Amanda Fritz's blog

Next Up at City Council, 12/17-18, 2008

  • Posted on: 17 December 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

The Portland City Council Agenda this week lists a very, very rare event: An evening hearing, outside City Hall.

WEDNESDAY, 6:30 PM, DECEMBER 17, 2008

-- WEATHER PERMITTING --

Special Meeting Location

LOCATION: MIDLAND LIBRARY

805 SE 122ND AVENUE


1770 TIME CERTAIN: 6:30 PM - Adopt the East Portland Action Plan as a touchstone and guide for work programs of City bureaus and other agencies, and as a participatory and advocacy tool for community stakeholders (Resolution introduced by Mayor Potter)

It is sad this meeting seems likely to be snowed out or attendance affected by the cold. Update 5:38 p.m. - The meeting has been postponed. New date to be announced. Great project, excellent precedent doing the hearing in the affected community.

On Wednesday morning, two Time Certain items:


1725 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM - Accept amendments to the Mt Tabor Park Master Plan (Report introduced by Commissioner Saltzman)

1726 Affirm the recommendation of the Mt Tabor Yard and Nursery Planning Group to support ongoing efforts to redevelop the Mt Tabor Central Yard, Nursery and Long Block (Resolution introduced by Commissioner Saltzman)

1727 Affirm management authority for certain City property in the vicinity of Mt Tabor, including the Mt Tabor Yard, Nursery and Long Block (Ordinance introduced by Commissioner Saltzman)

I regret I have not had time to look into the proposal. I followed the process over the past year or more, and I hope the outcome is good.


1728 TIME CERTAIN: 10:15 AM - Create Portland Commission on Disabilities (Resolution introduced by Mayor Potter and Commissioners Adams, Fish, Leonard and Saltzman)

1729 Confirm appointments of Polly Livingston, Jan Campbell, Joe VanderVeer, D'Norgia Price, Veronica Valenzuela, Joan Hansen, Julie Bergstrom, Carrie Jo Stairs, Denise Spielman, Ann Balzell and Sara Beth Weiner to the summary Portland Commission on Disabilities, terms to expire July 1, 2009 (Report introduced by Mayor Potter and Commissioners Adams, Fish, Leonard and Saltzman)

I am especially interested in this item, as Mayor-elect Adams has assigned the Commission on Disabilities to my portfolio. Thanks to all for the good work done to form the Commission, and to the valued citizens serving on it.

Next, expansion of a program to help students get to school:


*1751 Authorize an Intergovernmental Agreement with Portland Public Schools and the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon to expand a pilot program to offer fareless public transportation for students at five Portland high schools and 11 alternative/charter high schools with the intention to measure results and expand the program as appropriate (Ordinance introduced by Mayor Potter and Commissioner Adams)

And passage of relief for small business owners:


1752 Amend the Business License Law to accelerate the timing of the First Year Adjustment Credit to one tax year, clarify special industry apportionment rules and clarify the effective date of the change to an after the fact tax (Second Reading Agenda 1706; Ordinance introduced by Mayor Potter and Commissioners Adams, Fish, Leonard and Saltzman; amend Code Sections 7.02.610 D and 7.02.860 C)

I'm told this doesn't change the amount of the tax, but shifts it to be paid at the end of the year rather than in advance.

Here are two that for the past two years in writing this piece, I would have skipped over. Come January, I will be responsible for knowing exactly what these mean and why they make sense for taxpayers... and telling you:


*1758 Authorize a Letter of Agreement with the Bureau of Emergency Communication and AFSCME, Local 189-2 to pay Call Taker Certification Pay upon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training certification (Ordinance)

*1759 Authorize and amend contracts to extend the health and welfare contracts administered by the Bureau of Human Resources, Benefits and Wellness Office (Ordinance; amend Contracts)

I bet you can hardly wait.

A continued hearing on Skidmore/Oldtown code amendments has been rescheduled from Thursday afternoon, but not to a particular date. I had to leave the initial hearing in November, because I found it too frustrating to have to sit and listen without being able to participate either as a citizen organizer or on the Council. Looks like I may get to help formulate the solutions after January 1, 2009.

Synchronized Skidding

  • Posted on: 15 December 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Steve worked Sunday, at Oregon State Hospital's Portland facility. Had the results been different on November 4, I would have been working at OHSU, which would have presented a challenge since we only have one snow-worthy vehicle. As it was, I stayed home, worked on reviewing job applications (300 for the three positions), watched football with my sons, and ate too many of my daughter's Orange Chocolate Chip cookies. Delightful. Thank you, everyone who works when the rest of us don't.

The City of Portland doesn't close due to inclement weather, so today I am venturing out in the hope some interview candidates may also be able to make it in. Time to dig out my Pittsburgh-Rochester clothes. Brr.

Matrix

  • Posted on: 13 December 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Something to consider when deciding when/whether to venture out today and over the next week.

Next Up at City Council, 12/10 - 11, 2008

  • Posted on: 7 December 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

This coming week's Portland City Council Agenda is here.

There are lots of interesting items on Wednesday morning, including these Time Certain hearings:


*1684 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM - Authorize settlement of claims with Northwest Natural Gas Company (Ordinance introduced by Commissioner Saltzman)


1685 TIME CERTAIN: 10:00 AM - Establish the 82nd Avenue Prostitution Advisory Committee to provide oversight for City anti-prostitution efforts on 82nd Ave and to advise the Police Bureau and City Council (Resolution introduced by Commissioner Saltzman)

On the Regular Agenda, this particularly important tax package to help businesses:


1706 Amend the Business License Law to accelerate the timing of the First Year Adjustment Credit to one tax year, clarify special industry apportionment rules and clarify the effective date of the change to an after the fact tax (Ordinance introduced by Mayor Potter and Commissioners Adams, Fish, Leonard and Saltzman; amend Code Sections 7.02.610 D and 7.02.860 C)

Then these Time Certain items on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons:

WEDNESDAY, 2:00 PM, DECEMBER 10, 2008


1717 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM - Citizen Review Committee and Independent Police Review progress report (Report introduced by Auditor Blackmer)


1718 TIME CERTAIN: 3:00 PM - Improve land use regulations through the Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Package 4 (Ordinance introduced by Mayor Potter; amend Title 17 and Title 33)


1719 Revise Retail Sales and Service regulations for Division Main Street through the Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Package 4 (Ordinance introduced by Mayor Potter; amend Title 33)

THURSDAY, 2:00 PM, DECEMBER 11, 2008


1720 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM - Honor recipients of the 2008 Spirit of Portland Awards (Presentation introduced by Mayor Potter)

Please excuse my perfunctory posting. I have a head cold, and don't feel I have adequate brain power to make intelligent comments.

Another side of the Cellular Facilities proposal

  • Posted on: 2 December 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Here is the notice sent out by staff at the City's Office of Cable and Franchise Management, giving a different perspective on the items I covered in Next Up at City Council yesterday. Bold emphasis added by me.

On Thursday, December 4, 2008, 2:30 pm at 1221 SW 4th, city staff will be going to Council with the final proposed amendments regarding the manner in which wireless companies may place antennae on utility poles in residential areas, and replace utility poles with taller ones for wireless purposes.

The proposed amendments are designed to balance the need to retain neighborhood character and livability with the expanding need to provide wireless services in neighborhoods. They were developed over the course of two years. Staff conducted three public forums in March, 2008, followed by an online survey in April-May, 2008 (that was responded to by over 900 people, and over 350 individual comments were also received), followed by a citywide public meeting in October, 2008.

In short, staff is proposing to allow antennae on utility poles in residential areas on residential streets only as a last resort - when no other site or combination of sites for antennae is feasible. Even then, staff proposes to reduce the allowed pole replacement height in residential zones, and increase the replacement height allowance in both commercial, employment and industrial zones and on larger arterial streets to encourage placement there instead. In addition, the poles and equipment must be the smallest possible and must be painted to match the color of the pole. Finally, when a taller pole is proposed in a residential area, we will require the wireless carrier to conduct a meeting in coordination with the neighborhood association and provide notice of the meeting in advance.

We have placed several documents on our website to demonstrate and describe what we are proposing. Each document is numbered, titled and described for ease of reference. The document list can be viewed here. Examples of specific documents include:


* A summary of the existing requirements, document #15
* A summary of the proposed requirements, document #20
* A comparison of current and proposed pole replacement heights, document #19
* The proposed contract amendment showing the exact edits to the contract language ("redline"), document #17
* A clean version of the proposed contract amendment, document #18
* A new application checklist the wireless carriers must fill out, document #16
* Several other documents, including the survey instrument, summarized survey results and specific survey results, are also on the website.

We encourage you to review these materials and forward this notice to anyone you know who might be interested.

For more information please contact Melvin Riddick at 503-823-0066 or Melvin.Riddick@ci.portland.or.us. If Melvin is unavailable please contact me using my contact information below. Thank you very much,


David Soloos, Assistant Director
Office of Cable and Franchise Management
City of Portland, Oregon
1120 SW 5th Av, Room 1305
Portland, Oregon 97204
Tel 503.823.5359

To help ensure equal access to City programs, services, and activities the City of Portland will reasonably modify policies/procedures and provide auxiliary aids/services to persons with disabilities. Call 503-823-2036 or 503-823-4000 with such requests.

************************

So to me, perhaps the biggest question is regarding the mechanism and code language by which the City will ensure that siting will "allow antennae on utility poles in residential areas on residential streets only as a last resort - when no other site or combination of sites for antennae is feasible." I look forward to hearing more on that issue on Thursday.

Next Up at City Council, 12/3 - 4, 2008

  • Posted on: 1 December 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

It's a relatively short Portland City Council Agenda this coming Wednesday morning, with no meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Then a very controversial list on Thursday afternoon. So let's run with that - check the rest of the Agenda for yourselves, and as always note in the Comments if you see anything else particularly interesting.

