Street Roots Resource Guide Released
TUESDAY, DEC. 31, 2013 – The Rose City Resource, a publication of Street Roots, has been released.
“This is an invaluable asset,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “A lot of organizations do a lot of good in the metro area. This resource guide is a comprehensive listing of who does what, and how to reach them.”
The guide includes updated lists of services for people experiencing homelessness and poverty in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties. It is available at the Street Roots website, as well as in government offices throughout the region, including the mayor’s office at City Hall.
Portland Lawmaker Tina Kotek Nets National Honors
THURSDAY, DEC. 26, 2013 – Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, is getting national recognition from Governing Magazine as a state legislator to watch in 2014.
According to The Oregonian’s Christian Gaston, Rep. Kotek is one of a dozen state lawmakers highlighted by the magazine, which covers trends in policy and public affairs debates.
"You can't overestimate the importance of the Speaker in Oregon's Legislature," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "Having someone as smart and progressive as Tina Kotek in that role is good for all of Oregon, of course, but we're proud that one of Portland's own carries the gavel."
Kotek's district includes a portion of North and Northeast Portland including St. John’s.
Interim Chief Administrative Officer Hired for City
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 18, 2013 -- Mayor Charlie Hales announced today that Fred Miller will join the city as interim chief administrative officer and director of the Office of Management and Finance.
Portland does not have a city manager. The director of the Office of Management and Finance, or OMF, fills some of those traditional roles.
Miller, 71, will replace Jack Graham, the former chief administrative officer for the city. Miller will serve until a permanent replacement is selected.
The mayor has begun the process for an outside analysis of the financial and management sides of OMF. That analysis should be completed early in 2014. Following that process, a nationwide search for a permanent chief administrative officer will commence.
Miller said he will not be a candidate for a permanent position at OMF.
He served in leadership positions under four Oregon governors, Democrats and Republicans, from 1976 to 1992.
“Fred brings decades of expertise to the city,” Hales said. “He knows how to get the most out of a large organization like the city. He knows how government works, especially here in Oregon. He brings knowledge of the public and private sector, and he’s a longtime Portlander. He’s exactly who we need right now.”
Miller served as director of the Oregon Executive Department – now known as Department of Administrative Services, or DAS. He also ran the state departments of Transportation and Energy.
Director of the Oregon Executive Department, “is roughly equivalent to OMF director for Portland,” Hales said. “It’s the department that lets all the other departments function at their best.”
Miller left state government in 1992 and joined Portland General Electric and retired as an executive vice president. His areas of service included distribution, consumer service, delivery system planning, engineering, public affairs and corporate communications.
He has a bachelor’s degree from Portland State University and both a master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from Michigan State University.
Jack Graham stepped down in November and will stay with the city in an advisory capacity through the end of January, when OMF’s annual budget proposal is due to be completed.
The OMF position is Hales’ fourth opportunity to hire a director at the city, and he has ordered national searches for all four. Other open positions in 2013 included Director of Transportation, City Attorney and Director of Fire & Police Disability & Retirement Fund.
Reports: Nelson Mandela Has Died
Nelson Mandela has died at 95, according to the Washington Post.
Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid activist who went on to serve as president of that country from 1994-99.
“The passing of such an historic figure makes us pause and think about our role in the world,” Portland Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Nelson Mandela overcame prison, and prejudice, and unimaginable inequality. He didn’t turn to hate, to turned to leadership. The entire world benefited from his greatness.”
Dembrow Appointed to Oregon Senate
MONDAY, NOV. 18, 2013 – State Rep. Michael Dembrow has been appointed by the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners to fill the vacant seat in Senate District 23, representing portions of Northeast and Southeast Portland.
He replaces Jackie Dingfelder, who stepped down Nov. 3 to be a policy director for Mayor Charlie Hales.
Dembrow, 62, was first elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 2008.
A swearing in ceremony has been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, in the Senate Chambers at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.
Korean War Vets Honored
FRIDAY, NOV. 15, 2013 – Six veterans of the Korean War took part in a tour of Ulsan, South Korea, on Sept. 30 to Oct. 5, as part of the Portland/Ulsan Sister City Program.
The veterans spoke to the Portland City Council on Nov. 14 about their experiences.
Gay rights bill passes Senate under leadership of Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley
THURSDAY, NOV. 7, 2013 -- A bill that would ban workplace discrimination against gays trans-gendered individuals passed the Senate Thursday under the leadership of Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley.
Sen. Ron Wyden also is a vocal supporter of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, known as ENDA.
"I couldn't be more proud of our Senate delegation," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "Passing ENDA shows tremendous leadership. This is a very good day."
The act passed on a 64-32 vote in the Senate.
It faces a difficult fate in the House where Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, charged that the bill could invite a new wave of litigation against employers and said he didn't intend to take it up.
Oregon is one of 21 states that have similar statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation against gays in employment and in public accommodations. And it is one of 17 states that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity
Mayor Hales Leads Delegation to Urban Land Institute
THURSDAY, NOV. 7, 2013 – Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and three other city leaders have been named a 2013 fellow of the Urban Land Institute’s Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership.
Hales will begin the year-long fellowship by traveling to the institute’s headquarters in Chicago, Nov. 7-8, with three city leaders: Susan Anderson, director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability; Patrick Quinton, executive director of the Portland Development Commission, and Leah Treat, director of the Bureau of Transportation.
The mayor returns to Portland on Friday.
Hales selected these three to take part in the year-long project.
“This area is complex, but presents a great opportunity,” Hales said. “Participating in the Daniel Rose Fellowship ensures the integration of these three bureaus to make sure we get it right. It allows the directors time to really dive into this at the leadership level, not just the staff level. And it nets us the resources of the nationally recognized institute.”
Rounding out the 2013 fellowship are Mayor Kirk Caldwell of Honolulu, Mayor Gregory Ballard of Indianapolis and Mayor A. C. Wharton Jr. of Memphis, along with senior staff from each city.
The purpose of the fellowship program is to provide city leaders with the insights, peer-to-peer learning and analysis needed to successfully build and sustain their cities. The fellowship’s program of work includes a study tour of another U.S. or foreign city, a working retreat, and study visits to each of the four fellowship cities.
The fellows will travel to Portland in February.
More information on the fellowship and the Urban Land Institute is available at www.uli.org.
Mayor Hales Mourns Passing of Nohad and Dirce Toulan
TUESDAY, OCT. 29, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales expressed his sadness today at the passing of Nohad Toulan, 81, and his wife Dirce Angelina Moroni Toulan, 78. They died Monday in a traffic accident in Uruguay.
Mayor Hales and his wife, Nancy Hales, are on a mission to China.
“Both Nancy and I were very close to Nohad and Dirce,” Mayor Hales said. “He and I spoke just before his departure for Uruguay. And typical of Nohad, he was excited about the trip and eager to meet again and talk about planning and public administration ideas after they got back.”
Dr. Toulan was Dean Emeritus of the College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University, and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Urban Studies and Planning.
“He was a mentor to both Nancy and me; the wise and warm-hearted sage who really cared about you,” Mayor Hales said. “Everyone in Portland who wanted to learn something about the way cities work, or should, sat at the feet of Dr. Toulan ... and listened.”
Wim Wiewel, Portland State University President, said funeral arrangements are pending and a memorial service will be announced.
The Toulans are survived by their adult children, Mariam and Omar.
Mayor Hales Hires Policy Director For Police
MONDAY, OCT. 28, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales today announced the addition of Deanna Wesson-Mitchell to his staff. She will serve as policy director for Portland Police.
Wesson-Mitchell is a 10-year veteran of the Portland Police Bureau. She is a sworn officer.
“She is of, and from, the community. She is of, and from, the bureau,” Mayor Hales said. “She is focused on the goal of making this the best urban police departments in the country. She’s exactly who we need right now.”
Wesson-Mitchell was born and raised in Portland and graduated from Jefferson High School. She has a bachelor’s degree in history from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Since joining the Portland Police Bureau in 2004, Wesson-Mitchell has served as a patrol officer (2004-08), an investigative officer (2008-11) and recruitment coordinator for the Personnel Division. She also has been a Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) instructor, and has been involved with the Making Positive Choices Youth Forum; Racial Profiling Committee; Citywide Diversity Committee; Police Equity: Leadership Council; and Community and Police Relations Committee.
She lives in Lents with her husband, JaMarr Mitchell, and their sons.
Her first day in the mayor’s office will be Nov. 18.
“I am very excited to continue the equity work began in the police bureau two and a half years ago,” Wesson-Mitchell said. “We have made forward progress and, with support of the Mayor’s office, will continue to build capacity and specific skills, which promote equity in both service toPortland’s diverse communities and internal operations.”
Portland Police Chief Mike Reese praised the hire. “We are very pleased that the mayor’s office has selected Deanna for this important role,” Reese said. “I have a great deal of respect and appreciation for the work Deanna has done at the Police Bureau. In addition to being an excellent police officer, in her recent role in the Personnel Division, she has assisted the bureau in recruiting and hiring diverse officer candidates. She has also been a member of the Community and Police Relations Committee and taken an active role in helping the bureau with issues regarding equity.”
That was echoed by Officer Daryl Turner, president of the Portland Police Association. “I think she’d be a wonderful addition to the mayor’s staff. I look forward to working with her,” Turner said.
Under Portland’s commissioner style of government, the five elected members of the Portland City Council also serve as bureau commissioners. Hales’ bureaus include Portland Police, as well as several others.
Hales, who took office in January, initially hired Baruti Artharee to serve as policy director for police. Artharee retired this fall.
Wesson-Mitchell is the second recent hire for the mayor. Earlier in October, he announced that State Sen. Jackie Dingfelder will leave the Legislature and will join the staff as a senior policy director.
Wesson-Mitchell and Dingfelder join Josh Alpert and Ed McNamara as the primary policy directors for the mayor. All four work under the direction of Chief of Staff Gail Shibley.
Portland Hosts Career Expo for Job Seekers with Disabilities
THURSDAY, OCT. 24, 2013 – The City of Portland is partnering with Incight and Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services to host a career expo for jobs seekers with disabilities. The event, called Meet Business, will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, on the second floor of the Portland Building, 1120 S.W. Fifth Ave. Twenty bureaus from the City of Portland will be exhibiting.
In addition to networking opportunities, job seekers will receive a 10-minute overview of each participating bureau and will have the option to attend workshops on how to apply for a city job.
The complete schedule is available with registration at MeettheCity.eventbrite.com
City Seeks Input for Pilot Project to Enable Community Uses on Unpaved Streets
Portland has about 60 miles of unpaved, dirt and gravel streets within the city limits. While the City does not maintain these unimproved streets, some residents have taken the initiative to create garden plots, rest areas and other community uses in these public spaces.
Mayor Charlie Hales has directed the Portland Bureau of Transportation to gather community input on how the City can enable such community uses on streets. Starting Oct. 19, students from a Portland State University civic leadership class will be going door-to-door on behalf of the City in the Cully and Outer SE Division neighborhoods to gather ideas and gauge public interest in two areas that have concentrations of unimproved streets.
The concept came from Mayor Hales, who thought the City should try to empower communities to help determine what their neighborhoods look like by creating something useful and attractive. Many homeowners on unimproved streets have said that expensive paving projects are not what they prefer, but lower cost alternatives such as placing benches or gardens in the public right of way would still require a City permit.
