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The City of Portland, Oregon

Ted Wheeler

Mayor, City of Portland

main phone: 503-823-4120

1221 SW 4th Ave, Room 340, Portland, OR 97204


November In Review

Mayor Hosts Forum on Community Safety and Livability in SE Portland Neighborhood

On November 5th, members of my staff and I led a panel of law enforcement experts and officials to address community safety and livability in the Lents Neighborhood. Representatives from Portland Police Bureau's Gun Violence Reduction Team (GVRT) and Detective Division, along with representatives from the City's One Point of Contact Program and the Police Bureau's East Precinct, were all in attendance. Over the summer, Lents experienced an increase in shootings and homicides. Lents is also impacted by homelessness as well. The goal of the town hall was to provide an update on progress made on crime in the Lent's neighborhood and talk about livability.

I heard members of the community express their frustration over the state of livability and safety in Lents. East Portland is today the heart and soul of the City of Portland. My goal as Mayor is to make the lives of all Portlanders better, and that includes explicitly those of you who live and work here. I am a strong advocate for the Portland Street Response program, for which my office set aside 500,000 dollars to invest in the pilot program. I know many of you want a robust public safety system in terms of jails and District Attorneys. Multnomah County funds some elements of public safety. We need to collaborate more effectively and lobby the county for much needed public safety dollars. As a city, we will work directly with you to address the crime, safety, and livability in Lents today and into the future.

 

City of Portland Tribal Summit

On November 5th and 6th, the City of Portland hosted the 2nd annual Tribal Nation Summit. The Tribal Nation Summit continues the commitment to develop partnerships and deepening relationships with tribal nations in the region. The summit is an opportunity to listen and learn from one another as we move forward with a commitment to strengthen collaborations and enhance diplomacy.

In conjunction with the summit, over 200 City employees participated in a day-long Tribal Relations Training, hosted by the Portland State University's Institute for Tribal Government. The training provided foundational knowledge to better understand tribal governance and sovereignty, and to bring to light the impact of the City's work on supporting tribal people.

The Office of Government Relations coordinated a day of focused discussions with tribal elected leaders. The goal of these discussions was to bring City senior leadership to the table and create space for opportunities for collaboration. Topics included housing, public safety, natural & cultural resource protection, climate action collaboration, inadvertent discovery planning, first foods, and economic development.

 

Introducing Our LGBTQ+ Intern: Matthew Palmer

I want to highlight the work that our LGBTQIA+ Community Outreach Coordinator Intern, Matthew Palmer, is doing in our office. Matthew was hired in August, joining our team straight after leaving his Legislative Assistant position in the Oregon Legislature at the end of its session. Though only being here for a few short months, he has done a great job of establishing himself as a valuable resource for local LGBTQIA+ organizations and individuals.

His primary objective with this new position has been to be an effective mouthpiece for the community members that rely on him. Up until Matthew joined this team, there had not been a singular person in City Hall solely devoted to analyzing policy through an LGBTQIA+ lens. Matthew hopes that through him, local organizations and individuals can feel as though their voices are heard in the halls of power that had historically treated them as less-than. He knows how crucial it is that LGBTQIA+ have a seat at the table. It is Matthew's mission to make sure that their voices are amplified and empowered.

He started his first days in my office by updating the outdated LGBTQ+ Resources page on the city website to better and more accurately reflect the current resources available to the community. He has become a sitting member on the Alliance for Safer Communities group, an integral part of the Transgender Day of Visibility planning committee, and a leader of the LGBTQ+ & Friends Affinity Group. He is focused on various policy initiatives aimed at empowering transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals, a system for better tracking and recording the City's hiring and retention rates of LGBTQIA+ employees, and at developing more opportunities for LGBTQIA+ voices to be heard in different areas of local government. Matthew is a valued addition to our office, and I am thankful to have him.

