July 9, 2014 | www.portlandmercury.com-- "BACK TO BASICS"—embodied in talk of potholes, crumbling roads, and idled paving trucks—was a rallying cry for the disaffected and the disillusioned when Portland Mayor Charlie Hales laid his claim to city hall's highest office in 2012.
Before we raised money, Hales said, we needed to figure out how we were spending the money we had. It carried Hales through his first city budget as mayor, when he and his colleagues on Portland City Council closed a $20 million-plus spending gap with deep cuts.
But these days, Hales has been saying something else. That there isn't enough money in the till to pay for those basics, or those crumbling roads. And Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick have all but staked their political futures on an incredibly contentious plan to raise millions more in new money: a street fee worth up to $50 million a year.
Yes, the city reaps millions every year in property taxes, business taxes, and utility franchise fees. But too little goes to our roads, Hales and Novick have been forced to point out. Relentlessly. READ FULL ARTICLE