,” van Orden said. “These are just a handful of examples of events that have a robust number of volunteers, and work hard to comply with City permits and limit their impact on the community members living near their event.”
Over the last eight to 10 years, the Noise Control Office at the City of Portland has worked to educate musicians about the need along Alberta Street to comply with the City Codes related to street musician performance and the use of amplifiers in the public right of way that sets the maximum distance for sound to be audible at no more than 100 feet. After many years of education, and having announced the change in practice this spring, City staff will begin enforcing the existing rules.
Other changes at the 2014 Last Thursday festivities include a 9 p.m. closure, to comply with neighborhood requests. “We started that practice in May and it went well,” said Chad Stover, adviser to Mayor Charlie Hales.
Tomorrow at Last Thursday, the Noise Office will be working at the beginning of the event to pace off to 125 feet with one staff person and than another officer will educate musicians and DJs if they are too loud and need to reduce their sound. It will be the intent to give musicians a little more distance than the 100 foot rule by having officers pace off to 125 feet.
Any musicians who do not comply after a warning will be cited. The citation carries a $250 penalty.
“Last Thursday is a great event. People love it,” Stover said. “The mayor attended almost every one of them last year. We’re convinced it can remain a great event, and be a better neighbor. We’re looking forward to another season of vibrant Last Thursdays on Alberta with fewer noise impacts on neighbors.”
Portland City Council Eyes Resolution of Support for Interfaith Initiative on Family Homelessness
MONDAY, JUNE 23, 2014 – The Portland City Council on Wednesday will pass a resolution of support for a new interfaith initiative on family homelessness.
The resolution is co-sponsored by Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Dan Saltzman.
The initiative will be led by New City Initiative (www.newcityinitiative.net), a Portland-area nonprofit whose mission is to engage faith communities in ending the cycle of homelessness. The goal of the initiative is to enlist 50 congregations in Portland and Multnomah County to provide support teams for homeless families through New City Initiative’s Village Support Network program (www.newcityinitiative.net/bethevillage).
Support teams assist families with goal-setting, budgeting, job search, enrolling children in school and afterschool programs, and other activities that lead to increased stability and educational attainment.
"I applaud the efforts of the faith community to support Portland’s most vulnerable citizens, and especially families with children that experience homelessness," Mayor Hales said. "This initiative is a tremendous opportunity for congregations to help these families make the transition successfully into housing and remain stable in the long term."
Commissioner Saltzman agreed, adding, "This initiative shows that partnerships between local government and community and faith-based organizations can bring about amazing results."
Support teams of four to six people are matched with families who sign up for the program. Teams meet monthly with their assigned family over a six-month period to set goals, develop budgets and come up with action plans. Teams also raise $500 from their congregation for a "family assistance fund" that is spent in the form of targeted investments in the family’s success.
The Village Support Network model is based on Critical Time Intervention, an evidence-based practice developed by Columbia University.
Portland makes C40 Short List
TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2014
PORTLAND, OR – The City of Portland has made the C40 & Siemens City Climate Leadership Awards’ short list for its Healthy Connected City strategy, which judges called "an outstanding example of innovation, producing a significant impact on your city’s sustainability performance."
C40 is a global network of cities working to take sustainable action on climate change.
The Healthy Connected City strategy is part of the 2012 Portland Plan, a 25-year proposal to improve the city. The strategy juxtaposes neighborhood equity and sustainability projects, such as reducing carbon emissions below 1990s levels and planting trees over one-third of the city, and aims to bring "complete neighborhoods" — with equitable access to healthy environments and opportunities — to 80 percent of the city’s population by 2035.
"This is about economic uplift for those who’ve been left behind, as well as ecological improvement and saving the planet," Mayor Charlie Hales told C40. "Who can argue, if we can accomplish all those accomplishments at once?"
Mayor Hales in February attended C40’s Mayors Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, to discuss sustainable planning and infrastructure and climate issues with mayors from around the world. Incidentally, it was snowing in Portland during this year’s summit.
Portland is a contender in the Sustainable Communities category. Last year’s winner was Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for its urban revitalization strategy. C40 will announce winners in mid-July.
Mayor Seeks Input on Charter Change for Street Fee
TUESDAY, JUNE 17, 2014
What: Charter Amendment to lock in the use of funds from a street fee.
When: It will go to the council for a vote next week.
Then: Would go to voters in November.
Purpose: To lock in these funds for safety and maintenance of city streets and sidewalks.
The mayor first started talking about this charter amendment at a five-hour public hearing at the first of the month.
“People don’t trust government. They fear we’ll misuse these funds. And I get that. But our charter is like our constitution. If we lock up the use of these funds in that document, which only Portlanders can change, they can have faith that we’ll use the money exactly as we said we would.” – Mayor Charlie Hales.
Some people had complained about the speed with which the proposed charter amendment is coming together. Hales said he has slowed down the process to allow time for more public input.
At the same time, the mayor and commissioner want to give assurance to citizens that “slowing down” doesn’t mean “walking away” from the street fee proposal. The charter amendment will be voted on by residents in November, just ahead of a City Council vote on the new funding source.
The Council is expected to vote by the middle of next week on the wording of this charter change.
Mayor Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick have proposed a street fee to pay for the maintenance and safety of the city’s streets, which have deteriorated over the years.
Although the mayor has been talking about this issue for almost 14 years, some residents said the process is going too quickly. The mayor and commissioner held several town halls this winter to bring the issue to the attention of voters.
However, after taking five hours of testimony on the topic, Hales and Novick agreed to slow down the process. They will take this summer as work groups ponder the specifics of a residential street fee and a non-residential street fee.
While those specifics won’t be hammered out for months yet, the charter change would lock in the use of the funds raised by the fee. That money would be dedicated to maintenance and safety of streets and sidewalks.
People with suggestions for the charter amendment can send suggestions by Tuesday, June 24, to:
Subject line: Charter Change
MAYOR HALES ADDS COMMUNICATIONS AIDE, CONSOLIDATES STAFF
MONDAY, JUNE 16, 2014
PORTLAND, OR – The office of Mayor Charlie Hales is undergoing a staff shift, with the consolidation of one position and the addition of another.
Sara Hottman of Portland has been hired to serve as Communications Assistant for the Mayor.
Hottman is in a master’s program in political science at Portland State University and has a bachelor’s in political science and communications/media studies from Fordham University in New York City. She served as a reporter at The Oregonian from 2012-13, and prior to that was a reporter at The Outlook in Gresham, Herald and News in Klamath Falls, and The Robesonian in Lumberton, N.C.
She will work with Communications Director Dana Haynes in areas that will include media relations, social media, and writing for policy issues.
Meanwhile, Grace Uwagbae, Constituent Relations Manager for the Mayor, has been accepted into graduate school at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and leaves later this summer. Her duties will be distributed amid others on the mayor’s staff.
Upon taking office in 2013, Mayor Hales announced that he would have a much smaller staff than past mayors, which ranged around 25 to 30 people. Among his first tasks as mayor was to ask each bureau in the city to take a 10 percent budget reduction and to take immediate steps to reduce costs.
Hales has a staff of 13 people.
Mayor Hales Proposes Late Night Activity Permit
TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 2014
PORTLAND, OR – A citywide Late Night Activity Permit will be discussed Wednesday by the Portland City Council.
The purpose of the proposed permit is to establish rules for businesses that operate late into the evening and draw crowds, such as music clubs.
“The goal is to empower businesses, not crack down on them,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “If you own a music club, you need to know what your neighborhood thinks and what the city requires. It’s about blending community entertainment with the goal of being good neighbors. This proposed permit could be a way to make that happen.”
Elements of the proposal include:
● Training and education.
● Plans for security and crowd management.
● Identifying sound-mitigation strategies.
Chad Stover, Project Manager in the Mayor’s Office, said the proposal will get its first airing this week, with no specific timeline moving forward. “We want to talk to the businesses that would be affected. We want to take the time to do this right,” Stover said.
“Obviously, if you have a nightclub, a fast-food restaurant, and a food cart: One size does not fit all,” Hales said. “We are hoping to provide clarity for the restaurants and clubs that stay open late and draw crowds. And that means clarity for their neighbors as well.”
Mayor, Commissioner Push Back Council Vote on 2015 Street Fee
TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 2014
PORTLAND, OR – 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 free 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."
Fred Miller to Stay on as Chief Administrative Officer for City of Portland
FRIDAY, MAY 30, 2014
PORTLAND, OR – 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; a position Portland does not have.
"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.
City Council Passes Mayor Charlie Hales' Budget for 2014-15
WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2014
PORTLAND, OR – The Portland City Council on Wednesday passed Mayor Charlie Hales’ budget for 2014-15. The $3.58 billion budget passed on a 5-0 vote.
“Last year we righted the ship. This year, we begin steering it toward addressing the issues of homelessness, emergency preparedness and making neighborhoods complete,” Hales said.
Details of the budget can be found at the City Budget Office website. https://www.portlandoregon.gov/cbo/64964
The budget must be approvied by the Tax Supervising and Conservation Commission of Multnomah County, then returns to the City Council for final adoption in June.
This is Portland’s first “stabilization” budget after years of cuts.
Hales has been in office just 17 months. During that time, he and the council passed a budget that eradicated last year’s $21.5 million shortfall; cut 142 full-time equivalent positions; retained the city’s best-in-the-nation bond rating; set aside funding to pay down millions of dollars in city debt; and made the city’s first-ever substantial revamping of Urban Renewal Areas, which put an estimated $1.06 billion worth of property back on the tax rolls, benefiting the city, Multnomah County and public schools.
This year, the city has slightly more than $9 million in discretionary funds to allocate, above the cost of ongoing city services. This revenue growth includes $4.6 million in ongoing funds, and $4.7 million in one-time funds. Hales focused much of that discretionary funding on his three priorities.
He allocated $2.25 million for homelessness, including $1 million for more outreach, referral and permanent housing for those now homeless and programs for youth homelessness. An additional $1 million would go for the Housing Investment Fund, which leverages federal and other money to build more units of affordable housing.
He allocated $1.42 million for emergency preparedness, including funds for improving the community emergency notification system and regional disaster preparedness. The budget calls for a $1.2 million investment in the Jerome Sears Facility, to begin developing the city-owned property into a West Side emergency operations facility.
And he allocated $2.25 million to help make neighborhoods complete, including new and ongoing funding for the Schools Uniting Neighborhoods, or SUN, program. Additional SUN Schools under the Mayor’s proposal include adding 10 new schools to the 70 SUN schools operating now, and providing permanent funding for five sites that faced expiring grants.
The budget also includes funding for the East Portland Action Plan and key investments in livability programs in the Office of Neighborhood Involvement and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.
The approved budget includes:
● Continued funding for the TriMet Youth Pass for Portland Public School students.
● Summer internships for youths.
● Funds to support survivors of sex trafficking.
● Funding for the Earl Boyles Early Learning Center in East Portland.
● The Mayor’s Black Male Achievement initiative.
● The Diversity and Civic Leadership Program within the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.
● Funding for Southeast Works.
● A VOZ day laborers’ work center.
● The annual Symphony in the Park celebration.
● Additional funding for the Regional Arts and Culture Council.
● An equity position within Portland Police, to manage operations and activities designed to increase diversity, equity, empowerment, inclusion and cultural proficiency of the Police Bureau.
The most ambitious element of the mayor’s budget is the critical re-thinking of urban renewal areas: sectors of the city set aside to address blight. Under Oregon law, a city may draw boundaries around urban renewal areas, temporarily freeze property taxes that go to other governments, and use any incremental property tax revenue growth to stimulate development and investment. When urban renewal areas expire, the property tax value of their enhanced developments then flow back to the city, county, schools and other taxing jurisdictions.
By eliminating and shrinking urban renewal areas, the mayor’s budget returns an estimated $1.06 billion onto the tax rolls, and provides approximately $5 million to the city, county and school budgets this year, growing to approximately $6 million in 2015-16.
That proposal breaks down to an immediate increase of an estimated $1.5 million into the city’s 2014-15 budget – almost 17 percent of the additional $9 million in new discretionary funds, without raising taxes.
Another centerpiece of the Mayor’s budget is the city/county agreement crafted by Mayor Hales and Marissa Madrigal, chair of the Multnomah County Commission. Hales credits Madrigal’s strong leadership for making the accord work.
The City Council will hold the first hearing for ordinances that adopt solid waste collection, water, sewer and storm water recycling rates for fiscal year 2014-15. The utility rate hearing is 2 p.m. Thursday, May 22, in the Council Chamber, City Hall, 1221 S.W. Fourth Ave. It is open to the public.
The City Council is expected to vote on the mayor’s approved budget by the end of May. The 2014-15 fiscal year starts July 1.
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.
Portland Public Schools has posted a website with details.
Jillian Detweiler Joins Mayor's Staff
WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2014
PORTLAND, OR – Jillian Detweiler of Portland is set to join Mayor Charlie Hales’ staff as one of four policy directors. Detweiler will join the City Hall staff June 2.
Detweiler received her bachelor’s degree from Lewis & Clark College and a masters in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After stints in the District of Columbia and North Carolina, she returned to Oregon in 1992 and has accrued experience in the public sector ever since.
She serves as director of real estate for TriMet, a position she has held since 2011. She has been with TriMet in a variety of positions since 2002.
Before that, she worked for then-City Commissioner Charlie Hales from 1995 to 2002, specializing in land use, transportation and development projects.
“Jillian knows Portland. She knows land-use. And she knows how to manage large, complicated and meticulous projects,” Hales said. “She has built a level of expertise throughout her career that will serve our team, and the city, well.”
Detweiler’s portfolio is expected to include the Portland Development Commission, along with issues related to development and housing, said Chief of Staff Gail Shibley.
“It’s a privilege to serve the city from the Mayor’s office,” Detweiler said.
She replaces Ed McNamara, one of Hales’ first hires in December 2012, the month before he was sworn in as mayor. McNamara announced last month that he is returning to the private sector to run his company, Turtle Island Development LLC.
Hales has maintained a relatively small staff as mayor of a major American city, with a team of 12 people in City Hall including only four policy directors and a communications director. Detweiler joins policy directors Josh Alpert, Jackie Dingfelder and Deanna Wesson-Mitchell.
Changes Proposed for Last Thursday
FRIDAY, MAY 9, 2014
PORTLAND, OR – Mayor Charlie Hales announced today a set of changes for the monthly Last Thursday celebrations on Northeast Alberta Street.
Among the most notable: the summer festivals will end at 9 p.m., to address concerns of neighborhood residents. And the mayor’s office will study the option of charging fees, possibly to food vendors and local bars and restaurants that remain open during the festivities.
“We’re working together with the organizers, the neighbors and the local business community to make Last Thursday a terrific event for everybody,” Mayor Hales said.
The street fair, now in its 17th season, began as an art walk and has mushroomed into a street fair that reaches crowds of up to 20,000 people during the peak of the season. Today, Last Thursday stretches for 15 blocks along Alberta Street.
Last Thursday has drawn artists, musicians, food vendors and performers from all over the country to Portland on an annual basis, making it one of Portland’s iconic events.
In recent years, neighbors have complained about livability concerns, including public urinations, drunkenness, loitering, littering, noise, double parking and fights. The monthly celebrations also have run deep into the early hours of Fridays.
Last year, during his first year in office, Mayor Hales began exploring ways of maintaining the celebration while addressing neighborhood concerns. He also asked staff to investigate alternative funding proposals.
“Last year, taxpayers throughout Portland subsidized Last Thursday by an estimated $75,000 to $80,000,” said Chad Stover, project manager in the mayor’s office. “That includes police, fire, Transportation Bureau personnel, and the Office of Neighborhood Involvement. The Mayor’s Office also covered the cost of port-a-potties, garbage, recycling and security services.”
Stover and others in the mayor’s office will spend part of this year looking for an alternative to having the events sponsored by the taxpayers.
Typically, organizers of street fairs develop non-profit status, work together with businesses and neighbors in the area, and apply for a permit from the city. City services are provided in a support role, but the organizers are primarily responsible for funding and management. In the case of Last Thursday, no such body was ever created and, as a result, taxpayers have been covering the cost.
“The mayor believes that should be the model for Last Thursday as well,” Stover said.
No decision has been reached regarding the amount of fees, or who would be asked to pay them.
“Last Thursday is a special event that many Portlanders love,” Hales said. “We want to find a way to make it a sustainable event that is welcomed and appreciated by neighbors and businesses, as well as the Last Thursday enthusiasts who attend each year. Ultimately, the event needs to manage appropriately and it needs a financial home.”
Among the changes to expect this year:
- The events will end at 9 p.m.
- Police will strictly enforce open-container drinking in the right of way, as well as marijuana use. Neither was enforced strictly in the past.
- The Noise Office and police will work to bring street musicians within compliance of the city’s noise code
- The city will look for ways to cover the extraordinary costs borne by taxpayers. Possibilities include applying fees to restaurants and bars that are open during the event, food vendors in the street, artists and performers.
Council to Address 'Google Fiber to the Home' Franchise Agreement
MONDAY, MAY 5, 2014
PORTLAND, OR – The Portland City Council will discuss granting a franchise agreement to Google Fiber Oregon LLC to construct and operate a fiber network in the city.
Under the agreement, Google would have permission to construct, operate and maintain the infrastructure needed for the fiber network within the city of Portland.