“Too often, the City comes at a problem with a one-size-fits-all approach,” Hales said. “But when we have dozens of miles of public space taken up by streets that predate the City’s development rules, that the City can’t maintain, we should allow neighborhoods the flexibility to create appropriate uses for these public spaces.”
The PSU students will ask residents if they would prefer to use some or all of an existing unimproved street as a pocket park, community garden site, or other option. Residents may see a need to provide a mix of vehicle access with community amenities along a single street.
“This is very much an idea still in the exploratory stage,” Hales said. “We may find no interest, or we may find a lot of excitement to transform gravel roads into something both functional and appealing to the neighborhood. We are happy partnering with PSU to get some input from residents and see if it’s a viable idea to alter, rather than just pave.”
City Commissioner Steve Novick praised the effort.
“As Commissioner in Charge of Transportation, I appreciate the Mayor’s approach to identify creative uses of unimproved streets,” Novick said. “I look forward to the outcomes of the pilot project to address this long running community concern.”
The public is also invited to share their ideas at two upcoming community meetings. This will be an opportunity to share issues and concerns City staff should take into consideration as they develop the project:
Monday, Nov. 4, 6:30 to 8 p.m., East Portland Community Center, Poolside Room #1, 740 SE 106th Ave.
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Hollywood Library, Community Meeting Room, 4040 NE Tillamook St.
If there is interest in this new approach to dealing with gravel streets, the next step will be setting criteria for evaluating candidate pilot street projects and further engagement this winter with neighborhood and community groups. The city’s goal is to select four unimproved streets from sites proposed by community groups and homeowners throughout the city for an initial pilot project in 2014.
No final decisions on street alterations are expected before summer 2014.
State Senator to Join Mayor’s Staff
Gail Shibley, Chief of Staff for Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, announced today that State Senator Jackie Dingfelder will be stepping down from her elected role to join the Mayor’s staff as a senior Policy Director.
Senator Dingfelder has represented Portlanders in the Oregon Legislature since 2001. In 2008, she was elected to the Oregon State Senate for District 23, which includes portions of NE and SE Portland and Maywood Park. While in the Senate, Dingfelder chaired the Senate Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources. She also served on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Ways and Means Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources. In 2011, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters named her the Environmental Champion of the Year. She was also one of only eight state legislators to receive a perfect score of 100% on the OLCV’s issues scorecard.
Senator Dingfelder holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geography-Ecosystems Management from the University of California, Los Angeles; a Master’s Degree in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina; and is currently a PhD candidate at Portland State University, Hatfield School of Government.
“I am delighted that Senator Dingfelder is joining my team,” said Mayor Charlie Hales. “She brings a diverse portfolio of academic and professional expertise to us on sustainability, planning, social justice, and environmental issues. Her political and policy background will be a huge asset for us and for the city. Soon all of Portland will know what District 23 already knows about her effectiveness!”
Senator Dingfelder is stepping down from the Senate to accept her new role.
“I have been privileged to serve Northeast and Southeast Portland for many years. However, now I look forward to bringing my skills to all the people of Portland,” she said.
“This is a staggering loss for Oregon’s environment,” said Senate President Peter Courtney. “Jackie Dingfelder has been the Legislature’s go-to person on the environment for more than a decade. It’s a tremendous boost for the quality of life in the City of Portland. I’ve never seen a legislator who was more prepared. I know she will serve Portland well. I will really miss her.”
Senator Dingfelder’s first day in City Hall will be November 4, 2013.
Sunshine Division Needs Cereal!
Portland Police Chief Mike Reese has sent out an email to all City employees asking for extra help for the SUushine Division annual food drive. They are in great need of hot and cold cereal. The Sunshine Division is a year-round emergency food and clothing supplier for hundreds of needy families each MONTH! The Cereal Drive is especially critical. So, if you work where there is a Sunshine Box, or you knw where one is, please help out! Many thanks!
City Hall Food Carts Up and Running!
October 15th, 2013. The Mayor was all smiles as he welcomed the Portland media to the opening of three food carts at City Hall’s 4th Avenue entrance courtyard. Three mini-food carts are part of a pilot program to offer good food and a place to sit outside for City Hall employees, as well as anyone else passing by. Mayor Hales has worked to make City Hall more accessible and welcoming to visitors, by removing a lot of the barriers that sent, in his opinion, a message of “hey, we’re not so sure we want you to come in.”
“This is all part of what I’ve been trying to do at City Hall since elected Mayor. Put a friendlier face on City Hall. Sometimes you get to work on big issues, and sometimes you get to work on small issues that can have a big impact.”
The three carts in the pilot program are Al Forno Ferruzza, Saigon Noodle, and Olympic Provisions.
Following his statements, the Mayor bought lunch at Olympic Provisions and sat outside in the beautiful autumn sunshine to enjoy it with fellow employees.
New issue of Pathways to Portland & Bologna Features Mayor
In case you missed the event in August, here’s a replay of the Portland Bologna Sister City Association Youth Ambassador’s Honored by Mayor Hales in City Council Meeting
Mayor Hales Interviewed by the Today Show
WEDNESDAY, OCT 2, 2013 – Mayor Hales was interviewed by Erica Hill, anchor of NBC’s Weekend Today for a story highlighting Harper’s Playground, a fully accessible play area in Arbor Lodge Park.
The Mayor, who was a supporter of the project even before he was elected mayor, touted the playground as an example of a public/private partnership making good things happen. He compared it to the old story of “Stone Soup” where everybody brings something to contribute to the pot, with great results for all.
The NBC crew also interviewed the Goldberg family, who spearheaded the fundraising effort to build a park that their special needs child, but that all children enjoy.
The story will air on Weekend Today within a couple of weeks, but no specific air date has been set yet.
Workshop To Help Artists Understand Portland’s Mural Process
TUESDAY, SEPT. 24, 2013 – Portland’s Regional Arts & Culture Council will help artists and community members learn how to organize and navigate two different paths for creating murals in the city of Portland.
The free workshop is set for 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Oct. 12, at Miracle Theater, 425 S.E. Sixth Ave. It will be led by Peggy Kendellen, manager of the Public Art Murals Program for the council, known as RACC, along with Jean Hester from the Portland Bureau of Development Services, and local artists Addie Boswell, Gage Hamilton and Antwoine Thomas.
The city offers two options for painting a mural on a wall: The city has an Original Art Mural Permit Program, which costs only $50, and RACC’s Public Art Murals Program, which is free, and approved projects may receive up to $10,000 in matching funds.
The RACC process requires building owners to provide easements that allow the mural to be added to the city’s public art collection. The workshop is designed to help artists, property owners, business owners and community members understand the two options available for creating murals.
The workshop is free but space is limited and RSVPs are required. To sign up, contact Cheryl Norton at email@example.com or call (503) 823-5865.
Portlanders Pound the Pavement to Raise Money for Cascade AIDS Project.
Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 -- An estimated 10,000 walkers took to Portland streets Sunday for the 27th annual AIDS Walk Portland. The goal is to raise an estimated $500,000 for the Cascade AIDS Projects.
New shelter beds at Portland Rescue Mission help ease shortage, at least a little
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2013 -- The Portland Rescue Mission this month added 36 new beds to the city's tight shelter space, with another 16 to open in the near future.
A $250,000 remodel of its longtime facility on West Burnside just off the Burnside Bridge turned the second and third floors into sleeping areas for men and women who are looking to get off the street -- a small but significant dent in Portland shelters' temporary housing needs.
Men moved into the 36 third floor beds Sept. 5. Sixteen women's beds will open on the second floor once a grant is approved.
The biennial homeless census in January counted 2,869 people living on the street or staying in emergency shelters, while there are about 700 shelter beds regularly available. Nearly 1,600 temporary housing spaces are full with waiting lists, say those who work with Portland's homeless.
A smattering of recent renovations has introduced cumulative 63 beds to the shelter offerings, with another 58 on the way.
Outreach groups try to get people off the street and into temporary housing as soon as possible to prevent full descent into street life.
The Portland Rescue Mission ground floor holds 58 emergency shelter beds.
Its second and third floors until June were used for the men's recovery program, which helps homeless men kick addictions and get off the streets. The second floor held a learning center and the third was a dorm for 15 men. The recovery center this summer relocated to a renovated facility in Northeast Portland, which expanded capacity to 42 beds.
Before the renovation, men who were trying to transition off the street through the organization's "Link" program used beds in the emergency shelter, reducing capacity to 22 beds per night.
Daimler To Build $150 Million HQ on Swan Island
FRIDAY, SEPT. 13, 2013 – Daimler Trucks North America confirmed that it plans a massive new waterfront headquarters on Swan Island, a $150 million project that the German-owned company says will result in 400 new, high-wage, white-collar jobs.
The Oregonian’s Mike Rogoway reported that Daimler's decision is a major economic boost for the city and region. Daimler already employs about 2,000 in Portland-- 1,200 at Swan Island and hundreds more scattered in offices across the city -- plus 750 workers who turn out as many as 30 Western Star trucks a day. The new headquarters will bring all workers to Swan Island.
Mayor Charlie Hales was on hand for today’s announcement, along with Gov. John Kitzhaber and Tina Kotek, Speaker of the Oregon House, whose district includes Swan Island.
At a time when a lot of the buzz is around software and apps, Hales said, "We're still a real manufacturing city. We make steel and make things out of steel."
Daimler's decision erases doubts about the city's receptiveness to large businesses, said Patrick Quinton, director of the Portland Development Commission.
"It sends a really strong message about where the economy is going here in Portland and how large companies, with global operations, view the city as a place to do business," Quinton said.
Portland Streetcar Mobile Tickets Now Available
TUESDAY, SEPT. 10, 2013 -- Portland Streetcar Inc. makes it easier than ever to ride public transit with the introduction today of a new mobile ticketing application for use with iPhone or Android devices. Portland Streetcar riders can now download the free PDX Streetcar Mobile Ticket app from an app store and begin buying and using Streetcar tickets with just a few clicks.
“Providing our customers with a new channel to purchase Streetcar tickets is very exciting,” said Rick Gustafson, Executive Director of Portland Streetcar. “Now, Portland Streetcar riders can buy tickets directly from their phones without having to wait in line or have exact change.”
The application was developed in partnership with local software developer GlobeSherpa.
How to get the app: To download the free Portland Streetcar mobile ticket app, visit an Android or iPhone app store and search for PDX Streetcar. Enter your account information, select fare type and ticket quantity, then press “Checkout.” Load your credit or debit card information into the secure system and then you’re ready to ride. It’s that easy! There’s a minimum $5 purchase requirement but the tickets you buy, such as five Streetcar 2-Hour tickets at $1.00 apiece, can be stored on the device and activated individually at any time.
For help downloading the app, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-242-0084.
City Commissioners Fritz, Novick Team up to Look For a Solution to Save NE Portland’s Historic Rayworth House
FRIDAY, SEPT. 6, 2013 -- Commissioners Amanda Fritz (Development Services, Parks & Recreation) and Steve Novick (Transportation) announce a new timeline for the preservation of the historic Rayworth House.
Complications arose Thursday, Sept. 5, when city staff learned that the height of the home during its cross-town move was actually three and a half feet taller than previously indicated in the permitting process. This information, coming less than 72 hours before the home was to be moved, raised significant concerns over vital infrastructure issues such as traffic impacts, utility/electric and communication line impacts, and on impacts to both private and city-owned trees.
This change necessitates a new route for a potential move and new permits. Property developer Andre Koshuba has agreed to a one-week delay of demolition to allow for additional route planning.
Fritz, Novick and city staff will continue to work with all parties to find a new or modified route that minimizes impacts on traffic, gives advance notification of impacted neighbors, and includes a thorough assessment of utility/electric and communication line issues and the structural and safety-related impacts to both privately and city-owned trees.
The city offers thanks to neighborhood advocates Roy and Kim Fox, who committed to saving the home, located on Albina Street, and have made a significant financial and emotional investment in preserving the historic structure. Further, the city offers special thanks to developer Andre Koshuba who has graciously granted several needed extensions to avoid demolishing the house. Commissioners Fritz and Novick also are appreciative of the advocacy of Boise Neighborhood Association.
“Everyone wants to make this move happen, in a manner that protects neighbors and the house,” says City Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “I very much appreciate the efforts of Mr. and Mrs. Fox, of Mr. Koshuba, of Pat Brady of Emmert International, and everyone involved.”
Commissioner Novick praised the work of staff from the several bureaus to work together to try to find a way to relocate the house while protecting infrastructure the community depends on every day.
“The Transportation Bureau has to protect the trees, power lines and traffic signals that are in the public right-of-way,” Novick said. “I’m glad we may be able to find a way to preserve this house, which reflects the character and charm of Portland. But all parties need to continue to work together to protect the utilities and other infrastructure that are essential to our quality of life.”
The home is believed to have been built in 1890 by Edwin Rayworth. It went into foreclosure in 2010. Koshuba, the developer, then bought it and plans to replace it with a pair of homes on the Rayworth property’s existing site.
What Nashville Can Learn from ‘Portlandia?’
FRIDAY, AUG. 30, 2013 – Talented writer Jamie McGee of the Nashville Business Journal wrote a story this week on the impact of “Portlandia” on our city, comparing it to the impact of the TV show “Nashville” on her town.
The story was picked up by reporter/producer Saadia McConville at Bloomberg Television in New York.
Police: Bike Project Benefits Youths in Togo
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 21, 2013 -- Portland Police Bureau will donate approximately 100 bicycles to Alaffia’s Bicycles for Education Project, which benefits youths in Togo, West Africa.
The event is set for 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, in partnership with Whole Foods Market Hollywood, 4301 N.E. Sandy Blvd.
Community members may donate adult-sized bicycles in any condition at this location from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day. All donations are tax deductible.
"Portland is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the United States,” said Assistant Police Chief Donna Henderson. “We felt that, in participating with Alaffia’s Bicycles for Education program, we are sharing a part of Portland with children across the globe."
Henderson will speak at the Aug. 22 event along with Alaffia founder Olowo-n'djo Tchala.
Both the Village Bicycle Project and Alaffia's Bicycles for Education program provide much-needed transportation for students in Togo, West Africa. The donated bicycles are from the Portland Police Property and Evidence Division and are unclaimed or disposed-of property.
“Alaffia thanks Mayor Charlie Hales, the Portland Police Bureau, Whole Foods Markets, and the good people of Portland for this generous donation to our Bicycles for Education Project," said Lanessa Inman, Alaffia community project coordinator. “Our bike recipients have a 98 percent graduation rate. Because of Portland's contribution, more than 100 girls in Togo will be empowered with an opportunity for an education, which will provide a lasting impact on alleviating poverty in our communities in Togo. We are deeply grateful and look forward to working with Portland communities again in the future
Information about Alaffia's Bicycles for Education and other Community Empowerment Projects can be found at http://www.alaffia.com/bicycles.asp.
Venue Changed for Bargaining Session
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 14, 2013 -- The next bargaining session between the city of Portland and the Portland Police Association – the union representing police officers – has been changed.
The bargaining talks are set for 8:30 a.m. to noon, Thursday, in Room 2500 A, Second Floor, 1900 SW Fourth Ave., Portland.
Fire destroys apartment in Northeast Portland
THURSDAY, AUG. 8, 2013 – A five-alarm fire has destroyed an apartment complex and reached adjacent homes in Northeast Portland's Elliott neighborhood. No one was injured.
Portland firefighters were on scene early today, along with volunteers from the Trauma Intervention Program: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/fire/article/378472
Mayor Charlie Hales was on site early this morning, along with Fire Commissioner Dan Saltzman and Fire Chief Erin Janssens.
“Our firefighters did a great job. Fortunately, no one was hurt – none of the residents and none of our firefighters, either,” Hales said from the scene.
“You see the best of Portland in a terrible situation like this,” he added, pointing to the volunteers from the Trauma Intervention Program, Portland Fire & Rescue and Red Cross. “The people who were displaced are being cared for.”
Hales pointed out that crews from other Portland fire stations are on hand, along with firefighters from Gresham to Vancouver. “The system works. We have mutual-aid agreements in this kinds of fires."
The fire burned and destroyed an unoccupied four-story apartment under construction at the corner of Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Northeast Monroe Street.
Lt. Rich Chatman, a spokesman for Portland Fire & Rescue said no one was injured.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard., a busy north-south throughway, is closed between Northeast Knott and Ivy Streets, as more than 120 firefighters and fire equipment used the street to stage their assault against the flames.
Fire spread to two or three nearby buildings and residents from between six and 10 homes were evacuated, with people loaded onto TriMet buses, Chatman said.
Five ladder trucks pumped between 1,200 and 2,000 gallons of water a minute onto the still burning rubble.
City Expands Program to End Lawlessness on Sidewalks
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 7, 2013 – The City of Portland today began expanding a program to reduce the number of people living on city sidewalks.
The program started in front of City Hall in July. Today, Portland Police informed people in other sections of the central city that it is illegal to establish a home on the sidewalks.
“This is about lawlessness; this is about activities that are appropriate and inappropriate in the right-of-way,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Some of the people involved have said that the laws don’t apply to them. And they’re wrong.”
Police began monitoring specific sidewalks in July, making note of persons who had been in one place, and who had established large piles of belongings on the sidewalks. Today, police returned and told those people they were in violation of city ordinance and had to move.
Those who do not can be charged with interfering with a police officer. The charge can lead to arrests and court time.
Today’s actions are under way at several locations.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s staff has assisted the police in establishing criteria regarding which persons may be cited.
The sidewalk plan began at City Hall after police reported receiving 113 calls for service there in the first 180 days of the year. Portland residents called the mayor’s office often to say they felt they could not go to City Hall because they had been harassed by the Occupy Protesters living on the sidewalk.
“We started at City Hall because of the many police calls,” Mayor Hales said. “Also, this is the people’s building, so there was an urgent need to start here. We’re rolling this out slowly and methodically. We’re taking our time and doing this right.”
Since July 22, the street in front of City Hall has been cleaned daily. Protesters still arrive each day to speak for and against specific city, state, federal or international policies. And homeless people can sleep on the sidewalk overnight. But people no longer are allowed to live on the sidewalk for weeks or months at a time.
“This has become a quality-of-life issue for people in the central city,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Certain activities – including drug- and alcohol-use on city sidewalks, or establishing a makeshift home on the sidewalk – aren’t permitted. And almost every Portland resident agrees with these rules.”
The enforcement project is expected to continue throughout the summer.
Note: A list of resources for the homeless can be located at the Portland Housing Bureau.
Portland Seeks to Draw Attention to Traffic Fatalities
THURSDAY, JULY 25, 2013 – Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick have asked Portland Police to provide targeted enforcement on Thursday, designed to improve traffic safety this summer. An unusually high number of traffic fatalities so far this year is cause for concern, they say, and the public needs to know driver awareness can help keep the roadways safe.
“Our message is the same for drivers, for bike riders and for pedestrians,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “You have the power. If you share our streets, and if you do so without undue distraction, you can make a dramatic difference in the number of injuries and fatalities. But it takes all of us, equally, to make that difference.”
“Safety is the transportation bureau’s top priority,” said City Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees the bureau. “We’re building safer crosswalks as fast as we can and working with the community to address our high crash corridors. But everyone plays a role by paying attention no matter how you’re getting around.”
“We have had 23 fatal crashes this year compared to 17 at the same time last year,” said Police Chief Michael Reese. “People are dying or being injured on Portland’s streets from traffic crashes that often can be avoided. We usually see a seasonal increase in traffic fatalities this time of year, due to more motor vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians on the road during summer months. However, we are concerned at the rising number of fatalities this year and we want to remind people to slow down, not drive distracted or impaired and make traffic safety a priority.”
Traffic safety mission details
Why: 23 fatal crashes this year (17 same time last year)
When: Thursday July 25, 2013. noon – 3:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Who: Portland Police Traffic Division, East Precinct and Central Precinct; the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office; and, the Oregon State Police
What:Mission will focus on all traffic violators, including distracted and speeding drivers, pedestrian violations and unsafe bicycle operation.
The first phase of the mission, from noon to 3:30 p.m., will focus on Southeast Division Street, from 82nd to 162nd Avenues.
The second phase of the mission, from 7 to 10 p.m., will be on Southwest Barbur Boulevard, from Hamilton Street to Capitol Highway.
Both of these areas among the 10 corridors in the city’s High Crash Corridor Program, where the City of Portland is working with residents and businesses to identify traffic safety solutions and encourage compliance and additional enforcement of traffic laws. To learn more about the Transportation Bureau’s High Crash Corridor Program, see: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/54892
Statistics about recent traffic crashes
- To date in 2013 there have been 23 fatal traffic crashes in the City of Portland. There were 31 in all of 2012.
- Breakdown of 2013 fatalities: 14-motor vehicle; 3-motorcycle; 6-pedestrian; 0-Bicyclists
- 12 of the 23 fatalities have involved impaired drivers with BAC’s ranging from .15 - .25 %
- Of the 6 pedestrian fatalities, motor vehicle drivers have been at fault in 4 of them
- There were 4 traffic fatalities in 6 days from July 5 to 11. Two involved speeding and impaired drivers.
- Driver/pedestrian distraction or inattention: 4 of the 6 pedestrian fatalities could have been avoided if the pedestrian and/or driver were focused on their actions
Statement from Mayor Charlie Hales on Today's Federal Court Hearing before Judge Michael Simon
THURSDAY, JULY 18, 2013 -- “I am pleased the court provided such clear guidance to all parties regarding next steps in the City’s and U.S. Department of Justice’s draft Settlement Agreement.
Both the Justice Department and the public are expecting us to change practices in our Police Bureau. We are doing so, and will continue to do so, because they are the right things to do. I believe that, by setting a potential trial date a year in the future, the court is expressing trust in our continued focus and action.
The result will be the same whether commitments are codified in a Settlement Agreement or in City Policy: we will demonstrate continuous commitment to civil rights in the Portland Police Bureau.”
Legislature Secures funding for East Portland Sidewalks
MONDAY, JULY 8, 2013 – The Oregon Legislature today secured $3.6 million for sidewalks and crosswalks on Southeast 136th Avenue in Portland. The funding had been a top priority for State Rep. Shemia Fagan and several other area lawmakers.
The Oregon Legislature is expected to finish its business and call the 2013 session to an end later today.
“The goal is safety for all residents, regardless of the mode of transportation they prefer,” said City Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees the Bureau of Transportation. “Sidewalks, crosswalks, signage, paving, bike lanes – they all come down to safety. Today’s news from Salem means the Legislature and the city are working hand-in-glove on this issue.”
The issue became galvanized on Feb. 28 when 5-year-old Morgan Maynard-Cook of Portland was struck by a car and killed while crossing a stretch of Southeast 136th.
“For too long, East Portlanders have been told to ‘be patient,’” Rep. Fagan said today. “But Morgan’s family, and every family, has a right to be very impatient when it comes to the safety of their children. I am proud to make East Portland a big winner in my first session in the Oregon House.”
Mayor Charlie Hales praised the lawmakers for their action. “When the city needed partners on this sidewalk project, Rep. Fagan was right there. So were Sens. Monroe, Dingfelder and Thomsen, and Reps. Reardon, Keny-Guyer and Vega Pedersen,” he said. “We often say safety is the northern star that guides our decisions. Our legislators obviously live by that code, too.”
Sen. Thomsen spoke about the project on the Senate Floor today, calling it one of his top priorities for the 2013 session.
The first of three phases of a city project to create sidewalks on Southeast 136th Avenue between Powell and Holgate boulevards will get under way this fall or winter. The city budgeted the project at $1.2 million.
The Legislature’s action today will prove to be a huge boon for the project, Hales and Novick said.
Legislation Bans Housing Discrimination Against Section 8 Renters
MONDAY, JULY 8, 2013 – Oregon landlords no longer will be able to broadly turn away prospective tenants because they receive federal rent assistance under a bill that passed the Oregon Senate on Monday.
The new law will go into effect July 1, 2014, according to The Oregonian’s Brad Schmidt.
The law makes it illegal to discriminate against renters who use the federal Section 8 voucher program.
“Section 8 is the country’s largest housing program,” said Commissioner Nick Fish, an advocate for this change. “Nearly 7,000 people in our community use housing choice vouchers – almost half are families, one-third have a disability, and one in five is a senior citizen. They are veterans, immigrant families, older adults – they are the face ofAmerica.”
The bill was a priority for House Speaker Tina Kotek, who proposed the bill and fought for it. Kotek's district includes portions of North Portland.
"This victory would not have been possible without Speaker Tina Kotek’s strong and persistent leadership and the support of landlords, housing authorities, and housing activists," Fish said.
"Our thanks go to the Speaker," Mayor Charlie Hales added. "She doesn't just get the thanks of the city. The big winners in all this are the many advocates of low-income housing."
Passage of this bill marks the third major victory for the City’s housing agenda in this legislative session. They include renewal of the city’s tax exemption program for low income and first-time homeowners, known as HOLTE; clarification on the tax-exempt status of city-owned affordable housing properties; and, today, Section 8 reform.
City Wins Arts Tax Ruling In Court
The Portland arts tax passed a major legal hurdle today, when Circuit Judge Kelly Skye ruled the tax constitutional.
The Arts Education and Access Income Tax was created by the city in 2012 and passed by 62 percent of voters in November. It provided funds for arts educators in area K-12 public schools, and funds for arts organizations in the region.
The issue received three legal challenges. The first was a challenge to the ballot title in 2012. In the second, a challenge in federal tax court was thrown out in May for a lack of legal standing.
Today’s ruling clears the third legal hurdle.
“Asked and answered,” Mayor Charlie Hales said, upon hearing the news today. “Can the challenges be appealed? Yes, but we don’t know that they will. We want to wait to hear from the city attorney regarding our best options, and then we want to get the input of the entire City Council before moving forward.”
The plaintiff in this case, George Wittemeyer, had argued that the arts tax was unconstitutional because it is a “head tax,” or a tax on everybody. In response, Judge Skye wrote, “The Arts Tax is not a Poll or Head tax because it is not assessed per capita.”
Commissioner Nick Fish praised the ruling. He is the City Council liaison to the Regional Arts and Culture Council. “It passes constitutional muster. We’re very pleased,” Fish said. “But not all potential legal arguments were addressed, and (the federal tax court) suit could be appealed, too. We’ll seek the advice of the city attorney before moving forward.”
After the suits were filed, Mayor Hales decided not to disburse the arts tax funds to school districts or arts organizations, until the courts clarified the legal status of the taxpayers’ money. Distribution of that money had been scheduled for November 2013. In May, the mayor proposed a plan to distribute some of the money to the six area school districts, provided they would pay a portion of it back if the tax were deemed unconstitutional.
Hales said he would reach out to the superintendents of the six school districts immediately to explain the ruling and to discuss next steps.
Last Thursday to kick off for June
THURSDAY, JUNE 27, 2013 -- People are encouraged to come out and celebrate the arts at Last Thursday, from 6 to 10 p.m. on Northeast Alberta Street between 15th and 30th Avenues.
The monthly summer celebration, now in its 16th year, brings together artisans, performers, neighbors and the business community.
“One of the best ways to get to know Portland is neighborhood-by-neighborhood,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “The city has many street fairs every year. And Last Thursday is the biggest. It’s a great time to find out about Alberta Street, the businesses and the arts scene.”
The City of Portland decided this week to go ahead with Last Thursday, after the event’s volunteer coordinators resigned on Monday. They cited goals set by the mayor’s office regarding the number of volunteers, security personnel and portable bathrooms.
Alberta Street will be closed to automobile traffic from 6 to 10 p.m. tonight.
Portland Police will be on hand. Standard rules established by the city and by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission will be enforced, including rules regarding alcohol consumed from open containers. Businesses that serve alcohol are reminded to maintain control of their establishments. Alcohol is not permitted outside the businesses.
Beyond police, other city personnel will be on hand too, including staff from the mayor’s office, Fire & Rescue, Transportation, Development Services, and the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, among others.
The city is providing portable toilets for the 15-block event. Neighbors in recent years have complained about finding urine and feces from Last Thursday revelers in their yards and driveways. One of the city’s goals has been to alleviate that stress on neighbors.
After the fair closes at 10 p.m., Transportation Department street sweepers will come through to clean Alberta Street. “When shops open in the morning, they’ll find their neighborhood ready for business as usual,” Hales said.
Starting shortly after Hales took office in January, his staff began working with Last Thursday’s volunteers to help coordinate the event, and to alleviate concerns by some neighbors that the events had grown into all-night parties.
Staff laid out a number of goals for the May event, including an increased number of volunteers, security personal and portable bathrooms.
The volunteers were unable to reach those goals. In response to that, the mayor’s office suggested shrinking the time and size of the event: closing it at 9 p.m. rather than 10 p.m., and shrinking the “footprint” from30th Avenueto27th Avenue.
The volunteer coordinators resigned Monday over those suggestions.
Following tonight’s celebration, the mayor’s office will reach out to the neighborhood associations, the business community and the city’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement, to help find a new volunteer committee for future Last Thursday events. That could happen as early as next week.
“Organizing a street fair takes an amazing amount of hard work. In neighborhoods throughout the city, residents do it for free. We appreciate that,” Hales said. “We want to help identify the next volunteer leaders for Last Thursday, and then give them the tools they need to keep the event successful.”
Mayor Speaks Out on DOMA Ruling
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales joined a wide array of celebrants at Terry Schrunk Plaza, in front of City Hall, today to celebrate the end of the Defense of Marriage Act.
The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled 5-4 that the act, called DOMA, is unconstitutional. The court struck down the federal law because it denies same-sex couples the "equal liberty" guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.
The 1996 act bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages for purposes such as insurance benefits, taxes and immigration. Section 3 of the law defines marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife" and a spouse as "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."
Joining Mayor Hales was his wife, Nancy, along with Gov. Barbara Roberts; Brad Avakian, state labor commissioner; Ellen Rosenblum, state attorney general; and City Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Steve Novick.
Hales read from today’s ruling, as written by Justice Anthony Kennedy. He ended by holding his wife’s hand and shouting to the crowd, “Let’s put a ring on this!”
“DOMA stated, very clearly, that some Americans may marry the ones the love,” Hales said before City Council, earlier today. “And some Americans may not. In 1996, no state permitted gays and lesbians to marry. In 2013, 12 states and the District of Columbia authorize same-sex marriages. Oregonis not one of them. In 2014: We can dare to hope that we will change that.”
Oregon does allow domestic partnerships. However, proponents have pushed for a statewide vote allow same-sex marriage.
“The late Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro once said, ‘We have chosen the path to equality, don't let them turn us around,’” Hales said. “Today’s ruling clears the way for all states – including Oregon– to be that pathfinder. And to find our way toward marriage equality for every Oregonian.”
City to Proceed with Last Thursday
TUESDAY, JUNE 25 – The City of Portland plans to go ahead with plans for Last Thursday, the once-per-month celebration of the arts community on Northeast Alberta Stree tbetween 15th and 30th Avenues.
The June event is set for this Thursday. It will run from 6 to 10 p.m.
The two volunteer coordinators for Friends of Last Thursday both resigned on Monday, citing goals from the mayor’s office regarding the number of volunteers, security personnel and portable bathrooms. Lacking a volunteer coordinating body, just three days before the event, the city has opted to move forward.
Agencies involved in Last Thursday include the mayor’s office, Police, Fire & Rescue, Transportation, Development Services, and the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, among others.
“The event is happening even if the volunteer board resigns,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “We will close off Alberta and we’ll see how it goes. I’ll be there to see for myself.”
Leading up to the May event, the mayor’s office laid out a number of goals for the volunteer coordinators, focusing on reaching the appropriate number of volunteers, security personal and portable bathrooms. The volunteers were unable to reach those goals.
In response to that, the mayor’s office suggested shrinking the time and size of the event: closing it at 9 p.m. rather than 10 p.m., and shrinking the “footprint” from 30th Avenue to 27th Avenue.
The volunteer coordinators resigned over those suggestions, calling them “onerous” and “unsavory.”
“We can’t pretend Last Thursday isn’t happening,” Hales said. “So we’ll make the best of it this week, and make plans for July.”
The city also will employ street-sweeping trucks after the 10 p.m. closure, to return Alberta Street to its usual state before the opening of business on Friday, and to encourage revelers to end.
Hales said he would reach out to the neighborhood associations, the business community and the city’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement, to help craft a new volunteer coordinating committee for future Last Thursday events. That could happen as early as next week.
“We don’t know who will step up, but we’ll be here to help them succeed,” Hales said.
Director selected for Fire, Police Benefits Board
TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 2013 -- Mayor Charlie Hales has appointed Sam Hutchison of Portland to serve as director of the Fire & Police Disability and Retirement Fund.
The fund administers disability, death and retirement benefits to Portland firefighters, police officers and their survivors.
The board of FPD&R met Tuesday to accept the appointment. Hutchison is slated to begin serving the city this summer.
He replaces Linda Jefferson, who is retiring after 25 years with the city.
“This is a small operation with a huge impact on the city,” Hales said. “We wanted to find a director with the financial background to do the job well. In Sam Hutchison, I think we have it.”
Hutchison brings to the position more than 25 years’ experience in disability, PERS and workers compensation issues. He is an assistant vice president at Standard Insurance Co. in Portland. Prior to 2001, he managed Group Benefits and Disability Benefits, and also served as a claims auditor.
“This position will require leadership, strategic planning and project management, and I think I’m the right fit for the job,” Hutchison said. “I’m excited. This is a great opportunity to serve a city I love.”
Hales said FPD&R is ready for the change, thanks to the leadership of Linda Jefferson. “She has seen the fund through a wide array of vital changes over the years. It has been in steady hands, and we thank her.”
‘Grimmfest’ Inspires Digitial Creators
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, 2013 – Story by The Oregonian’s Kristi Turnquist about “Grimmfest,” a competition to get the region’s digital storytelling community involved in the NBC drama, “Grimm,” which is filmed in, and set in, Portland.
The city’s own Shelley Midthun is part of the story, too. Shelley plays the role of air traffic controller between production companies -- working on such projects as "Grimm" and "Leverage" -- and the various city agencies.
"We really get to integrate the Portland film office into the idea of economic development and jobs creation," Shelley told The Oregonian.
For more details on "Grimm," go to: http://www.nbc.com/grimm/
Portland selects transportation director
TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2013 – Following a thorough nationwide search, Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick has tapped Leah Treat as the city’s new Portland Bureau of Transportation Director.
Treat will be relocating from Chicago, where she is currently serving as chief of staff to Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein.
“Transportation is something that affects us every day,” Novick said. “Portland needs a transportation leader who has the budget management background to help us address our deficit in basic street maintenance and who understands the value of sustainable modes such as biking and walking. We know we have found the right person for PBOT in Leah Treat and we are excited to have her join us in Portland.”
Treat and Klein were selected by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to join his new administration in 2011, to deliver innovative projects and to push the city ahead of the curve in progressive transportation. Treat also served as Klein's director of finance in the Washington, D.C., Department of Transportation when its bikeshare system was launched and the streetcar network was designed.
Treat is passionate about livability and her love of transportation was born out of the connection between economic development, mobility and livability.
“I have always loved Portland,” Treat said. “It is one of the most progressive cities in the country and it syncs with my personality and lifestyle. I believe Portland to be a national leader in sustainable transportation modes and know we can continue to push an aggressive agenda by developing smart, fiscally responsible budgets, focusing on efficient operations and incorporating smart planning and economic development strategies into future city goals.”
Mayor Charlie Hales said that filling the leadership role at PBOT was not an easy task. “The job requires common sense plus innovation,” Hales said. “The new leader needs to help the bureau take care of the assets we have, and help us dream about the assets we could have. In selecting Leah Treat, I think Commissioner Novick threaded that needle.”
Police Respond to 11 Gang-Related Shootings in 10 Days
TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2013 – In the past 10 days, Gang Enforcement Team investigators have responded to 11 gang-related shootings in Portland.
The Portland Police Bureau Gang Enforcement Team and Gun Task Force are continuing to investigate gang and gun crimes in the city. Anyone with information about gang and/or illegal gun crimes in the city is encouraged to provide information to the Portland Police Bureau.
If you see an illegal gun crime in progress, call 911.
Arts Tax advisory committee to meet
THURSDAY, JUNE 13, 2013 – The Arts Education and Access Citizen Oversight Committee has scheduled a meeting from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, June 24, in the Eighth Floor Conference Room of the Revenue Bureau,111 S.W. Columbia St.
The committee was formed to advise the city on issues related to the Arts Tax.
Portland Arts Tax: Estimated $7.6 Million Collected
TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2013 -- The deadline for Portland residents to file their 2012 Portland Arts Tax passed last night at midnight. City staff now are focusing on processing the estimated 10,000 paper tax returns and checks that are pending. Returns postmarked by June 10 are considered timely.
As of June 11, 2013, the Revenue Bureau has received an estimated $7.6 million in Arts Tax payments from more than 248,000 taxfilers. The Revenue Bureau expects to collect about $8.3 million by June 30, 2013.
City efforts to increase the capacity of the Arts Tax website worked as intended and no issues were reported.
The Arts Education and Access Income Tax ("Arts Tax") was passed by 62 percent of Portland voters on Nov. 6, 2012. The tax will fund art teachers and access, and is $35 for most adult Portland residents.
Details about tax can be found at www.portlandoregon.gov/artstax.
Senate Leaders Clear Way for Affordable Housing
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5, 2013 – Today the Oregon Senate took action on a bill that allows cities and counties to better serve low-income Oregonians seeking affordable housing.
House Bill 3112A, which passed the Senate on a vote of 28-2, specifies that residential buildings designated for low-income housing, and which are owned by local governments, are not subject to property taxes.
“Housing is a basic necessity, and Oregonians should be able to afford somewhere to live and still have enough money for groceries and other basic needs,” said Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum. “Today we’re ensuring that low-income Oregonians have a chance to find adequate affordable housing.”
Mayor Charlie Hales praised the bill, saying it clears a path to better serve low-income Oregonians. “Sen. Rosenbaum serves a portion of Portland but this vote serves the whole state. Her leadership on this will make the difference for an untold number of residents looking for a hand up.”
Current law does not clearly specify whether buildings owned by local governments are subject to property taxation when units in the building are rented to low-income tenants. House Bill 3112A provides a clear exemption such buildings, provided that the exemption is targeted at providing affordable housing opportunities for low-income Oregonians in need.
In 2001, the City of Portland acquired the Fairfield Hotel, an 82-unit single-room occupancy rental property that serves the community’s most vulnerable and low-income residents. Recently, the Multnomah County Assessor found the property to be taxable under an interpretation of the current law. House Bill 3112A resolves that ambiguity by making such properties not taxable.
“As we continue to struggle with the effects of the housing and foreclosure crisis, it’s especially important for communities to have affordable housing options available,” said Sen. Ginny Burdick, whose district includes portions of Southwest Portland, and who chairs of the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee. “Oregonians shouldn’t have to choose between paying the rent and putting food on the table, and providing this clarity on property taxes will hopefully expand housing options for Oregonians on limited incomes.”
The bill now goes to Gov. John Kitzhaber for his approval.
Flags Lowered to Honor Unidentified Child
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5, 2013 – Portland's city flag has been lowered today to honor a newborn girl, who was found last week dead at a recycling center.
The city flag has been lowered at City Hall, the Portland Building, the World Trade Center, Pioneer Courthouse Square and Jeld-Wen Field.
Commissioner Dan Saltzman asked anyone with knowledge to help provide information about the child. He also asked for a moment of silence at this morning’s City Council meeting.
Police are investigating the baby's death and detectives want to hear from anyone with information about this case. The mother of the baby may require immediate medical attention.
Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest in this case. Tipsters can remain anonymous.
Leave a Crime Stoppers tip online, text CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip, or call (503) 823-HELP (4357).
The Portland City Council approved a resolution in 2009 to lower the flag in honor of children who die from abuse, neglect or homicide. This is the 10th time the flag has been lowered for this issue.
City, County, Court Leaders Come Together Over Issue of Domestic Violence and Firearms
TUESDAY, JUNE 4, 2013 – City and county leaders in the Portland area are coming together today to announce a common-sense step to address the epidemic of domestic violence.
“One of the best tools to combat domestic violence already exists, and we want to begin implementing it,” said Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman. “Existing state allows the court to restrict an individual who is subject to a domestic violence restraining order from possessing a firearm. It’s time to take this important step to protect the victims of domestic violence.”
Saltzman was joined by Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Multnomah County Circuit Court Presiding Judge Nan Waller, Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill, Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton and Portland Police Chief Mike Reese. Also standing with them was Sally Green, a Portlander whose daughter felt threatened after her former spouse was served with a restraining order.
The group came together to announce new procedures to implement state law regarding firearms surrender when an individual is under a domestic violence restraining order.
“The studies are conclusive,” Mayor Hales said. “Domestic violence victims are more likely to die when guns are around. We’re not asking for any new law. We are enforcing existing laws.”
Judge Waller said two-thirds of intimate-partner deaths in Multnomah County are hand-gun deaths. And DA Underhill said a quarter of all homicides in Multnomah County are related to domestic violence.
Under Oregon law, courts may restrict anyone who is subject to a restraining order from possessing firearms, when the court deems the step necessary to protect the safety and welfare of a restraining order applicant, and any child or children in the applicant’s custody. When a judge issues such an order in Multnomah County, the restrained individual is served with the order by the Multnomah County Sheriff.
Under the new protocols, the restrained individual also will be able turn unloaded firearms to law enforcement at three locations in Multnomah County, or to an approved third party. In addition, compliance with the court’s orders regarding firearms possession will be closely monitored and tracked by law enforcement and the District Attorney. A person deemed non-compliant with the Court’s order could be found in contempt of court.
The city, county and court officials will be on hand Tuesday to discuss the collaboration and to take questions.
Less Than a Week Remaining to File Portland Arts Tax
The deadline for Portland residents to file their 2012 Portland Arts Tax is less than a week away, Monday, June 10.
The original deadline of May 15 was extended after too many users overwhelmed the payment website. The City has since expanded the website’s capacity. It takes approximately three minutes to pay your tax online.
To file and pay online, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/artstax. Taxpayers also can pay by mail or in person at 111 S.W. Columbia St., Suite 600. Payments postmarked on June 10 are considered timely.
The Arts Education and Access Income Tax (“Arts Tax”) was passed by 62 percent of Portland voters on Nov. 6, 2012. The tax will fund art teachers and access, and is $35 for most adult Portland residents.
As of June 3, 2013, the Revenue Bureau has received $7.2 million in Arts Tax payments from more than 251,000 taxfilers. The Revenue Bureau expects to collect about $8.3 million by June 30, 2013.
“We’re pleased that Portlanders are continuing to pay their Arts Tax,” said Revenue Bureau Director Thomas Lannom.
All income earning adults in the City of Portland are required to file an Arts Tax form. People and families who earn less than the 2012 federal poverty guidelines must file an exemption form, but are not required to pay any tax. For a family of four, the guideline is $23,050. Exemption details are outlined on the website at www.portlandoregon.gov/artstax.
Portland residents can call (503) 865-4ART (4278) for more information or to make a payment over the phone.
Voters: ‘No’ On Fluoride, ‘Yes’ on Children’s Levy
Portlanders on Tuesday night rejected a plan to fluoridate city water, by 60 percent to 40 percent. The voter overturns a decision by the City Council in 2012.
“The measure lost, even with my own ‘yes’ vote,” Mayor Charlie Hales said Tuesday evening. “I’m disappointed but I accept the will of the voters.”
Meanwhile, voters easily approved a third renewal of the Portland Children’s Levy, with more than 70 percent of participating voters saying “yes.” The levy directs approximately $9 million per year to programs that support close to 14,000 children in such arenas as foster care, child-abuse prevention and after-school activities.
Commissioner Dan Saltzman led the charge to renew the Children’s Levy.
“Bravo Dan Saltzman,” Hales said. “The Children’s Levy is a good idea with good leadership.”
Citizens Rally to Save Horse Patrol
TUESDAY, MAY 21, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales today announced a plan to save the city’s Mounted Patrol Unit – or horse patrol – for at least two years.
The mayor had proposed not funding the horse patrol in his recommended budget for 2013-14. That has not changed, and the mayor is adding no additional funding.
A private group, Friends of The Mounted Patrol, has pledged to raise $200,000 per year for two years, to keep the horse patrol. And Police Chief Mike Reese has agreed to reconfigure the patrol to save money.
“I cut the budget for the horse patrol as part of the effort to address this year’s $21.5 million shortfall,” Hales said. “This is an example of the community stepping in, when city budgets are tight, to keep a beloved and effective community-policing program.”
Bob Ball, vice president of Friends of The Mounted Patrol, lobbied hard to keep the horses and the officers. But he also said he recognized the city’s tough economic situation.
