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The City of Portland, Oregon

Jo Ann Hardesty

Official Website for Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty

Email: JoAnn@portlandoregon.gov

PHONE: 503-823-4151

FAX: 503-823-3036

1221 SW 4th Ave Ste 230, Portland, OR 97204

I am disappointed by today's budget vote, but inspired by you

After several weeks of budget discussions with city council and community members, I want to thank all of you who called, emailed, shared, tweeted and testified in support of my proposed budget amendments. When I entered the budget conversation, I entered lockstep with you, the community.
 
I heard you loud and clear, and I want you to know that win or lose, it’s always been about making decisions that align with our values. I would not be true to myself and my value system if I didn’t do everything in my power to make sure we’re having public conversations when it comes to investing in our communities.
 
You’ve heard me say it dozens of times: the budget is a moral document. What it funds speaks to our values, and I want to add that how it’s created also speaks to our values. Members of the public and council only scratched the surface in discussions over where our money goes.
 
I’m incredibly disappointed council did not vote to save dozens of Parks jobs despite community-wide outcry over the cuts. Cutting jobs of the dedicated frontline workers and closing community centers is not how we support our people. Continuing to fund a police team that disproportionately targets people of color is not how we support our people.
 
In entering office, I promised to the community I’d bring you all with me. This was my first budget session, and I worked to make sure you all knew exactly where I stood with the many issues the city faces. While today city council voted ‘no’ to my suggested solutions, I truly believe that together we effectively changed the narrative of what it means to build a city budget.
 
While we did not get the votes today, I’m hopeful because the community, you all, showed up and stayed vigilant in keeping me and my colleagues accountable in upholding our values. It’s because of you all that council has finally had, in my opinion, the first open and honest conversation about what kind of city we want to be.

Sincerely,

Jo Ann Hardesty

Commissioner Hardesty Statement on May 8th Teacher Walkout

We support those taking to the streets as our teachers and students demand that their education be prioritized. Teachers and students have been paying the price for the state’s disinvestment in schools for far too long. Year after year the state continues to cut resources critical for educators to do their work and students to thrive in schools, and we’re way past the time to say no more cuts.

We have the resources to support our schools – we just need policymakers to do the right thing. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue repeating it: the budget is a moral document that reflects our values and priorities. What does it say about our state’s values when we as a community continually take resources from schools rather than giving them what they need to prepare our students for a successful future?

Austerity does not work. All it does is leave our education system further behind than it already is. If I didn’t have council session I would join the teachers and students in this rally and march to show my support. I am sending staff to the rally to show solidarity in calling for more investments in schools – not less. Join me in supporting our teachers and students today and everyday by calling for investments in our schools.

Commissioner Hardesty Hosted People's Budget Event

People's Budget Meeting

Community members gathered at Ventura Park Elementary School this past Saturday for the first People’s Budget planning event hosted by City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. This event kicks off a series of events aimed at bringing City Council to the people, a promise Hardesty offered to the public during her campaign.

“Budgets are moral documents that reflect the values of a city. Community member input in planning, not just responding, is an important building block,” says Commissioner Hardesty.

The event’s main activity had attendees engaged in an interactive exercise to directly suggest areas for increased or decreased spending for city bureaus. By using sticky notes, participants were able to “vote” for their budget priorities, as well as include a written rationale for their vote.

Feedback on budget priorities from attendees included a desire for greater houseless services, housing affordability solutions, and alternatives to policing. Some also reflect more recent concerns, like increasing parks funding.

Other responses called for more pedestrian and public transit infrastructure, moving funds from policing into social services, and more equitable access to resources and services.

Mayor Ted Wheeler’s city budget proposal is expected to come out May 1st. Commissioner Hardesty shared her top budget priorities with attendees, including:

  • Creating a Portland Street Response program to better serve those in mental health crises.
  • Restoring a rapid response vehicle at Fire & Rescue to help address low acuity calls.
  • Emphasizing resiliency planning at the city to help ensure resident safety during major events.

For Hardesty, this is just the beginning when it comes to being thoughtful and smart regarding the city budget. “We want to hear your thoughts, we want to hear your priorities, and most importantly we want to empower you to be the best advocates you can be on the issues you care about,” says Commissioner Hardesty. “Normally community members respond to a proposed budget, but what if we flip that process around and start with what the community wants? This event is just the start.”