 

Celebrating a Historic Moment - Louisa Flowers Grand Opening

There is a lot to be thankful for and celebrate, and this month we are celebrating the grand opening of Louisa Flowers. This new apartment community will provide 240 affordable housing units. This is a direct result of our belief as a city that everyone deserves to have a safe, secure affordable place that they can call home.

A housing crisis like we've experienced in Portland demands historical action, and that's what this project represents. The opening of Louisa Flowers is the largest affordable housing project to open in Portland in the last 50 years, and I am proud to be a part of this historic event.

All 240 units are affordable, and 20 will serve our lowest-income neighbors (households at or below 30% Median Family Income). To be able to provide all affordable units in a building of this scale is an impressive feat, and it's a true testament to Home Forward's deep commitment to the people of Portland, and to provide stable, affordable homes for our community.

This means that hundreds of Portlanders will soon be walking out of their front doors into a neighborhood that is rich with opportunity, commercial potential, and transit to take them to their jobs, their schools, appointments, or everyday errands. For some, the Louisa Flowers is where they will get their start, close to living-wage employment, and paying rent they can afford while they work and save toward their goals.

For others, this development will provide a safe, stable foundation for a new beginning.

Because all of us here know and understand that housing is about more than the physical building; it's about realizing a vision for the people who will live there. It's about recognizing the dreams, health, and prosperity they can achieve with a stable home in a thriving neighborhood, and the right support.

This project is yet another example of the strong partnership between the Portland Housing Bureau, Home Forward, and Multnomah County. It represents local government coming together in a crisis to respond with the will and resources to make a difference for the community. And it's a milestone in our ongoing collective effort to make this a more affordable and equitable city.

 

In the Community Council Sessions

A priority of mine is to meet people where they are, in their communities, and in spaces where they can feel comfortable. That is why my team and I have prioritized holding occasional evening council sessions out in the community. For me, it is beneficial to hear the voices of community members that generally could not make the trip to City Hall during regular business hours.  This last month, we held two separate sessions, one at Portland Community College and the other at Self Enhancement, Inc. If you missed the previous sessions, please watch for notices announcing when and where the next Community Council Sessions will be held.

October in Review

Celebrating the Spirit of Portland

The 35th Annual Spirit of Portland Awards ceremony was one of the highlights of the month. The Spirit of Portland embodies the many values we share and all that we are about in this great city that we love. Portland is a city where all help each other and work together to ensure that this amazing place we live in remains the awe-inspiring home we’re proud of.

I had the honor of choosing one of the award recipients so naturally, I wanted to select someone who I know has gone above and beyond for our community. Someone whose life work has touched so many in ways that transcend tangibility, someone who genuinely cares for every person no matter how big or small their problem might be – and someone who has just the right answer for whatever question comes their way. That's why I nominated Donald Dixon – he embodies all that is positive and uplifting about our community.


(Photo shows Donald Dixon and Mayor Wheeler)

 

As a guidance Counselor at both Madison and Jefferson High Schools for forty-plus years, he has touched the lives of many while doing his remarkable work. His tireless service over the years has had a tremendously positive impact on our students and youth. He has spend a lifetime dedicated to empowering and encouraging our youth. He has been — and continues to be — a role model, a caregiver, a mentor, a guidance counselor and a friend to so many. He has enriched countless lives during his four decades of service.

Donald exemplifies what the Spirit of Portland is all about, and he continuously carries himself with enthusiasm for helping others while continuing to be an influential member of the community. That enthusiasm, selflessness, and generosity will be his legacy. His compassion, patience and understanding ways are an example for all of us to follow, and his commitment to being a role model for students will continue to benefit our community for years to come. For all those reasons, and for so many more that have been left unsaid, I would like to say Thank you, Donald Dixon, from myself and the entire community.

 

Addressing the Climate Crisis on a Global Scale

The beginning of October offered me the opportunity to take action in our continuing battle against climate change, when I attended the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark. I was joined the general manager of Portland's Transit Agency, TriMet, and the CEO from PGE.  The C40 Summit brings together Mayors from over 75 large cities across the globe. It also convenes climate activists and environmental justice advocates, scientists, nonprofits, funder and business leaders to deliver the transformative action needed to address the climate crisis.


