Amanda Fritz's blog

Next Up at City Council, 10/15/08

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

Once again, my review of the Portland City Council Agenda for the coming week will be brief. As it turns out, though, it's a relatively quiet week.

1401 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM - Adopt the City of Portland Sweatshop Free Procurement Policy and Code of Conduct for apparel contractors (Resolution introduced by Commissioner Adams)

Explanation in the Resolution.

Then 21 contract-y items, and two street vacations (the latter being where a street stops being a public right-of-way and the land becomes the private property of the adjacent landowners). Some settlements regarding the Police bureau and union seem to provide the only potential for controversy. The contract I am most glad to see:

*1416 Authorize a grant to Linnton Community Center for operational costs (Ordinance)

Volunteers in Linnton do amazing work providing services at their independent community center.

No City Council meeting Wednesday p.m. or Thursday.

Next Up at City Council, 10/08/08

  • Posted on: 6 October 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

This week's Portland City Council agenda is here. I only have time to note three highlights:

1367 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM - Community Watershed Stewardship Program wins Carter Award (Presentation introduced by Commissioner Adams)

We don't celebrate successful programs as often or as widely as we should. Well done, Environmental Services staff.

Two interesting land use cases in NW on Wednesday afternoon (too bad they weren't scheduled in the evening, when more working people could attend). The first two are paired:

1396 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM - Consider the proposal of Albert W Solheim and Chris Brehmer and the recommendation from the Hearings Officer for approval of a Comprehensive Plan Map Amendment and Zoning Map Amendment for property located at 1734 NW 15th Ave (Hearing; LU 08-132399 CP ZC)

*1397 Amend the Comprehensive Plan Map designations and change zoning at 1734 NW 15th Ave at the request of Albert W. Solheim and Chris Brehmer (Ordinance; LU 08-132399 CP ZC)

I wondered why the map/zoning change is an "emergency". So I clicked on the handy-dandy link to the Ordinance. Oh puhleese:

"The Council declares an emergency exists because there should be no delay in the beneficial use of the above-described properties; therefore, this ordinance shall be in force and effect from and after its passage by the Council"

In other words, because we say so. Not a compelling rationale.

Finally, the item on this week's agenda which will likely be most controversial:

1398 TIME CERTAIN: 2:30 PM - Appeal of Northwest District Association against 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 (Hearing; LU 08-121424 HDZM)

I will only be able to attend the first fifteen minutes of this hearing, due to a previous engagement. It should be fascinating.

Next Up at City Council, 10/1 - 2, 2008

  • Posted on: 30 September 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

The Portland City Council Agenda for tomorrow and Thursday is the usual mixture of communications, reports, admistrative rules, contracts, and hearings. If I had time, I'd follow up on:

1357 Adopt City 2008-2012 Equal Employment Opportunity Affirmative Action Plan (Second Reading Agenda 1324)

It's a second reading, meaning I missed the report and hearing last week. There are simply not enough hours in the day any more.

On Wednesday afternoon, a land use case in SW:

1362 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM - Consider the proposal of Mike and Pat Hartmann, applicants and Twin Properties LLC, listed property owner and the recommendation from the Hearings Officer for approval of a Comprehensive Plan Map Amendment and Zoning Map Amendment for a vacant lot abutting 11330 SW 64th Ave (Hearing; LU 08-103595 CP ZC)

*1363 Amend the Comprehensive Plan Map designations and change zoning at vacant lot abutting 11330 SW 64th Ave at the request of Mike and Pat Hartmann (Ordinance; LU 08-103595 CP ZC)

The most contentious hearing of the week will likely be on Thursday afternoon:

1364 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM - Authorize a Ground Lease Agreement with Portland Hope Meadows for intergenerational housing at 4221 N Willis Blvd (Ordinance introduced by Commissioner Saltzman)

See Jim Redden's article in the Tribune for a summary. I plan to sit in on this hearing, or at least watch it on cable while catching up on my backlog of tasks.

The Best Idea There Ever Was

  • Posted on: 27 September 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

At a delightful houseparty last night, hosted by Carol McCreary and owner Kaebel Hashitami at the Sequential Art Gallery in the Pearl District, we were discussing the need to share information between community groups -- especially when someone has implemented a really good, innovative project that works. "When someone comes up with The Best Idea There Ever Was, everyone should know about it", Carol said.

To which I replied, "Hey, that could be a new running feature on my blog, both now and next year, to go along with Next Up At City Council. The Best Idea There Ever Was - the next great solution generated in Portland's neighborhoods and business districts!"

And thus a star is born. A star a week, in fact, like Next Up at City Council - if you all pitch in. Because the Next Best Idea There Ever Was is that I get you, my readers, to send me items to post over the next five weeks, when I am, ahem, busy with other things.

The title is a tad misleading, because we're not talking about a theoretical concept that may or may not work out. I want to report on projects that have already been tried, and turned out splendidly, so much that others might want to try them, too. Readers?

To get you started, here's the example I gave at the houseparty. Earlier Friday, on my way back from talking with Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson in Gresham, I stopped by Portland Adventist Community Services on NE Halsey at 110th. I was dropping off one of Steve's framed photographs, to donate to their upcoming Silent Auction and fundraiser dinner. Tim Zollbrecht, Thrift Store Manager, who I know from the Gateway Area Business Association (GABA) monthly lunches, gave me an impromptu tour of their facilities. They have a nice new gifts store as well as the gently-used merchandise, and a very impressive health clinic offering free care to neighbors needing it. Case Coordinator Barbara Maddox and I had a mutually-appreciated conversation filled with enough medical acronyms to make a layperson's head spin. PACS hopes to move its current clinic with only two examination rooms to a larger facility nearby, if capital costs can be raised. The clinic's operations are funded by donations, grants, store sales, and significant support from Portland Adventist Hospital.

But wait, there's more. For today's Best Idea There Ever Was:

Fly, little one, fly

  • Posted on: 23 September 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

My youngest child leaves for college today. I will be working a half day, seven hours, on my current temp job, then driving Ali and her stuff down to Southern Oregon University in Ashland. I'll be back tomorrow in time for the Metro Policy Advisory Committee meeting, I hope.

Stressful? I prefer to think of it as "acutely aware of the intensity of life's experiences". And I am confident my daughter will fly with grace and strength -- once she gets over the "Remind me again why I'm doing this?" feeling. She'll remember.

Next Up at City Council, 9/24/08

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

It's 8:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, as I sit at the dining room table starting this post. The house is quiet. After a lovely summer letting in fresh air and the roar from I-5's flow, the windows are closed. My family members are sleeping - probably even Maxwell in New Jersey, despite the fact that they're three hours ahead of us. I've fed and petted the cats, clicked through The Hunger Site's pages in my daily day-starting donation of one minute to worthy causes, brewed and enjoyed my first mug of coffee. And now I get to review the Portland City Council's Agenda for the coming week. Life is good.

An important Time Certain kicks off the hearings:

1306 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM - Authorize agreement with National Marine Fisheries Service to implement the Bull Run Water Supply Habitat Conservation Plan (Ordinance introduced by Commissioner Leonard)

The Ordinance outlines the process being pursued to comply with the federal Endangered Species Act, providing fish habitat improvements in exchange for the "incidental take" of four species of fish because of the dams in the Bull Run water supply system. The Water Bureau and community experts have worked hard on this package. I'll be interested to hear whether all sides believe the appropriate strategies have been identified, and how the Council plans to fund them.

On the Consent list, as an Emergency Ordinance, changes to the City Code section that allows contracts to run 25% over budget with administrative approval (the one I've been highlighting for years):

Office of Management and Finance - Purchases

*1309 Update Code Chapter 5.68 regarding the procurement of professional, technical and expert services (Ordinance; amend Code Chapter 5.68)

The proposed changes include this one:

The Purchasing Agent has authority to execute amendments to such contracts, provided that such the amendments do not, in the aggregate, exceed 25% of the original contract amount. Otherwise, the original contract or contract amendment must be approved by the City Council. Contracts executed pursuant to Subsection 5.68.020 B. 4. may be amended in excess of 25% without Council approval provided the City Attorney and the Purchasing Agent both approve the amendment. Periodic reports of such actions shall be provided to City Council by the City Attorney’s office.