“We want to thank the Mayor and the Council for listening to the people of Portland, and those around the world, who advocated for the Mounted Patrol,” Ball said. “We’ll be launching a fundraising campaign in the coming days on our Facebook page, but for today, we just want to say ‘Thank You.’”
The Friends will launch a website, www.OurMountedPatrol.com in the coming days to accept donations.
- As part of the deal, Chief Reese offered personnel changes:
- Two officer positions are eliminated
- One sergeant position is transferred from property crimes to the Mounted Patrol Unit, or MPU
- Two officer positions transferred from personnel division to MPU
- One officer position transferred from training division to MPU
- One officer position transferred from complaint signer/detectives division to MPU
- 2.5 non-sworn positions transferred from non-sworn positions currently vacant to MPU
Mayor Hales accepted the chief’s recommendation.
Budget Season Opens with Brokered Deal
FRIDAY, MAY 17, 2013 – The Portland area budget-crafting season has kicked off with a deal cut between Jeff Cogen, chairman of the Multnomah County Commission, and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.
Less than two hours before Thursday’s budget hearing at Portland City Hall began, the two leaders hammered out a joint agreement on funding for a wide array of area services – with the county picking up the tab on some and the city on others.
“What’s really great is that the city and county have collaborated to address the needs of our community,” Cogen told The Oregonian’s Dana Tims. “This spirit of partnership and collaboration leaves me feeling very hopeful about this arrangement.”
"Chair Cogen has been a great partner in these talks," Mayor Hales said. "He gets the whole focus behind collaboration and clarity in the budget-writing process."
Under the agreement, the city will maintain, for one year, its portion of the funding for the Crisis Assessment Treatment Center, known as CATC. Mayor Hales had planned to end that funding in his original budget.
In exchange, Multnomah County will pick up the city's share for the needle exchange program and a one-stop domestic violence center. And the county will provide one-time money to maintain the current level of funding for our community's senior centers and will split the cost of three SUN schools for one year, giving both the city and county time to work on a longer-term solution for both of those vital services. The county also will fund a needle exchange program.
Both governments’ budget hearings continue in coming weeks. Portland’s meetings are set for 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at Warner Pacific College, 2219 S.E. 68th Ave.; and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, May 23, at Jackson Middle School,10625 S.W. 35th Ave.
Multnomah County has two public budget hearings remaining, on May 22 at the East County building, 600 N.E. Eighth St.in Gresham; and on May 29 at IRCO,10301 N.E. Glisan St.in Portland. Both meetings begin at 6 p.m.
Multnomah County, City of Portland leaders reach budget agreement
Joint Statement from Chair Cogen and Mayor Hales
May 16, 2013
We are happy to announce we have reached a budget agreement to preserve key community services that include SUN schools, the needle exchange program, the one-stop domestic violence center, our senior centers and the Crisis Assessment Treatment Center.
Because Multnomah County is in a stable budget position this year, we agreed that the county will pick up the city's share for the needle exchange program and one-stop domestic violence center. And the county will provide one-time-only money to maintain the current level of funding for our community's senior centers and split the cost of three SUN schools for one year, giving both the city and county time to work on a longer-term solution for both of those vital services.
The city will fund its 50 percent share of the treatment center's funding for the coming year, and we are gratified that people having serious mental health issues will continue to have this vital resource. In the two years since the county and city jointly opened the CATC, the center has helped to stabilize about 1,300 people in a mental health crisis.
Both of us appreciate the collaborative spirit of our discussions to help the city deal with the budget shortfall it faces this year. We are optimistic this spirit will be a model for our future discussions. The good news today is that we have reached an agreement that will benefit our entire community.
Portland’s first budget hearing is tonight, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at City Hall, 1221 S.W. Fourth Ave., in the second floor council chamber. Two more hearings are set for 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at Warner Pacific College, 2219 S.E. 68th Ave.; and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, May 23, at Jackson Middle School, 10625 S.W. 35th Ave.
Multnomah County has two public budget hearings remaining, on May 22 at the East County building, 600 N.E. Eighth St.in Gresham; and on May 29 at IRCO,10301 N.E. Glisan St. in Portland. Both meetings begin at 6 p.m.
Arts Tax Deadline Delayed
-- 10 A.M., THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2013 --
Portland Arts Tax deadline extension continues.
Wednesday night, the city’s website experienced a problem related to the overwhelming response of Portlanders paying their Arts Tax. The computer problem is being addressed this morning. The city has extended the Arts Tax deadline, and will maintain that extension until this problem is resolved. We appreciate everyone’s patience and hope to have further details later today.
-- 6 P.M., WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013 --
Due to the overwhelming response of Portlanders paying their Arts Tax, the City's website is experiencing a capacity issue. We are working on the situation.
At this point the deadline to pay the Arts Tax will be extended until the problem is resolved. We appreciate everyone's patience with this situation.
On a high-usage day the website will see about 230 concurrent users. Throughout the day we have been experiencing approximately double that number just on the Arts Tax website alone.
Portland Arts Tax Deadline is Today; More Than 220,000 Portlanders have Filed; Revenue Office will Remain Open Until 7 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013 -- The deadline for Portland residents to file their 2012 Portland Arts Tax returns is today, May 15. Tax returns and payments will be considered timely if postmarked with today’s date, or filed online by midnight tonight. To file and pay online, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/artstax.
Taxpayers also can file and pay in person at 111 S.W. Columbia St., Suite 600. The Revenue Bureau will keep its doors open to taxpayers until 7 tonight and any taxpayer filing in person by then also will be considered timely.
The Arts Education and Access Income Tax (“Arts Tax”) was passed by 62 percent of Portland voters on Nov. 6, 2012. The tax will fund art teachers and access to the arts, and is $35 for most adult Portland residents.
As of noon today, the Revenue Bureau has received more than $6 million in Arts Tax payments from more than 220,000 taxpayers, and expects more than $7 million by Friday, May 17. The Revenue Bureau previously estimated it would collect $8.6 million by June 30, 2013.
“I’m pleased that so many Portland citizens have already paid their Arts Tax, and many tens of thousands more will pay today,” Bureau Director Thomas Lannom said. “Despite changes and legal challenges, most Portlanders are stepping up and paying the tax on time.”
Taxpayers who do not file today may be assessed a $15 penalty. Taxpayers who do not file by Oct. 15 may be assessed an additional $20.
All income-earning adults in the City of Portland are required to file an Arts Tax form. People and families who earn less than the 2012 federal poverty guidelines must file an exemption form, but are not required to pay any tax. For a family of four, the guideline is $23,050. Exemption details are outlined on the website at www.portlandoregon.gov/artstax.
Portland residents can call (503) 865-4ART (4278) for more information or to make a payment over the phone. Staff will be available to answer calls until 7 tonight.
Bring it on!
TUESDAY, MAY 14, 2013 -- Mayor Charlie Hales took the stage at Pioneer Courthouse Square on Tuesday to cheer on the Portland Winterhawks, who won the Western Hockey League tournament and now head on to the Memorial Cup championships in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Mayor Hales made a side bet with the mayor of London, Ontario – home of the London Knights – with the finest regional dinner going to the winning team’s mayor.
Also in the tourney: the Halifax Mooseheads and the Saskatoon Blades. The event starts Friday, May 26.
Asian Pacific Heritage Honored
TUESDAY, MAY 14, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales took part in Friday’s celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage month, sponsored by the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization.
IRCO’s Asian Family Center celebrated nearly two decades of outstanding service to the Asian and Pacific Islander communities of the Portland Metro area. This event HONOREDIRCO’s accomplishments of the past several years.
Arts Tax Deal Reached
MONDAY, MAY 13, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales on Monday proposed a deal on the 2012 city arts tax, which should allow all six school districts to hire art instructors for the coming year.
The arts tax – OK’d by voters in November, 2012 – has been challenged in two law suits. If the city were to lose either suit, the money might have to be given back to taxpayers. Consequently, the mayor announced in March that the city could not distribute the money to the schools, or to arts organizations, as intended; he understands, however, the importance of having teachers in classrooms.
Distribution of the money – an estimated $6 million – was scheduled to begin in November 2013.
Under the deal proposed by Hales, some city money would be freed up to help the six districts – Portland Public Schools, along with Centennial, David Douglas, Parkrose, Reynolds and Riverdale school districts.
The city will disburse $3 million in November, but no more during the 2013-14 fiscal year, pending favorable rulings or settlements on the law suits.
“The superintendents and I have been working to find a way to be true to the taxpayers, whose money this is, and to the voters, who approved the arts tax,” Hales said. “We think this does it.”
Of that $3 million disbursement, the risk will be shared equally: $1 million from the city’s contingency fund; $1 million from future budget appropriations to the Regional Arts & Culture Council, or RACC; and $1 million combined from the six school districts.
The money disbursed fall overwhelmingly to Portland Public Schools, the largest of the districts. About two-thirds of the dollars are earmarked for PPS; one-third to the other districts.
Each district will decide how it wants to spend the money. For instance, Superintendent Carole Smith of Portland Public Schools will recommend hiring an estimated 30 FTE arts teachers – not 45 FTE, or full-time equivalent – and spreading those 30 positions evenly across her district.
Other districts could spend the money to hire, or bank it in case the law suits go against the city and money has to be returned.
“We are not in the business of telling superintendents how to run their districts,” Hales said. “These decisions have been tough to reach, but it’s been a combined effort all along, and we’re grateful to the arts community and our school districts for working with us to find a practical solution. In the end, getting teachers in our classrooms will pay dividends for generations to come.”
The mayor said his focus has been on elementary school students in the Portland area. “We want these students to have the benefit of the arts education that taxpayers have supported, and to do it in a financially responsible way,” he said.
Mayor Greets Dalai Lama
WEDNESDAY, MAY 8, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales greeted the Dalai Lama today as he arrived in Portland for four days of events.
His Holiness will be in Portland through Sunday for a wide array of public activities.
The Dalai Lama is the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism. The current owner of the title is the 14th Dalai Lama. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
Details of his visit: http://www.dalailamaportland2013.net/schedule
Representatives of Kaiser Permanente came to City Hall on Wednesday to present a check worth $100,000 to Sunday Parkways.
Portland Sunday Parkways promotes healthy active living through a series of free events opening the city's largest public space - its streets - to walk, bike, roll, and discover active transportation while fostering civic pride, stimulating economic development, and represents the community, business, and government investments
Some People Due Refund for city Arts Tax
TUESDAY, MAY 7, 2013 – An analysis of the arts tax of the city o fPortland has revealed that some people who have received most or all of their income from Social Security or the Public Employees Retirement System have paid the tax. And those types of income are not a taxable by the city.
This means some people who have paid the arts tax are eligible for refunds.
This is the second revision so far for the tax, which was approved by voters in November 2012. Earlier this spring, an analysis of the tax showed that anyone in a household above the federal poverty level was expected to pay the $35 per year, even if an individual in that household made less than $35.
The City Council adopted a revision to the arts tax, setting excluded people who made less than $1,000 in 2012.
The deadline for people to pay the arts tax is May 15. “To date, the Revenue Bureau has collected over $4.25 million and thousands of checks are being processed daily,” said Thomas Lannom, director of the City Revenue Bureau.
People who don’t need to pay the tax are those who income derives solely or primarily from Social Security and PERS. Refunds are not applicable if people had $1,000 or more in other income that is taxable.
Social Security is not a taxable form of income in Oregon, even though it often is taxable at a federal level.
The Revenue Bureau has not estimated the number of people eligible for the refund.