(Photo shows L-R Trimet GM Doug Kelsey, Mayor Wheeler, and PGE President & CEO Maria Pope)

 

We are at the forefront of that climate crisis, and I recognize the global climate emergency. I am committed to pursuing inclusive climate action that puts frontline communities first and delivers social and economic progress to all. I had the opportunity to sit on two panel discussions about how the City of Portland is tackling the impact of consumption and how economic inequality is linked to the climate crisis.

I also spoke about the Portland Clean Energy Fund as an example of a community-led vision for a "Green New Deal", and a new way to approach climate action that ensures strategies to reduce carbon and deliver community benefits and address economic inequality.

During this trip, I signed onto the C40's New Clean Air Cities Declaration, committing to set ambitious targets for air pollution reduction. I am also committed to implementing substantive policies and programs to address the top causes of air pollution emissions in Portland before 2025.

Through the Summit sessions, the Portland team learned about actions other cities are taking to transition to renewable energy, ways to green their streets and make public transit more affordable and attractive, tackle air pollution, create zero-emission zones and close streets to cars, use green bonding tools to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency, move towards more sustainable food choices and increase resilience, among many other topics.

Wrapping up my trip, I met with several other city leaders to share ideas and experiences of implementing climate policies to reduce emissions in energy, buildings, and transportation, including the mayors of Philadelphia, Toronto, Honolulu and Oslo.

 

Innovative Initiatives from Across the Pond

(Photo taken by Cupid Alexander, showing a street in Glasgow, Scotland, paved with cobblestone roads and mostly older brick houses)

 

Cupid Alexander, the Director of Strategic Initiatives with my office, recently visited the United Kingdom to learn best practices on environmental sustainability, jobs of the future, equity in society and good governance. While there, Cupid solidified relationships with other Mayors, governments, non-profits and businesses. With these stronger relationships, our office has enhanced opportunity to coordinate to improve transportation infrastructure, and increase environmental sustainability by reducing carbon emissions. These partnerships will spark conversations about the best way to live, work, travel and enjoy Portland. Identifying opportunities that exist within the Portland Metropolitan Area to partner with businesses will help our city expand its green infrastructure, create more sustainable jobs and reduce carbon emissions.

 

Mayor Visits Sister City of Sapporo, Japan

(Mayor Wheeler is shown next to Mayor Akimoto of Sapporo, Japan)

 

Towards the end of October, I had the opportunity to fly to Sapporo, Japan, our sister city. Our Sister Cities program began shortly after World War II to build diplomatic, cultural and economic networks between our cities and respective nations. This year, Portland and Sapporo are celebrating 60 years of sister city partnership. That’s 60 years of sharing economic prosperity, knowledge, earthquake resilience strategies and the forging of deep bonds. The rich history and traditions shared between Portland and Sapporo are the backbone of a successful international trade initiative.

Following my trip to Sapporo, I visited Tokyo and the Kansai region to strengthen economic partnerships that Prosper Portland, the City’s economic development agency, has identified as strategic markets for developing trade opportunities. Japan is Oregon’s 5th-largest export market with $1.8 billion U.S. dollars of goods and services from Oregon sold there in 2017.   During this trip, our Portland delegation will be learned about:

  • Advancing Sustainability and Innovation
  • Emergency management and safety around Seismic Resiliency
  • Promoting Equity, Inclusion & Diversity  
  • Developing new economic partnerships 

 

Hope for the Holidays: Winter Weather Preparedness

As Portland inches closer to winter, those living outside are the most vulnerable. That’s why the City of Portland is partnering with Multnomah County to encourage our community to donate and volunteer to help those living outside prepare for cold weather. For more information, please follow this link: https://www.211info.org/donations

 

Impact Reduction in Action

(Left photo shows an encampment that has several piles of trash and a few vehicles before the team came through for clean-up, the right photo shows the encampment cleared and majority of trash cleaned up)

 

I want to share strides that are being made by our City’s Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program (HUCIRP), the agency responsible for coordinating cleanup/abatement of unsanctioned campsites on city and ODOT owned properties/rights-of-way within the City of Portland. HUCIRP manages the city’s One Point of Contact campsite reporting system. The agency develops and implements impact/harm reduction strategies in addition to coordinating services with other agencies and jurisdictions in the region.

