Flugtag photo

  • Posted on: 3 August 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

With so much concern about the economy, the war, health care, and other vital issues, I'm glad an estimated 60,000 people were able to take time away from their cares to watch people and planes plunge into the Willamette yesterday.

Steve took the photograph, of course. I spent the day in neighborhoods outside downtown in Northeast, Southeast, and North Portland. Folks there had a lot of fun, too.

Today at City Council

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

Due to that other thing I'm doing taking more than 12 hours every day, I haven't had time to post the Portland City Council Agenda for today. And instead of sitting in Council chambers to observe, as I've done often over the past two months, I am watching the meeting at home, on Cable Channel 30, so I can do laundry at the same time. The upside of these factors is that I can provide coverage of the outcomes, instead of the prospects. I'm typing this while following the broadcast live.

I like the Citizen Communications section of the Wednesday morning Agenda each week. Anyone who wishes, once per month, may contact the Council Clerk (Karla Moore-Love, 503-823-4085) to reserve three minutes to talk on any subject. Today, we heard about some of the 170 Americorps volunteers working in Portland, the Peterson's store downtown, aircraft chemtrails, and laws disproportionately affecting homeless people. The Council members rarely respond to issues raised, at least in public. I would like to see a staff person assigned to talk with each testifier after their spot, to follow up on their issue and tell them whether or not anything is being done about them. I've seen Sam Adams do that in the past, and I heard new Commissioner Nick Fish invited one speaker to visit him in his office, to go over her concerns in more depth. I like that.

There are (or were, since you'll be reading this later) only two items on the Regular Agenda:

Commissioner Sam Adams

Office of Transportation

1077 Dedicate a portion of the Utility License Fee to fund Portland's transportation operations, maintenance and safety needs (Ordinance)

This dedicates increased revenues coming from hikes in Utility rates, to fund some of the $400m+ backlog of transportation maintenance and improvements. It returns to a concept first instituted by Mayor Bud Clark, and gradually eroded during revenue cuts over the 1990s. Mayor-elect Adams referred to the increased revenue as a "windfall", which some would challenge, but the move to assign it to basic services is A Good Thing. Sam discussed whether to sunset the allocation after five years, and with the Office of Management and Finance determined this would not be prudent. Of course, future Councils may change the practice, as happened before. The Portland Business Alliance's representative spoke in favor of the proposal, citing the importance of well-maintained streets to businesses. Transportation advocate Chris Smith supported the allocation, while noting it will take care of a mere fraction of the backlog. I missed the name of the third speaker, also in favor. Richard Beetle, business manager of Laborers Local 483 which represents the workers performing street maintenance, spoke in support. He noted eloquently that his members are doing more with less, providing essential services for Portlanders, and that the transportation system needs these resources and more to be able to upgrade to standards.

Commissioner Adams noted the money equals that which would be generated by a 2.5 cent gas tax. The Council will vote on the ordinance next week.

Commissioner Dan Saltzman

Parks and Recreation

1078 Authorize a Shared Use/Management Agreement between the Woodstock Neighborhood Association and the Bureau of Parks and Recreation for Woodstock Community Center (Ordinance)

Neighbors in Woodstock have done absolutely amazing work in keeping their community center open, taking responsibility for it, and attracting programs to help fund it. It's a delightful place - I've visited more than once, and look forward to going back often. It can be troublesome when government relies on volunteers to provide basic services, but the vibrant Woodstock Community Center is evidence it can foster We Can Do It attitudes -- as well as being a huge amount of work.

Next Up at City Council, 7/23/08

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

A short Agenda for the Portland City Council tomorrow morning, and no meeting Wednesday afternoon or Thursday. Citizen Communications slots continue to be taken by advocates for people experiencing homelessness, and by those opposing the decision to end the lease of Peterson's convenience store downtown.