The city has been working toward a deadline to meet a checklist of requirements for the fiber network. The City’s response to Google’s checklist can be found here: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/revenue/64939
“Super-fast Internet connectivity will be a huge advancement for residents of Portland, and for our surrounding communities,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “We were confident, from the beginning, that we could respond to Google’s checklist.”
Hales said the city will work with Google to match the city’s goals of equity and inclusion, goals articulated in the city’s Broadband Strategic Plan http://www.portlandoregon.gov/revenue/article/394195.
Portland should know by the end of 2014 if it makes the cut to be the next city served by high-speed fiber.
Portland is among 34 cities nationwide being considered for inclusion in Google Fiber’s network. Places like Kansas City, Kansas, and Provo, Utah, have led the way. Among this new class of potential sites are Portland, Gresham, Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Tigard and Hillsboro.
Google Fiber is a broadband service that provides Internet connectivity that is up to 100-times faster than the basic broadband, along with hundreds of HD TV channels. Google Fiber currently is available in Kansas City, Kansas, Kansas City, Missouri and Provo Utah, and will be available in Austin, Texas later this year.
The City Council takes up the issue of Google at this week’s afternoon session, 2 p.m., Wednesday, May 7, in the Council Chamber.
The franchise agreement can be found at
Mayor Proposes Wholesale Changes to Urban Renewal Areas
MONDAY, MAY 5, 2014
PORTLAND, OR – Mayor Charlie Hales will take a resolution before City Council on Wednesday to substantively alter six of 11 urban renewal districts in the city.
The mayor’s proposal starts the process to change the urban renewal areas, known as URAs. It would provide $158 million to taxing jurisdictions – the city, county and state school fund – over 30 years, and does so without asking for a single new dollar from taxpayers, by putting $1.06 billion of property back onto the tax rolls.
“To our knowledge, no one in Portland has ever done this before,” Mayor Hales said. “This proposal asks: Are we using urban renewal correctly? Is it doing what it’s supposed to do? And can we make our existing tax base serve all the local governments better, without asking for any new tax dollars?”
The proposal calls for altering six URAs, including the elimination of one designed to support Portland State University, known as the education URA. Hales’ proposal calls for replacing it by altering the North Macadam URA.
The City of Portland, PSU and the Portland Development Commission have signed a preliminary letter of partnership toward the terms and conditions of a master development agreement for PSU-related projects. A formal agreement will be negotiated in the coming months, defining the city’s and PDC’s best efforts to support PSU’s long-term growth, subject to approval by Portland City Council and the PDC Board of Commissioners as well as PSU leadership.
The final agreement will be negotiated at the same time as PDC pursues work on the urban renewal package being presented before City Council on Wednesday, May 7. All parties intend to have the related North Macadam and Central Eastside Renewal Area amendments and a negotiated final agreement approved by Dec. 1, 2014.
“The PSU President and I have been talking about this for months,” Hales said. “The city, PDC and PSU have a long history of working together. This agreement marks a significant milestone in our continued collaboration to fulfill PSU’s destiny as one of the great urban universities in the U.S.”
“The Mayor and I understand the importance of PSU’s role in the City, and the City's role in PSU,” said Wim Wiewel, president of Portland State University. “The final agreement would provide PSU an immediate savings of about $400,000 a year while contributing more than $25 million over the next 10 years to accommodate future growth.”
PDC Executive Director Patrick Quinton agrees. “PSU’s success is vital to the Portland economy,” he said. “We’re firmly committed to the kind of development investments that will accelerate research and intellectual capital and promote small business growth.”
The proposed agreement addresses actions related to multiple properties, including potential investments funded by tax increment financing (TIF) from an expanded and extended North Macadam URA.
The list of proposed actions includes:
● PDC’s transfer of its ownership of the Jasmine Block (between Southwest Fourth and Fifth, Harrison and Montgomery) to PSU.
● PDC’s support of the redevelopment of University Place, 310 S.W. Lincoln St., both as a long-term development partner and investor.
● PDC’s partnership with TriMet to convey the rights to develop, own and transfer the Budget Rent a Car property, 2033 S.W. Fourth Ave., to PSU.
● TIF assistance for renovation of PSU’s School of Business Administration property (615 S.W. Harrison) and School of Engineering property.
● The city’s agreement to lease or purchase at least 30,000 square feet of space in a newly constructed or remodeled PSU building.
Mayor Charlie Hales' Proposed Budget for 2014-15: From Damage Control to Good Governance
THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2014
PORTLAND, OR – Portland Mayor Charlie Hales releases his proposed budget for 2014-15 today. This is the city’s first “stabilization” budget after years of cuts, and reflects the Mayor’s values, including long-range fiscal planning, transparency and other good-governance policies.
Having eradicated last year’s massive shortfall, and having set aside funds to pay off city debt in fall 2013, this year the Mayor’s proposed budget includes initiatives aimed at three investment priorities: homelessness and hunger; emergency preparedness; and complete neighborhoods. Investments also address critical needs regarding equity, youth services and the environment.
The budget introduces key performance indicators, designed so that city residents can measure the impact of funding decisions.
Last year, the city faced an historic, $21.5 million shortfall. The city had to cut 142 full-time equivalent positions in 2013-14, including cuts to the city’s largest bureaus such as Police and Parks. Having made the cuts, the city went on to retain its AAA bond rating, and in the fall the Council set aside funding to pay down millions of dollars in city debt, freeing up additional funds for years to come without having to go to voters for new taxes.
This year, the city has slightly more than $9 million in discretionary funds to allocate, including $4.6 million in ongoing funds, and $4.7 million in one-time funds.
“We’re in a much stronger position this year. But $9 million represents only a little more than 2 percent of the city’s budget,” Hales said. “Jobs are on the rise in Portland. Our economy is growing stronger. Our livability is the envy of the nation. But we can’t be satisfied. My budget drives all of these positive trends even further.”
The Mayor also has created $1.5 million in additional revenues from revamping urban renewal areas, plus $500,000 of contingency savings from Fiscal Year 2013-14. In total, the Fiscal Year 2014-15 budget will include $11.3 million in discretionary resources above current service level, about 2.7 percent of the budget.
Of the discretionary funds available, the Mayor proposes:
● $2.25 million for homelessness – including $1 million for more outreach, referral and permanent housing for those now homeless and programs for youth homelessness. An additional $1 million would go for the Housing Investment Fund, which leverages federal and other money to build more units of affordable housing.
● $1.27 million for emergency preparedness – including funds for improving the community emergency notification system and regional disaster preparedness. The budget calls for $1.2 million for the Jerome Sears Facility, to further develop the city-owned asset into a West Side emergency operations facility.
● $1.98 million to help make neighborhoods complete – including new and ongoing funding for the Schools Uniting Neighborhoods, or SUN, program. Additional SUN Schools under the Mayor’s proposal include adding 10 new schools to the 70 SUN schools operating now, and providing permanent funding for five sites that faced expiring grants. The proposed budget also includes funding for the East Portland Action Plan and key investments in livability programs in the Office of Neighborhood Involvement and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.
YOUTH AND EQUITY
Beyond SUN Schools, the budget includes a wide array of programs to support young Portlanders. These include continued funding for the TriMet Youth Pass for Portland Public School students, summer internships, funds to prevent sex trafficking, funds for Earl Boyles Early Learning Center, the Greenspaces Restoration & Urban Naturalist Team program for students, and the Mayor’s Black Male Achievement initiative.
The budget sets aside funds for strategic investments in equity, including Black Male Achievement; the Diversity and Civic Leadership Program within the Office of Neighborhood Involvement; funding for Southeast Works; a VOZ day laborers’ work center; and an equity position within Portland Police. That person will direct and manage the operations and activities designed to increase diversity, equity, empowerment, inclusion and cultural proficiency of the Police Bureau.
The budget also dramatically reduces the number of “one time, ongoing” funded projects – projects outside a city bureau, which received funding on a “one-time” basis for two or more years, over and over again. These generally were “good causes” that, once funded, tended to stay around due to budgetary inertia.
“That’s a particularly bad budget-writing habit,” Hales said. “As appropriate, we have turned those special appropriations from one-time to ongoing funds, and we have moved them into bureaus where professional managers can keep an eye on them and be accountable for them.”
Hales began that process last year, during his first budget.
A centerpiece of the Mayor’s budget is the city/county funding deal hammered out by Mayor Hales and Marissa Madrigal, chair of the Multnomah County Commission. “With the Chair’s leadership, we were able to create some true clarity in the respective roles of the city and county. This accord would not have been possible without the Chair’s strong support,” Hales said.
The details of the agreement were reached early, which provided clarity for budget-writers at both the city and the county.
“The city/county agreement helps move both governments into the appropriate lanes of focused responsibilities,” Hales said. “This starts work that has to be continued with the new Chair.”
RE-THINKING URBAN RENEWAL
From early on in his term, Hales began analyzing the use of urban renewal areas – sectors of the city set aside to address blight. Under Oregon law, a city may draw boundaries around urban renewal areas, temporarily freeze property taxes that go to other governments, and use any incremental property tax revenue growth to stimulate development and investment. When urban renewal areas expire, the property tax value of their enhanced developments then flow back to the city, county, schools and other taxing jurisdictions.
Next week, the Council is expected to take up Hales’ proposal, which would return an estimated $1.06 billion onto the tax rolls, and would provide approximately $5 million to the city, county and school budgets this year, growing to approximately $6 million in 2015-16.
That proposal breaks down to an immediate increase of an estimated $1.5 million into the city’s 2014-15 budget – almost 17 percent of the additional $9 million in discretionary funds, without raising taxes.
Multnomah County and Portland-area schools would receive immediate additional funds, thanks to the Mayor’s proposed URA changes.
Finally, the Mayor’s proposed budget will include key performance indicators, designed to track the outcomes of the priority funding. “City residents and the media should be able to come back to us in a year and ask the question: ‘You spent money on these priorities. How did you do?’” Hales said.
The City Council will hold a special budget hearing 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 15, at City Hall, 1221 S.W. Fourth Ave. The City Council is expected to vote on the budget by the end of May. The 2014-15 fiscal year starts July 1.
Changes Announced for Mayor's Staff
FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014
PORTLAND, OR – Mayor Charlie Hales announced some changes to his office, starting in May.
Ed McNamara, one of four policy directors of the mayor’s team, is leaving to return to his private development company, Turtle Island Development, which specializes in affordable housing.
“Ed has brought a vast knowledge of development and housing, and vast understanding of Portlanders, our history and our culture,” Hales said. “He will not be easy to replace, and I thank him for his service.”
McNamara joined the staff in December 2012, weeks before Hales was sworn into office. At City Hall, his portfolio has included the Portland Development Commission and Housing. He leaves his position at City Hall in mid-June.
In other news, Rachael Wiggins is moving from an administrative support position to policy assistant, starting May 15. Wiggins has handled constituent issues for the office since Hales came into office. She will move into a support position for the policy directors and the communications director.
Finally, Cindy Reyes is joining the mayor’s staff to replace Wiggins in the administrative support position. Reyes is a 2014 graduate of Portland State University, where she majored in political science and international studies, with a minor in business administration.
Trader Joe's Won't Reverse Decision on MLKJ Boulevard Store
TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 2014
PORTLAND, OR –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.”
City, Largest Union Reach Accord
FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 2014
PORTLAND, OREGON – The City of Portland and the District Council of Trade Unions have reached a tentative agreement on a new, four-year contract. The agreement was reached at 11:45 p.m. Thursday, after more than 400 days of negotiations.
These were difficult, hard-fought negotiations, no doubt about it," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "But they show that people of good faith and intention can join together to reach an agreement that is fair and equitable for our city employees and all Portland residents."
