1221 S.W. 4th, Room 240, Portland, OR 97204
Nick is committed to justice and fairness for workers and consumers.
Drivers with Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft are stuck in a legal limbo – it’s not clear whether they are employees or independent contractors (take a look at the graphic, click to see a larger version). Many drivers have said they want to have a voice in the workplace – and a place to resolve disputes.
Yesterday, City Council unanimously took action to support TNC drivers.
Council directed Portland Bureau of Transportation staff to develop a proposal for a TNC Wage Board – a community oversight group to be made up of TNC representatives, drivers, and consumers.
This is an important step to support workers and consumers in our changing economy.
During Portland’s housing crisis, some of our neighbors need extra help paying their utility bill.
Since 1995, Portland has offered lower-income customers discounts on their utility bills. We were one of the first big cities in the nation to do so.
But customers needed a water meter to qualify. Because many apartment buildings have a shared meter, cost-burdened renters were left out.
Today, we took a step to change that.
In the City’s recently-adopted budget, we approved a handful of new tools to expand eligibility for struggling families. And today, Council heard a proposal for a first-of-its-kind partnership with Home Forward, our public housing partner.
Here’s how it works: the utility bureaus will contribute up to $500 annually for a low-income household that pays their utilities through their rent. Home Forward will incorporate utility assistance into their short-term rental assistance program, an existing, proven program they manage for low-income renters.
Portland would be one of the first big cities in the nation to offer utility financial assistance to customers without a water meter. Council will vote on the proposal next Wednesday.
We’re proud to take this important step, and grateful to all the partners who made it happen. Special thanks to Gabe Solmer, Kathy Koch, Liam Frost, and all the Water Bureau customer service staff, and our partners at Home Forward, the Portland Utility Board, and the Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board.
Today, City Council proclaimed May 30th to be Vanport Day of Remembrance.
Vanport was once Oregon’s second largest city and had a substantial African-American population. On May 30 – Memorial Day – 1948, the Columbia River levee surrounding Vanport broke, flooding and wiping out the city in less than an hour.
Today’s proclamation honors the survivors of Vanport and remembers the rich history of this often-forgotten chapter in Portland’s past. This is year we highlighted several important anniversaries:
• The 76th anniversary of Vanport’s construction in 1942.
• The 70th anniversary of the Vanport Flood on May 30, 1948.
• And the 50th anniversary of the federal Fair Housing Act.
Special thanks to Laura Lo Forti from Vanport Mosaic, local historian James Burke, and former Vanport residents Marge Moss White and Joyce Nelson for speaking today.
An exhibit of art by former Vanport resident Peggy Ball, titled “Beyond Vanport: Remembering Native North Portland” is on display through Friday, May 25th in the City Hall atrium.
Today, Council held a work session to review our partnership with the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC).
Last year, Commissioner Fish and Mayor Wheeler asked Auditor Hull Caballero to conduct the City’s first-ever outside review of RACC. The timing is good – RACC is conducting a national search for a new Executive Director and the City and RACC are renegotiating their contract.
For over 20 years, RACC has been a key partner in advancing our shared vision of a City that honors and invests in arts and culture.
Today, we heard the Auditor’s recommendations to strengthen oversight and increase accountability of our public investment.
We are already taking steps to implement some of the recommendations. For example, in the budget we just adopted, we funded a dedicated contract administrator position.
Special thanks to Auditor Mary Hull Caballero and her team for their thoughtful work and the RACC board and staff for their service to our city.