THURSDAY DECEMBER 4, 2008


*1675 TIME CERTAIN: 2:30 PM - Amend and extend term of a right-of-way agreement granted to AT&T Wireless Services of Oregon, Inc. to build and operate wireless facilities within the City streets (Ordinance introduced by Commissioner Saltzman; Previous Agenda 1641; amend Ordinance No. 178373)


*1676 Amend and extend term of a temporary, revocable permit granted to LCW Wireless Operations, LLC to build and operate wireless facilities within the City streets (Ordinance introduced by Commissioner Saltzman; Previous Agenda 1642; amend Ordinance No. 180518)


*1677 Amend and extend term of a temporary, revocable permit to Clearwire US LLC, to use the City streets to provide wireless broadband Internet access services and establish terms and conditions (Ordinance introduced by Commissioner Saltzman; Previous Agenda 1643; amend Ordinance No. 181246)


*1678 Amend and extend term of a right-of-way agreement granted to Sprint Spectrum, LP to build and operate wireless facilities within the City streets (Ordinance introduced by Commissioner Saltzman; Previous Agenda 1644; amend Ordinance No. 178519)


*1679 Amend and extend term of a right-of-way agreement granted to VoiceStream PCS I, L.L.C. now known as T-Mobile West Corporation to build and operate wireless facilities within the City streets (Ordinance introduced by Commissioner Saltzman; Previous Agenda 1645; amend Ordinance No. 178374)

You might not know those Ordinances are controversial by reading them, would you?

Translation from legalese to regular Portland language:


* These items are talking about putting a lot more cell towers in streets and neighborhoods.


* Bigger cell towers.


* And you probably won't be able to stop a cell tower from being installed in the street by your home, or in your neighbor's yard.

Do I have your attention?

Then read on....

In case you missed this

  • Posted on: 28 November 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

I want to increase the number of Portlanders reading Susan Nielsen's excellent column published in the Sunday Oregonian almost two weeks ago. I find it brilliant because once read, the reaction is often "Of course!", but perhaps not all of us connected the dots prior to that. Here it is in its entirety:

Economy and the XX factor
by Susan Nielsen, The Oregonian

Put men to work, but don't forget the women

I'm a sucker for government programs that put men back to work, in manly jobs like bridge construction. It all sounds so traditional and reassuring, evoking a time when men could provide for their families and their work had more permanence.

But this is 2008, not the 1930s or '50s. A smart government plan to rescue the economy, whether nationwide or in Oregon, should help women as much as the men.

Congress wants to salvage the economy with a stimulus plan that could fund new infrastructure projects, extend unemployment benefits and give financial aid to states. Here in Oregon, Gov. Ted Kulongoski says he wants to help fight the recession with an ambitious plan to build roads and railways.

Those building projects deserve traction, if funded responsibly. Our infrastructure is in tough shape after years of neglect, and the country brims with skilled laborers looking for work.

Plus, how can you resist the appeal of a working man? Men hold 97 percent of the nation's construction-related jobs and about 70 percent of the jobs in production and manufacturing, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They're being laid off by the hundreds of thousands and feeling undercut by the economy. New infrastructure projects would create good jobs and improve society to boot.

There's only one catch. Putting men to work isn't enough to save the day. Extending unemployment benefits, for which men are more likely to be eligible, isn't enough either. The feds and state government need to reach out to women, too.

Not to be politically correct, mind you.

To be effective.

Here are two ways. First, Congress can be generous with its aid to states, not treat it as an afterthought. The federal money would reduce the coming cutbacks in education, health care and human services. Such cutbacks disproportionately hurt women as workers and mothers: Women hold at least three-quarters of the jobs in these fields, and they're more likely to raise children in poverty.

"Families are especially vulnerable as we enter this downturn," the Joint Economic Committee of Congress warned in a report this summer, citing high debt and low home equity. "Federal aid to the state boosts family incomes by keeping more women employed."

Second, Congress and the states can expand health insurance. Anything the government can do to help working families cope with coverage or costs will reduce foreclosures, evictions and bankruptcies -- and free up money for food and gas. This benefit is especially clear for female-headed households, which often lack the reserves to pay premiums or unexpected medical expenses.

Women play a different role in the economy than they did generations ago, when their income was more likely to be sporadic and supplemental. Today, the typical family depends on two jobs to pay the bills. The typical wife earns more than a third of the family income. Also, a quarter of the children raised by single moms get no child support from their fathers.

Any way you slice it, women's jobs matter. They matter in a more intangible way, too, since women make most of the household buying decisions.

If Momma ain't happy about the economy, ain't nobody happy. If women spiral into poverty, kids go, too. That's worth remembering, as Congress funds bridge projects, extends unemployment benefits, props up the auto industry and writes other checks, mostly for men to cash.

Jobs for men help save the economy.

Jobs for women make the difference between sink and swim.

*******************

The big follow-up question is, what target programs/projects should/could be included in a local (Portland and/or Oregon) "economic stimulus package" to support and fund jobs filled disproportionately by women, as well as infrastructure and construction jobs? Ideas, readers?

Commissioner-elect seeks Staff Representatives

  • Posted on: 25 November 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

It has been a busy, interesting, and generally pleasant three weeks since November 4. Challenging, too, although that term will forevermore be qualified in my mind with the follow-up thought, "at least you're not running in heels from street corner to street corner breathing exhaust fumes while waving at motorists". That was challenging on the days with freezing rain or 96 degree sun. Now, I'm working hard to finish up my campaign, restore order in my email inbox and housekeeping at home, and prepare for beginning life as a Portland City Commissioner on January 2.

"Challenging" in today's context is how to define the skills and experience needed for Staff Representative jobs in my office, when I have very limited information on what bureaus Mayor-elect Adams may assign me, or even when he will announce his decision. The days are moving by, and I want to cast a wide net in posting job openings, to solicit applications from a very broad range of highly-qualified candidates.