Then nineteen contracts on the Consent Agenda. There are four with TriMet, including:

*1048 Authorize Intergovernmental Agreement with the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon to provide funding for transit improvements along SE Hawthorne Blvd (Ordinance)

The ordinance says it's for TriMet to give the City $57,000 towards $3.496 million in completed transit-oriented street improvements on Hawthorne. It's not clear in the ordinance whether this represents the entire sharing of costs. I also wonder whether SE residents are pleased with results of the investment.

The Regular Agenda starts with the vote on the Interstate Avenue rezoning project. The main controversy at the hearing last week was whether to allow "Height Opportunity" areas with bonus height allowed in return for Design Review. Opponents voiced concern about the late introduction of this concept by the Design Commission, resulting in code that leaves open the option for developers to request both increased height and an adjustment to the allowed intensity of building on sites. I wish someone had proposed prohibiting other variances in applications for increased height, which would have provided more certainty that the neighborhood will get what the process agreed should be built.

The other Regular Agenda item that intrigues me is:

1060 Accept bid of Bernhardt Industries, Inc. for the Lents Park Improvements project for $755,000 (Purchasing Report - Bid No. 108695)

It's good to see money being spent on providing urban parks services in East Portland. I wonder how the improvements being funded would be impacted if the City decides to allow the Portland Beavers to move to an upgraded baseball stadium in Lents Park, as is being discussed.

Next Up at City Council, 7/16 - 17, 2008

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

The Portland City Council Agenda this week shows hearings Wednesday morning, Wednesday at 6 p.m., and Thursday afternoon. The Wednesday evening hearing is the culmination of a process we've followed on this blog:

1031 TIME CERTAIN: 6:00 PM - Adopt and implement the North Interstate Corridor Plan and amend Comprehensive Plan Map and Citywide Design Guidelines (Ordinance introduced by Mayor Potter; amend Titles 32, 33)

Readers who remain shy are welcome to email me with comments on the plan, which I will post without ascribing authorship if you prefer. Others, please post directly. What do you think? Good plan? Needs improvement?

The other item of major concern to neighbors - and all Portlanders - is on Thursday afternoon.

1032 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM - Adopt the South Corridor Phase II: Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project Locally Preferred Alternative and project conditions (Resolution introduced by Commissioner Adams)

This is another huge regional transportation project ($1.4 billion) with huge implications for Southeast Portland, as well as Northeast Clackamas County.

Overall, this Locally Preferred Alternative seems to be a good plan. The safety report is greatly improved compared with plans for previous MAX lines, for instance the Blue Line which is now necessitating the Portland Station Area planning aimed at retrofitting the more dangerous stations.

One specific concern on Milwaukie MAX is the siting and distribution of Park and Ride spaces, which obviously attract auto trips and therefore need good regional road access. The proposed 1000 space Park and Ride at the Tacoma Station could attract more regional commuters onto already-overloaded SE Johnson Creek Boulevard west of 45th, through the Ardenwald and North Milwaukie neighborhoods.

The Council should also consider meshing the bus, streetcar, and light rail master plans, currently under way. Neighbors and businesses involved in the Southeast District Citizens Working Group for the Portland Office of Transportation's Streetcar Master Plan have expressed interest in planning a complete transit system, rather than just one element. To promote passengers taking transit from home to destination, rather than driving part-way and needing to park in neighborhoods near fixed rail routes, bus service improvements should be added concurrently.

There are other interesting issues on the Council Agenda, which yet again I don't have time to cover in depth because I'm about to leave home and won't return until late tonight. Please click on the link above, review for yourself, and tell others in the comments if you're moved to do so.

Next Up at City Council, 7/9 - 10, 2008

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

By far the most important issue on the Portland City Council Agenda this week is on Wednesday afternoon:

WEDNESDAY, 2:00 PM, JULY 9, 2008

992 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM - Support a Replacement Bridge Crossing with Light Rail Transit as the Locally Preferred Alternative for the Columbia River Crossing Project (Resolution introduced by Commissioner Adams)

A $4.2 billion bridge should be of interest to all. Bring snacks, as there is likely to be lots of testimony.

