Help send PHLUSH to the World Toilet Summit

  • Posted on: 11 October 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

(Yes, there is a World Toilet Summit. And it's important. ~ Amanda)

Guest Post by Carol McCreary


Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human. This simple message is resonating. Now PHLUSH has been asked to share with the world some of what we have learned together here in Portland.

Thank you for cheering us on this far. Would you now consider helping us get to Singapore?

Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human, or PHLUSH, has been invited to make two presentations to the prestigious World Toilet Summit in Singapore in December 2009.

Old Town Chinatown's public restroom advocates are busy preparing 20-minute presentations entitled, "Public Restroom Design for 21st Century US Cities: The PHLUSH Principles and Innovations in Sustainable Design: Case studies from Portland, Oregon."

The invitation came as surprise to PHLUSH, a committee of the Old Town Chinatown Neighborhood Association whose efforts have focussed on downtown Portland. World Toilet Summit organizers had noticed the group's work in urban restroom design on their website, .

In order to participate, PHLUSH must now raise funds to permit two of its Co-Founders to travel to Singapore.

Tax-deductible donations are being received by Neighbors West-Northwest, a coalition of twelve Portland Neighborhood Associations that serves as fiscal sponsor for PHLUSH. Neighbors West-Northwest is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization accepting donations on line here - add special instruction “PHLUSH” before hitting send.

Or, by check to Neighbors West-Northwest, 2257 NW Raleigh St., Portland, OR 97210; put PHLUSH in memo line.

For the past four years, PHLUSH has worked to increase public restroom availability through well-focused citizen advocacy and practical, informed collaboration with local officials. The only organization of its kind in the United States, PHLUSH now has the opportunity to promote Portland and its acclaimed urban design and livability. Furthermore, participants will become familiar with the latest sustainable sanitation technologies and gain access to technical experts on issues ranging from composting toilets to proposed amendments to plumbing codes.

Please help PHLUSH take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity to exchange expertise with participants at the 2009 World Toilet Summit.

Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH)
c/o Old Town Chinatown Neighborhood Association
115 SW Ash Street #400G, Portland, OR 97204

Photos by Susan

  • Posted on: 15 August 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

As you have perhaps noticed, I haven't have much time for anything not related to City of Portland business for the past 7.5 months. My current goal is to post more interesting Portland-centered articles on my City blog, here. But recently, I received a message with words of encouragement from former U.S. Representative Les AuCoin, who included in his email a link to his wife's site,

Photos by Susan

I've added a link in the sidebar of this site. Check it out - beautiful photographs.

Impacts of Wireless Facilities

  • Posted on: 27 May 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Hi, friends, remember me? We used to talk here every day. I've been... busy. It was nice to have three days off this past weekend, to remember other important things -- such as telling Portlanders about interesting items on the City Council Agenda.

Last week, the Portland City Council passed a Resolution calling for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take another look at whether there are health impacts related to wireless emissions. It passed 3-0, with Commissioners Fish and Leonard absent. Today, my colleagues on the City Council allowed me to suspend the rules to vote again on the Resolution. This passed 5-0:

677 Request the federal government to update studies on potential health effects of radio frequency wireless emissions in light of proliferation of wireless use (Resolution introduced by Commissioner Fritz)

For many years, nationwide regulations have prohibited consideration of potential health concerns when siting wireless facilities. As far as we know, the Portland City Council is the first local jurisdiction in the nation to ask the FCC to consider further evaluation of this policy. We ask the FCC to seek advice from other federal agencies charged with assessing health and safety issues, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Note, the City Council's resolution does not say there ARE health impacts from wireless facilities, rather it asks the FCC to take another look at the issue. I believe it is a responsible request in light of ongoing studies and citizen concerns.

This Resolution is in response to input from Portlanders. I heard health concerns when defining new regulations for cellular facilities on lots, back during my service on the Portland Planning Commission. In January, I was assigned the Office of Cable Communications and Franchise Management in my City Commissioner portfolio, and again I heard from citizens worrying about potential health effects.

One of the first issues my team and I set about tackling was new regulations for siting wireless facilities in the public right-of-way. There was a contentious hearing on the previous proposal last December, covered here and here on this blog (in the days when I thought I was busy with the campaign and its aftermath - HA!). Although staff had intended to direct siting of new wireless facilities in residential areas "only as a last resort", many citizens testified at the hearing in December that this goal was not met. From January through last week, I worked hard with staff in my office and in Cable, and with expert advice from the City Attorney's office and from noise and zoning experts in the Bureau of Development Services, to revise the proposed contracts.

The City is not allowed to prohibit (or make it so difficult or expensive it has the effect of prohibiting) any carrier from providing wireless service anywhere the company wants to operate. The revised regulations direct new and replacement antennae on utility poles to locate first choice on highways and in industrial areas, last choice in residential areas. The maps are hard to read on line because of the scale covering the entire city. We're changing the colors to make it slightly easier, and citizens can call the Cable office (use the all-purpose 503-823-4000 information line) with questions.

If a company wants to locate an antenna on a utility pole in one of the 80% of streets classified as neighborhood streets, they must pay an additional $2,000 application processing fee, show the existing coverage in the area, meet with the Neighborhood and Business Associations, and report on the application what they heard and whether their siting was modified in response. This doesn't give neighbors as much power to affect applications as in land use reviews.... but siting wireless facilities in the right-of-way can't be land use reviews under our current system. I believe the proposed language goes as far as possible in encouraging siting of wireless facilities away from residences, while remaining legal. Both industry representatives and neighbors provided valuable suggestions that were incorporated into the proposal. Special thanks to Kathy Fuerstenau of the Cully Association of Neighbors, and Chris Duffy of Arbor Lodge Neighborhood Association, who are among many citizens providing tremendous grassroots leadership on this issue.

Over the course of several months refining the proposal, with meetings with neighbors and industry representatives as well as many incoming emails, I heard over and over that neighbors are concerned about potential health impacts. So at the same time as we held hearings on new regulations for siting the facilies, with increased fees ($90,000 per year in additional revenue to the General Fund, for the existing 60 poles carrying antennae, up from $3,500 to $5,000 per pole annually), I proposed the following Resolution:

Noble statement

  • Posted on: 9 May 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

As you may have noticed, I don't have much time for blogging these days. Or reading newspapers or surfing web sites, for that matter. I happened across this on KATU's web site, and I think it's sweet enough to take a couple of minutes to post.

This is a press release courtesy of the Winterhawks

After 33 years of dedicated service, the space in the Winter Hawks’ team name has announced its retirement. In honor of its outstanding service, the organization has decided not to hire a replacement space, and the team will now be known as just one word, Winterhawks.

The space had been a Winterhawks fixture since the team moved to Portland in 1976, before which time they were known as the Edmonton Oil Kings.

“When the team moved to Portland in 1976, my predecessor, the space in Oil Kings, told me to serve the position with honor, and I feel like I’ve done that. It’s been an incredible run, but it’s time to move on,” said the space. “There have been so many highlights over the years – two Memorial Cups, the 9-1 win in Seattle this year, it’s hard to pick just one. I would, however, like to lay to rest the rumors on the Internet that differences between myself and the team’s new management led to my departure. That innuendo was completely false, and I wish the Winterhawks – wow, that’ll take some getting used to - nothing but the best.”

“I did my best to talk the space out of retirement but its mind was made up, and we certainly respect its decision. After 33 years the space has earned the right to call it a day.” said Portland Winterhawks President Doug Piper. “Through thick and thin the space has always been there. Even though in this economy we’d probably find a number of qualified applicants, we know we can’t possibly replace everything the space has done for us, so we’re retiring the position altogether.” has omitted the space for years. The author regrets the error.

World Water Day

  • Posted on: 22 March 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

This photo was taken at Kelly Point Park, where the Willamette joins the mighty Columbia. Today, Portland observes World Water Day, with events starting with a walk alongside the Willamette at 1 p.m. Many fun, free, family-friendly activities - please participate!

The theme of World Water Day this year is "Trans-boundary waters", meaning water that crosses national borders. The mighty Columbia is one of 263 transboundary lakes and river basins worldwide. It flows from the ice-fields at the base of the Canadian Rockies, more than 1,200 miles to the Pacific Ocean at Astoria. The Columbia River watershed is home to over 700 species of reptiles, birds, fish, and mammals.

Some facts from the World Water Day PDX site:

* Worldwide 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water and each year, more than 2.2 million people in developing countries die from preventable diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.

* The average American uses 100 to 175 gallons of water at home each day when an African family uses about 5 gallons of water each day.

* 88 percent of all diseases are caused by unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. At any given time, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from a water-related disease.

* 40 billion hours each year are spent collecting water in sub-Saharan Africa, equal to over 19 million full-time employees.

* The weight of the water container that women in Africa carry on their heads is equivalent to the baggage weight allowed by airlines (20 kg/44 lbs)

One additional fact I learned when researching the issues, is that of the over 1 billion people who lack access to fresh clean drinking water, most live in Asia.

March Madness

  • Posted on: 16 March 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Yes, 'tis folly, I just took a half hour away from budgets and answering emails, to set up brackets for the mens' and womens' NCAA basketball tournaments.

Join me in attempting to predict the winners:

Mens' Tournament : Go Vikings (click on link to sign up, by March 19)

Women's Tournament : Loved the Fire (click on link to sign up, by March 20)

Both have password portland, all lower case.

Games start March 19 and no entries after that, so sign up soon if you'd like to play along.

Next Up at City Council, 2/4/09

  • Posted on: 1 February 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

My City web site is having some kind of technical problem, not allowing me to create a new page. So here is the preview of this upcoming week's Portland City Council Agenda. I'm glad I have options, for web postings and other stuff.

I'm going to be particularly interested in the first of three Citizen Communications:

87 Request of Steve Gunther to address Council regarding Maintenance Bureau opportunity to protect the Willamette River (Communication)

My staff and I have devoted much of the past month to researching the problems and potential solutions on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, to propose the structure and scope of the new Office of Healthy Working Rivers. We will try to contact Mr. Gunther before the Council session on Wednesday, to find out more about his ideas than we will be able to hear in three minutes during the hearing.

The first items on Wednesday, after Citizen Communications, are a series of commendations regarding staff and citizen work during the December/January snowstorms. My office has received a number of complaints about neighborhood streets not being cleared, and that is certainly a valid concern. And buses didn't run on time. And there was confusion about which City staff were working and whether they would be paid if they couldn't get in. Mayor Adams is asking workers and community members to evaluate how improvements will be made, for the next events. But many citizens are unaware of the extraordinary efforts and teamwork given by staff and volunteers during the storm, and it's important that side of the story is also told. That's what the 9:30 am Time Certain items will do.

Then there are a bunch of contracts on the Consent Agenda. My staff and I are looking into each one, and asking lots of questions. I am suggesting that items over $1 million should be placed on the Regular Agenda, rather than Consent. Citizens would know more clearly that large quantities of taxpayers' money are being spent, and potential contractors become more aware of the upcoming opportunity to make bids to apply for the contracts, by putting big ticket items on the Regular Agenda.

There's a housekeeping item on Consent, which I note because otherwise folks who follow Council actions routinely will wonder about a change in process:

*105 Revise Council procedures regarding placement of items on the Council Agenda and order of voting (Ordinance; amend Code Sections 3.02.030 and 3.02.040)

Essentially, instead of having items heard in alphabetical order based on last name of the Commissioner, from now on both placement of issues on the Agenda and order of voting will be done in rotation, using the Position numbers of the Commissioners. I'm # 1 (yay!), Nick Fish's position is # 2, Dan Saltzman's is # 3, and Randy Leonard's position title is # 4. The order of item listing and voting will change quarterly. As in current code, the Mayor's items are always on the Agenda first, and s/he always votes last. When I served on the Planning Commission, we instituted a rotation for order of voting. It seems more fair than always using the arbitrary alphabetical order.

This item is listed as an emergency, which is a bit of a stretch, but no harm is done by that in this case, in my opinion.

There are only two items on the Regular Agenda. The first comes from my portfolio:

Office of Cable Communications and Franchise Management

107 Add definition of Cable Communications Utility (Ordinance; amend Code Section 7.14.040)

What this does, is clarify that phone-like services delivered over the Internet through the use of cables in the city's rights-of-way are subject to the City's franchise fees. It will result in new revenue to help pay for basic services in transportation maintenance and other general fund services, to the tune of at least $600,000 annually.

The other Regular Agenda item is similar to one last week, assessing properties for sidewalk repairs. My staff and I are collecting the data on which addresses are being cited, to monitor patterns in assessments relating to geographic and other demographics.

There are no meetings Wednesday afternoon or Thursday this week.

RSS feeds on City web site

  • Posted on: 30 January 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

At Chris Smith's request, I've added the RSS feed option to all pages of my City web site with significant potential for changing oontent.

Please let me know if anyone who uses this function needs further changes.

Please let Chris know (by posting a comment here, which I'm confident he'll respond to) if you would like more information on what an RSS feed is or how to use it.

Comments on the Mayor's decision

  • Posted on: 25 January 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

Mayor Adams has posted the Press Release with his decision to return to work on Monday, on the front page of his City web site. Here is my response:

Yesterday, two young women were killed and seven people injured in gunfire on Portland's streets. Recently, a man with no home froze to death in a cemetery, while hundreds of people live on our streets every day. Portlanders continue to lose their jobs due to the recession. The City Council must soon decide how to cut up to 7% from the City's $3 billion budget, while maintaining and even improving basic services in all 95 neighborhoods and 35 business districts. Addressing these serious issues is part of my job as a City Commissioner.

I believe Sam Adams has skills and knowledge that Portland needs to face these difficult times. Mayor Adams has made his decision to stay in office. It is up to Sam to see if he can rebuild the trust which has been damaged, to allow him to be an effective leader.

The independent investigation by the Attorney General's office will determine whether any unlawful actions occurred in the past three years. When that investigation is complete, the citizens of Portland and city leaders will have complete information to use to decide whether sanctions should be imposed. The citizens of Portland may choose to sign recall petitions, and to vote after June 30th on whether the Mayor elected in 2008 should remain in office. I trust these processes to work to find the best outcomes in this matter.

In the meantime, I will get back to work with Sam Adams as Mayor, to deal with the major challenges facing Portland today.

Next Up at City Council, 1/22/09

  • Posted on: 18 January 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

NOTE: Due to the absence of two members of the Portland City Council on Wednesday, no hearings are scheduled at the usual times that day. All business will be considered on Thursday afternoon.

Coming soon: Plans for more evening meetings, with a schedule for visits in neighborhoods in all parts of Portland.

This week's Agenda is here. It starts with this Time Certain:

40 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM - Declare the purpose and intention of the City to rename the Convention Center Dock the Kevin J. Duckworth Memorial Dock (Resolution introduced by Commissioner Saltzman)

A benign item, with the following item in the Resolution giving me particular satisfaction:

WHEREAS, The City Council-approved Park naming policy was followed, a letter was sent to the Kerns Neighborhood Association, the Parks Naming Committee, comprised of citizens and city staff, reviewed, deliberated, and approved the request.

It is so nice when policies that citizens, staff, and elected officials have worked on for months, turn out to be used and useful.

Y'know what? I have just realized I am writing this on my community-organizer-Amanda's blog, as I have almost every weekend for over two years. It needs to go on Commissioner Amanda's site, so comments go into the record. Please continue reading over here.

Executive Wardrobe: $62.50

  • Posted on: 17 January 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

I spent the morning planting trees with Friends of Trees in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood of SE Portland. It's east of I-205, north of Foster Road. We met at Zenger Farm, a working urban farm with many interesting sustainability features such as solar panels for the building's porch, and vegetated swales taking stormwater runoff from the parking lot. The tree planting was COLD. Usually, before the first tree is sitting at the proper height in its hole, surrounded by rich brown mulch, I've shed several layers due to the exertion of hauling and digging. Not today. I hurried back to the carpool car after installing the last tree at the Gilbert Hydropark, anxious to get out of the wind.

Still, it is always fun and rewarding, volunteering with Friends of Trees. I met a sweet couple from Bridgeton in North Portland who came over to help, and learned more about the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood from chair Mark White and tree-planting leader/land use chair John McDonald. We drove along SE 136th, a busy transit street with literally hundreds of new homes being built along it.... and no sidewalks. This area had huge increases in density zoned in the Outer SE Plan,with no plan for providing the infrastructure necessary to support it and make it livable. "20 minute neighborhood"? Not so much, when you have to walk in the middle of the street to get out of the mud, and the nearest grocery store is a couple of miles away. I will keep looking for ways to fix this problem. At the very least, I would like to see the sidewalk built in front of a new home, before the "For Sale" sign is allowed to have a "SOLD" sticker placed.

So what does this have to do with the title of this post? It relates to how I rewarded myself for getting up early on a Saturday. Once I thawed out after returning home, I headed out to Value Village. I love those stores. I love getting designer clothes at pennies on the dollar, I love the friendly attitude of the employees, I love the way the stuff is laid out the same easy-to-find sections in each store. I love that I can donate and shop, and in both, help mentally-challenged people. And I especially love that I didn't have to spend a fortune (cough, Sarah Palin), to buy clothes more suited to Portland City Hall than those I wear for planting trees. On Veterans' Day (one of the four annual Value Village everything-half-price days), I purchased seven skirt suits, two jackets, one silk dress (Retail price: $350, Value Village: $3.50) and one winter coat, all designer brands, for $62.50. Even though it cost twice that much to get them all dry cleaned, a bargain. On another expedition, I bought the red Tahari suit I wore for my swearing-in ceremony, for $12.50. According to eBay, it retails for around $400. I wasn't quite so fortunate today, but I did find a new-with-tags-saying-$88 skirt for $4.99. And across Pacific Highway, at the Salvation Army "Boutique Store", a new-with-tags-saying-$288 suit, for $17.50. Plus perhaps the most important score, a sparkly jacket to wear to Mayor Adams's Gala party at the end of the month (information, and buy tickets, here) . It's hard to find glittery clothes, except at thrift stores. And call me old-fashioned if you will, but I think the return of the Mayor's Ball calls for sequins.

There were many more people thrift-store shopping today, than I've ever seen except on Value Village sale days. Although I like saving money and reusing/recycling, I recognize that fewer people are employed with my purchases than if I bought new. Since I've been making even more effort to buy local over the past few years, I have been dismayed to find how few products available in stores are made in the USA, let alone in Oregon. I don't have mugs for guests in my office yet, because all the Portland/Oregon ones I've looked at are made in China or Thailand. I found precisely one mug made in the USA, in the dozens at Value Village today. No, actually there were two. I decided not to buy the Hilo Hattie's one, so we don't have to be reminded on a daily basis of how much warmer it would be in Hawaii.

You are cordially invited

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

Dear blog friends,

Please come to my City Commissioner Swearing-in Ceremony,

Saturday, January 3, 2009

6 p.m.
(Gathering starts at 5:45 p.m.)

Multnomah Center

7688 SW Capitol Highway

Easy access from I-5 South - take Multnomah exit, turn right at first traffic light, left into Multnomah Center parking lot. If that lot fills, turn left out of the parking lot, left onto Capitol, left past the building to more parking in lower lot.

TriMet # 44 bus stops outside.

Children welcome


If you're wondering why it's scheduled for a Saturday evening in SW Portland:

* I want to hold it on a day and time when working people will be more likely to be able to attend

* It's the alternate weekend when "my" evening team at OHSU is off, so my most beloved coworkers can come. And those who are working can zip down from the hill on their dinner break (if the pace on 1NW is such that they get one)

* I grew up at the Multnomah Center, from taking my babies to Indoor Playground, to serving on the SW Neighborhoods Inc. Board and numerous committees, learning from community leaders and our wonderful staff

* It's a Portland Parks & Recreation facility, and a historic building from being the old Multnomah School -- representing my love for both parks and schools. And like most parks and public school buildings, it's functional rather than fancy, and makes everyone feel at home and welcome

* We won't have to compete with youth basketball games for the parking, or ask basketball parents to choose between helping their team and coming to my event (once a basketball mom, always a basketball mom.... I still think of these things)

* It doesn't conflict with any college football bowl games

* The Multnomah Center partners with non-profits like Neighborhood House, Loaves and Fishes, and the SW Community Health Clinic. It houses arts and culture classes and exhibitions, music and dance lessons, weaving, pottery, offerings for everyone from infants to seniors. The karma in the old building with its multiple new uses is heartwarming.

I am planning a comfortable, casual, joyful event, with neighbors from all over Portland gathering to celebrate that together, with Public Campaign Financing, we elected a true grassroots community organizer to City Hall.

Please come!

A nasty new spin on the Inheritance email Scam

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

We're all probably familiar with the email scam running, "You don't know me, I'm the widow of a rich person in Africa who wants your bank account number to entrust you with millions of dollars". Over the past few days, a friend of mine has been the victim of a new wrinkle. An email from her MSN account, the one in my address book, said she was stranded in Africa on an overseas-aid trip, having lost her purse, and please send money to pay the hotel bill and flight home. The message sounded somewhat plausible given that my friend is the kind of person who would volunteer for a helping trip to Africa, and it sounded similar to the one recently made by Karin Hansen and a delegation from Mayor Potter's office.

Suspicious but concerned, I replied, saying, "Is this really you, [name]"? I later called her work number, and heard a message saying she was stranded at home due to the weather, rather than in Africa. So I didn't worry any more about it. Then today, I received a reply from her MSN address, saying "Yes, it's true, please send the money, I'll pay you back." So I called her work number again. Still stranded due to the weather.

Later, she called me and we talked. What a nightmare - she's had to change her email address and must pay someone to get the virus out of her computer.

I am also concerned because I replied to her old email address, and received a response presumably from the Evil Person. Evil Person therefore knows my email address, too. So if you get a message from me, or anyone else you know, asking you to give the sender your bank account number, don't. And don't reply by email, however plausible the message might be. Learn from my mistake.

Biking for Obama

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

Our family's friend Ryan Bowen is making headlines, and today was interviewed on National Public Radio, by bicycling from Los Angeles to Washington DC for President Obama's Inauguration. Ryan played football at Wilson High School with my son Luke, and stays at our home when he is in Portland since his parents moved to Washington after he graduated from high school. He recently graduated from Occidental College, where he was President of the student body.

Ryan was an early supporter of Barack Obama, for many reasons. Barack attended Occidental, too. Ryan didn't have money to fly to the festivities on January 20, so decided to ride his bicycle. He's going 500 miles longer than the direct route, to stay with warmer weather (good call, Ryan). He's currently in Texas. Read about his journey at

I'm hoping someone finds him a ticket to the Inauguration, after all that.

Next Up at City Council, 12/24/08

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

I am writing this sitting at my computer at home, with the window cracked open to let in a little cold, fresh air. Listening to the willow tree rustling, because it's covered with ice and the wind blowing through the branches sounds like splintering glass. Looking out, I see my car parked in the street, where it's sat for the last week. Right under the willow tree.

"If that tree falls because of the weight of the ice, my car is squished flatter than Mr. Bill", I think to myself.

"Oh well, what will be, will be", is my next thought. That car is not going anywhere anytime soon, unless I take the brake off - in which case it will be at the bottom of the hill within a minute, and who knows where it would land. What will be, will be.

A relatively short Portland City Council Agenda this week. The docket begins with four people thanking Mayor Potter, under Citizen Communications. There is no City Council meeting on New Year's Eve, so this is Tom Potter's last session. I'm glad citizens are showing up to honor his investments in social capital, as well as in neighborhoods. Mayor Potter's work with visionPDX and Community Connect has greatly broadened our citizen engagement system, which will help both the Portland Plan under Mayor Adams, and the Office of Neighborhood Involvement and Office of Human Relations that I will lead. Significant work has also been done by staff and citizens in Bureau Innovation Projects, which if built upon will give all the 2009 Council members a firm foundation for the bureau improvement plans Mayor-elect Adams is calling for. Thank you, Mayor Tom Potter, for all your service to Portland and people in our community.

I note with interest and amusement that my attention is already drawn to the items on the Agenda from the bureaus, offices, and programs I will be leading. For instance, this Ordinance extending contracts for health insurance for employees.

*1797 Authorize and amend contracts to extend the health and welfare contracts administered by the Bureau of Human Resources, Benefits and Wellness Office (Previous Agenda 1759; amend Contracts)

When I saw "Wellness Program" on my list of assignments from Mayor-elect Adams, I thought, "That makes sense, I'm a nurse. And that's nice, a relatively easy addition to my portfolio". Not so. Obviously, providing health care to employees and their families is a huge part of the City's budget. And even the Wellness Program as a subsection of the benefits package, seeking to encourage employees to engage in routine screenings and preventative health practices like exercise and smoking-cessession, has challenges. It hasn't been in effect long enough to have compiled data proving its worth, and may be at risk as the bureaus prepare budget cut proposals. But we know from numerous studies that preventative care is hugely cost-effective, so I will be advocating for continuation and improvement of this program.

I'm also still interested in work being done by other Commissioners and bureaus, of course. Here's a good one from Commissioner Randy Leonard:

*1804 Authorize a grant agreement with Portland Community College for the Evening Trades Apprenticeship Preparation to establish a pilot project to create access to a pool of work ready applicants in the City construction and other related positions (Ordinance)

I heard over and over during my campaign that one of the best ways to support businesses both large and small, is to make sure the City has a well-educated and trained workforce. In round numbers, 20% of our working people make minimum wage, and 5% are unemployed (statistics obviously changing daily in these challenging times). It's in all of our interests to help working people be qualified for better paying jobs, for their own self-sufficiency and also to increase the amount of discretionary spending that supports local retail, arts, and entertainment businesses. Plus, this grant helps support PCC. I am very impressed with all the programs PCC is offering, including on evenings and weekends, to retrain workers for better jobs.

Finally, an issue which in Congress might be considered a Christmas Tree item:

1793 Designate Portland Cream as the Official City of Portland Doughnut (Resolution)

Really? Isn't the essence of doughnut (or donut) eating that everyone has their own favorite? And what is Portland Cream, anyway? I checked the Resolution. It's a product of Voodoo Doughnuts, which is certainly a fine small business whose owners do many civic-minded actions in Portland. And the doughnut itself is "a raised doughnut filled with crème and covered in chocolate with two eyes". Turns out I've actually eaten one of these, when a kind volunteer brought Voodoo Doughnuts into our campaign office. I ate half of a Portland Cream, to be exact. Very rich. That makes it true to the Portland spirit, for sure - most good doughnuts don't get shared.

When I go to the City's site for Official Symbols, I nod when I get to the Great Blue Heron for Official Bird (I knew that, studied up for those trivia challenges during the campaign), and I'm interested to see that Portland has Roses as the de facto Official Flower rather than it ever having been adopted by Resolution. This item on the Agenda before I take office means citizens and the current Council will decide whether an Official Doughnut belongs in that list.

There are other important issues on the Agenda this week, so check it out for yourself. My brain is full to overflowing with everything I need to get done before January 2nd, so I'm not giving any assurance I caught everything of note on this week's list. No meeting Wednesday afternoon, and of course not on Thursday since it's a holiday. No meetings next week, either.

So, this being the last City Council meeting of the year, it may also be the last time I post Next Up on this blog. If I can get it ready in time, with the help of City staff, Next Up will be moving to my Commissioner's site on PortlandOnline. I'll post a link here.