Staff Representatives work in assigned policy areas; serve as liaison to assigned bureaus; plan, organize, manage, facilitate and coordinate policy-related projects or programs; and research and respond to day to day constituent inquiries. Each Staff Representative may be in charge of projects or programs that require coordinating with a number of City bureaus, other agencies, and/or community members. It can be a highly specialized job, done best with some previous experience in the services provided by assigned bureaus.

I thought about all thirty-some bureaus, agencies, and commissions I will need to keep informed about in January, either as Commissioner-in-charge or in a liaison capacity, and decided they can be grouped into three major areas conceptually. Today, City staff and my volunteers helped me send out announcements soliciting applications for Staff Representatives serving as my Community Specialist, Development Specialist, and Environmental Specialist. The Job Posting with detailed descriptions of desired experience and potential assignments in those three issue areas is here.

AmandsFritz.com blog readers are cordially invited to apply, and or to direct qualified, interested colleagues to the posting. Please ask questions using the email address/phone number indicated in the notice, rather than posting them here.

It is already clear to me that there will be many, many more wonderful applicants than there are jobs available.

Next Up at City Council, 11/26/08

  • Posted on: 25 November 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Tomorrow's Agenda is here. I am not. Here, that is, as in Portland. I am in Ashland, staying overnight after driving down this afternoon. Ali wants to know how early we can leave to get home as soon as possible, but I can tell you it won't be by 9:30 a.m. So click the link, and talk amongst yourselves, as Mike Meyers and Joan Rivers used to say.

Update: The Cell Phone Facilities item has been postponed from tomorrow until Thursday, December 4, 2008. The amendments to the wireless contracts will be on the Dec 4 Council Agenda as a Time Certain item beginning at 2:30 PM.

Present for Mom

  • Posted on: 25 November 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

We dined at The Refectory last night (yum!), to celebrate Steve's mother's birthday. Emily mentioned she enjoyed Steve's landscape photographs I've posted recently. So here is another, and we'll have a run of them for the week. It's Fort Rock, of course. Happy Birthday, Mom!

In My Opinion .... more or less

  • Posted on: 22 November 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

The Oregonian yesterday published an OpEd with my name and photograph, responding to their editorial immediately after the election that called for pulling the plug on Public Campaign Financing. I appreciate being given access to the forum. I think it's important for you to know, though, that what was published was not exactly what I wrote. Changes were made without my knowledge or consent. I note this so you realize that what you read in the media may not be what I actually said -- even when it appears to be written by me, let alone when I am quoted after an oral conversation. To find out my position on issues, verbatim, from me, keep reading this blog over the next four years.

For those seeking an excuse to avoid going out to rake up more leaves, here is a game: Compare what I wrote, and what was published. See how many differences you can spot. And then you can muse about why those changes were made, given that what I sent in was exactly 500 words, the maximum specified.

**************

What I sent in:

In Response/OpEd

Thank you, voters and taxpayers of Portland, for electing me to the Portland City Council. I will work hard to continue to earn your trust.

I support Public Campaign Financing. I will work continually to improve the system, and I will vote to refer the revised program to the ballot in 2010. I will educate voters about its importance, and lead the campaign to see it passed.

Because my 13-month run was funded with Public Campaign Financing, I had time to campaign in every one of Portland's 95 neighborhoods. I attended hundreds of community events and meetings, met with thousands of Portlanders, knocked on doors in 50 neighborhoods spanning the city, posted more than 200 personal reports on my campaign web site, and responded to citizens' questions by phone and email. I was out most days from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and seldom went to bed before midnight.

In a traditional campaign, I would have had to spend several hours every day, making phone calls asking for donations. I ran because I want to serve the people of Portland by helping the Council to prioritize spending citizens' money and time, in all areas of the city. I do not want to develop the "skill" of asking affluent people for large sums of money. I would not have run a second time without Public Campaign Financing.

Now, because I have been elected with public money, I am beholden to every taxpayer, voter, and citizen in Portland, rather than indebted to a few affluent donors with interests that don't always dovetail with community concerns. I will be able to push the Council to prioritize spending money wisely to provide basic services in all 95 neighborhoods.

The annual cost of Public Campaign Financing since its enactment comes to $1.05 per Portland resident. This is a cost-effective investment to ensure that community interests are heard in City Hall. My campaign used taxpayers' money wisely to convey my core messages about who I am and what I will do. My staff, volunteers, and I worked tirelessly to inform citizens of my plans to improve Portland. I talked with affluent business owners and with homeless youth, with Democrats and Republicans, with cultural groups, non-profit boards, high school students. I would not have had time to make personal connections with as wide a range of Portlanders, if I had been dialing for dollars every day.

Before calling for pulling the plug on Public Campaign Financing, let Portlanders watch how I perform on the Council. Watch what I do, being truly independent of special interest money. I will give citizens an account of the money I save through my actions as a City Commissioner, when I vote to refer Public Campaign Financing to the ballot in 2010. I am confident, having just spent 13 months of my life talking with Portlanders and hearing their views in up to 9 events per day, 60 hours every week, that Public Campaign Financing will become Voter-Owned, voter approved, in 2010.