The Wednesday morning Agenda starts with four folks testifying under Citizen Communications. Two plan to speak on the Petersons store lease at SW 10th/Yamhill, which has received coverage in the media.

Then two interesting, unrelated Time Certain items:

961 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM - Willamette River Combined Sewer Overflow program update (Presentation introduced by Commissioner Adams)

962 TIME CERTAIN: 10:00 AM - Adopt the Sgt. Jerome Sears United States Army Reserve Center Reuse Master Plan and recommend redevelopment of the site for a mixed-income, rental and ownership housing development that includes permanent supportive housing for homeless single adults and homeless families with special needs and designate Community Partners for Affordable Housing as the preferred developer of the Sears site (Previous Agenda 877; Resolution introduced by Mayor Potter and Commissioner Fish)

The latter site looked like it was going for housing at the first hearing, then seemed likely to end up as an emergency preparedness depot at the second, now may be back to housing. Don't miss the exciting conclusion of this three-part series, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel (any other recovering fans of Batman, the TV series, out there?).

This is good for public process and citizen involvement:

991 Change filing deadline date for documents to be included on the Council Agenda (Ordinance; amend Code Section 3.02.030)

The Ordinance says that providing on-line access to Ordinances, Resolutions, and documents linked from the City Council Agenda is causing a hardship for staff with the current filing deadline for those items. But instead of asking for more staff, or discontinuing the service, it says:

4. After a year, the Auditor’s Office has determined that while we were meeting our goal of providing this information online it has created a hardship on our staff to gather, organize, and link the documents to the agenda within the current timeline outlined in City Code. In order to continue this program we will need to change the filing deadline for submitting agenda items to our office from Thursdays at 5:00 pm to Wednesdays at 5:00 pm.

Good work, Auditor Gary Blackmer and Council Clerk Karla Moore-Love.

The Council will hold hearings this Thursday afternoon (traditionally the time/day reserved for land use issues):

THURSDAY, 2:00 PM, JULY 10, 2008

993 TIME CERTAIN: 2:00 PM - Amend Portland Comprehensive Plan map and Zoning Map for properties along and adjacent to Killingsworth St between NE 14th to 17th Aves (Ordinance introduced by Mayor Potter; amend Title 33)

994 TIME CERTAIN: 3:00 PM - Declare intent to terminate local improvement district formation proceedings to construct street improvements in the SW 51st Avenue and Buddington Street Local Improvement District (Resolution introduced by Commissioner Adams; C-10028)

995 Declare intent to initiate local improvement district formation proceedings to construct street improvements in the SW 53rd Avenue and Buddington Street Local Improvement District (Resolution introduced by Commissioner Adams; C-10029)

Following the handy-dandy links to the ordinances to figure out what's happening in the last two items, we find that the local taxation district for funding street improvements in the Far SW neighborhood was approved with 53% of the properties being "waivered", i.e. the developer sold them without providing street improvements, leaving future owners to foot the bill. The City rightly has the policy that it "does not recommend initiation of local improvement district formation proceedings due to the waiver of remonstrance support being higher than petition support." So a subsection of the original petitioners are moving forward in Resolution 995 to fund a smaller area of street improvements. On the surface, it sounds like several residents are getting their needs and desires met, in different ways. I will be interested to hear if that is indeed so.

Read (or re-read, for longtime visitors to this blog) this excellent historical background article about funding of street improvements in Portland, by Frank Dufay in a Guest Post on this blog a year ago.

Family Fun (or solo feat)

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

Can you name all 192 member states of the United Nations in ten minutes? Even more of a challenge, can you type them, spelled correctly, in ten minutes? Try here.

My sons and I have set ourselves the goal of achieving this feat by the end of the summer. We only allow ourselves one attempt per day, since clearly repeating the exercise immediately after seeing the answers would not be cricket. Maxwell types. Luke and I have assigned ourselves particular countries to remember - my latest fixation is Sao Tome and Principe, now that I have Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Saint Lucia, down pat.

We started playing a couple of weeks ago, and our last effort left 36 countries on the "oh-my-we-forgot-that-again" list. Actually some of those 36 are more a "really-there's-a-country-named-that?" list, even after a dozen or so attempts, but no matter. Our strategy has been to start by doing each continent, then going back to go for clean-up, but we may try a different tactic with the next attempt. As Luke said last night, it's not like we're going to forget the United States or United Kingdom. Famous last words? We'll see.

The real benefit is that ten minutes are devoted to doing something together, which some days is the only quality time my independent nearly-22 and 20 year-old sons spend with their way-too-busy mother. And, for me, ten minutes to think about something other than the things I think about for the other 23 hours 50 minutes in a day, even in my sleep.

Try it - the challenge will give your brain a work-out.

Next Up at City Council, July 2, 2008

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

The Portland City Council Agenda for tomorrow, Wednesday, is refreshingly short, and likely to be finished before noon. A nice contrast to the overladen line-ups the past few weeks, when several "morning" sessions starting at 9:30 a.m. ran over four hours.

The most significant item on this week's list is probably the one first on the Regular Agenda:

948 Declare it is the policy of the City that children who lack health care coverage in the City of Portland deserve basic health care coverage (Resolution introduced by Mayor Potter and Commissioners Adams, Fish, Leonard and Saltzman)

I will post comments on this initiative another time.

There are no items scheduled for Wednesday afternoon or Thursday on this week's Agenda. Happy 4th of July, everyone!

Stay-cation suggestion

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

Another from the set of Steve's photographs from a recent trip to the Painted Hills, near Madras. Each summer, the Fritz family usually takes a nine hour drive to the Steens Mountain area for our annual campout with the rattlesnakes. This year, not only gas prices, but also the time constraints of that other thing I'm doing, caused us to plan a trip closer to home. Still driving, but packing the car with five or more people at least reduces the carbon footprint per capita. Our two-day vacation is planned for the end of July... a beautiful morning, and this lovely photograph, make me long for it already.

Campaign to Bring the Troops Home

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

Campaign to Bring the Troops Home Aims to Keep National Guard from Iraq and

Guest Post by Dan Handelman, co-founder, Peace and Justice Works

A number of Oregon-based community groups are working together on a new phase of the Campaign to Bring the Troops Home--namely, trying to keep the Oregon National Guard from being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in summer, 2009.

The effort will include urging resolutions and legislation which the state of Oregon can use to challenge the federalization of the Guard. The main issues are that the Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs) for the invasion of Iraq (October, 2002) and the "war on terror" (September 18, 2001) have no provisions to end those conflicts. Furthermore, the Iraq AUMF refers to the "national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforc[ing] all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq." It also references the regime of Saddam Hussein being in possession of weapons of mass destruction, harboring Al Quaida members responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks, and enforcing UN resolutions against that regime, reasons which were never or are no longer valid.

Groups working on this effort include Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom-Portland, War Resisters League-Portland, Center for Intercultural Organizing, Community Alliance for Lane County, Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, Code Pink Portland, Women in Black, and Military Families Speak Out-Oregon. As of June 24, 30 organizations were signed on as supporters (go here for a full list).

Efforts over the coming year will include signature gathering, letter writing, educating elected officials on the local, state and national level on the issue, public visibility, and more.

Past efforts around Oregon by these groups and others have included resolutions to bring the troops home in city councils (Corvallis, Portland, Eugene) and the state legislature, a letter from 61 Oregon elected officials calling for President Bush to bring the troops home, and postcards to Governor Kulongoski asking him to keep the Guard home.

A draft resolution / piece of legislation is on the Peace and Justice Works website here.

A petition to urge Oregon's elected officials to take the necessary steps to prevent the further deployment of Oregon's National Guard to Iraq and Afghanistan is attached as a .pdf. If you have trouble opening it, the petitions are also on line here.

