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Commissioner Steve Novick

Official Website for Commissioner Steve Novick

Phone: 503-823-4682

fax: 503-823-4019

1221 SW 4th Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97204

Meet the intern: Amy Adams

Amy Adams began her internship in Commissioner Novick’s office in January 2016. Amy grew up in Dothan, AL, and attended Furman University in Greenville, SC. After graduating in 2014, Amy moved to Portland to attend Lewis & Clark Law School. She has previously interned with the Humane Society of the United States, the office of State Representative Tobias Read, and the Oregon Department of Justice’s Child Advocacy section.

Amy is passionate about community outreach, and spends much of her free time volunteering with her church and local non-profits. Some of her volunteer experience includes serving as a Civic Ambassador for the City Club of Portland and a mobile superhero at Portland’s Sunday Parkways. Amy has thoroughly enjoyed becoming a part of Portland’s active transportation scene, and is excited to help make Portland a safer place for bikers and pedestrians.

316 Years Ago Today: The Great Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake

Tuesday (1/26) marks the 316th anniversary of the last great Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake that shook the entire Pacific Northwest on January 26, 1700. The shaking extended from California to British Columbia, producing a devastating tsunami that swept along our coast and reached as far as Japan. Scientists believe Oregon is in the window of time during which another Cascadia quake could occur.

Thanks to a widely-read article in The New Yorker, OPB's "Unprepared" series, coverage by local media, and the efforts of scientists and emergency managers to raise awareness, more Portlanders than ever are now aware of our region's earthquake danger. But we still need to take action to get ready. Here's what you can do:

And here are a few highlights of what the City of Portland is doing:

  • Engineering experts know unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings are dangerous during an earthquake. Last year, my office began working with PBEM, BDS, the Portland Development Commission, and members of the community to develop a policy to require these buildings be retrofitted within a certain timeframe. Council will consider adopting this mandatory URM retrofit policy in the summer. Click here to learn more.
  • PBEM, in partnership with a steering committee of community members, is in the process of updating Portland's Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan. Once complete, this document will increase our understanding of Portland's danger from earthquakes and other natural hazards, and suggest specific actions we can take to reduce the risk posed by these hazards. Click here to learn more.
  • One of the City's federal legislative priorities for public safety is to support funding for the creation of an earthquake early warning system for the West Coast. Many countries - including Japan, Mexico, and Romania - already have systems in place. Once deployed, such a system could give Portlanders tens of seconds, or even minutes, warning before feeling the Cascadia quake. Click here to learn more.

Many City bureaus have efforts underway to harden their infrastructure to better withstand an earthquake. Examples include the Portland Water Bureau's Willamette River Crossing project and the Office of Management & Finance's work to revamp the Portland Building. Every new structure built by the City of Portland now takes into account our current understanding of the earthquake danger.

The Spirit of the Anti-Displacement PDX Coalition

Portland is in the midst of an affordable housing and displacement crisis that has most affected communities of color and low income families. The stories are sadly all too familiar and data are clear: the impact of the increase in demand for housing is driving up the cost of housing, and people of color and low income people cannot afford to live in most of Portland’s beloved neighborhoods. Without united and concerted action, this situation will only get worse as housing costs continue to climb.

The Anti-Displacement PDX Coalition’s advocacy efforts have successfully brought issues of gentrification and displacement front and center to the public discourse and decision making process. The group’s efforts resulted in the Planning and Sustainability Commission including over two dozen measures in the draft Comprehensive Plan that address these citywide issues.

In recognition of its effective organizing and advocacy I nominated the Anti-Displacement PDX Coalition for a Spirit of Portland award. Last night the Coalition did not accept the award, taking the position that until the recommendations are incorporated by the final comprehensive plan, such an award is premature. The bold action of the coalition to challenge City Council to remain committed to addressing this crisis is just one example of why I continue to stand by my nomination of the Coalition. The Anti-Displacement Coalition embodies the spirit of Portland by their courage and determination to end displacement now.

I believe in direct action and in community organizing, and I agree with the Coalition that there is still much work to be done. The Planning and Sustainability Commission and the City Council have important roles – but are not the only players. Housing affordability and displacement should be at the top of the conversation for our community. To continue this conversation, community members need to continue to advocate. I support the work of the Anti-Displacement PDX coalition and look forward to their advocacy during the upcoming Comprehensive Plan hearings, the first of which is tomorrow, Thursday the 19th in City Hall Council Chambers, located at 1221 SW 4th Ave, second floor. The next two hearings are scheduled for December 3rd and December 10th.

The schedule for tomorrow’s hearing includes testimony about the Economic Opportunities Analysis, Growth Scenarios Report and other supporting documents from 2 to 3pm. Then from 3 – 6 p.m. testimony heard on the Recommended Draft Comprehensive Plan Goals, Policies and Land Use Map. For more information on the procedures around testifying, see here.

NEWS RELEASE: Novick reacts to BOLI Advisory on Employment Status of Uber Drivers

October 14, 2015— Oregon Labor Commissioner, Brad Avakian, and the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) recently issued an Advisory Opinion that finds that Uber drivers are employees under Oregon labor law (

In response to the Advisory Opinion, Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick stated the following:

“I am very pleased with the Labor Commissioner’s advisory opinion. I asked him to look into this issue in June 2015, shortly after the California Labor Commission made a ruling that an Uber driver should be classified as an employee, rather than an independent contractor. The advent of TNCs provides consumers with more transportation options – which consumers have embraced in many cities, including recently here in Portland. But, I have long been concerned about the working conditions for taxi drivers and the growing trend in emerging, internet-based industries that exclude workers from the kind of protections and benefits that employees have. I think that if Commissioner Avakian’s advisory opinion is followed, Oregon can continue to foster innovation while guaranteeing basic worker protections and supporting working families.”

In January 2015, Commissioner Novick convened a 12-member community Task Force to provide guidance and recommendations about how the City of Portland’s Private For Hire Transportation (PFHT) regulatory program should evolve and respond to new developments in the industry, including the entry of transportation network companies (TNCs). It is critical that the City provide necessary safeguards and standards to protect consumers, ensure accessibility for all, and allow for a fair, competitive market for drivers and companies across all sectors of the PFHT industry.

Following a presentation of regulatory recommendations from the Task Force and a great deal of public input, Council approved the PFHT Innovation Pilot Program with revised regulations for taxi companies and new rules that allow for TNCs. The Portland Bureau of Transportation is managing and overseeing the Pilot Program, which began in April 2015. Final PFHT regulations that pertain specifically to taxi companies and TNCs are expected to be proposed in November 2015.