**************

OK, that's what I sent in. The following is what was published. How many changes can you spot?

Beholden to all but indebted to none
(for the record, I like the title chosen for me)

With the election now well behind us, I'd like to thank the voters and taxpayers of Portland for electing me to the City Council. You can be sure I'll work hard to continue to earn your trust.

My 13-month run for office was funded by our city's system of public campaign financing, giving me an inside look at its benefits. I support that system and will work to improve it. I'll also vote to refer the revised program to the ballot in 2010 and vow to help educate voters about its importance and lead the campaign to see it passed.

Because of that system, I had time to campaign in every one of Portland's 95 neighborhoods. I attended hundreds of community events and meetings, met with thousands of Portlanders, knocked on doors in 50 neighborhoods spanning the city, posted more than 200 personal reports on my campaign Web site and responded to citizens' questions by phone and e-mail. I was out most days from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and seldom went to bed before midnight.

In a traditional campaign, I'd have had to spend several hours every day making phone calls asking for donations. But asking affluent people for large sums of money isn't a "skill" I want to develop. I ran for office because I want to serve the people of Portland by helping the council prioritize how it spends citizens' money -- in all areas of the city. Frankly, I wouldn't have run a second time without public campaign financing.

Now, because I've been elected with public money, I'm beholden to every voter and citizen in Portland, rather than to a few affluent donors with interests that don't always dovetail with community concerns.

The annual cost of public campaign financing since its enactment comes to $1.05 per Portland resident. That's a cost-effective investment to ensure that community interests are heard in City Hall. My campaign used taxpayers' money wisely to convey my core messages about who I am and what I will do. I talked with well-off business owners and with homeless youths, with Democrats and Republicans, with cultural groups, nonprofit boards, high school students. I wouldn't have had time to make personal connections with as wide a range of Portlanders if I had been dialing for dollars every day.

So before anyone pulls the plug on public campaign financing, watch how I perform on the council. Watch what can be done when a commissioner is truly independent of special-interest money. I'll give citizens an account of the money I save through my actions when I vote to refer public campaign financing to the ballot in 2010. I'm confident, having just spent 13 months of my life talking with Portlanders and hearing their views in up to nine events per day, 60 hours every week, that public campaign financing will become voter owned -- and voter approved -- in 2010.

**************

Three Sisters

  • Posted on: 21 November 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

I am taking next week off - not from this blog, but from my current schedule of 12 hours of meetings and events six days a week. Although I am more careful about driving-for-pleasure now with heightened awareness of global warming and Peak Oil, I hope I see vistas like this, for real, in my near future.

How to Stop unwanted Phone Book delivery

  • Posted on: 20 November 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Thanks to Albert Kaufman who posted this information from Kyenne Williams, Solid Waste & Recycling, City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development, 503-823-5054, in the comments on an old post:

The best way to reduce or eliminate deliveries of unwanted phone directories is to contact each publisher.


* DEX/Qwest: Go to dexknows.com;

select "directory options" at bottom of page;

click through screens until you see "personalize your directory order."

Under "available directories in your area," choose 0, 1, 2 or 3 from pull-down menus.

Or call (800) 422-8793, press 2 to speak with a person


* Yellow Book: Call (800) 929-3556, press 3 to speak with a person


* Idearc/Verizon: Call (800) 888-8448, remain on line to speak to a person


* Other phone books: Check for a phone number for customer service or "to order directories" on front cover or inside page.

******************

I call this progress, even if it isn't the one-call opt-out, or even an opt-in system, that some of us would like. I hope to see the above information printed on the delivery bags in the future.

Thank you, Albert for asking and Kyenne for responding.

Happy World Toilet Day!

  • Posted on: 19 November 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Guest Post by Carol McCreary et al

Today is World Toilet Day. As a member of the World Toilet Organization, PHLUSH (Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human) is joining activists from all over the world to

1) raise the status of the discussion of toilets,
2) recognize and professionalize the service of restroom cleaners,
3) speak on behalf on behalf of the world's 2.5 billion people who have no toilets at all.

Here are two action items for Portlanders:

Monday, December 8 at 11 am. Grand opening of the Portland Loo on NW Glisan St between 5th and 6th Avenues. Join City Commissioner Randy Leonard, officials of the Water Bureau, the design build team and the maintenance crew bringing Portland the nation's most promising innovation in public restrooms. Say thank you and support the neighborhood community that now shares the responsibility for making the Portland Loo a success.

Wednesday, December 10 from 3 to 6 pm. Along with good news we need to report bad news. The proposed 12 stall restroom complex for Ankeny Plaza and Saturday Market is at risk. There's a funding gap in the Portland Development Commission's Ankeny Burnside project and the restrooms seem to be the easiest thing to cut out. Please come to the PDC Commission meeting when Ankeny Burnside will be discussed. Toilet availability in the area of Skidmore Fountain has been an Old Town Chinatown priority for nearly 25 years and a key issue around which PHLUSH formed three years ago.

Please mark your calendars. Let us know if you can help develop the advocacy strategy to save the Ankeny Plaza facilities. In any event, we suggest meeting briefly after the Portland Loo launch to prepare for likely testimony two days later. We can also visit the Ankeny site for which the new restrooms have already been designed. This would also be an opportunity to visit the beautiful, welcoming 24/7 restrooms at Portland Rescue Mission. If you'd like a PHLUSH T-shirt (100% cotton, S/M/L/XL $15) e-mail PHLUSH.

Best wishes,

Barb, Carol, Christopher, Lan and Tom

PHLUSH Co-Founders

Next Up at City Council, 11/19 - 20, 2008

  • Posted on: 16 November 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

The Portland City Council Agenda this week has an extra-long Consent list. Last week, Commissioner Sam Adams was sick, and Commissioner Dan Saltzman was absent, so the Council did not have the required four votes to pass the Consent package. Mayor Potter asked if any Commissioners wanted to pull any item for consideration that day, and when neither of the other two Council members said yes, set over the entire list to be voted on this week.

At that point, a good number of city employees left the Council chambers. Staff are expected to attend the Council session when their items will be voted on, in case there are questions - even when the items are on the Consent calendar. By setting the list over to the following week, the Council required those employees to take time away from the rest of their duties, again this week. If I had been voting last week, I would have pulled the entire Consent agenda, and asked the Mayor to have the Council Clerk read them one by one. That way, they could have been passed at that time, instead of pulling employees away from their jobs again this week. Plus, some of the Consent items are accepting money - let's get it into our coffers sooner! It would have taken less than five minutes. This is an example where paying attention to details can save the City and its taxpayers money. Oh well. Roll on January.

There are two important Time Certain reports this week:


1549 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM - Accept the Small Business Advisory Council annual report to City Council (Report introduced by Commissioner Adams)

From the cover letter:

The Small Business Advisory Council (SBAC) is the City’s official advisory group on small business. As directed by the City Council, under City Ordinance, the SBAC continues to advocate that the City provide a customer-centered business climate as well as review and bring forward regulations, policies and issues that support small business formation, growth and prosperity. This report provides City Council with an overview of the SBAC’s priority action items, ongoing initiatives, and committee activities. The report also delivers specific issues and programs that the SBAC believes most important to the development of a small business-friendly climate in Portland.

The Report is on line here. Interestingly, much of the workplan focuses on process improvements, rather than specific 1, 2, 3 actions.


1550 TIME CERTAIN: 10:00 AM - Accept the Quality Rental Housing Workgroup recommendations and direct Bureaus to develop an implementation strategy (Resolution introduced by Commissioners Fish and Leonard)

It is disappointing this report is being heard on Wednesday morning, when many renters have to be at work. Especially when later in the Agenda, we read this:

WEDNESDAY, 6:00 PM, NOVEMBER 19, 2008

DUE TO LACK OF AN AGENDA THERE WILL BE NO MEETING

Sigh. Going back to the Resolution:

Good hearts and brains have been working on improving rental housing in Portland for decades. I am glad to see the report refer to "bad actors" rather than "bad apples". That term focuses on behavior rather than the person doing the behavior. It sounds like the committee has worked hard and come to more consensus on proposed actions than many might have expected at the beginning of the process. Some of the most important elements in the Report:

Summary of Recommendations

Recommendations by the QRHW are intended to hold both landlords and tenants accountable for their behavior through a balance of education, preventative community resources, and enforcement activity. Key recommendations include:


* Creating an enhanced system of unit inspections based on the current complaint driven model that relies less on tenant complaints which can make them vulnerable to retaliation (i.e. evictions) and gets inspectors into more units that may have maintenance and repair problems.


* Updating Title 29 to include clearer language on health and safety issues (lead, mold, pests, and sanitation) that will enable the City to more efficiently and effectively enforce the Code.


* Increasing fines for non-compliance and strengthening collections mechanisms.


* Increasing preventative services such as tenant/landlord mediation and providing more education to tenants and property owners on rights and responsibilities.


* Collecting an annual per unit fee ($8-10) for rental units (exempting non-profit owned units).

Funding Elements:

The QRHW recommends that resources necessary to enforce safe and healthy rental housing be provided by “bad actors”, with start-up support from the rental housing industry and the public:


* Increased fines and fees;


* Commitment of City resources (the QRHW is requesting approximately $500,000 in new GF annually);


* An per unit rental fee estimated to provide $2.4 million ($800,000 for 3 years) in support of healthy rental housing;


* An elimination of the business license exemption for property owners of nine or less rental units. It is anticipated that this proposal may increase general fund revenue that could be used to support the program.

The Regular Agenda starts with this:

Thank you, Veterans

  • Posted on: 11 November 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

Portland Parks & Recreation requests input

  • Posted on: 9 November 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

All City of Portland bureaus have been asked by Mayor-elect Adams to propose cuts of 2.5% and 5% for the upcoming fiscal year's budget. Portland Parks & Recreation is asking for your input on which of their services are most important to you. Rank your priorities as a first step to participating in the budget process. The survey is up through Friday, November 14.

Next Up at City Council, 11/12/08 - Full-service returns!

  • Posted on: 7 November 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

It's so nice not being a candidate any more! It is remarkably refreshing to be able to go item by item carefully through the following Portland City Council Agenda, instead of the rushed process of skimming-and-posting-briefly-hoping-I-didn't-miss-something-crucial, that has been necessary most weeks this year. I realize I still have to consider my words carefully, perhaps even more than before. But over the next eight weeks, I hope to have a little more time to share some of the things I've learned over the past 13 months, and to track the Council's work more closely. Then starting January 2, I will be able to tell you more information that I will find out as I become an "insider", and also have helpful staff telling me answers to questions.

