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Commissioner Steve Novick

Official Website for Commissioner Steve Novick

Phone: 503-823-4682

fax: 503-823-4019

1221 SW 4th Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97204

Fewer fatal crashes by design

Vision Zero is rooted in the idea that no life should be lost in the name of mobility. Vision Zero is not some lofty goal or ambitious public service campaign. It is a common sense approach to address one of the leading causes of death in America: traffic crashes.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has adopted Vision Zero as a policy priority to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes. Already, the City has taken steps to advance Vision Zero by installing rapid flashing beacons, narrowing lane widths, implementing road diets, and focusing enforcement on behavior that we know kills— like driving under the influence.

For Vision Zero to be truly successful, not only do PBOT engineers need to reevaluate our transportation infrastructure, but we also need to individually rethink how we interact as we move throughout the city on our streets , sidewalks, bike lanes and public transit. How each of us travels impacts the health and safety of those around us.

Several cities throughout the U.S. have had over 365 continuous days without a single traffic related fatality. These cities include Fargo, ND; Ann Arbor, MI; Lakewood, WA; and Provo, UT. In fact, over 115 towns and cities across the U.S. with a population of more than 50,000 have had at least one year without a single traffic related fatality. Meanwhile, Carson City, Nevada has not had any traffic related deaths four years in a row. These statistics are not coincidental. These communities achieved zero traffic fatalities because they acted intentionally and urgently to reduce traffic crashes.

Sweden has shown us that the cultural shift to safer streets is possible and that we can have both mobility and safety. With similar efforts, Portland too can have the same results. Recently, KATU’s Kerry Tomlinson visited Sweden to see firsthand how Stockholm, which is about the same size as Portland, was able to achieve such Vision Zero success:

The Spirit of the Anti-Displacement PDX Coalition

Portland is in the midst of an affordable housing and displacement crisis that has most affected communities of color and low income families. The stories are sadly all too familiar and data are clear: the impact of the increase in demand for housing is driving up the cost of housing, and people of color and low income people cannot afford to live in most of Portland’s beloved neighborhoods. Without united and concerted action, this situation will only get worse as housing costs continue to climb.

The Anti-Displacement PDX Coalition’s advocacy efforts have successfully brought issues of gentrification and displacement front and center to the public discourse and decision making process. The group’s efforts resulted in the Planning and Sustainability Commission including over two dozen measures in the draft Comprehensive Plan that address these citywide issues.

In recognition of its effective organizing and advocacy I nominated the Anti-Displacement PDX Coalition for a Spirit of Portland award. Last night the Coalition did not accept the award, taking the position that until the recommendations are incorporated by the final comprehensive plan, such an award is premature. The bold action of the coalition to challenge City Council to remain committed to addressing this crisis is just one example of why I continue to stand by my nomination of the Coalition. The Anti-Displacement Coalition embodies the spirit of Portland by their courage and determination to end displacement now.

I believe in direct action and in community organizing, and I agree with the Coalition that there is still much work to be done. The Planning and Sustainability Commission and the City Council have important roles – but are not the only players. Housing affordability and displacement should be at the top of the conversation for our community. To continue this conversation, community members need to continue to advocate. I support the work of the Anti-Displacement PDX coalition and look forward to their advocacy during the upcoming Comprehensive Plan hearings, the first of which is tomorrow, Thursday the 19th in City Hall Council Chambers, located at 1221 SW 4th Ave, second floor. The next two hearings are scheduled for December 3rd and December 10th.

The schedule for tomorrow’s hearing includes testimony about the Economic Opportunities Analysis, Growth Scenarios Report and other supporting documents from 2 to 3pm. Then from 3 – 6 p.m. testimony heard on the Recommended Draft Comprehensive Plan Goals, Policies and Land Use Map. For more information on the procedures around testifying, see here.

NEWS RELEASE: Commissioner Novick’s Statement on Auditor’s 25th Annual Community Survey

PORTLAND, OR (November 6, 2015) — Yesterday, the City Auditor released the 25th annual Community Survey. This survey shows that Portlanders value city services — as long as we make the critical investments we need to maintain those services. For example, the survey shows a big increase in good ratings for sewers, which have benefited from costly but critical investments in recent years. Similarly, Portland Parks and Portland Fire & Rescue, which receive significant funding from the City’s General Fund, scored the highest approval ratings of all city bureaus.  On the other hand, street maintenance receives very little General Fund and lacks the funding necessary to keep up with basic maintenance. 

As the Auditor has reported, it would cost nearly $118 million per year over the next 10 years to meet street maintenance targets.  $118 million dollars is a big number. But as a community, we have made commitments on this scale before to pay for services we really care about.  For example, the Bureau of Environmental Services released a report in 2011 that summarizes a partial list of sewer expenditures over 20 years totaling $1.3 billion. In 2010, Portlanders voted to support a $72 million bond to pay for aging fire and emergency response vehicles; this bond is on top of the $91 million Portland Fire & Rescue receives every year from the city’s General Fund.  Not surprisingly, Portlanders highly rate the fire and sewer services we’ve prioritized for funding.

The Auditor’s Community Survey shows a big slide in how residents rate street maintenance, from 35% rating the service as very good or good in 2011 down to 28% in 2015. This is proof that we need to make a real investment in all of our public infrastructure — including streets.


Chris Warner, 503-823-1055

Office of Commissioner Steve Novick


New Rules for Private For-Hire Transportation

Over a year in the making and after nearly 700 hours of public Task Force meetings, and having received an extraordinary amount of thoughtful public input, I am pleased to offer new rules to ensure that private for-hire transportation (PFHT) in the City of Portland is safe and reliable and that allow for fair competition and innovation.

I sincerely thank all who provided input and engaged with the City as we reviewed current PFHT regulations and developed new rules that provide necessary safeguards and standards to protect consumers, ensure accessibility for all, and allow for a fair, competitive market for drivers and companies through Portland’s PFHT industry.

Specifically, I’d like thank the diligent and creative members of the PFHT Innovation Task Force who developed sound recommendations that served as the basis for the PFHT Pilot Program and my final regulatory proposal. I also thank all the drivers, company representatives and transportation experts who provided indispensable insight into this longstanding and ever evolving industry. Lastly, I thank Leah Treat and Bureau of Transportation, as well as staff in the Revenue Bureau and City Attorney’s office who worked tirelessly to shepherd along this engaging process, providing support to the Task Force and gathering and analyzing information and data that informed these new rules of the road.

Please find a summary of the new rules HERE, along with the Task Force’s final recommendations, a summary report of the PFHT Pilot Program, an overview of the history of PFHT in Portland, and the full regulatory proposal attached.


Commissioner Steve Novick

Portland, Oregon

NEWS RELEASE: Novick reacts to BOLI Advisory on Employment Status of Uber Drivers

October 14, 2015— Oregon Labor Commissioner, Brad Avakian, and the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) recently issued an Advisory Opinion that finds that Uber drivers are employees under Oregon labor law (

In response to the Advisory Opinion, Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick stated the following:

“I am very pleased with the Labor Commissioner’s advisory opinion. I asked him to look into this issue in June 2015, shortly after the California Labor Commission made a ruling that an Uber driver should be classified as an employee, rather than an independent contractor. The advent of TNCs provides consumers with more transportation options – which consumers have embraced in many cities, including recently here in Portland. But, I have long been concerned about the working conditions for taxi drivers and the growing trend in emerging, internet-based industries that exclude workers from the kind of protections and benefits that employees have. I think that if Commissioner Avakian’s advisory opinion is followed, Oregon can continue to foster innovation while guaranteeing basic worker protections and supporting working families.”

In January 2015, Commissioner Novick convened a 12-member community Task Force to provide guidance and recommendations about how the City of Portland’s Private For Hire Transportation (PFHT) regulatory program should evolve and respond to new developments in the industry, including the entry of transportation network companies (TNCs). It is critical that the City provide necessary safeguards and standards to protect consumers, ensure accessibility for all, and allow for a fair, competitive market for drivers and companies across all sectors of the PFHT industry.

Following a presentation of regulatory recommendations from the Task Force and a great deal of public input, Council approved the PFHT Innovation Pilot Program with revised regulations for taxi companies and new rules that allow for TNCs. The Portland Bureau of Transportation is managing and overseeing the Pilot Program, which began in April 2015. Final PFHT regulations that pertain specifically to taxi companies and TNCs are expected to be proposed in November 2015.