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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

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City of Portland Seeks Volunteers to Participate in 311 Focus Groups

The City of Portland is currently going through an assessment to determine the feasibility of implementing a more centralized Customer Relationship Management system and 311 Call Center.  This assessment involves taking a look at how the City currently interacts with customers and how it delivers services, including intake and processing of service requests as well as the handling of information requests. 

To this end we want to collect information about how community members currently use City services, how they feel about their current experiences and their opinions on the potential of a 311 system for the City of Portland.   To gather this type of information we are asking for community volunteers to participate in a 2 hour focus group session with our 311 Assessment Project team.  4 focus group sessions are planned:

  • Session 1 - August 27th at the Portland Building downtown, 1120 SW 5th Ave, 2:30-4:30pm
  • Session 2 – August 27th at the Portland Building downtown, 1120 SW 5th Ave, 6:30-8:30pm
  • Session 3 – August 28th at the North Police Precinct, 449 NE Emerson Street, 1-3pm
  • Session 4 – August 28th at the East Precinct Building, 737 SE 106th Ave, 6:30-8:30pm 

If you are interested in volunteering to participate in any of these focus groups please contact 311 Project Manager Laura Wolfe at 503-823-4762,  by Monday August 18th with your preferred session.

Summer Wellness Challenge and the Fitness Chicken

By Zach Cross in collaboration with Matt Lim

Last summer, Commissioner Novick launched an initiative to encourage regular, physical activity to counter prolonged sitting throughout the workday. The initiative, which he brought to City Council and declared “War on Chairs,” underscores the documented health impacts of a predominately sedentary lifestyle. Studies have shown that even light physical activity once or twice a day for a short period of time can improve health outcomes. This year, Commissioner Novick’s summer interns carried the “War on Chairs” torch to encourage daily physical activity.

Chairs may not seem very harmful, but they are harming our bodies in ways that we can barely imagine. Sitting and other sedentary in the same position for multiple hour’s increases the chance of chronic health conditions such as obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar or excessive body fat. The more we move, the healthier we become.

Recent studies have shown that something as simple as walking for 30 minutes a day reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 31%, death by 32%, coronary disease artery disease by 18%, heart attacks by 35% and risk of stroke by 34%.

During our internship this summer, Matt Lim and I have taken on the planning and implementation of a pilot program within our office to encourage physical activity during the work day. We’re calling it the Summer Wellness Challenge.

The goal of this challenge is to disrupt prolonged sitting at least once per day. However, we needed to design the program to be flexible enough as to not order to not disrupt the productivity of the office. We also incorporated surveys of staff so that we can share experiences with this Summer Wellness Challenge to other City offices.

The plan that Matt and I ultimately developed encourages participation in a positive and enjoyable way by using a baton to be shared amongst staff. Our baton for this pilot project was pretty randomly chosen, and we decided to use a rubber chicken that we nick-named “#FitnessChicken.” Once a staffer completes a personally chosen activity, the baton is passed to a colleague and encourage physical activity.

At the end of each week, Matt and I conducted an anonymous online survey of staff to collect feedback that can be incorporated in the development of future fitness initiatives. Through this campaign Matt and I have concluded that positive encouragement is the key. When encouraged, staff was more likely to participate in the fitness challenge. We also found that a buddy system increases participation.

Overall, Matt and I found the pilot Summer Wellness challenge to be a great learning opportunity and we found that nearly any type of increased daily movement can be beneficial to health outcomes. It doesn’t take too much to encourage increased daily activity either; even a rubber chicken can do the trick. It’s all about getting up, being active, having fun and staying healthy!


Freedom Fighters Exhibit in City Hall


August 4-8
Portland City Hall • Main Floor
Monday, August 4th – 11:30
Exhibit Opening - 11:30
Student Docents - 11:30 - 2:00 pm


Every year Roosevelt High School students interview and capture the stories of local freedom fighters in a booklet and museum-quality exhibit. The local Freedom Fighters are everyday citizens from our community, region and state, representing various cultural backgrounds, who are celebrated for their work in social justice.
The exhibit travels across the nation visiting schools, libraries, churches and civic groups and will be available at Portland’s City Hall.

