It's hard to believe it's been a year since I took my seat on City Council! While our memories of 2017 may be overshadowed by the chaos of national politics and local tragedies, I hope that we will also remember the ways in which Portlanders fought back to defend our values and stand up for one another. I am particularly proud of the time and energy my office has devoted to tenants’ rights, prioritizing people over profit, protecting our immigrant and refugee neighbors, and becoming better stewards of the environment.
I also appreciate the hard work and accomplishments of our bureau staff in 2017. I'm looking forward to working closely with our newly appointed Bureau Directors -- Rebecca Esau, of the Bureau of Development Services (BDS), and Suk Rhee, of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) -- as we continue our reorganization efforts and improving service to our community members and customers. Some bureau highlights include the swearing in of the New Portlanders Policy Commission and the Information and Referral team stepping up to assist with the response to the Eagle Creek Fire at ONI, and the record-breaking number of permits processed by the Development Services Center at BDS.
As my team and I set our policy goals for 2018, we will also be sure to plan more events to celebrate our city and one another. Last year we honored our small business and arts & culture communities by coordinating or hosting events like Dead Moon Night, Boss Ladies PDX, and the PCC Social Practice Art Show. Other highlights include being the emcee at the Spirit of Portland Awards, where I personally honored Kathleen Saadat and The Raging Grannies, and co-chairing the Regional Arts and Culture Council’s Battle of the Bands. I'm pleased to report that through many of these events, we welcomed hundreds of Portlanders to City Hall for the first time.
In 2017, my team and I learned the lay of the land and adjusted to the routine and demands of City Hall. At times, this meant moderating our ambitions in recognition of the fact that being both an administrator and legislator leaves limited time for discretionary projects. While I am pleased with all that we have accomplished, I also know that we can do better at communicating our efforts to the community, which is something we'll be prioritizing as we move forward.
In this new year, I am looking forward to continuing to fight to make Portland a city that works for all of us. Some of my priorities include: strengthening tenant protections via security deposit reform and creating opportunities for homeownership, supporting ADU development, and bringing back the small business liaison and the “Get Legal” program to assist low-income homeowners at BDS. Through ONI, we hope to demonstrate a new way of conducting civic engagement, and the Cannabis Program will work to proactively and equitably support a growing local industry.
This past year has demanded more of all of us—more courage, more creativity, and more kindness—and many Portlanders have stepped up to the challenge. Cities are now at the forefront of addressing complex challenges such as housing, racial equity, and sustainability. I'm grateful to get to work on these and many other vital issues as your Commissioner.
Best wishes for a new year,
Commissioner Chloe Eudaly