The Agenda for Wednesday is jam-packed with interesting issues. Wednesday morning starts with three Time Certain items:


1507 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM - Accept first annual Customer Service Advisory Committee report (Report introduced by Mayor Potter)

The Report reviews what each Bureau is doing to improve customer service, compiled by a Task Force set up by Mayor Potter's office in the "Bureau Improvement Project #7" process. Likely another study that should not be set on a shelf to gather dust.


1508 TIME CERTAIN: 10:00 AM - Accept Expanding Sustainable Development Practices in Portland report and recommendations of the Development Review Advisory Committee (Report introduced by Commissioner Leonard)

The cover letter and summary for this item is here. The Development Review Advisory Committee (DRAC)’s Report suggests 22 Recommendations on green building, titled, Expanding Sustainable Development Practices in Portland. The document was developed by the DRAC Green Building Subcommittee. The subcommittee met 10 months with stakeholders, City staff, and a facilitator to develop recommendations that focus on the creation of more sustainable buildings "within the existing regulatory context" (which I assume means, without changing the rules). The subcommittee’s process involved:


1. Identifying obstacles to sustainable development and green building
2. Examining existing programs and policies
3. Proposing solutions

The resulting report represents 22 specific recommendations for action that the City, its bureaus, other organizations, and the development community can take.


1509 Accept the Final Report on Impact Assessment and promulgate the Impact Assessment Game as a tool used to review policy prior to implementation (Report introduced by Commissioner Leonard)

This report is listed as a Time Certain, without a certain time. Perhaps it will be heard in combination with the previous Development Services report. Kudos to Russell Neighborhood Association chair Bonny McKnight for continually hammering on this issue, for close to ten years. A relatively simple concept - consider potential impacts before passing new regulations and/or policies. Not done consistently, and should be. So the committee has designed "The Impact Assessment Game", to help staff/developers/neighbors talk, consider aspects they might not otherwise include, and find ways to get good projects. Hey, if making it more fun makes it happen, it might be worth trying.

On the Consent agenda, there are five grants being awarded to the Police Bureau, for a total of $350,000. Four are from Oregon state organizations, one is from the US Department of Justice for $150,000 for Gang Resistance Education And Training. Getting some other entity to pay for city functions seems one way to avoid some budget/service cuts.

Here's a former pilot program being reauthorized and funding extended:


*1524 Amend an Intergovernmental Agreement with Multnomah County and Housing Authority of Portland by $534,418 for services and programs to support the city-wide Schools Families Housing Initiative and provide for payment (Ordinance; amend Contract No. 37754)

This money is administered by Multnomah County and the Housing Authority of Portland, to provide rent assistance to struggling families with children in schools. I learned when I was Principal For A Day at Roosevelt High School last week that 25% of the students at the three high schools on the Roosevelt campus will leave or arrive during the academic year. It's hard to make benchmarks on tests when students are continually changing schools. This program is a "Housing First" approach to school/student improvement - keeping the families in the same home gives kids more chance to succeed.

Knowing how concerned many Portlanders are regarding civil liberties, I'll highlight this on the Consent Agenda:

What now?

  • Posted on: 7 November 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

"Amanda Fritz, you just won election to the Portland City Council! What are you going to do next?"

I'm going to Autzen Stadium tomorrow, of course!

Next Up at City Council, 11/5/08

  • Posted on: 2 November 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Yay! The Portland City Council Agenda for Wednesday contains this Ordinance:

Parks and Recreation


*1503 Authorize acquisition of approximately 4 acres of property in the Gateway Regional Center Urban Renewal District in accordance with an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Portland Development Commission (Ordinance)

My friend and colleague Linda Robinson, with other good people, has been working towards purchase of this future park for years. Congratulations, East Portland activists and City staff!

I hope we get this one, too:

Office of Emergency Management


*1500 Authorize application to the Department of Homeland Security for a grant in the amount of $9,681,010 to plan for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive events through training and equipping first responders (Ordinance)

That would be a nice chunk of change coming into our economy and our City budget at a difficult time. Also, we have a lot of work to do, to be prepared for natural disasters, so hopefully the activities planned can address those as well as man-made events. Go grant writers!

On Wednesday afternoon:


1504 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM - Tentatively deny the appeal of Northwest District Association and uphold with conditions the Historic Landmarks Commission's decision to approve with conditions the application of GFV Enterprises LLC, William V. DeBellis and Singer Properties for an 87-stall parking garage at 2311-2317 NW Irving St (Findings; Previous Agenda 1398; LU 08-121424 HDZM)

I don't know why this is scheduled by itself in an afternoon hearing, when there isn't much time-consuming on the morning agenda, and when it's clear the Council intends to move forward with the garage. Perhaps there is concern about an appeal to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA), so they're allowing time for testimony on the Findings. Not an occasion I would feel taking the afternoon off work might be worth the effort, especially when comments count when submitted in writing, just as well as oral testimony presented at the hearing.

No hearings on Thursday this week.

