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 COMMUNCATIONS 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.