Yes, that's right, they're adding to the extent of over-runs allowed without Council oversight.** It's unfortunate that this revision is on Consent, six weeks before an election that is demanding full attention from citizen organizers who understand the crucial importance of getting the right candidates elected to the White House, US Congress, Oregon Legislature, and local offices. Oh well. We can go back to this Code section in January. But there is a significant dent in my good humor from an hour ago.

An important set of items Wednesday afternoon:

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

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

I'm told by an activist mom who's been involved in forming the Plan that it has many good features. Other comments?

** Update 8:10 p.m. - A concerned reader wants me to make clear that the added leeway on 25% over-runs is only for the provision being added to Subsection 5.68.035 B, i.e., it applies ONLY to 5.68.020 B4, "The City Attorney’s retention of expert witnesses, consultants to assist the City Attorney’s Office in providing legal advice to the City, and outside legal counsel.". Thank you for contacting me, shy person. I still question why any contract, approved by any City official, should be allowed by right to run 25% over budget, let alone even more than that, before re-approval.

Next Up at City Council, 9/17 - 18, 2008

  • Posted on: 14 September 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

The hottest topic on this week's Portland City Council Agenda:


1301 TIME CERTAIN: 6:00 PM- Consider the proposal of Haertl Development Company, applicant and Colwood Partnership, owner and 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 (Hearing; LU 05-138386 CP ZC)

I am glad to see this hearing scheduled in the evening, when more citizens can attend. The Hearings Officer's Report gives persuasive reasons for his recommendation to deny the application. I expect the Council Chambers will be packed, so get there early to sign up if you want to testify. Remember, too, that letters and phone calls to the Council offices beforehand give the decision-makers time to consider your viewpoint carefully.

There are three other Time Certain hearings this week, on Wednesday morning:

1272 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM - Proclaim September 15 to October 15, 2008 to be Latino/Latina Heritage month in Portland (Proclamation introduced by Mayor Potter)

1273 TIME CERTAIN: 9:45 AM - Metro-Oregon Zoo Levy (Presentation introduced by Mayor Potter)

1274 TIME CERTAIN: 10:00 AM - Tentatively grant appeal of Lamont Smith, TMT Development, applicant and uphold the Historic Landmarks Commission's decision with modifications to impose certain conditions in approving the Cornelius Hotel rehabilitation at 809 SW Alder (Findings; Previous Agenda 1191; LU 08-108274 HDZM)

An interesting nugget on the Consent agenda:

1289 Amend agreement with Tri-Met regarding parking pay stations at Park and Ride Lots and authorize the Director of Portland Office of Transportation to execute future annual amendments (Ordinance; amend Contract No. 52732)

According to the ordinance, the Council voted in 2006 to allow pay stations to be installed at TriMet Park & Ride locations. This is an amendment to the administrative authority and fees for the program.

The Burnside-Couch couplet is moving right along, apparently:

1290 Authorize Intergovernmental Agreement with Oregon Department of Transportation to provide funding for the design and construction of the East Burnside and Couch Couplet Project and allow the project to be constructed by the City under the City of Portland/ODOT Certification agreement (Ordinance)

Thursday afternoon, a major change in policy:


  • Posted on: 14 September 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

By the Ministry of Property, Burning Man 2008. A generous assessment, in my opinion.

Portland Parks "Assets Disposal"

  • Posted on: 12 September 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Guest post by Linda Robinson, Chair, Citywide Parks Team

Portland Citywide Parks Team Meeting

Thursday, September 18, 2008
7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Portland Building, Forest Park Room, 13th Floor
1120 SW 5th Ave, Portland


Guest: Brett Horner, Manager
Strategic Planning Projects
Portland Parks & Recreation

One of the issues identified as a result of conversations regarding Mt. Tabor Park was the realization that Portland Parks & Recreation lacked a formal policy to guide the disposition of parks assets. Disposition of assets is part of the bureau's larger "Asset Management Strategy".

The basic premise of asset management is that assets exist to provide services. Management of those assets involves acquiring, developing and maintaining assets to provide those services and, on occasion, disposing of assets that are surplus to bureau needs. The bureau's draft asset disposition policy provides the means to address issues and concerns around the disposal of assets.

A draft of this policy will be discussed at the next City Wide Parks Team meeting.

Linda Robinson, Chair
Citywide Parks Team


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

This is a photograph from Burning Man 2008. When I saw it on our computer wallpaper this morning, it brought to mind the people waiting on the top of the World Trade Center for the helicopters to arrive, and the office workers hurrying down the emergency exit stairs and the public safety officers bravely climbing up, when the second tower collapsed.

We shall never forget.

Next Up at City Council, 9/10-11, 2008

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

Sorry I'm posting this less than twelve hours before the Portland City Council starts working through the Agenda for this week. Some interesting items:

The Consent agenda kicks off with a $50,000 total allocation for four contracts to consultants to provide facilitation services for the Bureau of Planning. The rationale doesn't entirely justify the expenditure, to me, given many City planners are excellent facilitators. Hiring outsiders doesn't always improve the perception of fairness, in my experience.

Early on the Regular Agenda on Wednesday morning:

1261 Support Regional Air Service to Portland and allocate funds to assist statewide partners (Resolution introduced by Mayor Potter and Commissioner Adams)

The ordinance says the City of Portland is allocating $300,000 from the Rainy Day fund to maintain air service with Coos Bay County and Klamath Falls. From the Rainy Day fund. I hope the folks in Coos Bay and Klamath Falls are appreciative.

That price tag pales in comparison with this, though:

*1265 Give preliminary approval for the issuance of one or more new series of revenue bonds in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $52,000,000 for the refinancing of the 2003 Economic Development Revenue Bonds-Broadway Project (Ordinance)

Fifty-two million ... what are we buying for that price? According to the ordinance, it's refinancing bonds for student housing at Portland State University, sponsored by the Portland Development Commission. Check the link, then share your comments, please.

Two land use hearings on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons:

Responsibilities of a Community Organizer

  • Posted on: 4 September 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

From Wellstone Action!:

"Being an organizer means putting the needs of the community above yourself and your ego. Your task is to influence the powerful with little more than the common will, and do so while developing the leadership of those around you. A good organizer is always working to put themselves out of a job, because many others should be prepared to step up and take their place. You listen and learn, coordinate and plan, arrive early and stay late, and do the real work that improves people's lives..... community organizers have been the ones that moved our country forward during times of crisis and great change. They are ordinary people working to improve their communities."

I will add that community organizers accomplish goals mostly without staff, and by persuading volunteers to donate their time and talents to the cause. In Portland, many community leaders work without pay, often without any personal benefit beyond the satisfaction of achieving results that are good for all. I am proud to know and work with many wonderful community organizers in Portland.

Next Up at City Council, 9/3/08

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

All the action is scheduled for Wednesday morning on this week's Portland City Council Agenda - nothing on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday.

Close to the top of the Regular Agenda:

*1234 Pay claim of Gwen Price, Personal Representative of the Estate of James Jahar Perez, Jr. (Ordinance)

The ordinance says the settlement amount is $350,000.

1236 Approve a Memorandum of Understanding among Carroll Investments LLC, the Portland Development Commission and the Office of Management and Finance as a framework for the potential redevelopment of the 10th and Yamhill Garage (Resolution)

The resolution boils down to "We're still talking, we want you to know we're still talking, and here's the gist of what we're talking about". Good to have it open for public review.

Hmm, the rationale for this next one one is a bit stretched:

*1242 Approve an agreement not to exceed $18,500 with the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon to continue an experimental bus pass program for the Office of Sustainable Development for FY 2008-09 (Ordinance)

The ordinance says that because the Office of Sustainable Development (OSD) moved from SW 5th to the Pearl in 2001, "transit service is substantially less convenient, making it more time consuming for employees to use transit". Really? Gosh, I wonder how that works out for citizens trying to get to OSD. The ordinance goes on to say that all-zone bus passes were provided to OSD employees as a "pilot project" from 2002-2008, and that, "Since 2002, OSD’s auto trip rate has dropped from 36% to 18%, as measured by TriMet surveys. The ECO-rule goal for Oregon businesses is an auto trip reduction of 10%, which OSD met in its first year of Universal Pass Program. Continuing with Universal Passes will enable OSD to maintain or perhaps increase that reduction."

Where is the evidence for that assertion? What other alternatives do OSD employees have, given the scarcity and cost of parking downtown? What was the effect of the streetcar extensions, did those make transit use for workers in the Pearl more attractive, even without the subsidy? The OSD office is within Fareless Square. Why is a "pilot project" turning into a permanent benefit given to a particular group of City employees?

The report notes that employees of the "Maintenance Bureau" (presumably, the maintenance department under the Office of Transportation) are given all-zone passes. That makes sense, considering they have to work at sites all over the city. Maybe OSD employees travel outside downtown more than staff in other bureaus, and like/need to do so without using city vehicles, but that's not stated in the ordinance. I'm told different unions within the City receive uneven levels of subsidy for bus passes - some get passes at 50%, other contracts give less. I don't see adequate rationale for giving 41 OSD staff free rides via annual TriMet passes at $420.02 each, to get to their office in Fareless Square. If it's a perk negotiated as part of a benefits package or needed for work-related travel, that's different, but I don't see those reasons in the ordinance. Am I missing something?

That one may be picky (hey, $18,500 spent on bus passes is $18,500 that can't be spent on something else), but this one will affect many Portlanders:

1244 Update waste prevention and recycling requirements for businesses and establish permit requirements for waste hauling companies (Ordinance; replace Code Chapter 17.102)

I would love to tell you what's new, what's changed, what's controversial. But sadly the ordinance contains a substitute Code Chapter 17.102, rather than a version with strikethrough and underline to show the changes. That's not helpful at all. To do the analysis, I'd have to find the current code, print it out, print out the new, compare and contrast. Or search to find a summary on PortlandOnLine, which may or may not exist, and may or may not be found by the search function even if it does exist. The ordinance also contains new rate tables, again without indicating current fees. I continue to appreciate the ready availability of ordinances and resolutions on line, but sometimes they only highlight the need for providing information more clearly and readily, deeper into all bureaus' work. Oh well. One step at a time.

That's entertainment!

  • Posted on: 31 August 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Yesterday, Saturday August 30, 2008, was a happy day for the Fritz family, with each of the five of us choosing our favorite mode of independent leisure activity. Steve is at Burning Man, where he always experiences amazing, wonderful things. I read in the Oregonian today there was a dust storm, which Steve was anticipating since reportedly it hasn't rained in the Black Rock Desert since Burning Man last year. He and I find challenges tend to add to the sense of accomplishment when endured and conquered.

Ali was at Kumoricon, an anime convention at the Lloyd Center Doubletree (click the link, if "anime" isn't part of your everyday vocabulary). She loves the entire process of planning and implementing her participation in the experience of these conventions, and hopes Kumoricon will grow popular enough to pack the Oregon Convention Center in future years. If you're in the vicinity of the Lloyd Center this weekend (including Labor Day) and notice higher-than-usual numbers of young people attired stranger-than-usual, it's (probably) because of the convention.

And Luke, Maxwell, and I drove to Eugene for the opening game of the University of Oregon Ducks football season. This is our tenth year of watching Duck football games from the cheap seats behind the end zone.

Photograph by nice man two rows behind us

We won, in case you haven't heard. And I got to spend eleven hours in the company of my treasured sons. Such a great way to end the summer and kick off the fall.

Next Up at City Council, 8/27/08

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

A short Portland City Council Agenda this coming Wednesday morning, and no meeting Wednesday/Thursday afternoons. Two members are absent, so no Consent or emergency items, either.

The first item on the Regular Agenda made me happy:

1194 Appoint Mary Anne Cassin, Mike Golub, Bob Sallinger and Tricia Tillman to the Portland Parks Board for terms to expire August 31, 2011 (Report)

Mary Anne Cassin worked for Portland Parks & Recreation for years, before recently moving to Metro. Bob Sallinger works at the Audubon Society of Portland. I don't know Mike or Tricia, but likely they too will be great additions to the Parks Board - a group that provides advice to the Parks Commissioner. Dan Saltzman is doing many good things in PP&R, in partnership with Director Zari Santner. If the Parks Board met at a time other than 7:30 am on a weekday, and took input from citizens, it would be even better. Still, good to see great people being willing to serve.

The final hearing on Wednesday morning also concerns PP&R:

1203 Define prohibited conduct in Director Park, formerly South Park Block 5 (Ordinance; amend Code Section 20.12.230)

This Resolution and its attachment shows the Code language currently in effect in Pioneer Courthouse Square, to be added in the new Director's Park. It not only prohibits smoking and lying on benches, but also "throwing" balls, discs etc. Did you know those activities are prohibited in Pioneer Courthouse Square? Since it says specifically throwing, presumably kicking is OK, for example hackey sack. Did you know hackey sack was invented by Oregonians living in Oregon City?

Playing on the playa

  • Posted on: 24 August 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Steve left for Burning Man last night. This photograph from last year illustrates how some 30,000 people turn the Black Rock Desert into Black Rock City, Nevada. Once again, Steve is an official photographer for the event, charged with documenting the art exhibits in a section of the camp. I'll post selected photographs following his return after Labor Day. That way, the rest of us get to enjoy the spectacle without driving for hours and camping for a week in 100 degree temperatures. Good deal, huh?

Run for Congo Women

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

Guest Post by Holly Zhao, Women for Women International

The 2008 Run for Congo Women is coming to Portland! The Run for Congo Women is a grassroots run/walk that was started in Portland and has since grown into a global movement. It is dedicated to generating support and awareness for Congolese women survivors of war, and has proven to be a tremendous success in the past. Through this amazing run, you will be able to give hope and support to women of the Congo whose lives have been torn apart by the constant brutality of war. Today in the Democratic Republic of Congo, people are still struggling after one of the deadliest wars in all history. Millions have died and new conflicts continue to threaten peace every day. For women in Congo, brutal gang rape and torture are a daily reality. 60-80% of women are now single heads of their homes due to the conflict.

The 3/9 mile Run for Congo Women in Portland will be taking place at Lower Macleay Park on September 14, 2008. Register today for $20 and receive a free t-shirt on the day of the run! Visit here to register or to get more information.

Next Up at City Council, 8/20 - 21, 2008

  • Posted on: 18 August 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Jumping straight to the fascinating stuff: The Portland City Council Agenda this coming week features a set of land use hearings on Thursday afternoon.

THURSDAY, 2:00 PM, AUGUST 21, 2008

1186 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM - Accept Staff Report and Recommendation and Order of Council for Debra Byers Measure 49 Claim (Report introduced by Mayor Potter; PR No. 06-181332)

1187 Accept Staff Report and Recommendation and Order of Council for Robert M. Boyl Measure 49 Claim (Report introduced by Mayor Potter; PR No. 06-180160)

1188 Accept Staff Report and Recommendation and Order of Council for Augustine L. Calcagno Family LLC Measure 49 Claim (Report introduced by Mayor Potter; PR No. 05-117098)

1189 Accept Staff Report and Recommendation and Order of Council for Dean A. Grudzinski Measure 49 Claim (Report introduced by Mayor Potter; PR No. 05-126994)

1190 Accept Staff Report and Recommendation and Order of Council for Lahti and Sons, Inc. Measure 49 Claim (Report introduced by Mayor Potter; PR No. 06-180929)

Five of the seven Measure 37 claims the Council accepted prior to voter approval of Measure 49 are up for review. At issue is whether the claims are "vested" under post-M49 state law. The Staff Reports recommend that the Council deny four of the claims, due to the applicants not submitting the necessary documentation within state-mandated deadlines. One project, by property owner Dean Grudzinski, already recorded the approved zone change and land division application, and is therefore vested and likely to be approved by the Council.

There are two other approved Measure 37 claims in Portland. One has already been processed and approved as vested by Council, the other will be on the Agenda next week.

After the Measure 49 hearings, there's another land use issue on Thursday afternoon:

1191 TIME CERTAIN: 3:00 PM - Appeal of Lamont Smith, TMT Development, applicant, against the Historic Landmarks Commission's decision to impose certain conditions in approving the Cornelius Hotel rehabilitation at 809 SW Alder (Hearing; LU 08-108274 HDZM)

The appeal is over the replacement or repair of windows, with respect to preserving the historic features of the building. The Landmarks Commission recommended repair and replacement with painted wood-frame windows when necessary, the applicant wants to use painted aluminum for the frames. A nice challenge for the five Council members, to become more educated on historic design and window engineering before Thursday.

Moving back to the Wednesday morning agenda, there are several items that interest me. But time is precious, and I can only highlight three.

Here's an old favorite, once more listed as an emergency:

*1174 Extend the effective date of a Comprehensive Plan Map and Zoning Map Amendment previously approved by Ordinance Nos. 180713, 180749, 181175 and 181639 for property located at 5828 N. Van Houten Pl at the request of the University of Portland and Triangle Park LLC (Ordinance; LU 06-132925 CP ZC)

Search for "Triangle Park" on this blog, and you'll see something similar to this item on the Council's agenda in January 2007, July 2007, and February 2008. What's the hold-up here?

A big number in this item from the Bureau of Housing and Community Development:

*1181 Authorize subrecipient contract with Portland Development Commission for $11,304,796 for rental housing development and provide for payment (Ordinance)

PDC continues to work with its agency and community partners, to assess whether a new model of provision of affordable housing is needed for cost-effectiveness and efficiency. And if so, what the new structure should look like.

Oh joy, we get to vote on a Charter Amendment in November:

Next Up at City Council, 8/13/08

  • Posted on: 10 August 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Only three of the five members of the Council will be present for this coming week's Agenda on Wednesday, so no items will be heard as emergencies or on Consent. No meeting on Thursday afternoon.

Scott Andrews is being appointed to one of two vacancies on the Portland Development Commission. According to this Daily Journal of Commerce article from 2006, "Andrews has been President of Melvin Mark Properties in Portland since 1978. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the Wharton Graduate School of Business, Andrews currently serves on the board of directors for the Portland Business Alliance, Oregon Sports Authority and Mail Management Group."

Commissioners Fish and Saltzman are proposing a deal on the Peterson's convenience store lease that has attracted multiple testifiers under Citizen Communications over the last month:

1121 Direct the Office of Management and Finance to develop a last chance month-to-month rental agreement with Douglas G. Peterson Investments, Inc. for the City-owned property at 922 SW Morrison St that would entail specific public safety requirements at all downtown Peterson's locations within 15 days (Resolution introduced by Commissioners Fish and Saltzman)

One of the most intriguing and unpronouncable Resolution titles I've seen(good luck with this one, Council Clerk Karla Moore-Love):

1122 Authorize the City Attorney to file an amicus brief in Man Aktiengesellschaft and Man Nutzfahrzeuge Aktiengesellschaft v. Daimlerchrysler Ag and Freightliner of Canada Lt. Appellate Court No. A135989 (Resolution introduced by Mayor Potter and Commissioner Adams)

The Resolution says it's a case at the Oregon Supreme Court concerning Freightliner, and that the outcome is important to the City. It doesn't give details.

In the next item, it's more than a little sad that the Council has to vote on a Resolution announcing the elected officials' intent to follow the law:

1124 Affirm Council's intent to follow existing procedures to evaluate street renaming requests as prescribed by Portland City Code Chapter 17.93 (Resolution)

Currently in progress, two requests: One to identify a street to rename for César Chávez, the other to rename 42nd Avenue for Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. For those who haven't read the book, this definition notes, "In Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 42 is the number from which all meaning ("the meaning of life, the universe, and everything") could be derived." The book is one of my favorites. A line that continually amuses me:

"Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."

Regardless, in all seriousness I can't see the residents and businesses on 42nd Avenue being enthusiastic about changing their street name, especially in such challenging times with the economy.

On the Wednesday afternoon Agenda:

1137 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM – Accept the River Public Safety Coordination Task Force Final Report (Resolution introduced by Commissioner Adams)

The Resolution includes a handy dandy link to the consultant's page posting the River Public Safety Task Force 2007 Final Report, but sadly the link from there gives only a pdf option. Not knowing how large the file is, I was hesitant to click in it. I wish governments and others would realize that attachments and files to open may be easier for the sender/poster, but not for the reader. Just post the information on a web page, please. Anyway, I clicked, I waited, I read the opening paragraph:

The River Public Safety Coordination Task Force was organized to implement a specific set of assignments designed to improve the quality of service coordination among river response agencies, enhance efficiencies where possible, and offer better data reporting regarding on-river activities by public safety providers. The following document describes the results of that work."

Translation: Both the City and Multnomah County provide emergency services and patrols on Portland's rivers. This group has looked at ways to cut overlaps and gaps. I hope the jurisdictions evaluate the recommendations, then implement those that solve problems and save money.

Warm Springs River

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

We took our big 36-hour family summer vacation at the beginning of the month, staying overnight at Kahneeta. Thanks to scenery like this, it's amazing how tranquil, rested, and restored an Oregonian can become in 36 hours.

Next Up at City Council, 8/6/08

  • Posted on: 5 August 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

The most significant item on tomorrow's Portland City Council Agenda, in my opinion, is on Wednesday afternoon:

WEDNESDAY, 2:00 PM, AUGUST 6, 2008

1114 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM - Approve a work program to update the City Comprehensive Plan, establish a public engagement committee and program and direct the Bureau of Planning to submit these programs to the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development for state approval (Resolution introduced by Mayor Potter)

Once again, a hearing on how to engage the public is scheduled to be discussed at a time when many Portlanders who might want to comment are at work and cannot participate. Why is this hearing so urgent it could not wait for the third Wednesday, when the Code allows for an evening session? Even better, let's change the Code to allow evening sessions any week.

The documents being approved tomorrow are mostly intended to comply with State requirements to list the items/issues that will be reviewed in the Portland Plan. State land use regulations require updates on the Comprehensive Plan via a specific process called "Periodic Review". The meat of the Resolution tomorrow is in the "Periodic Review Work Program", Exhibit A. It lists many details on the questions and challenges up for discussion over the next three years. The "Public Engagement Work Program", Exhibit B, is much fuzzier. It sets up a "Citizen Involvement Advisory Committee", to advise the Bureau of Planning on how to engage Portlanders. Only twelve members are envisioned on this committee, three of whom will be Planning Commissioners. How would you choose nine people to represent the diverse communities in 95 neighborhoods on this committee? Even though they're only advising on the process, rather than acting as representatives, that concerns me.

It's also unfortunate this item is on the Consent Agenda, with no discussion:

1095 Bicycle Safety: Bike Boxes and Alternatives Update (Report)

Are the green boxes working? Are they causing problems? It would be helpful to have a five-minute staff presentation for viewers at City Hall and those at home watching on cable, regardless of whether the report is available on line.

[Update 8/10/08: Rich Oxley reports in the Portland Tribune that this item was to do the study, rather than reporting on one.]

The morning session, after Citizen Communications whose participants once more focus on homelessness issues and Peterson's store, begins with a Time Certain:

1084 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM - Portland Development Commission 50th Anniversary Commemoration (Proclamation introduced by Mayor Potter)

The volunteers serving on the Portland Development Commission, and generations of staff in the agency, have done many, many good things for Portland. It's good to stop and reflect on where PDC has been, while the change in leadership at both the Commission and the Council means we all should pay close attention to where it goes.

There are many contracts and minor items on the Agenda, including several "errors" in street namings (presumably in new subdivisions) - in these cases, name changes may be made by the Council without the extensive public process being re-started in the search for a street to name Chavez.

Also on Consent, another $38,000 payment to Australia for "Asset Management Process Benchmarking" (those playing Buzzword Bingo at home, enjoy that one). Last year, we paid them $51,000 for similar services. Then and now, I would like citizens to know how much value we get for that expenditure. The ordinance language seems very similar to the one I checked out last July:

1. The Portland Water Bureau is interested in connecting with a broad community of water professionals around the globe to understand and improve operational and business performance relating to asset management.

2. The International Water Association and Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) has initiated a program of industry performance comparison to help water utilities understand international best practice in the delivery of services to their customers.

3. The Bureau wants to enter into an Agreement with the WSAA in the amount of $38,000 in order to gain a better understanding of its performance in comparison to its peers.

Since the City is entering into another agreement, presumably the first provided value for the money spent. In the past, Water Bureau staff have been very helpful in providing additional information in response to questions raised here on this blog. I hope someone will comment to provide more details on this Consent Agenda item.

Another Consent item that interested me enough to click on the link:

*1109 Authorize an Intergovernmental Agreement for the Creation of the Regional Radio System Partnership (Ordinance)

It's to provide coordinated emergency radio systems between local jurisdictions. Seems like A Good Idea.

No hearings on Thursday afternoon this week.