May 28, 2014 | Willamette Week-- With hours left before the first public hearing on the Portland street fee, Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick are preparing major changes to the proposal.
Hales' office confirms the mayor and Novick are considering passing the street fee for households only—and removing for now the side that charges businesses and commercial property, as well as churches, government agencies and nonprofits. Business groups have objected most loudly to the plan to raise up to $50 million a year for transportation projects.
The $138-a-year fee on households will proceed to a June 4 vote. Hales' office says the mayor wants to reconsider how to levy fees on commercial property and add that to the plan later.
The possible reason for the move: Hales and Novick want to avoid opponents forcing the question to the November ballot, hoping that business leaders will hold off doing so if the fees on their properties are delayed.
Novick and Hales have sought ways to avoid putting the question to voters. Opponents of the fee on homeowners could still force a citywide vote with a petition drive.
"We're not locked in to what you heard one week ago," Hales spokesman Dana Haynes tells WW. "There's still conversations happening right now about how best to roll READ FULL ARTICLE