FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 4, 2011
David C. Olson, OCT Director (503) 823-5290
Brendan Finn, Chief of Staff, Commissioner Saltzman (503) 823-3110
With unanimous approval of the Portland City Council (September 21, 2011) the former Office of Cable Communications and Franchise Management (OCCFM) of the City of Portland is now the Office for Community Technology (OCT).
The new title responds to continuing input from citizens and Council members in recent years regarding the need to update the name of the bureau to adequately reflect, among other things, the Office’s:
- ongoing, nationally recognized work in broadband policy (such as the recently approved Portland Broadband Strategic Plan);
- substantial role (with the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission) in administering and overseeing community technology grants and resources allocated annually throughout Multnomah County; and
- support and facilitation of critical community technology extensions and services to schools, libraries and local governments through oversight of Comcast’s Institutional Network system and its interconnection with the City’s IRNE system (operated by the City’s Bureau of Technology Services).
The Office, originally created by the Council in 1980 as the Office of Cable Communications in conjunction with the City’s initial citywide cable franchising effort, last had its title updated in 1987 when the Council assigned the Office responsibility for handling utility franchising and administration of the City’s Utility License Fee (ULF). The Office also serves as the City’s key “point bureau” in public policy aspects of external telecommunications issues and (beginning in the late 1990s) broadband policy. In the early 2000s, the Office was further assigned the responsibility for licensing and overseeing wireless attachments in the public rights of way. The Office’s broader role in these matters was on recent City Council agendas with adoption of the City’s Broadband Strategic Plan (September 14, 2011) and acceptance of the Bureau’s Report on a decade of cable franchise community investments (August 3, 2011).
Bureau Director David Olson commented “The new title is user-friendly and far better describes the ongoing work of the agency. Moreover, it reflects a critical insight regarding the Office’s core mission: overseeing legal arrangements (including compensation) for privately-owned 'community technologies' (such as cable, telecommunications, gas, electric, pipelines, etc.) that use City streets or operate within the City. The word 'for' emphasizes the proactive work of the Office in advocating for community benefits and a local voice in community technologies that rely on public resources.”
Dan Saltzman, Commissioner-in-charge of the office commented: “I am happy to join with Commissioner Amanda Fritz in bringing forth this long-overdue name change, and gratified that the change was approved with unanimous Council support. This Office has for many years accomplished exemplary, nationally-recognized work on behalf of the City and I trust citizens will join with me in celebrating a shorter, more accurate name that better describes the good work of the office.”