“This has been, without a doubt, the most difficult set of negotiations I have ever been through,” said Rob Wheaton, DCTU Chief Spokesperson. “The DCTU appreciates the leadership of the mayor and his role in making an agreement possible.”
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.
An earlier tentative agreement, reached by union leadership in January, was rejected in a membership vote. The contract negotiations began again and ended this week.
This new tentative agreement now faces a membership vote, as well as a vote of the Portland City Council.
The DCTU contract is the City ofPortland’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.
'Trader Joe's' Trip Postponed
FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
PORTLAND, OR – A meeting between Mayor Charlie Hales and officials at Trader Joe’s, scheduled for Monday in Los Angeles, has been postponed because of a scheduling conflict.
Officials from Trader Joe’s called Friday and apologized for the conflict.
Mayor Hales will not be flying to L.A. on Monday but will continue the dialogue regarding a possible Trader Joe’s store on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Portland.
Statement from Mayor Charlie Hales on Wednesday’s officer-involved shooting
THURSDAY, MARCH 13, 2014
PORTLAND, OR – My thoughts go out today to Portland Police Officer John Romero, who was shot in the line of duty on Wednesday. Officer Romero, along with Officers Sze Lai and Edgar Mitchell, were investigating reports of a mysterious vehicle seen near Wilson High School students.
I was at the scene of the shooting near Wilson High yesterday afternoon and evening; I got to speak with his fellow officers and the command staff, and I’ve heard the reactions of people from Wilson High School, where he is known as a valuable member of the community and a School Resource Officer. I later was at the hospital to speak to Officer Romero, his wife and his understandably concerned colleagues.
I am thrilled to hear that Officer Romero’s health is improving.
We await the results of the autopsy, the investigation of the shooting, and a Multnomah County grand jury review.
I thank Officer Romero and all of his fellow officers for the service they provide every day, protecting our community.
Correction: Information Inaccurate in Trader Joe's Release
TUESDAY, MARCH 11, 2014
PORTLAND, OREGON – A press release from the City of Portland, dated Monday, March 10, included an incorrect number regarding funds dedicated to affordable housing in North and Northeast Portland.
The Portland Development Commission will work with the Portland Housing Bureau to invest an additional $20 million over five years for more affordable housing in the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area. That $20 million would be on top of the $16.6 million currently earmarked for affordable housing in the area, for a total of $36.6 million.
Yesterday’s press release had the initial number wrong – citing $36 million now, for a total of $56 million. Those numbers are incorrect.
The essence of the release has not changed: Mayor Hales’ wholehearted support for a Trader Joe’s project on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard; and a proposal to add $20 million for affordable housing in the area.
The City of Portland apologizes for the error.
Community Leaders Meet to Discuss Trader Joe's Proposal
MONDAY, MARCH 10, 2014
PORTLAND, OR – Mayor Charlie Hales, Commissioner Dan Saltzman, leaders of the African-American community and neighborhood and business representatives gathered at City Hall today to discuss past policies that led to gentrification in Northeast Portland, and to define a path forward on development in the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area.
“We cannot change the past but we can and must learn from it,” Hales said. “This historically African-American sector of our city needs jobs. It needs economic opportunity. And it needs affordable housing. And working together, the community leaders and I are committed to this future.”
The first tangible goal of today’s meeting was a strong encouragement for Mayor Hales to begin a campaign this week to bring Trader Joe’s back to a stalled project on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Alberta Street.
Mayor Hales and his staff will reach out to Trader Joe’s to see if the deal can be resurrected.
The second outcome of today’s meeting is a commitment by the Portland Development Commission to work with the Portland Housing Bureau to invest an additional $20 million over five years for more affordable housing in the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area. That $20 million would be on top of the $36 million currently earmarked for affordable housing in the area, for a total of $56 million.[Note: On March 11, this information was corrected in a subsequent press release. Dana Haynes]
The PDC proposal will require support of the PDC Board of Commissioners and the Portland City Council.
“This is a necessary step forward,” said Michael Alexander, executive director of the Urban League of Portland. “This community has not been well served, historically. We need a new history. And we start writing that history today.”
Cyreena Boston Ashby, director of the Portland African-American Leadership Forum, or PAALF, said that PAALF was never opposed to Trader Joes. PAALF has fought for a crucial conversation about stabilizing displacement, stopping gentrification, and addressing the lack of transparency and community engagement in City of Portland land development. These issues are now getting the attention they deserve. PAALF views securing an additional $20M in tax increment housing dollars, and a seat at the table to craft their allocation as the start to a path of victory for all who have been displaced and marginalized for twenty years. PAALF will remain committed to this process and to promoting transparency moving forward.
The PDC also offered a Community Benefits Agreement on the Trader Joe’s site that included goals for minority contracting and workforce hiring on the construction, as well as a commitment that 50 percent of the tenants in a second building on the site would be filled by local businesses. In addition, PDC will work with small businesses and stakeholders on and around Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., especially businesses owned by persons of color, to create and support a robust business and commercial district.
Colas Construction of Portland, an African-American construction company, already had been selected as the general contractor for the Trader Joe’s site. Andrew Colas of Colas Construction also has traveled to Los Angeles in recent weeks to keep the talks open with the national grocery chain.
Mayor Hales thanked the estimated 50 community leaders who attended today’s meeting. “We’re in this together,” Hales said. “Step one is to get this popular grocer to come back to the table. That will mean jobs. Step two is our commitment for more affordable housing. That will keep people from being displaced. Step three will be a long-term commitment to the economic vitality of the Interstate Corridor area. And that’s going to take all of us as a team.”
City, Largest Union at Impass
THURSDAY, FEB. 20
PORTLAND,OR– February 19 marked the one year anniversary of the City's negotiations with the District Council of Trade Unions. The City declared impasse on February 18, following the DCTU membership's rejection of the tentative agreement on February 10. We understand the primary reasons for the “no” vote were the economic package and the City's proposal on Article 6 regarding contracting out.
Throughout negotiations the city has offered what we believe to be a fair compensation package: We proposed continuing to pay for 95% of the cost of health insurance for employees and their dependents; we recognized the need for some cost of living increase even with a serious budget shortfall of $21 million this year so in the spirit of shared sacrifice offered 50%, or 0.9%, of the cost of living increase in the Portland-Salem CPI-W index for 2013-2014, the first year of a successor labor agreement. For years two ,three and four of the agreement the City offered the same floor and ceiling for COLA as was in the expired contract (a floor of 1% and a ceiling of 5%).
To control the City's overtime costs we proposed to cap the number of hours (120 per year for DCTU) a person could take as compensatory time off instead of overtime pay, alleviating the need to bring employees back in on overtime status to cover for those who were off work using their compensatory time. To encourage timely negotiations the City proposed that the cost of living increase for the first year would not go into effect July 1, unless we reached agreement by June 30, 2013. The five other unions that were in negotiations with the City in 2013 have already accepted this economic package.
The other major sticking point is contracting out. The City proposed a major change in the article (Article 6) that governs contracting out. But over the course of the negotiations both sides worked to compromise and the City offered language to protect employees' job security. The proposal states that it isnotCityCouncil's intent to privatize the workforce. Also, while the City's proposed language allows the City to contract out work it guarantees that no bargaining unit members will lose their jobs due to contracting out work.
Where do we go from here? We hope back to the bargaining table. Both sides must submit their final offer to the Employment Relations Board by February 25, but that does not prevent us from continuing to try to reach a negotiated settlement.
For more detailed information:
Human Resources Director
Mayor, Commissioner Fish Respond to Water District Suit
THURSDAY, FEB. 20, 2014
PORTLAND,OR– On Tuesday, Feb. 11, Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Nick Fish released a joint press release in regards to a law suit launched against the city.County Judge Stephen Bushong had scheduled a hearing on the case.
In their press release, the mayor and commissioner argued that the facts of the case are with the city, and the law is with the city.
As a response, one of the parties behind the suit, Mr. Kent Craford, filed a complaint with the state Elections Division, regarding the Feb. 11 press release.
Mr. Craford’s complaint did not address the legal merits of the lawsuit, nor the facts established in the lawsuit.
The state Elections Division is opening an inquiry, as that office is legally obligated to do. The offices of Mayor Hales andCommissioner Fishare responding to the inquiry, as they are legally obligated to do.
To state again for the media: Mayor Hales and Commissioner Fish argue that, in regards to the lawsuit, the facts are with the city and the law is with the city, and both Mayor Hales andCommissioner Fishare eager to see Judge Bushong’s ruling.
Portland Makes Short List for Google Fiber to the Home
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 19, 2014
PORTLAND,OR– Mayor Charlie Hales is pleased to announce that Portland is on a short list of cities working with Google to explore the possibility of bringing the ultra high speed Google Fiber broadband network to the city.
“Google is looking for communities that serve as hubs for innovation. And that’s Portland,” Mayor Hales said. “Our culture of creativity and coalition-building makes this the ideal spot for ultra-high-speed broadband.”
Portlandis among 34 cities nationwide being considered for inclusion in Google Fiber’s high-speed network. Places like Kansas City,Kansas, and Provo, Utah, have led the way. Among this new class of potential sites are Portland, Gresham, Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Tigard and Hillsboro.
“There is no question that the Internet has literally rewired how we work and live, and it still has so much potential to improve our lives,” Hales said. “Abundant, high-speed broadband access will make our community stronger and will lay the foundations of economic development for our future.”
Kevin Lo, general manager of Google Fiber, said the company will work closely with Mayor Hales and city leaders on a joint planning process to explore what it would take to build a brand new fiber-optic network capable of delivering these gigabit speeds throughoutPortland. Google will begin compiling a detailed study of local factors that might affect construction plans.
Simultaneously, Mayor Hales and city leaders will begin meetings with Google to discuss what it would take to plan and prepare the city for a fiber project of this scale.
“Communities with abundant high-speed Internet grow stronger because there’s greater potential to create jobs, drive economic growth, and help students and families get access to essential resources” Lo said. “City leaders like Charlie Hales are stepping up to see what they can do to make their cities ready for the fiber-optic networks that are the future. We look forward to working withPortlandin the coming months to see if we can build the next chapter of the Internet together, on gigabit speeds.”
Google will provide an update on which cities will get Google Fiber by the end of this year, Lo said.
Google Fiber is an Internet and TV service that provides Internet connectivity that is up to 100-times faster than the basic broadband, along with hundreds of HD TV channels. Google Fiber currently is available inKansas City,Kansas,Kansas City,MissouriandProvoUtah, and will be available inAustin,Texaslater this year.
For more information about this announcement, visit the Google Fiber blog http://googlefiberblog.blogspot.com/
City Staff Respond to Snow, Ice Event
TUESDAY, FEB. 11, 2014
PORTLAND,OR– “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 inPortland, 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 14 times as of Monday afternoon, for a total of more than 7,250 miles. 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.”
Mayor, Commissioner Fish Anticipate Court Ruling on Water Suit
MONDAY, FEB. 10, 2014
PORTLAND,OR-- Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish today lauded the decision of Multnomah County Judge Stephen Bushong to seek some resolution to the long-running law suit between big water users and the municipal water system.
Judge Bushong has agreed to hear an argument for “summary judgment,” or a quick resolution, to four of the dozens of random charges knit together by attorney John DiLorenzo, a long-standing opponent ofPortland’s water system.
“We’re hoping the judge rules in Portlander’s favor on these four issues. It would give us a roadmap to how he likely would rule on the dozens of other issues,” Mayor Hales said. “We will finally have some clarity. This part of the long, taxpayer funded battle over the city’s environmental programs and emergency preparedness might be coming to an end.”