“This arts tax puts us in a bind,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “We want to be true to voters, who approved it in November. We have to be good stewards of taxpayers’ money. And we want to support the public schools and arts community. These problems – which stem from the way the tax was written – make it difficult to meet all those goals.”
Hales said staff will continue to study the arts tax, and will recommend changes, as directed by City Council in March.
The tax was created last year to support arts programs in public schools, as well as the metro area arts community.
Two law suits have been filed against the arts tax.
Multnomah County Releases Budget
THURSDAY, MAY 2, 2013 – For the first time in a dozen years, Multnomah County likely won’t need to make significant service cuts because of budget shortages, according to a story by The Oregonian’s Dana Tims.
The budget that county board Chairman Jeff Cogen has proposed relies on consolidations and recent wage freezes to avoid cuts that, in recent years, have resulted in layoffs and service reductions. Savings also were realized from Cogen’s order to managers several months ago to submit 1-percent across-the-board cuts to their departments, Tims reporter.
“We’re basically in a position of stability,” Cogen said. “For Multnomah County, that’s the best news we have had in a decade.”
Mayor Charlie Hales unveiled his budget on Tuesday.
PDC Contest Draws 16 Entrepreneurs
THURSDAY, MAY 2, 2013 – The Portland Development Commission named 16 semifinalists in a competition designed to boost entrepreneurship in the city and promote commerce in the "Produce Row" neighborhood.
Approximately 240 companies applied to participate in the Startup PDX Challenge, according to Oregonian reporter Mike Rogoway. The challenge will award up to six $10,000 grants, plus free rent and professional services for a year.
Budget Forums Slated
FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2013 -- Portland will hold three forums to hear citizens’ input on city spending in May, before the City Council adopts the 2013-14 budget.
Mayor Charlie Hales, city commissioners and city staff will listen to residents’ ideas on potential budget cuts and spending increases.
Those will be:
- Thursday, May 16, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Council Chambers, City Hall, 1221 S.W. Fourth Ave.
- Saturday, May 18, 3 to 5 p.m., Warner Pacific College, 2219 S.E. 68th Ave.
- Thursday, May 23, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Jackson Middle School, 10625 S.W. 35th Ave.
To review budgets requested by city bureaus: www.portlandoregon.gov/cbo/article/437463
State of the City 2013
FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales will present the annual State of the City speech at noon Friday at the City Club of Portland.
By tradition,Portland mayors have chosen the City Club as their venue for the annual speech. Hales was elected in November and took office in January, making this his first State of the City.
The City Club’s Friday Forums take place at The Governor Hotel,614 S.W. 11th Ave. They are broadcast live on Oregon Public Broadcasting and also can be heard and watched at the City Club’s website archives, as well as on radio and television. Times and stations are available at the club’s website.
Hail to the Chief
MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2013 -- Excellent Profile in The Oregonian this Sunday of Gail Shibley, chief of staff to Mayor Charlie Hales.
The story was written by reporter Ryan Kost, with photographs by Benjamin Brink.
Officials Discuss Impacts of Affordable Care Act
THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2013 – Dr. Bruce Goldberg, director of the Oregon Health Authority, came to Portland City Hall on Thursday to discuss the Affordable Care Act and expansion of Medicaid in Portland and Multnomah County.
Invited participants included Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick, along with representatives from Multnomah County, Health Share of Oregon, Volunteers of America, Central City Concerns, FamilyCare coordinated care organization and DePaul Treatment Centers.
“Expansion of Medicaid means serving many more residents who otherwise couldn’t afford care,” Mayor Hales said. “It was valuable to get an analysis of what the expansion means for the city.”
Topics of discussion included:
Medicaid coverage for behavioral health services for currently uninsured people.
Providing services for people involved in the criminal justice system.
City and county outreach for those who are, or will be, newly eligible for Medicaid.
Currently, Medicaid and the Oregon Health Plan cover children whose households are up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, and only some low-income adults.
The Affordable Care Act – one of the signature achievements of President Obama’s first term in office – allows expansion of all adults ages 19 to 65 with income below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The act also allows coverage for single people making up to $15,856 per year, and a family of four making up to $32,499 per year.
As of Jan. 1, 2014, the Oregon Health Plan will cover all eligible adults with incomes less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, as well as children in families with income less than 300 percent of poverty level.
Candidates Line Up to be Transportation Chief
THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2013 – The job of director for the Portland Bureau of Transportation has drawn 44 candidates from throughout the United States.
The former director, Tom Miller, resigned in January. Interim Director Toby Widmer came out of retirement – having spent almost three decades at the bureau – to serve for six months. Meanwhile, Mayor Charlie Hales initiated a nationwide search for a permanent director.
The application deadline has passed. City officials hope to have a director hired in May or June.
The 44 candidates include 10 people living in Portland, and a total of 22 living in Oregon. Other candidates hail from close by –Washington,California and Idaho– as well as from across the nation, including North Carolina and Florida.
Goal!: City Council Recognizes the Thorns
WEDNESDAY, April 10, 2013 – Members of the Portland ThornsFootball Club, the city’s professional women’s soccer team, drop by City Hall on Wednesday to let the elected officials show their support.
Participants included (from left) Mike Golub, chief operating officer of the Portland Thorns and Timbers; Commissioner Amanda Fritz; Coach Cindy Parlow Cone; Mayor Charlie Hales; forward Danielle Foxhoven (a University of Portland alumna); Commissioner Nick Fish; and forward Christine Sinclair (another U of P alumna).
Bureau of Development Services Takes Action In Response to Citizen Complaint
MONDAY, APRIL 8, 2013 -- The Bureau of Development Services (BDS) received a complaint on Nov. 30, 2012, concerning BDS employees taking long breaks at a restaurant. BDS took immediate action to investigate the complaint and corrective actions are under way at this time. The details of the complaint, investigation and corrective actions are confidential.
“The reason this is coming to light now is because the Bureau of Development Services undertook the investigation, interviewed the employees, and is taking appropriate action,” said Paul Scarlett, Director of the Bureau of Development Services.
The Bureau of Development Services has clear and established rules and expectations that are communicated periodically to its employees about the use of City resources and time. Since receiving this complaint, BDS has reiterated these rules and expectations both in writing and verbally. The bureau continues to explore improved management tools to ensure compliance with work rules.
BDS takes this issue very seriously and does not condone any employee’s misuse of City time or resources, Scarlett said.
“The city has policies and bureau-specific work rules regarding use of work time and city resources," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "These are routinely communicated to employees. In this particular matter the bureau did exactly what it is supposed to--it conducted a prompt investigation into allegations of misuse and is taking appropriate steps to remedy this situation. While I can not discuss employee discipline matters, I support the actions taken by the bureau.”
Mayor, Police Chief Testify on Gun Violence Bills
FRIDAY, APRIL 5, 2013 – The Oregonian’s Jeff Mapes reported on today’s lengthy hearing at the State Capitol in Salem, regarding bills designed to address illegal gun violence.
Among those testifying on behalf of the bills were Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Portland Police Chief Mike Reese, and Gov. John Kitzhaber.
“Measures like the ones before you today will make it harder for certain Oregonians to get their hands on guns,” Hales told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “And almost all Oregonians, including gun owners, agree that some people shouldn’t have access to guns.”
Southeast 136th Safety Project Launched
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3, 2013 – A city of Portland project to create sidewalks on Southeast 136th Avenue between Powell and Holgate boulevards will get under way this fall.
The project is budgeted at $1.2 million and should begin in fall. It will stretch for 0.63 miles along 136th Avenue.
This winter, an audit of the city’s street maintenance program pointed to an historic lack of funding for street paving. In response, Mayor Charlie Hales asked Toby Widmer, interim director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, to find creative ways to increase funds for pavement projects within the bureau’s existing budget.
One of the options outlined by Widmer would have diverted funding for the136th Avenue sidewalk project to paving. Mayor Hales and city commissioners now have rejected that option.
“I asked Toby to be creative,” Hales said. “Long before we discuss any new funding, we want to make sure we were being as creative as possible with every dollar we have now. Toby did exactly what I asked of him.”
Hales said public safety remains the No. 1 factor for street maintenance programs. Paving, sidewalks, crosswalks and signage are all safety issues.
City Commissioner Steve Novick, along with Hales and Widmer, spoke to members of the media Wednesday morning at Gates Park, at 136th and Holgate, discussing the sidewalk project.
Members of the Oregon Legislature representing East Portland also were on hand, including Sens. Jackie Dingfelder, D-Portland; and Chuck Thomsen, R-HoodRiver, and Reps. Shemia Fagan, D-Clackamas; Alissa Keny-Guyer, D-Portland; Jeff Reardon, D-Portland; and Jessica Vega Pederson, D-Portland.
Project on Hold at 37th and Division
THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2013 – The mayor has instructed the director of the Portland Bureau of Development Services to suspend further review of the permit revision for an apartment project at 37th and Division.
“The city strives for fairness and doesn’t always get it on the first shot,” Mayor Charlie Hales said Thursday. “That’s why I’m taking this action.”
The city issued a stop-work order on Feb. 25.
Hales has pushed the Planning Commission to expedite a recommendation to the City Council regarding on-site parking for new, multi-family developments. The council will hear the commission’s policy recommendations at the Thursday, April 4, Portland City Council meeting.
Construction on the 37th and Division development has not resumed, and won’t be allowed until a new permit is approved. The developer can apply for a new permit no earlier than April 11.
Several neighbors in the vicinity had complained that they did not have an opportunity to speak out on a revised permit.
“The city did a disservice by not providing clear answers to the neighbors over the last month,” Hales said. “The neighbors acted in good faith.”
Learn How to Prepare for Earthquakes
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20, 2013 -- The Portland bureaus of Emergency Management and the Development Services will play host to a free seismic-strengthening presentation at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21. The event is part of Earthquake Awareness Month and is set for the Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 S.W. Capitol Highway. Parking is available in the parking lot and on-street.
Area residents are invited to learn the basic, affordable steps involved in reducing the likelihood of earthquake damage to their homes.
Development Services Inspections Manager Jim Nicks will provide an overview of the permitting and construction processes required for seismic home-improvement projects, including a show-and-tell explanation of needed materials.
Emergency Management Director Carmen Merlo will share her own recent experience bracing her century-old house against earthquakes. She also will share tips for securing everyday household items.
Volunteers from Portland’s Neighborhood Emergency Team program also will be on hand to share information about community training and preparedness.
Mayor, Bureaus Speak Out on Traffic Fatalities
TUESDAY, MARCH 19, 2013 – The number of people dying in traffic crashes on Portland streets this year is unacceptable, according to Mayor Charlie Hales. In office for less than 80 days, the new mayor was alarmed that there have already been 11 traffic fatalities with five of those 11 involving driving under the influence.
“Every person who dies in a crash represents a family and community tragedy. So far in 2013, we’re averaging about one death a week. That’s unacceptable,” Hales said. “Leadership at the Transportation Bureau, Portland Police Bureau and I are alarmed that five people have lost their lives this year related to driving under the influence. Drive sober to save lives. Doing otherwise is illegal and reckless.”
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, citing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every day another 27 people die as a result of drunken driving crashes.
The Transportation and Police bureaus plan a crosswalk enforcement action for today, March 19, to raise awareness of pedestrian safety and traffic law.
The enforcement action will be from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the marked crossing ofSoutheast Powell Boulevardat28th Place.
