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Following his Jan. 30 State of the City address at the Sentinel Hotel, Mayor Hales has continued to deliver (a shorter) State of the City speech to diverse groups around the city in an effort to keep them informed about his agenda and how they'll benefit.
Here are summaries of his conversations with groups he's addressed. The list will be updated as he continues to give mini State of the Speech addresses through March.
The night of the primary State of the City address, Mayor Hales spoke to the SEIU Local 49 union at its annual dinner. He received a standing ovation when he announced his plan to work with Commissioner Dan Saltzman to propose a $15 minimum wage for all full-time, permanent city employees and city contractors. Further, he announced, John Russell, a prominent local businessman, said he’ll match the city’s $15 per hour in his buildings. "I call on other civic-minded business leaders to match John Russell’s example," Mayor Hales said.
Mayor Hales talked to representatives of immigrant and refugee groups about the "human equation" theme of his priorities outlined in the State of the City address. He also conveyed what the City of Portland is doing to support New Portlanders:
Mayor Hales talked to the Hollywood Neighborhood business group about development and economic opportunity. He encouraged them to mobilize, and put their stamp on the Comprehensive Plan, which will guide development and investment in Portland for the next 20 years. "We want development the Portland way: the neighborhood plans, the city supports, and partnerships, partnerships, partnerships," Mayor Hales said. Read the Hollywood Star's coverage of the event: http://star-news.info/2015/02/04/pdx-mayor-connects-with-northeast-portland-stakeholders/
Mayor Hales talked about his priorities for public safety and infrastructure, noting the number of shots fired and lack of sidewalks in East Portland. He talked to residents about his strategy for East Portland: "We're bearing down on a few neighborhoods rather than dancing over the surface of a lot of them, in order to accomplish real change," he said. "I've been out to Lents and Gateway and other neighborhoods east of I-205; I'm aware of the need, and I'm focused on making real change. We'll move forward with neighborhood plans, city support, and partnerships — the Portland way." MORE on plans for Lents and livable neighborhoods: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/517605
Mayor Hales attended the Gateway Area Business Association meeting in East Portland to talk about what State of the City means to them. He touched on neighborhood livability, public safety, and economic development. The weekend before the mayor toured the Gateway neighborhood and talked with business owners, who were concerned primarily about safety, as gang-related violence affects the east. Business Association members expressed concerns about how the city deals with people in mental health crisis, as well as public safety in the neighborhood and feeling heard by City Hall. The mayor told the business association that he is committed to seeing the investment that is being directed at Lents directed at Gateway, as well.
MORE on police from State of the City: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/517599
Mayor Hales spoke to the neighborhood economic development group Our 42nd Ave — comprised of of business owners, local employees, commercial property owners, community institutions, and others interested in economic change in the 42nd Avenue area — about using partners and aligned investment to create economic opportunity. Among the mayor's initiatives for economic opportunity, he'll propose a tax incentive for businesses that hire ex-offenders, and is creating a work force to make the Minority, Women, Emerging Small Business contract process more beneficial to those marginalized groups. He addressed neighborhood livability concerns, including building sidewalks and pedestrian crossings near schools. Mayor Hales responded to the group's questions about gentrification and increasing density in the Lloyd District, and how they could lobby their representatives in the Oregon Legislature to support an increase in the gas tax.
Mayor Hales spoke to the association, which represents residential property managers and vendors, about affordable housing and increasing density in Portland neighborhoods. Under the mayor's leadership, the Portland Development Commission has invested $36 million in affordable housing in North and Northeast Portland, helping to address the widespread need. Mayor Hales is encouraging partnerships and creative ideas — such as Rob Justus and Dave Carbonneau's plan to build 1,000 small, affordable units in four years — to address housing needs. Attendees questioned the mayor about the proposed emergency psychiatric center and public safety concerns; last year there were more than 50 major crimes per 1,000 residents in Portland, which is a decline. They also wondered when Portland would get its own major league baseball team. Good idea, Mayor Hales said, "especially now that we have California weather."
Mayor Hales talked with the group implementing the East Portland Action Plan, a community-driven process nationally recognized for its collaborative approach to addressing the long-standing needs of this historically underserved portion of the city. He discussed development projects in East Portland, such as the PDC investment in Lents, and public safety concerns that have come to the forefront with a substantially higher-than-average number of shootings this year — 23, involving 225 bullets fired as of Feb. 25. Attendees asked him about gun control, which is on the city's legislative agenda. They wanted assurance that East Portland would see affordable housing money invested in the area; Mayor Hales told them to advocate for general fund dollars as the budget process gets underway in March. And they wanted to know about his commitment to equity: "If you want to know a city's priorities, look at where it focuses its funding," Mayor Hales said. "I've tied equity to bureaus' budgets, which ensures leaders are considering the impacts of their programs and policies on all Portlanders, It's a critical step in institutionalizing equity in Portland city government."
Mayor Hales on Saturday attended the Office of Neighborhood Involvement Community Summit, where upward of 400 civic-minded residents met to connect over their community. The mayor addressed a group of about 100, and took questions about his priorities.
He called neighborhoods to action: “Neighborhoods should come up with ideas and bring them to the city. Community Development Corporations are a great example,” Mayor Hales said, referencing an idea articulated by Hollywood resident Yu Te. “We want neighborhoods to come to us with solutions that will work for their areas.”
East Portland Action Plan, the mayor said, is a great example of bottom-up solutions. Old Town/Chinatown residents likewise came up with a development plan for their neighborhoods, which Council approved.
Mayor Hales said that while Portland’s acclaimed neighborhood association model helps represent hyperlocal issues, it needs to be more inclusive. “People who don’t speak English, immigrants, young professionals, those who typically don’t have time to attend meetings—the city needs to hear from them and they need to be represented,” Mayor Hales said. He has begun hosting Twitter Town Halls in an effort to reach some of those demographics: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/index.cfm?&a=520502
“Become a leader,” Mayor Hales said. “Get involved. Come to Council and ask us to put you in a leadership post.”
Residents also questioned him about affordable housing and infill and demolition. The mayor said the city needs money for affordable housing, and he’s looking for creative ideas to get it. More on infill and demolition: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/517606
They asked about homelessness, and what the city is doing to curb what seems like a growing trend. Mayor Hales discussed his and Multnomah County’s effort to house all of Portland’s homeless veterans by Veterans Day: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/517610