However, Hales pointed out that the summary judgment might not lend clarity to the vast array of charges in the suit. “The anti-environmental powers behind this suit also are behind a ballot measure challenge in May,” Hales said. “Unlimited corporate money is a wonderful thing. They can attackPortland's water system again and again and again. If you don’t like green programs or emergency preparedness, these are the best attacks money can buy.”
Judge Bushong agreed to the summary judgment hearing on Wednesday but is not expected to rule from the bench. A decision on the four sections of the suit is expected later in February or in March.
Commissioner Fish -- an attorney -- said the scattered nature of the suit’s many complaints is the legal equivalent of throwing spaghetti on the wall to see which parts stick. “The suit attacks the city’s efforts to preserve the watershed. It attacks the city’s environmental standards. It attacks programs to move pipe out of the way of light rail projects before they get damaged. The suit literally attacks us for sending aid toNew Orleansafter Hurricane Katrina and not demanding every cent be returned from that devastated city.”
Fish said the city’s attorneys requested summary judgment on four sections of the suit, in order to get a sense for how the other sections would fare under the light of legal scrutiny. He called that a prudent legal strategy but also the path that could best minimize the taxpayers expenses defending this suit.
Both Hales and Fish agreed that some provisions in the suit are worthy of consideration. Under Hales' leadership last spring, water rates in the city dropped from double-digit increases to less than 4 percent, and a wide array of non-water-related projects were moved from water funds to the general fund budget. Under Fish's leadership as Water Commissioner, a controversial "water house" is being sold, a Citizens Utility Board has been elevated to watchdog status over the bureau, and proposed water rates for 2014-5 are expected to stay at historic lows.
"Prudent oversight of the water system is good," Hales said. "Corporate attacks on the absolute best urban water system in the nation aren't."
City to Sell 'Lot 7'
THURSDAY, FEB. 6, 2014
PORTLAND, OR – The Portland Development Commission on Wednesday, Feb. 12, will authorize the sale of Lot 7, a parking lot under a ramp to the Broadway Bridge, to Pearl Hotel investors.
The property sold will be subject to a parking lease to REACH Community Development, which develops and maintains affordable housing for people with low income.
Earlier that day, the City Council will consider an ordinance that would: acquire from REACH the parking rights toLot7; and agree to cancel the lease in exchange for consideration to assist with finding a permanent location for Right 2 Dream Too.
“The sale means the City ofPortlandwill receive over $800,000 to assist Right 2 Dream Too in their model of providing shelter and community for people experiencing houselessness,” Commissioner Amanda Fritz said. “This is another step forward as we seek partnerships to reduce the impacts of the lack of affordable housing inPortland.”
The selling price forLot7 will be $142,000, the appraised value subject to the REACH lease, which will be paid to the Portland Development Commission, the owner of the property. As a result:
● The Pearl Hotel investors will acquire the property subject to the parking lease.
● The lease will be terminated upon receipt of $896,000 from the investors.
● Of that, $50,000 will go to REACH.
● The City will receive and will allocate $846,000 of the money paid by the investors to assist R2DToo.
That money will assist some of the estimated 2,000 people experiencing houselessness inPortland.
“We’ve been searching for a way to assist Right 2 Dream Too and this is a great step forward,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “My staff has been working withCommissioner Fritzand her staff for months on this. It’s a high priority for both offices, and for the whole Council.”
The Right 2 Dream Too rest area has been atNorthwest Fourth Streetand Burnside for more than two years, but that location is not permanent.
R2DToo Board members have agreed to the concept in principle, subject to the resolution of issues that they hope can be worked out between their lawyer, Mark Kramer, and the City Attorney. The R2DToo Board will convene an emergency meeting this Saturday to discuss and vote on the solution being considered on Wednesday.
“It is important to note that the money paid by PHI will assist Right 2 Dream Too in resolving homeless issues in the city,” said Ibrahim Mubarak, co-founder of R2DToo. “No taxpayer money is being spent on our model. This funding has the potential to assist Right 2 Dream Too in resolving one of our biggest challenges, a stable site for R2DToo. We provide safe shelter and a sense of community for hundreds of people experiencing houselessness, at no cost to the City. We are hopeful that the proposed solution represents a good faith effort on the part of the city and private interests to work with us for immediate solutions to the unmet needs of unhoused Portlanders.”
City Leaders React to Trader Joe's Announcement
MONDAY, FEB. 3, 2014
PORTLAND, OR – We respect today’s decisions by Trader Joe’s and Majestic. We appreciate the various concerns raised by neighbors and other stakeholders, both in favor of, and opposed to, this project.
In all, we view today’s news as a loss for the city and particularly forNortheast Portland.
We are grateful for the effort that Colas Construction, a local, minority-owned construction company, put into making this project happen and we recognize all the hard work Majestic Realty has invested in this effort over the past two years.
Moving forward, we will be communicating with the various stakeholders: Including those who wanted this development and who were excited about it, and those who didn’t want it to happen.
It is too soon to say what comes next for this site. We will work with the full range of stakeholders to determine the next steps. And we remain committed to working with stakeholders to find projects for this and other development sites throughout the city.
City, Trade Union Reach Tentative Agreement
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 15, 2014
PORTLAND,OREGON– 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 every Portland resident.”
"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 lead 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.
Mayor Hales Announces Change to 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 inMultnomahCounty, 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.
Price Reached for R2DToo Proposed Site
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 8, 2014
PORTLAND,OR– An analysis of a warehouse at 320 N.W. Hoyt St., conducted by the City of Portland, indicates that it would cost an estimated $336,000, to turn it into a temporary location for the Right 2 Dream Too homeless shelter.
Mayor Charlie Hales had given city staff most of October and November to find a temporary, indoor location for R2D2, which now sits on Burnside and Fourth Street. The Hoyt Street property was selected as a potential location for the camp for 15 months of 2014-15.
Mayor to Appoint Tom Kelly to PDC Board
Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014
PORTLAND,OR– 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 andNortheast 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 thePacific 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.