For more information, contact Kate McPherson at

Historian Panel to consider renaming of N Winning Way to N Ramsay Way

July 21, 2014— A formal application to permanently rename N Winning Way (which runs east/west through the Rose Quarter) to N Ramsay Way has been submitted to the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s City Engineer by Commissioner Steve Novick and the Portland Trail Blazers to honor the legacy of former Blazers Coach, Dr. Jack Ramsay.

City Code Chapter 17. 93 requires that a process to permanently rename a City street meet specific requirements, including providing notice to the neighborhood and business associations that encompass property owners or businesses located on property abutting the street proposed for renaming and convening an Historian Panel to review the historical significance of a street and the appropriateness of the proposed name.

A Historian Panel to consider the historical and community significance of Dr. Jack Ramsay will meet on July 22, 2014 at 11AM in the Lovejoy Room of City Hall. The meeting is open to the public, and the panel’s meeting agenda and materials are available online HERE.

The Historian Panel consists of the following members, who, accordance with City Code, were appointed by Commissioner Novick:

  • Anne Schatz, sports broadcaster
  • Wayne Thompson, Author of "BlazerMania, This Is Our Story"
  • Ed Washington, Portland State University and former Metro Councilor

The Portland City Council unanimously approved the addition of a temporary sign cap to recognize the late Dr. Jack Ramsay on May 7, 2014. The permanent renaming of N Winning Way to N Ramsay Way will be reviewed by the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission, which is expected to consider public testimony and make a recommendation regarding the proposed renaming to the City Council at its August 26 meeting. It is anticipated that City Council will hold a public hearing and consider the proposal in September 2014.

Any member of the public is welcome to submit written testimony about the proposal at any time during the renaming process by e-mailing comments to Kurt Krueger with Bureau of Transportation at


Sidewalk safety projects underway in East Portland

The other week, we didn’t have our usual City Council session, so I had some unscheduled time. I decided to spend a couple of hours touring some ongoing (or recently completed) sidewalk and safety projects in East Portland. I spend a lot of time hearing about and talking about and trying to do something about the gaps in our pedestrian network; I decided it would be nice to see some of the work that the Bureau of Transportation has been able to do with the limited resources it has. 

The first project I visited Wednesday was on 102nd from Glisan to Burnside. This project will widen sidewalks in a high pedestrian zone in Gateway – so that, for example, two wheelchair users could safely pass each other. It will also bring a rapid flash beacon to the crossing at NE Davis and 102nd. These sidewalks will provide a safer route for families and students who walk from the bus and MAX to the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO)’s services.

I had a chance to meet with Hollie Berry, who was obviously proud of her work in Gateway, and told me that she was also responsible for constructing the Cully Boulevard Green Street Project, the first cycle tracks project in Portland ever.

The second project I went to visit on Wednesday was on 136th. A new six foot sidewalk was placed where there had been no sidewalks before along 136th from Foster Road to Division. A four foot planting strip and street trees will also be added as part of the streetscape.

As we were walking along, one of the residents, Betty Snorgrass, came out to tell us how what a difference the sidewalk had made.  She said that she now sees neighbors whom she hadn’t seen in years come walking down the new sidewalk. (Ms. Snorgrass was so excited about the sidewalk that she actually called KATU Channel 2 a few months ago to talk about it; she told them "I am tickled pink that they're getting this done." Her son told them, “This news is worth sharing. These are not just sidewalks that are being built, they represent accessibility for the disabled, safer routes for children to get to school, and more customers for our neighborhood businesses."

I was very, very glad that I had the chance to spend a couple of hours that way. I’ve been beaten up pretty good recently about the street fee proposal. But it’ll all be worth it if at the end of the day, we’ll be able to give PBOT employees like Hollie the resources they need to do more projects that make Portlanders like Betty Snorgrass that happy.