Next Up at City Council, 10/29 - 30, 2008

  • Posted on: 26 October 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Here's the Portland City Council Agenda for the coming week. I've been following the details of the Council's Agenda items, every week, for almost two years now. I've learned a lot. Even on weeks where nothing catches the attention of newspaper journalists, there always seems to be something of interest to me.

This week starts with a Time Certain report (which means the item won't start before the stated time, but might start later).


1448 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM - Portland Police Bureau Gang Resistance Education And Training program (Presentation introduced by Mayor Potter)

From the linked explanation:

"Gang Resistance Education And Training (GREAT) is a school based, law enforcement-taught classroom curriculum. The program is designed to help middle school students become responsible members of their communities, by setting goals for themselves, resisting pressures, learning how to resolve conflicts and understanding how gangs impact the quality of their life. GREAT culminates with a certificate of graduation, a new philosophical outlook towards police, and the tools needed to resist gang pressure.

The Portland Police Bureau was chosen by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms as headquarters for the GREAT Program's Western Region, which is one of five regional training sites in the U.S. It covers ten states including: Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska and Hawaii.

This report will focus on the work done in Portland schools."

Gresham Police Chief Carla Piluso said in a forum a week or two ago that the County is no longer able to fund the companion program, D.A.R.E. - Drug Abuse Resistance Education. Both of these programs claim proven results in helping keep students from starting unhealthy, illegal activities. I wonder whether funding is allocated for the GREAT program in the upcoming proposed budget.

First on the Regular Agenda:


1469 Accept the Response to 2008 City Audit on Limited Tax Abatements and the 2007-2008 Annual Report on Residential Tax Exemption Programs (Report introduced by Mayor Potter and Commissioner Fish)

Good to see an Audit being accepted and discussed, with recommendations implemented. The link on the Council Agenda includes a cover letter by Commissioner Fish, the Audit Report, and itemized plans to respond to recommendations. Good work, Commissioner Fish and staff. It's especially helpful to see Mayor Potter encouraged involvement by the Bureau of Planning, so results are folded into the Portland Plan.

More evidence Commissioner Fish is pursuing strategies to provide affordable housing, following in Erik Sten's position:


*1474 Assign City Section 108 Revolving Loan Pool Application to the Department of Housing and Urban Development to create the Portland Housing Preservation Fund (Ordinance)

From the Ordinance: "The creation of the $15million Portland Housing Preservation Fund through an application to HUD for a Section 108 Revolving Loan Pool would require no City general obligation and would effectively leverage current federal resources to meet citywide housing preservation goals."

HUD is the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. The $15m will be used to save properties whose subsidies are expiring, to buy and rehabilitate properties with rental units, and to help Community Development Organizations.

No hearings on Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday afternoon:


1475 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM - Adopt and implement the North Pearl District Plan (Ordinance introduced by Mayor Potter; Previous Agenda 1332)


1476 Adopt the Action Charts and additional implementing measures of the North Pearl District Plan (Resolution introduced by Mayor Potter; Previous Agenda 1333)

The Council will adopt Findings, which state how what the Plan will do complies with State land use law and other regulations and policies. Sometimes the adoption of Findings is termed a "Second Reading", with no public testimony, but Mayor Potter appears to be giving the opportunity for public comment on these.

Next Up at City Council, 10/22/08

  • Posted on: 19 October 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

The Portland City Council Agenda this week begins with two Citizen Communications by members of the Montavilla In Action group. They are working to address and eliminate prostitution on 82nd Avenue. According to the students in Matt Sten's class at Madison High School on 82nd, where I visited on Friday, newspaper reports that prostitution has diminished in the area are not accurate.


*1429 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM - Approve the 30-year tax exemption requested by the Shaver Green Limited Partnership for the Shaver Green rental housing project (Ordinance introduced by Mayor Potter)

As the economy worsens, City Council will need to work harder than ever to ensure that tax breaks provide public benefits, and also that affordable, decent rental housing is available to the citizens of Portland. I haven't had time to look into this one - comments welcome.

There are a bunch of contracts on the Agenda, which you may or may not find interesting. I'm intrigued but unable to delve in further... for another couple of weeks.

Wednesday afternoon:


1445 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM - Tentatively deny the proposal of Haertl Development Company, applicant and Colwood Partnership, owner and uphold the recommendation from the Hearings Officer for denial of a Comprehensive Plan Map Amendment and Zoning Map Amendment for Colwood National Golf Course located at 7313 NE Columbia Blvd (Findings; Previous Agenda 1301; LU 05-138386 CP ZC)

The formal vote on the legal findings regarding the case in the Cully neighborhood.


1446 TIME CERTAIN: 2:30 PM - Appeal of Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association against the Hearing Officer's decision to approve with conditions the application of Reed Institute for a conditional use master plan amendment for Reed College at 3203 SE Woodstock (Hearing; LU 08-114298 CU MS)

This is the fourth Wednesday, so current Code doesn't allow the Council to hold this hearing in the evening (only on third Wednesdays). Many neighbors are likely to want to participate, since the Reed College request certainly impacts the adjacent residents. See Testimony Tips if you want to make a difference, whether or not you can take the afternoon off work to attend the hearing. I'd like to see the Code changed to allow evening hearings any Wednesday or Thursday.

No Thursday afternoon meeting this week.

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