Here's what it says on the petition:

Next Up at City Council, June 25-26, 2008

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

The Agenda for the Portland City Council's meetings this week shows a long list on Wednesday morning, nothing on Wednesday afternoon, and items on Thursday afternoon. There are three Time Certain items on Wednesday morning, which usually entail a staff presentation and invited testimony. If you're interested in other issues, I suggest bringing snacks - lunch may be a while coming.

Usually in these previews, I run through the Agenda in order, from Citizen Communications through Consent, Time Certain items, and the rest. Today, I'm pulling a set of items from way down the list up to the top:

888 Approve the First Amendment to the Lents Town Center Urban Renewal Plan to expand boundaries by 140.05 acres, increase maximum indebtedness by $170 million and extend expiration date to June 30, 2020 (Second Reading Agenda 812)

889 Approve the Twenty-Eighth Amendment to the Downtown Waterfront Urban Renewal Plan to remove 47.03 acres from the Plan area and standardize Plan amendment process (Second Reading Agenda 813)

890 Approve the Tenth Amendment to the South Park Blocks Urban Renewal Plan to remove 3.20 acres from the Plan area and standardize Plan amendment process (Second Reading Agenda 814)

891 Approve the Amended and Restated River District Urban Renewal Plan to expand boundaries by a net 41.98 acres, increase maximum indebtedness by approximately $325 million and extend expiration date to June 30, 2021 (Second Reading Agenda 815)

892 Approve the First Amendment to the Amended and Restated River District Urban Renewal Plan to expand boundaries by 8.53 acres and increase maximum indebtedness by $19 million (Second Reading Agenda 816)

Fascinating hearing last week... which also went on too long. The Oregonian's Editorial yesterday identifies some key issues. Since the hearing, Commissioner Saltzman is proposing to add the David Douglas school site to the Lents District, rather than making it a satellite of the River District. While more compliant with State law by being geographically contiguous, this suggestion highlights other issues with funding school construction with Urban Renewal dollars. How will constructing a school for the David Douglas district support housing and jobs in Lents, when the boundary of the school districts is such that families in Lents are in Portland Public School's Marshall High School area, not David Douglas? What will not get done in the Lents Town Center, if tax increment money is dedicated to the school?

OK, back to the usual format, starting with the Time Certain items:

837 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM - Adopt Portland Fire & Rescue revised and updated Standard of Emergency Response Coverage (Resolution introduced by Commissioner Fish)

838 TIME CERTAIN: 10:00 AM - Accept report on Airport Futures Aviation Forecasting (Report introduced by Mayor Potter)

*839 TIME CERTAIN: 10:30 AM - Approve 21-year tax exemption extension requested by the Hazelwood Group LLC for the portion of Hazelwood Retirement Community required to be reserved for households at or below 75 percent area median family income (Ordinance introduced by Mayor Potter)

The Airport Futures report, especially, may take time. It's unfortunate it's scheduled on a Wednesday morning, as many citizens with weekday jobs would likely want to hear and testify about the impact of the airport on their homes and lives.

There are 36 Consent Agenda items, with lots of contracts that look interesting - OK, interesting to me. I find them so. Here's one whose sheer magnitude should be of passing note to most Portlanders:

*851 Authorize a borrowing of not more than $30,000,000 in anticipation of the Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Fund levy for FY 2008-2009 (Ordinance)

I notice in Next Up at City Council, 5/23/07, the amount borrowed last year was $20,000,000. I wish we'd really fixed the way we pay our obligations to injured and retired public safety officers, instead of continuing the current system of borrowing for each year's payments and paying for them with this year's property taxes.

First on the Regular Agenda:

877 Adopt the Sgt. Jerome Sears United States Army Reserve Center Reuse Master Plan and recommend redevelopment of the site for a mixed-income, rental and ownership housing development that includes permanent supportive housing for homeless single adults and homeless families with special needs and designate Community Partners for Affordable Housing as the preferred developer of the Sears site (Resolution introduced by Mayor Potter and Commissioner Fish)

I attended the hearing a couple of weeks ago, at which six alternatives were presented by worthy, earnest citizens, and a healthy stream of testimony ensued. This choice, of housing rather than school or emergency services uses, conforms with the zoning of the site selected in the Southwest Community Plan.

Crack In The Ground

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

As mentioned by Dave Lister in a comment last week. I love not only the feature but also its "don't need a high-falutin' fancy-schmancy title" name. It's two miles long, and 70 feet deep. The Oregon Outback site gives information on its location, and other nearby attractions such as Fort Rock and Hart Mountain. A great area for a weekend trip, especially camping.

The Graduate

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

My firstborn son, Luke Steven Fritz, graduated from Western Oregon University last weekend. Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies, summa cum laude, Phi Kappa Phi.

Here he's collecting a certificate saying "Congratulations" in a fancy holder, the actual diploma paper having been mailed previously.

Two days later, he began graduate school at Lewis & Clark, planning to become a high school teacher. I am proud and happy.

Next Up at City Council, 6/18/08

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

Commissioners Randy Leonard and Sam Adams are on vacation this week, so you'd think the Portland City Council Agenda would be light. Not so. Try several hundred million dollars in new indebtedness, extending the timeframe and borrowing capacity of four Urban Renewal Areas.

812 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM - Approve the First Amendment to the Lents Town Center Urban Renewal Plan to expand boundaries by 140.05 acres, increase maximum indebtedness by $170 million and extend expiration date to June 30, 2020 (Ordinance introduced by Mayor Potter)

813 TIME CERTAIN: 10:00 AM - Approve the Twenty-Eighth Amendment to the Downtown Waterfront Urban Renewal Plan to remove 47.03 acres from the Plan area and standardize Plan amendment process (Ordinance introduced by Mayor Potter)

814 Approve the Tenth Amendment to the South Park Blocks Urban Renewal Plan to remove 3.20 acres from the Plan area and standardize Plan amendment process (Ordinance introduced by Mayor Potter)

815 Approve the Amended and Restated River District Urban Renewal Plan to expand boundaries by a net 41.98 acres, increase maximum indebtedness by approximately $325 million and extend expiration date to June 30, 2021 (Ordinance introduced by Mayor Potter)

816 Approve the First Amendment to the Amended and Restated River District Urban Renewal Plan to expand boundaries by 8.53 acres and increase maximum indebtedness by $19 million (Ordinance introduced by Mayor Potter)

See last week's Portland Tribune for an excellent article by Steve Law on Urban Renewal Areas in Portland. The fact that these items are on the Agenda when two Commissioners are away suggests the deals are done.

Earlier, under Citizen Communications, diligent citizens keep plugging away, trying to inform their elected officials of their concerns - two on the Sellwood Sewer pump building siting, three on homelessness issues:

807 Request of Mary Frances Hunter to address Council regarding Sellwood Combined Sewer Overflow project (Communication)

808 Request of Pedro Ferbel-Azcarate to address Council regarding siting a sewer pump station in Sellwood (Communication)

809 Request of Lauren Murray to address Council regarding youth transition from shelters to the streets (Communication)

810 Request of Jeremy Todd to address Council regarding repeal of the sit-lie ordinance (Communication)

811 Request of Olivia Johnson to address Council regarding people without homes (Communication)

Here's one we saw coming a mile off, we just didn't know the name selected by the donor of the new downtown park:

828 Approve The Simon and Helen Director Park as the name for South Park Block Five (Ordinance)

At least the name went through the process approved by Council in a separate track last year.

The penultimate item on the Agenda, of particular interest to me, 64,420 of my friends, and other candidates and their supporters:

City Auditor Gary Blackmer

830 Certify abstract of votes cast and proclaim candidates elected and nominated at Municipal Non-Partisan Primary Election held in the City of Portland, May 20, 2008 (Report)

They give candidates moving on to the General Election a nice Certificate of Nomination, with a gold seal sticker and ribbons and everything. Two years ago, all I received was an email inviting me to visit with the Citizens Campaign Commission. No offence, worthy citizens volunteering on that noble group, but the Certificate of Nomination is cooler.

Next Up at City Council, June 11-12, 2008

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

The Portland City Council Agenda for this week starts with interesting Citizen Communications:

761 Request of Thomas Bruner to address Council regarding Red Cross and Homeless winter shelter (Communication)

762 Request of Patrick Nolen to address Council regarding anti-camping and sit lie (Communication)

763 Request of John Rasmussen to address Council regarding Sellwood Combined Sewer Overflow - Big Pipe project (Communication)

764 Request of Mike Shangle to address Council regarding siting of the Combined Sewer Overflow facility in Sellwood (Communication)

765 Request of Laura Orr to address Council regarding American Association of Law Librarians annual meeting in Portland (Communication)

The first two likely contribute to the ongoing discussion and activism regarding where people without homes can sit and sleep in Portland, the last sounds like a PR presentation. The Sellwood sewer issue is of concern to me. I attended a neighborhood meeting in Sellwood last month, at which staff from the Bureau of Environmental Services presented their chosen location for a new sewage pump station. Neighbors had several legitimate questions about how the site was selected and their lack of involvement in the decision, and it wasn't clear to me (someone with 17 years of experience in land use issues) how the City plans to process the permitting process moving forward. I'll be watching how this controversy is resolved.

Here's a sensible proposal:

768 TIME CERTAIN: 10:15 AM - Support Multnomah Youth Commission proposal to establish fareless public transportation for all 6th-12th grade public school students in Portland and Multnomah County (Resolution introduced by Mayor Potter and Commissioner Adams)

Kids shouldn't have to pay to get from home to school. Portland attained an exemption from state requirements to provide school buses for all students, on the basis of TriMet availability. Leaving aside the problem of TriMet not serving all neighborhoods adequately, it's not fair to make Portland students pay bus fare when students in other areas of the state are transported by school buses. And why does this matter to you, if you don't have kids in school? From the Resolution:

"the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that 20 – 25% of morning
traffic is due to parents driving their children to school, contributing significantly to traffic congestion and carbon emissions"

I've noticed significantly less traffic on my route to Wilson High School, on weekday mornings during the academic year when I'm going to meetings but the students have the day off.

Good to see on Consent, as sorely needed:

Girls' trip

  • Posted on: 3 June 2008
  • By: Amanda Fritz

This beautiful young woman and I are heading out of town. We take an annual summer trip to Ashland to see plays, and we scheduled it this year for immediately after Ali's graduation as a good way to celebrate. The boys in our family are invited, but always decline. And that's fine with my delightful daughter and me.

We return on Friday. Hope you enjoy the week as much as we will.

Next Up at City Council, June 4 - 5, 2008

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

The Portland City Council Agenda this coming week kicks off with five people speaking under Citizen Communications about the "Sit-lie" ordinance. "Sit-lie" (formal title "Sidewalk Obstructions", City Code 14.50.030), combined with the "anti-camping" regulation, 14.50.020, makes it illegal to fall asleep on public property. There are not enough shelter beds to give every homeless person a place where they are allowed to sleep at night. Most non-profits and private property owners would need a Conditional Use permit to allow large numbers of people to congregate to sleep at night. Where are people without homes supposed to sleep, under the current regulations and programs?

I learned an interesting fact, talking with OHSU nursing students in a class this past Thursday. Studies have shown that up to 75% of homeless women left their previous residence because of domestic violence. Do we all agree that women and children should have safe places to sleep?

I support the Council in dedicating most resources to permanent supportive housing rather than temporary shelters. The Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness is surely the right overall approach. But people without homes should be allowed to sleep somewhere legally, in a city with more homeless people than shelter beds. I'd like the committees working on this issue to propose amendments to the anti-camping ordinance, to address this need.

