MAYOR TED WHEELER
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2017
Contact: Michael Cox (503) 823-6593
Mayor Wheeler’s First Budget Takes Action to Address Long-Standing City Challenges
Topping the list of priorities are homelessness, livability, road maintenance, community policing, housing, and resilience.
PORTLAND, OR – Mayor Ted Wheeler today rolled out his first proposed budget, making significant investments to address the real concerns of everyday Portlanders. Topping the list of priorities are homelessness, livability, road maintenance, community policing, housing, and resilience.
“These are the issues I hear about every day when I talk to Portlanders,” said Mayor Wheeler. “My budget makes significant investments in the things people care about that city government is uniquely positioned to address.”
To address HOMELESSNESS, the Mayor’s budget will include:
• More than $25 million in General Fund resources to the Joint Office of Homeless Services, matching the County’s commitment, to invest in supportive housing, diversion programs, rapid rehousing, shelter, and system coordination.
To improve LIVABILITY, the Mayor’s budget:
• Adds four park rangers to patrol the Springwater Corridor and parks in East Portland to ensure our parks remain livable spaces that are open to all. In addition, adds five rangers to retain patrol services in the central business district so that downtown and the waterfront remain vibrant and welcoming during the evening hours.
• Manages the impacts of camping on neighborhoods, the right of way, and other City-owned property by increasing efforts to remove trash, needles, and semi-permanent structures.
• Expands the Office of Neighborhood Involvement’s Graffiti Abatement Program to address the recent uptick in graffiti to fund an additional 1.2 million square feet of removal.
• Maintains timely and effective customer service in response to noise complaints, maintains live answering of the noise hotline, and provides adequate administrative support to sustain the Noise Control program.
• Improve abandoned and dilapidated properties in neighborhoods throughout the City, moving forward with foreclosures on vacant and distressed residential properties.
To improve ROADS and CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE, the Mayor’s budget includes:
• A bold new plan, Build Portland, to invest $600 million over 20 years in upgrading our roads, parks and other civic infrastructure. The Mayor’s budget makes an initial investment of $50 million in Build Portland, with additional investments of $100 million to $150 million every five years. The plan does not raise taxes and does not cut into existing services. Rather, by leveraging returning revenues from expiring Urban Renewal Districts, Build Portland will create a consistent, dedicated source of revenue to reverse our City’s historical disinvestment in critical infrastructure.
• Funding for five PBOT projects, including the upgrading of curb corners with ADA-accessible ramps, the replacement of five traffic signals, and the construction of a multi-use pathway on a major street. When completed, the transportation projects will not only result in better maintenance but also improve safety on the city’s streets.
• Funding for four Vision Zero safety projects: 1) Improve safety at the top five most dangerous intersections and construct improvements on two High Crash Corridors, 2) Identify safety improvements and build them at three priority transit stops along key bus routes, 3) Implement street design improvements to support reductions in speed limits on five streets, and 4) Eliminate deficiencies in PBOT’s understanding of street safety through improved data collection and analysis.
To enhance our COMMUNITY POLICING efforts, the Mayor’s budget:
• Launches for the first time in Portland a Community Service Officer program, including twelve CSOs focused on engaging directly with the community, as well as undertaking work on livability issues to increase the amount of time patrol officers are able to spend on proactive community police work.
To improve HOUSING stability, the Mayor’s budget:
• Launches an Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs. The office will develop a new rental unit registration program, collect and analyze data from the approximately 6,000 eviction notices currently filed through the Multnomah County court system, provide referrals to people at risk of or experiencing eviction to existing community services, and increase by five times the number of people served with fair housing legal assistance. In addition, the office will launch a new online affordable housing portal through NoAppFee, with enhanced customer service to help applicants understand and mitigate barriers to obtaining housing.
To improve our RESILIENCE to a natural or man-made disaster, the Mayor’s budget:
• Increases ongoing discretionary funding for the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management by a full 25%. This represents the largest increased investment for the bureau’s operations in a decade.
• More than doubles funds for the Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) and Basic Earthquake Emergency Communication Node (BEECN) programs in the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management.
• Creates a position to develop and manage a Citywide technology disaster plan.
• Creates a new position in the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability to coordinate Smart Cities efforts, which connect data generated by digital technologies to improve City services, optimize public resources, bolster resiliency, and develop new avenues for community engagement.
• Enables PBOT to call on private contractors for snow plowing and removal services during extreme winter events. Purchases three snow plow blades so that we can leverage our existing investment in heavy vehicles to respond to these events.
“Portland’s economy is booming, with unemployment at its lowest point in decades and another record year for business license tax revenues,” said Mayor Wheeler. “However, recent City budget trends reveal the need for a prudent fiscal approach and a renewed focus on the core responsibilities of City governance.”
Over the last year, the City has pledged $12.3 million in additional ongoing spending that has not been offset with other reductions. Many of these commitments are laudable, including investments in recruiting and retaining a quality police force and new ongoing funds dedicated to the Joint Office of Homelessness Services. Recognizing that the City would likely need to take some ongoing cuts to balance the five-year budget forecast, Mayor Wheeler requested that bureaus submit nearly $15 million in possible budget cuts.
“My proposed budget focuses our limited resources on the things that make a real difference in the lives of Portland residents,” said Mayor Wheeler. “By doing so we can put our city on the right track and set ourselves up for long-term success.”
To access bureau by bureau fact sheets, please click:
To access a new, interactive city budget data visualization tool, please click:
To access a summary of decisions in the Mayor’s proposed budget, please click: