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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


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.

 

Gearing Up for Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Tokyo 2020 PresentationThe Mayor and his wife were recently invited to celebrate KGW’s kick off to the one-year countdown to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games that will be broadcast on NBC.

More than 130 people attended the social gathering that was held at KGW studios.

18 former Olympic athletes (and some still with hopes of making the team again) with local ties were there, and each was introduced individually.

 

 ThMayor chats with former Olympianse Mayor had a chance to visit with several of them as well as other members of the community who were invited. Visiting with the Mayor on the left in the lower picture is John McArdle, who qualified in the hammer throw for the 1980 summer games in Moscow. On the right is Jack Elder, who competed in the luge event at the winter Olympics in 1972 in Sapporo, Japan

It was one year to the day when the Olympic games will begin--July 24, 2020.

The Holladay Park Safety Plan: Safety in Community

I’m happy to share the fact that the Holladay Park Safety Plan has demonstrated meaningful results. The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) has observed a significant decrease in crime in and around Holladay Park. Statistics compiled by PPB’s Strategic Services Division have shown that calls received regarding Holladay Park have decreased significantly. This indicates that the Holladay Park Safety Plan has achieved its goal, which was to decrease crime around that area.

The data shows that calls for service have seen a 50% decrease in assaults, an 18% decrease in disturbances and a 45% decrease in thefts from May 5 through July 22 of this year compared to the same period in 2018. Community partners have been an instrumental part of this process to achieve these results. You can view the full results here.

As commissioner of PPB, I strongly believe it is important for community members to feel safe in public spaces so that we can all enjoy the benefits of Portland’s parks. PPB has worked tirelessly to reduce incidents in this area, and I am proud of the Police Bureau for achieving its goals to increase community safety and improve relationships with the community. Some of the organizations who were instrumental in the creation of this plan include the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church, SOLVE, Portland Parks and Recreation, Multnomah County District Attorney's Office, Rosewood Initiative, Portland OIC, Portland Public Schools, Transit Police Division, Bonneville Power Administration, Federal Protective Services, Portland Police Bureau, Providence Health Care, Connected, Church of Scientology, Portland 5 and Lloyd EcoDistrict.