Pounds of garbage removed

July— 398,660 lbs.

August— 474,380 lbs.

September— 507,000 lbs.

Total for July through September1,380,040 lbs.

Total camp cleanups (July through September)1,017

To learn more about HUCIRP, please visit www.portlandoregon.gov/toolkit.

 

September in Review

Powerful Conversations, Meaningful Outcomes

September has been an exceptionally busy month for me and my team. We have been diligently working on how we can better our City by addressing some of the most pressing issues and finding meaningful solutions that will have a lasting impact. Earlier this month, my Deputy Chief of Staff, Jamal Fox had the opportunity to sit on a panel and talk candidly about his experiences navigating the workplace as a black man. 

He was joined by Chief of Police Danielle Outlaw, Fire Chief Sara Boone, and former Human Resource Director Serilda Summers-McGee, each being the first black female Chief of Police, Fire Chief, and Human Resource Director respectively for the City.

The questions asked of them were powerful, and their answers even more so. This panel addressed issues that were uncomfortable but crucial to understanding their work and acknowledging the perseverance it has taken each of these individuals to obtain the level of success that they have in their respective careers, along with the high level of professionalism they exude. 

One of my many priorities is creating a more diverse workplace where individuals feel welcomed, supported and included regardless of how they identify, or how they are identified as by the dominant culture. Having Jamal, Danielle, Sara, and Serilda in senior leadership roles in the City gives me hope. 

Exciting, Unique, New and Effective Solutions

Another top priority that touches many of our lives, is how we think of humanity and our fellow humans. Homelessness is a societal crisis and I'm deeply committed to ensuring individuals experiencing homelessness are treated compassionately and respectfully. That is why my team and I are collaborating with my colleagues and community partners across all agencies to develop the Portland Street Response (PSR) program. 

The program is important for two primary reasons. First, it addresses the over-criminalization of houseless/homeless individuals and pairs their needs with the proper response and services. Secondly, the First Responder system is overwhelmed with calls that are not related to criminal activity. This new program will help relieve First Responder resources so they can address more serious call types. 

PSR is unique because we reached out to the homeless to ask what they need in a First Responder, rather than determining the answer for them. After surveying the homeless and analyzing the response, the answers were not surprising. They expressed a need for first responders who are mental health professionals, social workers, nurses, EMTs, peer support, and conflict resolution specialists. 

I recognize the PSR is not a catch-all solution, however, it is a piece of the larger puzzle towards solving the seemingly intractable homelessness problem, and hence, a step in the right direction. The PSR program paired with other services has the potential to produce meaningful and measurable results while providing focused help to people through a compassionate and humane approach.

Pairing services with others will make programs more effective which is crucial for addressing homelessness. This is about our values, that every person deserves a safe place to sleep and to call their own. As the Mayor of a city with unprecedented economic growth in our region, I am acutely aware that this growth also brings additional economic pressure on those who aren’t experiencing the benefits of that growth.

Innovative Approach to the Shelter Service Model

The Laurelwood Center’s opening in the Foster-Powell neighborhood represented a distinct change in the way shelters across Portland work.  At this shelter, there are 120 beds, and people can bring their pets, their partners, their possessions, and they don’t have to line up night after night with the hopes of maybe getting into shelter. 

possible through the work of the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and Transition Projects. The primary goal is combining the shelter component with the service component. The one-on-one services that are provided at Laurelwood help to ensure that people are provided with whatever they need to get into permanent housing. 

With the rise in houseless individuals on the rise since 2017, my office has been working tirelessly to help open more shelters with a service component, especially with winter fast-approaching. We are intentionally designing dignified spaces for people to get connected to services and get back into housing.

https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2019/08/southeast-portland-homeless-shelter-opens-this-week-to-women-and-couples.html

https://pamplinmedia.com/sb/74-news/436658-347322-county-opens-new-foster-road-laurelwood-shelter-pwoff

https://eastpdxnews.com/general-news-features/county-opens-new-foster-road-laurelwood-shelter/

Bridging the Gap in Housing Funding

Despite all we’ve already accomplished, we’re just getting started. Last month, I was excited to announce the city’s nine new projects that have been selected for funding from Portland’s Housing Bond. We now have enough Bond-funded housing units completed or in progress across the city to me—and in some cases even exceed—all the goals set forth under Portland’s Housing Bond, and there are still funds left over to do even more good work. We now have all the units either completed or in progress to hit our Bond goals – or surpass them, creating housing for more than 2,900 people with 658 units for families with two bedrooms or more. 

Housing BondThese investments have been specifically targeting our communities of color, to mitigate displacement, and to invest in our East Portland neighborhoods. For these accomplishments—a testimony to the compassion and caring of the good people of the City of Portland, the voters who made it all possible—I say thank you!

Once again, this action we’re taking reflects the values we as a city embrace every day. Every one of us, our families, our friends, our teachers, our students – all deserve healthy, safe and affordable places to live. You have my promise that we will continue finding and implementing solutions to homelessness. We’re in this together and it will take a community effort to achieve our goals.

 

Portland City Council votes unanimously to appoint first five members of the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund Committee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portland City Council made history today by appointing the first five members of the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund Committee. These inaugural members will nominate the remaining four members of the nine-member committee, which is charged with reviewing proposals and selecting grant recipients for clean energy projects that will benefit communities of color and low-income households. Each of the five Commissioners selected one nominee. The five nominees include Maria Gabrielle Sipin, Dr. Megan Horst, David Edden Hill, Shanice Brittany Clarke, and Robin Wang.

“The Portland Clean Energy Fund is a nationally acclaimed model for climate action and I am excited to have such a dynamic and talented slate of appointments on the PCEF committee to help ensure we get it right," Mayor Ted Wheeler said,"This is an important milestone toward ensuring that all Portlanders, especially working families, have access to a green future with clean energy jobs.”

“We have such a committed and talented group of people joining the PCEF committee,” said Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. “I’m excited to see what comes next as we continue building a program that is the first of its kind in the nation, thanks to the community’s efforts.”

"We are thrilled to welcome these initial five Portlanders who have the expertise to lead the program to a successful launch. As the measure states, these individuals have a great depth and breadth of skills, are committed to the goals of the city's Climate Action Plan, and represent our racial and geographic diversity. We are so excited to support them as they get started on setting up the PCEF grant program and filling the final four spots on the committee," said Khanh Pham, the Organizing Director at OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon and a leader in the PCEF community coalition.

For more information about the nominees and the nomination event in council, please visit: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/742539

Mayor Visits "Learn Links" Summer Program

 

Small boy eating ice cream in a striped shirtThis last Tuesday, July 30, the courtyard at Lincoln Woods Apartments in SE Portland was transformed into a marketplace full of young entrepreneurs. They were there to use what they learned from a recent trip to Saturday Market, to create their own mini-businesses, selling products including stress balls, homemade “slime”, ice cream sundaes and smoothies. Mayor Ted Wheeler enjoyed mixing with the crowd and sampling the goods made by students who participate in the Portland Children’s Levy-supported “Learn Links” summer program operated by Human Solutions. Parents, family members and residents were in attendance.  Teachers from nearby Mill Park Elementary (DDSD) also gave out books as part of their summer reading program. 

 

 

 

Picture of books being sold at the marketplace

 

The Portland Children’s Levy partners with Human Solutions for an after-school/summer program called LearnLinks. The program provides academic support and enrichment activities to children in grades K-8 living in HS properties.