1221 S.W. 4th, Room 240, Portland, OR 97204
Today, City Council unanimously approved the partnership with the State and EPA. It's an important milestone in the cleanup of a 10-mile stretch of the Portland Harbor.
The partnership establishes a trust fund that will enable the City to meet its fiscal obligations for the design phase in a thoughtful, responsible way – while increasing legal certainty. It's also intended to encourage other parties to come to the table, but will not subsidize private parties or absolve them of their liability.
Today, the State of Oregon and City of Portland announced a new, unique partnership that will help move the Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup forward.
In December, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the entire Portland Harbor Superfund site needed to meet significant milestones toward the next phase of the cleanup by the end of 2019. This phase, called Remedial Design, is when scientists and engineers design the technical elements and work plans for the cleanup.
In response to EPA, the State and City proposed an innovative approach that efficiently leverages public investment to encourage private parties to begin design work. EPA has signaled their support of the concept.
Under the proposal, the State and City will form a trust, administered by EPA, which will provide funds to private parties who sign agreements with EPA to generate cleanup plans. EPA will credit the State and City for their cleanup responsibilities for each dollar spent from the Trust.
The State and City will each contribute up to $12 million to the trust, for a total of up to $24 million. Private parties who agree to the terms set by the EPA, State, and City will receive $80,000 per acre to help fund design work. The private parties remain responsible for all costs above and beyond $80,000 per acre.
By pooling and capping public resources, the public trust funds will be spent on actual cleanup design work as opposed to administrative costs associated with negotiating with other parties at multiple locations, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public dollars.
This is a creative approach among Superfund sites, and represents a major step forward toward a clean, safe Willamette River.
Today, Council approved a new agreement that governs how the City, including the Portland Police Bureau, protects public safety and works with law enforcement partners. You can read Nick's statement below:
"During my 10 years of service on this Council, I have voted on our participation in the JTTF three times. And I’ve seen many examples of our community’s successful participation in the JTTF.
In February, I voted to remain in the JTTF. I believe that we have better outcomes with our federal partners when we work together, rather than working in silos. We see that in our bureaus and among our Council offices. There is a great value in collaboration.
By participating in the JTTF, we also bring Portland values to the table. Our local law enforcement officers have a lot to offer – experience, an understanding of state and local law, and relationships in our community.
Finally – and, most importantly, I believe we continue to be safer when we have a relationship and share information with the FBI.
Other progressive cities, such as Seattle, Boston, Denver, Oakland, and New York, have formed partnerships between their police bureaus and the FBI, without sacrificing civil liberties.
I believe we can do the same.
That said, a majority of the Council disagrees with the Mayor and me. Therefore, I believe the Resolution before us today is a thoughtful alternative.
It will allow the City to continue working with the FBI on an as-needed basis. It requires detailed annual reports, something that has been, and remains, very important to me. Our police chief or deputy chief will serve as a liaison to the JTTF.
I want to thank the Mayor for his leadership and Commissioner Hardesty for her collaboration in the development of this resolution. I know that their two offices, especially Nicole Grant and Derek Bradley, worked tirelessly on this, and I am pleased with this compromise.
I vote aye."
On Saturday, Nick joined community members, Commissioner Amanda Fritz, and Parks staff in celebrating the opening of a new playground in Couch Park.
The project addresses the safety and accessibility of the playground, which hadn’t been improved since 1975.
It’s one of over 50 parks that will receive upgrades as part of the 2014 Parks Replacement Bond. The new playground is the fifth to be completed under the bond.
Special thanks to the Portland voters for passing the Parks Replacement Bond; to Commissioner Amanda Fritz for championing the bond during her tenure as Parks Commissioner; to John Blasher from Metro’s Parks & Nature Department for speaking at the event; to Cody Goldberg of Harper’s Playground; and to the community members and kids who came out to play!