A crosswalk enforcement action includes a pedestrian decoy positioned at marked or unmarked crosswalks. Drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk and pedestrians who jaywalk may be issued a warning or citation by the Portland Police Bureau.
Lt. Chris Davis of the Portland Police Traffic Division, also reflected on the 2011 fatalities. “As we travel, the choices we make can significantly reduce the chances that tragedy will strike. None of us leave the house planning to be involved in a traffic crash. But, we all can slow down, stay sober and follow the rules of the road. Our officers have been way too busy this year and the Portland Police Traffic Division is asking all Portlanders to recommit to travel safely no matter if you are walking, bicycle riding or driving.”
“The Transportation Bureau is working diligently to make streets safer for everyone and raising awareness that drunk and distracted driving is a killer. We’re fortunate to have the men and women of the Portland Police Bureau and Mayor Hales committed to traffic safety as well,” Transportation Director John Widmer said.
In addition to talking about traffic fatalities, the Transportation and Police bureaus held three community meetings in the last month to get input on improving traffic safety. Meetings were held to make Northeast Sandy Boulevard, Burnside Street on both sides of the river and Northeast Glisan Street safer places for people to walk, bike, use transit and drive.
An additional meeting is scheduled for April 8 with the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association, the location of another pedestrian fatality in 2013.
Burnside and Sandy are two of the 10 streets the bureau calls “High Crash Corridors.”Glisan Streetwas the location of the first pedestrian fatality of 2013. The High Crash Corridor program’s goal is to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and injuries where they are most prevalent.
Findings from the “Metro State of Safety Report” issued in April 2012 focused on major streets and high numbers of crashes. The report said arterial roadways comprise 59 percent of the region’s serious crashes, 67 percent of the serious pedestrian crashes and 52 percent of the serious bike crashes, while accounting for 40 percent of vehicle miles travel. That is why the City focuses safety funding toward these corridors through education, enforcement and engineering activities.
The report also said alcohol or drugs were a factor in 57 percent of fatal crashes. More information about the report is online at http://news.oregonmetro.gov/1/post.cfm/crashes-cost-more-than-congestion.
The Portland Police Bureau partnered with transportation on these efforts, particularly through enforcement actions designed to educate drivers and pedestrians of crosswalk laws and cite those who break them. On January 23, police cited 12 people and warned two others for traffic safety violations at a crosswalk on Northeast Sandy Boulevard at Northeast 85th Avenue. And on February 26, police issued 27 citations in 90 minutes on at a crosswalk on West Burnside Street at Northwest 21st Place.
Mayor Proposes Arts Tax Fix
MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2013 – The Arts Tax, as approved by voters in November 2012, contains a significant flaw, and the Portland City Council will take action this month to address the issue.
As written, any Portland resident with any income – living in a household above the poverty line – has to pay the $35 annual arts tax. So in a household that is above the poverty line, a teenager who made $10 last year dog-sitting is expected to pay $35 of that $10 to the arts tax.
“No one crafting this tax intended this to be the rule,” Mayor Charlie Hales said Monday. “This is just silly. And we need to move right now to address the Law of Unintended Consequences.”
To fix that problem, Council will debate an emergency ordinance at the March 27 City Council meeting. The rule change would create an income threshold or $1,000, beneath which income is not taxed.
The change would be effective immediately and would affect Portland residents paying this year’s arts tax.
For those who already have paid, but whose annual income is less than $1,000, a refund will be required. City Revenue staff is aware of the situation and will work to address those who fall into this category.
There may be other issues of fairness in the arts tax to be considered at a later date.
Farmers Market Open for Business
SATURDAY, MARCH 16, 2013 -- Mayor Charlie Hales on Saturday rang in the start of the Farmers Market in the South Park Blocks, amid the Portland State University Campus.
The market is open each Saturday now through Dec. 21 between Southwest Hall and Montgomery.
Mayor Shadows City Employees Do in the ‘City That Works’
FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2013 – Mayor Charlie Hales has taken part in “ride-alongs” with Portland police and firefighters. And now he’s toured street maintenance projects around the city.
“This is important,” Hales said Friday after meeting up with three crews from the Portland Bureau of Transportation, at Northeast Hancock Street, Northeast Cesar Chảvez Boulevard, and Southwest Barbur Boulevard. “We’re right in the middle of writing budgets for every bureau of the city. Knowing how our workers get the job done helps inform those decisions.”
Peter Wojcicki, Street Systems Division Manager, said crews spread out throughout the city most days, weather permitting, to address minor and major problems. Crews also coordinate with police, Water Bureau, and other divisions inside and outside the city, to make sure the timing for projects is right.
Portland has approximately 5,000 lane miles of streets, making it the city’s single largest physical asset. An analysis by the City Auditor’s office last month said the city has significantly underfunded street maintenance in recent years.
"This has to be a priority, taking care of our streets," Hales said. It's like taking care of the roof of your house. It costs a lot less if you stay on top of the maintenance projects, and not let your assets deteriorate."
The City Council is struggling to address a $25 million shortfall in the 2013-14 budget.
Other members of the Portland City Council often participate in ride-alongs with city employees as well. Mayor Hales has encouraged his own staff to participate in future opportunities.
City Council approves paid sick leave 5-0
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2013 – The Portland City Council today approved a new sick-leave mandate for employers doing business in the city. The vote was unanimous.
Beginning next year, employers in Portland won’t be able to fire employees for taking a day off with an illness, or staying home with a sick child. Most employees will receive a week's paid sick leave at minimum.
A City Council subcommittee, consisting of Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Dan Saltzman, came together this year to craft the ordinance.
“The leadership of Commissioners Fritz and Saltzman were essential in making this happen,” Mayor Charlie Hales said today. “I think it’s the right move for Portland’s work force and the business community. Now we’d like to see the state of Oregon follow suit.”
The year-long delay in the provision is intended to put pressure on state legislators to enact the rule state wide.
Companies, nonprofits and governmental employers with five or fewer employees won’t have to provide paid time off, but no longer could fire workers who phone in ill. Those with six or more employees must offer at least five days’ paid sick leave to full-time workers, though other paid time off benefits may suffice.
It is estimated that 40 percent of private sector employees in Portland do not now have sick leave.
Oaks Bottom Bluff Opens
SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2013 -- The Portland Parks Bureau celebrated the restoration of the Oaks Bottom Bluff this morning.
Mayor Charlie Hales and his wife, Nancy Hales, were on scene. The event included guided nature walks, bird-watching, and more.
The trail is part of the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge in Southeast Portland. The project included a new boardwalk, as well as a vantage point for wildlife- and bird-watching. The $750,000 project began last August.
Sick Leave Goes To Vote
SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2013 -- The issue of protected sick leave goes before the Portland City Council at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 13.
The City Council will vote to authorize changes to the city code to require protected sick time for employees of businesses working in the city of Portland and who enter into a contract with Oregon State Bureau of Labor and Industries for enforcement. This item is on the council’s regular agenda for the Wednesday morning council meeting.
Mayor appears on ‘Your Voice Your Vote’
FRIDAY, MARCH 8, 2013 –Mayor Charlie Hales will appear on the political news show “Your Voice Your Vote” at 9 a.m. Sunday, March 10, on KATU, the ABC affiliate at Channel 2.
Topics for the half-hour show include the city’s budget-crafting process, an FBI arrest of a Portland city employee on terrorism-related charges; and efforts to lure more businesses into Portland.
Host Steve Dunn conducted the interview. Other recent guests on the show included Congressman Kurt Schrader and City Commissioner Amanda Fritz.
City Employee Arrested, Allegedly Linked to Terrorist Attack
TUESDAY, MARCH 5, 2013 – FBI agents today arrested a man on suspicion of assisting in a deadly 2009 bombing in Lahore, Pakistan. The man arrested, Reaz Qadir Khan, is an employee of the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.
Khan, 48, was charged in federal court on Tuesday with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. He has pleaded not guilty. He is scheduled to appear again in court Wednesday afternoon for a custody hearing.
Mayor Charlie Hales was made aware of Khan’s employment earlier today. He has no public statement on the man’s work for the city.
“The deplorable act of triggering a bomb at a federal building inLahoreresulted in approximately 30 deaths and 300 injuries,” Hales said. “However, we should all remember that the charges contained in Mr. Khan’s indictment are allegations only, and that Mr. Khan is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”
The charge stems from a May 2009 bombing of the headquarters of the Pakistani intelligence service – the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency – in Lahore.
“This week’s arrest brings home the reality that worldwide headlines can resonate right here in Portland,” Hales said.
Secretaries of State visit City Hall
TUESDAY, MARCH 5, 2013 – Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown was at Portland City Hall today to hand out awards from the National Association of Secretaries of State. Joining her was Ross Miller, who serves as secretary of state for Nevada and president of the national association.
Brown will be association president next year.
Brown formerly served portions of Portland in the Oregon Senate.
Governor, Mayor Meet to Discuss Issues for Portlanders
FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 2013 -- Gov. John Kitzhaber came to Portland City Hall on Friday to meet with Mayor Charlie Hales.
Kitzhaber is in an historic third term as Oregon governor, having served for two four-year terms, then stepping down for eight years. Similarly, Hales served on the Portland City Council for 10 years then left city government for 10 years, before seeking election last year as mayor.
Topics for the brief morning gathering included education, transportation, public safety and mental health.
Mayors Focus on Supporting Schools
THURSDAY, FEB. 28, 2013 – Mayors from throughout Oregon are coming together this week to discuss a shared concern for adequate state support for local public schools.
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales hosted a conference call Thursday to get the process rolling by launching a new group, Mayors For Oregon’s School Kids.
Hales and other Oregon mayors also have engaged the Legislature in discussions regarding sufficient and predictable funding for schools.
Hales – who was sworn into office in January – made the issue one of his three priorities for this year.
“I, for one, am tired of our schools being held together by bake sales and short-term financial Band-Aids,” Hales said. “Instead, our State Legislature needs to fund schools first, and fund them adequately, whether the school is in Pendleton, Coos Bay, Portland or Medford. The value of providing a first-class education to our students pays dividends in every city and town in Oregon.”
In years past, the city of Portland has earmarked millions of dollars to public schools. But this year's shortfall will make that impossible. Other cities and school districts face similar crises.
Beyond Portland, mayors participating in the discussion range from smaller communities such as Junction City and Cave Junction, up to large cities such as Hillsboro and Beaverton.
Information released by teachers, administrators and school board members have pointed to proposed budgets that would disenfranchise public schools even further. The numbers cited at the Capitol in Salem include:
$6.15 billion - Crisis budget
Loss of teachers
Increased class sizes
Cutting more school days
Elimination of many extra-curricular activities
$6.55 billion – More of the same
Loss of teachers
Increased class sizes
Cutting more school days
$6.75 billion – Stability
Some districts can restore some school days
Status quo for class sizes
Status quo for programs
“This is not an urban, suburban, or rural issue,” Hales said. “It’s an Oregon issue. I believe that there is power in mayors coming together with a unified front.”
Charlie Hales Sworn in as Mayor
JANUARY 2, 2013 -- Mayor-elect Charlie Hales today was sworn into office.
He thanked supporters, and used his speech as a call to action to "work together in an open and collaborative manner to get things done."
"I say here in public what I have said to each of you in private," he said, "I can’t wait for us to roll up our sleeves and tackle the challenges facing our city."