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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

FY 2015-16 Requested Budget: Portland Bureau of Emergency Management

The bureau’s one-time general fund requests support the continuity of essential city services and facilitate the reporting of key performance indicators of citywide disaster resilience. Every bureau contributes to the functioning of the City and every bureau has employees whose safety is important, and whose skills may serve the City in an emergency. For that reason, Mayor Hales required every bureau to complete and maintain a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP). These plans formed the basis of a citywide business continuity plan and PBEM is expected to report on the number of bureaus with updated COOP plans that meet or exceed Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) standards as one of the Key Performance Indicators for citywide disaster resilience. Many bureaus are struggling to develop adequate COOP plans. PBEM’s one-time add request will fund a limited term position to work with bureaus to ensure their continuity plans meet FEMA standards.

Portland is vulnerable to damaging earthquakes caused by the offshore Cascadia Subduction Zone as well as from local crustal faults. Most City buildings were not built to withstand strong ground shaking, including facilities needed to provide essential city services. While all fire stations have been retrofitted, other facilities such as the Police Bureau’s Central Precinct and PBOT’s Emergency Operations Center have not been retrofitted or even assessed. A major step forward in the effort to reduce the City’s vulnerability to a catastrophic quake is to assess the seismic risk of City buildings, beginning with vulnerable facilities that are essential to emergency response. This was an important recommendation of the citywide COOP Work Group. Funds are requested to seismically assess a prioritized list of city owned facilities that can be used to inform future capital improvement requests.

During the fall BuMP, Council approved funding to complete a second city-owned fueling station on the west side of the river (at the SFC Jerome F. Sears US Army Reserve Center), upgrade several other city-owned fueling stations and construct a new fueling station east of I-205. However, additional building and other site improvements are needed to fully utilize the READ FULL BUDGET REQUEST

Commissioner Novick appoints Dr. Sharon Meieran to DOJ Community Oversight Advisory Board

The mandated Community Oversight Advisory Board will serve a critical role in ensuring that the City is in compliance with the DOJ Settlement Agreement as we work to improve the interactions between Portland Police and Portlanders experiencing a mental health crisis. As an emergency room physician, Dr. Meieran has direct experience with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. She’s been there when people in crisis are brought in by the police. She is passionate about making the system work as well as possible, and I’m pleased to appoint Dr. Meieran to board.

More information on the DOJ Settlement Agreement and the Community Oversight Advisory Board is available online:

NEWS RELEASE: Novick Endorses Advisory Vote Proposal

January 7, 2015– Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick joined Mayor Hales in endorsing the concept of sending several different transportation funding concepts to the May ballot for an advisory vote.

Commissioner Novick stated, “My concern about a public vote has been that I know that most Portlanders agree we need more money for transportation, but I’m not sure a majority can agree on any particular solution. There are people, however, who believe passionately that their favorite option would get a majority if it only went to a vote. This gives people an opportunity to campaign for their favorite options. For example, Messrs. Robert McCullough and Eric Fruits can campaign for their favorite, the gas tax. The Oregonian editorial board can campaign for its favorite, the property tax. The progressive groups, such as AARP, Oregon Walks, and the Coalition for a Livable Future, can campaign for their favorite – and my favorite too – a progressive income tax.”

Novick added that a constituent suggested the advisory vote idea in an email a few months ago. “I told her at the time it was an intriguing idea,” he said.


Novick announces two-part strategy to fund safety and maintenance

As a year of debate over city transportation funding draws to a close, City Commissioner Steve Novick today announced a two-part strategy to ensure funding for transportation maintenance and safety priorities.

“We are proposing a revised residential user fee, with a hearing on January 8 at 6 p.m. and a vote scheduled for January 14. If that fails, either in Council or through a subsequent referral to the ballot, we will prepare to campaign for a progressive income tax in 2016,” Novick said. The proposed non-residential fee is unchanged.

The proposed user fee will vary by income, based on national statistics showing the extent to which gasoline consumption varies by income quintile. “Gasoline use is one proxy for ‘road use,’ and gasoline use varies somewhat by income level,” Novick said.

Under the proposed fee, residents in the lowest fifth of the income distribution would pay $3 a month; filers in the second fifth would pay $5 a month; residents in the middle fifth would pay $7.45 a month; residents in the second-highest fifth would pay $9 a month; and filers in the top fifth would pay $12 a month. The fee is projected to raise $23 million per year.

If the user fee fails, Novick said, he plans to propose a progressive income tax to be sent to the ballot in May or November of 2016. “What I would propose is an income tax that, for married filers, exempts the first $35,000 in income, and then applies graduated rates as follows: one-tenth of one percent of income between $35,000 and $60,000; two-tenths of one percent of income between $60,000 and $100,000; three-tenths of one percent of income between $100,000 and $250,000; and four-tenths of one percent of income above $250,000.” Such a tax is also projected to raise $23 million a year. That proposal includes a $5000 per dependent deduction and is tax deductible on the state and federal returns.

“My personal preference is for a progressive income tax, which is also the most popular option among Portlanders generally. But pursuing that option would involve a campaign that would not end until at least May, and possibly November of 2016 – which means postponing actual work to repair streets and make them safer. As the Mayor and I have repeatedly said, the longer we wait, the worse the problem gets. It seems possible that we could pass a user fee in Council that would not require a campaign, which would mean that we could get to work much sooner,” Novick said.

Table 1 shows the monthly fee that would be charged under the Residential Transportation User Fee. This proposal will be presented to the City Council at a public hearing Jan. 8.

Table 2 shows the monthly charge estimated for a residential income tax that may be introduced to voters if the Residential Transportation User Fee proposal is not approved.

Table 1: Residential Transportation User Fee proposal

Annual Income Range

Average Annual Gas Spending

Monthly Fee




>$13,000 - $27,000



>$27,000 - $46,000



>$46,000 - $82,000






Notes: Income ranges apply to single filers and married or joint filers. Average Annual Gas Spending is based on national averages calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics..

Table 2: Residential Income Tax proposal

Annual Income Range

Annual Transportation Income Tax Rate

Annual Income Examples for Couples Filing Jointly

Examples of Income Tax Per Income Example

$0 - $35,000




$35,000 - $60,000

1/10 of 1%



$60,000 - $100,000

2/10 of 1%



$100,000 - $250,000

3/10 of 1%



> $250,000

4/10 of 1%



Notes: A $5,000 deduction per dependent would reduce tax bill. Income ranges apply to single filers and married or joint filers, based on Adjusted Gross Income. Average Annual Gas Spending is based on national averages calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

January 8, 2015 Council Documents: