Amanda Fritz's blog

26 years, still amazing

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

Photo by Luke Fritz

The love of my life, Steven Edward Fritz. Today, we celebrate 26 years of marriage (wedding day photo here). Our older son, Luke, took this photo at Candidates Gone Wild, where Steve put on his curly wig with the horns and rocked the house with his guitar solo.

Guest Photos, Loll Memorial 2008

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

From last week's ceremony honoring slain Deputy Ernest Loll, on SW 35th in the Arnold Creek neighborhood:

Chaplain Ed Stelle (a police chaplain for more than 50 years) leads the remembrance with Chief Deputy Tim Moore, Captain Jay Heidenrich, Lt. Jeff Wheeler, and other members of the Sheriff's Honor Guard.

Photos by Multnomah County Deputy Barrett Taylor

Next Up at City Council, 5/21/08

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

Really? There's an important date after May 20 in some people's lives? Actually, there are several in mine. On May 22, Steve and I will celebrate 26 years of marriage. May 25, Maxwell returns home from college in New Jersey. June 1 is Ali's graduation from Wilson High School, and June 14 is commencement for Luke at Western Oregon University. Busy times in the Fritz household.

At the Portland City Council, the Agenda for May 21 includes five Citizen Communications on a variety of important topics:

651 Request of Mark Lakeman to address Council regarding The City Repair Project (Communication)

652 Request of Art Ludwig to address Council regarding State Greywater Regulations and Legalizing Sustainability in Portland (Communication)

653 Request of John Higginbotham to address Council regarding the levels of force available to police (Communication)

654 Request of Chris Knudtsen to address Council regarding the rights of homeless youth in Portland (Communication)

655 Request of Jami Schofield to address Council regarding speak my mind (Communication)

I love our structure, where citizens have direct access to their elected officials.

The items that most catch my attention this week (again, remember my attention is distracted, please check yourself):

657 TIME CERTAIN: 9:45 AM – Revise sewer and drainage rates and charges in accordance with the FY 2008-2009 Sewer User Rate Study and establish a single, consolidated and comprehensive schedule of rates and charges administered by the Bureau of Environmental Services (Ordinance introduced by Commissioner Adams; amend Code Chapters 17.24, 17.32, 17.34, 17.35 and 17.36)

658 Revise residential solid waste and recycling collection rates and charges effective July 1, 2008 (Ordinance introduced by Commissioner Saltzman; amend Code Chapter 17.102)

659 Authorize the rates and charges for water and water-related services during the FY beginning July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009 and fix an effective date (Ordinance introduced by Commissioner Leonard; Second Reading 642)

Interesting to see fee increases in three different bureaus with three different Commissioners, on the same Agenda. I wonder if the cumulative impact on a ratepayer's household budget will be discussed.

One of the many contracts on the Agenda:

664 Authorize contract with Brattain International Trucks of Portland to furnish 15-12/15 yard dump trucks for the Portland Department of Transportation and Water Bureau for $2,151,650.

It's good to see the business going to a Portland company. The price works out to a little over $143,000 per truck - is that a good deal?

No items on deck for Wednesday afternoon (or evening, since this is the third Wednesday so a 6 p.m. hearing is allowed) or Thursday. I'm happy there isn't an urgent issue requiring my participation. On Wednesday, I'll be taking my daughter to get her hair done in preparation for the Senior Prom, and catching up on my required CPR Recertification class at PCC, in preparation for returning to work on Saturday. I am also looking forward to having time to remove the Christmas wreath from our home's front door.

Remembering fallen officers

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

Yesterday, I attended the annual ceremony at the Police Memorial in Waterfront Park, commemorating the 26 officers who have died in the course of their duties in our city. It was a moving tribute, fittingly held under gloomy skies in persistent rain.

This morning I was returning home from taking Ali to school, when I noticed the Sheriff's honor guard assembling at the memorial to Deputy Sheriff Ernest Loll at SW 35th and Arnold. I covered this annual event here, last year. So I hurried home to change out of my jeans, and returned to participate in the ceremony. I learned more of the story of the bravery of Sheriff Loll (rhymes with doll) from the officers, and about May 15 being National Peace Officers Memorial Day. The day itself is surrounded by events all week in various states, cities, and counties, to allow surviving relatives and officers to attend more than one ceremony. I'm told that tomorrow is the only day apart from Memorial Day, when by US statute flags fly at half staff.

Follow-up is good

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

I'm glad to see Mayor Potter returned to Jefferson High School this week, and that he reported some progress on issues of particular concern to the community. Free bus travel for 6th through 12th graders is a good move for all Portland students. Can any reader tell me if any progress was made in the Portland Public Schools budget, towards providing equitable course offerings at Jefferson so the same range of challenging classes is provided there as in other Portland high schools?

Regardless, kudos to Mayor Potter for going back, with less fanfare than the week-long visit earlier in the year, to report on actions taken, and to listen some more.

Next Up at City Council, 5/14/08

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

The Portland City Council's Agenda for this coming Wednesday begins with four speakers testifying on the protest of homeless people outside City Hall, in Citizen Communications (the first slot is taken by someone speaking about Scientology). Mercury Blogtown is covering events in the demonstration/camping/shelter issue with commendable detail and timeliness.

The City Budget is the main item on the Agenda, with a 9:30 a.m. Time Certain designation (which means it will start after the Citizen Communications, at about 9:45 a.m.). Again, I caution you that I've only skimmed the Agenda, so please click on the link yourself, and comment if there's something important I missed.

On the Consent Agenda, several contracts from the Bureau of Housing and Community Development, providing money to help renters. Good. Except, I wonder why they all need the asterisk indicating an emergency ordinance. Were all these expenses unexpected, and if so, why?

*608 Amend contract with Housing Authority of Portland by $6,684 to administer the Ready to Rent program and provide payment (Ordinance; amend Contract No. 37529)

*609 Amend subrecipient contract with Portland Impact by $16,684 to administer the renter relocation program and provide for payment (Ordinance; amend Contract No. 37535)

*610 Amend subrecipient contract with Portland Development Commission by $1,012,455 to develop additional rental housing and provide for payment (Ordinance; amend Contract No. 37805)

*611 Amend subrecipient contract with Housing Development Center by $30,000 to deliver affordable housing policy support and provide for payment (Ordinance; amend Contract No. 37577)

*612 Amend subrecipient contract with the Portland Schools Foundation by $47,000 to administer the Community Grants Fund to support the citywide Schools Families Housing Initiative and provide for payment (Ordinance; amend Contract No. 37537)

On another item, did I miss something, or did others? I wonder why is this still on the Council Agenda:

640 Authorize application to the Oregon Department of Transportation, Transportation Enhancement Program for a grant of up to $1,000,000 for the NW Flanders Bike Boulevard (Second Reading Agenda 596)

Is this for improvements other than the re-use of the Sauvie Island Bridge?

On Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m., a report on Pesticide Free Parks will be presented.

649 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM – Accept the report Pesticide Free Parks (Report introduced by Commissioner Saltzman)

This is an excellent program, relying on volunteers to pull weeds by hand (and with a flame thrower, although I've never had a chance to use it) instead of using chemicals. There are several test parks in the pilot program, all of which look in good shape even before the work parties I've participated in have started tidying up. I am looking forward to going back to spending Saturday mornings pulling weeds, after May 20.

Next Up at City Council, 5/7-8, 2008

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

This week's Portland City Council Agenda is packed, chockablock full, of big issues. If ballots weren't due in 16 days, I would be spending most of today dissecting it for you. But they are. So I can't.

The most important of many important items:

WEDNESDAY, 2:00 PM, MAY 7, 2008

Council to convene as Portland Development Commission Budget Committee

THURSDAY, 2:00 PM, MAY 8, 2008

Council to convene as Portland Development Commission Budget Committee

This is important because:

* Due to the Charter change passed by voters last May, the City Council has authority over the Portland Development Commission's budget.

* There are four members of the Portland City Council at this time.

* A 2-2 tie in votes means the motion fails.

* PDC's fiscal year ends June 30.

* If the Council deadlocks and fails to pass a budget for PDC, all work of the agency stops on July 1.

No pressure, gentlemen. Good luck with that.

Read this

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

My son Luke, who just completed his undergraduate degree at Western Oregon University, sent me this link. I almost skipped it - I have over 100 non-spam emails to attend to, plus a full day out in the neighborhoods of Portland.

I am glad I took the time to read it. It's good to have further evidence that some kids in our crazy society are turning out pretty well.

Thank you, Madison Senators

  • Posted on: 29 April 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Yesterday it was my birthday
I hung one more year on the line

Paul Simon, "Have a Good Time"

I turned 50 yesterday. I tried to cram as much into my day as possible, doing things that have been significant to me over the years. One of those activities was visiting a Portland school, as I have every school day for nearly 17 years. I was a guest speaker with two of teacher Matt Sten's social studies classes at Madison High School. Two delightful young women made cupcakes to share with everyone, and the class sang Happy Birthday to me. We had a good time talking about issues in Portland and our country. And above is the image I saw when arriving, driving north along NE 82nd Avenue.

Thank you, Madison students and staff. I will treasure that memory.

Next Up at City Council, 4/30/08

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

There are oodles of interesting items on this Wednesday's Portland City Council Agenda. I can only review a few issues today - please check it out yourself.

There are three Time Certain items, at 9:30 am, 10 am, and 10:30 am, so it's likely the discussion of the proposed relocation of the Sauvie Island Bridge to NW Flanders won't start until later. The 9:30 am item,

517 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM – Assess benefited properties for street and stormwater improvements in the SW Texas Green Street Local Improvement District (Hearing; Ordinance introduced by Commissioner Adams; C-10014)

This ordinance represents years of work by citizens and staff, figuring out how to provide both a paved road and environmentally-sensitive stormwater management, on a small segment of a street in SW Portland. Kudos to those involved. We now know that green streets are not only better for water quality and neighborhood aesthetics, but also they cost less than traditional engineered/piped mechanisms of dealing with pavement runoff.

On the Consent Agenda:

Fire and Rescue - 521 Apply for a $1,300,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to purchase a new fireboat (Second Reading Agenda 485)

The City should talk with Multnomah County about whether there is duplication in river patrol services with both Portland Fire and Rescue and the Multnomah County Sherrif's department currently providing coverage.

Wow, applying for an $18 million loan, as an emergency ordinance:

*530 Authorize loan application in the amount of up to $18,000,000 to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality under the State Revolving Fund Program for Columbia Blvd Wastewater Treatment Plant Digester Expansion and Revegetation Program projects (Ordinance)

That's one where I'd like to have time to read more information.

Then here's the most controversial item, probably:

543 Authorize the Portland Office of Transportation to enter into a contract with Max J. Kuney Construction, owner of the old Sauvie Island Bridge, to rehabilitate, relocate and acquire the old Sauvie Island Bridge center span for the purpose of moving it to NW Flanders St over I-405 (Ordinance introduced by Commissioners Adams, Leonard and Saltzman)

accompanied by:

547 Authorize application to the Oregon Department of Transportation, Transportation Enhancement Program for a grant of up to $1,000,000 for Phase Two of the NW Flanders Bike Boulevard, Sauvie Island Bridge Relocation Project (Ordinance)

See my comments here. I expect neighbors from all over the city to take time off work this Wednesday morning, to comment on this proposal.

Three Sisters

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

Steve has been using some of the time open because I'm hardly ever home, to travel outside Portland and take more photographs of our beautiful state.

Next Up at City Council, 4/23/2008

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

Woo hoo! This week, my self-appointed task of previewing the City Council Agenda is done with the old promptness:

City Hall - 1221 SW Fourth Avenue

WEDNESDAY, 9:30 AM AND 2 PM, APRIL 23, 2008


WEDNESDAY, 9:30 AM, APRIL 30, 2008

Next Up at City Council, 4/16-17, 2008

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

In this week's Portland City Council Agenda, two Time Certain items may sound dull, but represent many hours of work by citizens and staff.

478 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM - Accept the Urban Forestry Commission 2007 Annual Report (Report introduced by Commissioner Saltzman)

479 TIME CERTAIN: 10:00 AM - Accept the Interbureau Task Force Report (Report introduced by Mayor Potter)

I hope these reports will be read, and their recommendations implemented, rather than sitting on shelves.

On the Consent Agenda:

*482 Authorize an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Portland Development Commission, Housing Authority of Portland and Multnomah County to provide a social housing delivery system evaluation (Ordinance)

Coordination! Jurisdictions talking with each other and collaborating! Yay!

485 Apply for a $1,300,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to purchase a new fireboat (Ordinance)

Happy Tax Day. At least we're getting some back for peaceful and helpful use.

*490 Authorize application of grant funds to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for brownfield sites within the City (Ordinance)

Cleanup of contamination along the banks of the Willamette is one reason our sewer bills aren't going down any time soon.

Aside from the Time Certain items, the rest of the Wednesday morning Agenda is short. Then, yay, a Wednesday evening hearing! Remember, the Code allows the Council to meet in the evening on the third Wednesday, but they seldom choose to.

WEDNESDAY, 6:00 PM, APRIL 16, 2008

509 TIME CERTAIN: 6:00 PM - Grey to Green Initiative briefing (Presentation introduced by Commissioner Adams)

510 Create a voluntary funding program that provides an opportunity for all Portland sewer ratepayers to invest in making Portland green and improving watershed health (Resolution introduced by Commissioner Adams)

It's been about a year now that the Council Agenda comes with handy dandy links to inform busy people quickly about items up for review. b!X, Frank Dufay, I and others pressed for years for the service, and I appreciate it every week. This link explains the voluntary program will ask ratepayers to round up our water/sewer utility bills to the next dollar, to pay for green projects in natural areas and neighborhoods. If implemented, it will be interesting to see how many people sign up, given the high sewer bills and downturn in the economy. But hey, this would give another incentive to the City to implement monthly billing as soon as possible.

Two Time Certain items on Thursday afternoon:

THURSDAY, 2:00 PM, APRIL 17, 2008

511 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM - Appeal of Steve Cox against the Noise Review Board decision to grant a noise variance to Portland International Raceway for the National Hot Rod Association National Open Drag Race on August 22-24, 2008 (Hearing introduced by Auditor Blackmer)

I wish this had been assigned to the evening hearing. Many people in North Portland would like to air their opinions on PIR noise.

512 TIME CERTAIN: 3:00 PM - Accept Staff Report and Recommendation and Order of Council for Mattie C. Baker, Measure 49 Vesting Claim (Report introduced by Mayor Potter; PR No. 06-181218)

This is the first Measure 49 claim I've seen. The Report is here. It recommends granting the claim of vested rights under Measure 37 for a site in the Brooklyn Action Corps neighborhood of Southeast Portland. I wish I had time to review it carefully, as the staff has evidently done their usual thorough analysis and detailed explanation. I have been very impressed with the City's handling of Measure 37, and it looks like our response to Measure 49 will be similarly careful.

Survey on allowing cell towers by right in neighborhoods

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

See this survey on the Portland Bureau of Planning's web site. It seeks feedback on whether to allow cell phone transmitters on regular (or higher) utility poles in residential neighborhoods, by right with no public input.

I worked hard on cell tower regulations during my seven years' service on the Planning Commission, and I've heard the current regulations work in most cases. Further,

* I am concerned about potential health hazards of cell phones and transmitters. Federal regulations don't allow consideration of health in this matter, so Zoning Code limitations keeping cell towers out of residential zones may be the only way to protect citizens.

* Many Portland neighbors would like existing wired utilities to be placed underground, with the poles removed. This would reduce loss of service in storms, improve aesthetics, and free more space for pedestrians. Undergroundng existing utilities would be more difficult if we allow new uses on old or higher poles in neighborhoods.

* The survey talks about increasing the allowed height of poles in residential areas, potentially by right with no remonstrance from neighbors.

As a side note, the survey suggests one way to cover new poles would be to plant roses or ivy to grow up them. Ivy??? Um, isn't that a Prohibited Plant in the Portland Plant List?

Performance Art this weekend

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

If you go to page 42 of the Arts & Entertainment Guide in today's Oregonian, you will see a Steve Fritz photograph illustrating House Bound. It's an interactive performance, this Sunday only, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Performance Northwest, 4625 SE 67th Avenue.

From the web site:

"You are feted, fed, and lulled to relaxation. You move through
installations and films, connect with performers in intimate spaces.
Then the walls start closing in.

Welcome to the house that Works Corps built. "House Bound" is a
kinesthetic salon of installation and performance with roving
audience participation, in which five women artists investigate the
tension between solo and connectivity, individual and relationship,
freedom and claustrophobia.

Work Corps artists are Clare Carpenter, Emily Stone, Lilian Gael,
Nora Robertson and Tiffany Lee Brown.

Show times are on 4/13, individual reservations between 11 am to 5
pm. Ticket price includes hors d'oeuvres, chocolates, tea, and wine;
$15 advance, $20 at the door.
Volunteer opportunities available.
Space is extremely limited, and reservations are strongly
recommended. Discount tickets $10 if you select the 11 a.m. show!

Tickets here or call 503-475-2306

More information

Next Up at City Council, 4/9/2008

  • Posted on: 8 April 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

The Portland City Council agenda for tomorrow is here. The Council will:

* Decide how much Public Campaign Finance Fund money should be allocated to Certified Candidate Jim Middaugh, if he is in a runoff in the July Special Election for the seat Erik Sten vacated.

* Appoint Martha Simpson, Don McGillivray, Lois Chilcott and reappoint Charles Kurtz, Dolores Hubert and Patty Brost to the Elders in Action Commission

(hooray, this is a great cause - thank you for serving)

* Vote on a whole slew of contracts, none of which I've had time to look over

* Adopt a whole year of Council minutes, from January to December 2006

I find this disgraceful. Minutes of each meeting should be adopted within one month, in my opinion.

* Increase taxi cab rates

* Accept the report recommending transfer of 2nd Lt. Sharff U.S. Army Reserve Center to the Oregon Military Department for use by the Oregon Army National Guard and transmit 2nd Lt. Alfred Sharff USARC Reuse Master Plan to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Department of Defense

I've heard many neighbors in North Portland support this use of the current Reserve Center.

* 469 Assess benefited properties for improvements in the Portland Streetcar Gibbs Extension Local Improvement District

Gosh, I wish I had time to look into that.

There are other items on the Agenda on Wednesday morning. Nothing Wednesday afternoon or Thursday. Please post in the comments with more information on the notes above, and on anything I missed.

April 4

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

I was going to title this "Early morning, April 4" like the U2 song, but I didn't have a moment to post it until now. It's a tribute by my friend Dave Lister, published in Brainstorm NW magazine in 2003 on the 40th anniversary of President Kennedy's death. It seems likely many people remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with similar clarity, awe, and regret, on this anniversary.


A recollection

Guest Post by Dave Lister

As a third grader in Mrs. Ennis' class at Grout grammar school in Portland much of my daily preoccupation was with lunch. I was a participant in the Federal Hot Lunch Program. Each day my mother would carefully place one shiny silver dime and one nickel in my rubber coin pouch. That was my lunch money. I would pat my pocket several times during the morning to make sure I hadn't lost it. At lunchtime the kids would queue up in the hall outside the cafeteria and hand over those dimes and nickels to the eighth grader assigned to collect them. Upon receiving a chit we would proceed through the lunch line.

The lunch program offered no menu choices and although nutritious, many of the dishes were less than palatable. When I could, I'd try to listen to the radio with my mother in the early morning for the day's menu. Local radio celebrity, Barney Keep, would give a school lunch report during his show. He'd usually improvise a little tune and extend the virtues of meat loaf or tuna casserole in falsetto voice. Knowing the menu ahead of time could either lead to a long morning of anticipation or a quick morning of dread. When we finally did pass through the line, a humorless woman known to us only as the "lunch lady" would load our segmented plastic plates with ladles of khaki colored canned peas and slabs of flavorless meat loaf. When we sat down to eat we were confronted with a teacher or two serving that day as lunchroom monitors. Some of them were relentless in their efforts to make sure we ate at least a little from each of the represented food groups. On the worst menu days, we would surreptitiously consign blobs of casserole or creamed vegetables to the linoleum beneath the tables.

About twice a month, however, there was a menu offering that was coveted by all.

Wiener wraps.

Those tasty franks encased in a golden brown pastry coating were delicious. After dipping them in bright yellow mustard the children wolfed them. We fought over them. We wheedled, cajoled and bargained with one another to try to obtain more. All offers of trade were turned down. No slab of Jell-O, no brownie, no piece of corn bread had the worth of even half a wiener wrap. The normally unapproachable lunch lady was besieged with requests for seconds and, once in a while, some beaming kid would walk away with a second one and gobble it down before he was mobbed by others wanting bites.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was my President. Elected when I was six he was the first President of whom I was aware. His portrait adorned our classroom. He was young. His wife was pretty. He had little kids, just like us. He was what stood between us and that crazy Khrushchev fellow; the one we'd seen on TV beating the desk with his shoe and insisting that he would bury us.

Two weeks before my eighth birthday President Kennedy came on the television. He showed us pictures of missiles in Cuba. He told us he wouldn't allow it.

We were scared.

I still recall vividly those days in October.

My friends and I would study the maps in the newspaper. Maps of Cuba with the location of the missile sites. Maps of the United States showing the concentric rings which illustrated the ranges of the SRBM's and IRBM's. A map of Portland with its own concentric rings surrounding downtown which showed us the zones of fatality should an atomic bomb be detonated. My sister and I huddled with my parents in their bed to watch Walter Cronkite on the black and white Zenith TV. Civil Defense films showed us how to stock our basement and how to duck and cover. Other film showed wood frame houses like ours disintegrating in the blast wave of an A-Bomb test. That film made us cry.

But my President prevailed. The Soviet ships stopped at the quarantine line. The missiles were crated and shipped out. Our lives returned to normal and our attention returned to dodge ball, four square and lunch.

A little over a year later I walked to school with eager anticipation. I'd caught Barney Keep's lunch report and he'd sung about a "wiener in a wrap". It was wiener wrap day. I was light hearted as I splashed through puddles filled with yellow and red fallen leaves on the six block walk to school. I probably checked my coin pouch twenty times before ten o'clock.

Sometime in the late morning things became odd. Mrs. Ennis told us to behave for a few minutes and left the office. Normally this would have resulted in barrages of spit wads and chalkboard eraser throwing but not this time. Something in her tone, something in her demeanor made us uneasy. We sat still and behaved. When she returned she resumed giving our lessons but without her usual cheerfulness.

It was in the lunch line that whispered rumors alerted us to Mrs. Ennis' concern. Someone said that President Kennedy had been shot. Our President. My President.

We heard of a town called Dallas. We heard he was wounded. We heard he was shot in the head. We hoped he would live, but feared he was dead. No one knew yet. No one could say.

And then, at that moment, I felt for the first time in my life a sick, hollow feeling in my stomach. The same feeling I would later feel when my mother wept over my grandmother's death or when my cat had to be put to sleep.

My President had been shot.

We shuffled through the lunch line without appetite. There was little talking. Each of us silently contemplating the uncertainty of a future without our President. Each of us contemplating a world filled with A-Bombs and Castros and Khrushchevs. Each of us contemplating a future without John Fitzgerald Kennedy to protect us.

At the end of the lunch period I witnessed something never seen, before or since.

Mounds of untouched, uneaten wiener wraps accumulating in the trash can as the children filed out of the lunchroom.

Next Up at City Council, 4/2/2008

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

April already.... time flies when you're having fun. The Portland City Council's meeting on April 2nd is Commissioner Erik Sten's last, after serving on the Council since 1996. The Agenda begins with five citizens using the Citizen Communications spots to thank Erik for his contributions to Portland. I'll be covering Public Campaign financing, Patrick Nolen from Sisters of the Road will talk about Erik's work to end homelessness, others will cover his advocacy for seniors, home ownership, and New Columbia. I helped organize similar tributes from Portlanders for Jim Francesconi and Vera Katz, when they left the Council in 2003. My thanks to Erik's chief-of-staff Jim Middaugh for his assistance in identifying potential speakers. Regardless of individual opinions on the policies and practices of individual Council members, most people recognize that holding elected office is arduous and challenging. I hope you will take a moment to send Erik an email and thank him for a particular something he's done over his time on the Council, that you've appreciated. His address is - for five more business days.

An item from the Consent Agenda which concerns me:

417 Authorize an Intergovernmental Agreement with the State of Washington Department of Printing to procure print services and printed supplies (Second Reading)

The ordinance states having the State of Washington do some of the City of Portland's printing is cheaper. I wonder, is it really? Does the bottom line factor in that using printers in Portland would mean supporting Portland residents and businesses, while making payments outside of Oregon helps the Washington state budget, not ours? Does it include the costs both in use of foreign oil, and in emissions/pollution/congestion, of transporting printed materials across the Columbia River from Washington to Oregon?

A few items from the Regular Agenda (not necessarily the most important - please check the link above for yourself):

413 TIME CERTAIN: 10:00 AM - Accept the recommendations of the Schools-Families-Housing Community Grants Proposal Review Committee (Report introduced by Commissioner Sten)

The Schools, Families, Housing initiative is a $1.6m pilot program started by Commissioner Sten to - you guessed it - support schools and families, by helping with housing costs for families, and funding grants for schools. I've heard enthusiastic reviews of the program from parents and educators in several areas of Portland.

427 Authorize acceptance of three parcels of open space known as Johnswood Park located in Charleston Park Place from HOST Development, Inc. for park purposes (Ordinance)

428 Authorize a purchasing process for parcels acquired with 2006 Metro Open Spaces Bond Measure 26-80 funds (Second Reading Agenda 391)

Yay, more public parks and greenspaces!

Here's something you might think would have been done already:

*434 Authorize the Administrator of the Portland Water Bureau to establish a loan program for water system development charges consistent with other City bureaus and establish rules for cost distribution for petition mains and fire hydrants constructed in the public right of way (Ordinance; amend Title 21)

Still, good that it's getting done now, I guess.

Here's another spurious reason for an emergency ordinance, denoted by the asterisk on the Agenda:

*435 Amend contract with Solar Oregon for continued solar energy education and community outreach services (Ordinance; amend Contract No. 37206)

The ordinance is to fund Solar Oregon, a non-profit providing education on the benefits of solar energy, at $50,000 for each of two years. It's an extension of an existing contract. The ordinance says,

"The Council declares that an emergency exists because delaying would prevent Solar Oregon from being able to conduct its outreach activities in a timely fashion and would harm the City’s ability to reach its solar installation goals. Therefore, this ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage by Council."

Oh, puhleese. "Harm the City's ability to reach its solar installation goals." Really? If it was that urgent and important, how come nobody thought to put this on the Council's Agenda thirty days ago?

On Wednesday afternoon, a nice land use case to finish up Erik's current City Council stint:

WEDNESDAY, 2:00 PM, APRIL 2, 2008

438 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM - Appeal of Dominic and Maria Corrado, applicant, against the Hearings Officer's decision, stating that the zoning code requirements to create an Open Space Tract deprive them of rights protected under the U.S. Constitution for their application for a 2-lot partition at 6917 SW 49th Ave (Hearing; LU 07-179193 LDP EN)

This looks like a reprise of a case covered here on this blog in January 2007, as a Measure 37 claim. The staff report in that case is still on line. Council rejected that claim, and apparently now the applicants are trying a different route. From my coverage last year: "In this case, the land division code regulations are examined, and found not to reduce the value of the property because there was no reduction in the number of homes allowed. In fact, the report states that had Mr. Corrado chosen to pursue the application process recommended by staff, under new Environmental Zone regulations he would be allowed to develop more homes than under the rules when he purchased the property in 1991."

Portland's environmental zone regulations have been found to be not only Constitutional, but also necesssary to meet the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act. I suspect this will be an easier vote for Council than the case in Sullivan's Gulch two weeks ago, where they voted 4-1 to overturn the Hearings Officer's decision and uphold the Neighborhood Association's appeal. In last week's land use hearing for East Columbia, the zone change was approved over the neighborhood's appeal.

Next Up at City Council, 3/26/2008

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

OK, so that's tomorrow. And it's after five, on Tuesday. I know of no other site that is providing you with commentary about the Portland City Council's Agenda, so here is the link and a quick review of the information posted on the City Auditor's site for this week.

The item that sounds most interesting to me is:

WEDNESDAY, 2:00 PM, MARCH 26, 2008

402 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM - Appeal of East Columbia Neighborhood Association against the Hearings Officer's decision to approve the application of Howard Brandwein and Jeri Geblin for a Zoning Map Amendment to change the base zone from RF to R10 in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan designation for a site located at 9801 NE 13th Ave (Hearing; LU 07-140167 ZC)

RF is Residential Farm/Forest zoning, designated for agricultural uses. Minimum lot size is 53,000 square feet - well over an acre. R10 is one home per 10,000 square feet. The East Columbia neighborhood is in North Portland close to I-5 near the river - a wonderful place that has already experienced significant new home development over the past five years. I would love to find out more about this appeal. Please post in the comments or send me an email if you know the gist or the details.