Other important items on Wednesday morning's list:

692 TIME CERTAIN: 10:00 AM – Council to convene as Budget Committee to approve a budget (Mayor convenes Budget Committee; Previous Agenda 606)

693 TIME CERTAIN: 10:30 AM – Council to convene as Portland Development Commission Budget Committee to approve the annual budget (Mayor convenes Portland Development Commission Budget Committee)

Interesting item on the Consent list:

704 Authorize City Attorney's Office to file an amicus brief and participate in court proceedings in Sprint Telephony PCS, LP v County of San Diego (Resolution)

Details on that:

WHEREAS, the City of Portland is involved in litigation with Qwest Corporation, Qwest Communications Corporation and Time Warner Telecom of Oregon, LLC, in which the telecommunications providers seek to preempt the City’s franchise and permit regulations and requirements under provisions of the Federal Telecommunciations Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. § 253 (“TCA”); and

WHEREAS, those lawsuits are now on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; and

WHEREAS, the Ninth Circuit has granted rehearing en banc in Sprint Telephony PCS, LP v. County of San Diego, Docket Nos. 05-56076, 05-56435, which raises important questions of law regarding the interpretation of the TCA; and

WHEREAS, the outcome of Sprint Telephony, may have a significant impact on the City’s litigation, and, therefore, the City should participate in the analysis of the TCA,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City Attorney or her designee, whether through the City Attorney’s Office or through counsel specially employed for that purpose is authorized to apply to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and, if the case proceeds further, to the United States Supreme Court, for permission to file a brief or briefs as amicus curiae in Sprint Telephony PCS, LP v. County of San Diego, Docket Nos. 05-56076, 05-56435, to file such a brief or briefs, and to participate fully in all further proceedings on behalf of the City as amicus curiae.

Sounds like good use of a staff attorney's time.

Here's an item on Wednesday afternoon that I would have liked to have seen assigned to an evening hearing:

WEDNESDAY, 3:00 PM, JUNE 4, 2008

759 TIME CERTAIN: Approve the Multnomah County, Oregon Plan Regarding Use of Deadly Physical Force (Resolution introduced by Mayor Potter)

And why are land use hearings almost always set during the day?

THURSDAY, 3:30 PM, JUNE 5, 2008

760 TIME CERTAIN: 3:30 AM – Appeal of Pleasant Valley Neighborhood Association against the Hearings Officer’s decision to approve the application of David Douglas School District for a conditional use with an adjustment to build a new elementary school at 7010 SE Deardorff Rd (Hearing; LU 07-139994 CU AD)

I hope to find out more about this case from my friend and colleague Linda Bauer, longtime land use expert in Pleasant Valley.

Next Up at City Council, 5/28/08

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

A very short Portland City Council Agenda this week, with two Council members absent so no Emergency Ordinances or Consent Agenda. No emergency ordinances! How will the City not grind to a halt? As regular readers know, the misuse of the emergency designation has troubled me for a long time. I am happy to be in a position where I can start pushing on that issue a little harder. And on other issues, too....

There are five interesting and important Citizen Communications:

673 Request of Debbie Caselton to address Council to proclaim June 2008 to be LGBTQ2 Pride Month (Communication)

674 Request of Ronault J.S. Catalan to address Council regarding budget communications (Communication)

675 Request of Frank Caywood to address Council regarding budget communications (Communication)

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

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

Although the Primary Election ended with a delightful result in my race on Tuesday, I'm not yet re-organized at home or on the campaign to the point where I have time to give you any details about the issues these citizens will be raising. They are all important, and I encourage you to try to watch the presentations to learn more.

Two "awww" Time Certain items:

678 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM – Declare the week of May 28-June 8, 2008 to be Great Blue Heron Week in Portland (Proclamation introduced by Mayor Potter)

679 TIME CERTAIN: 9:45 AM – Urge the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to honor Bill Schonely with the Curt Gowdy Award for his outstanding contribution to the game of basketball as a member of the broadcast media during his nearly thirty years as the voice of the Portland Trail Blazers (Resolution introduced by Commissioner Leonard)

The rest of the Agenda is mostly Second Readings with votes on rates and fees, carried over from hearings last week.

This item captured my attention because of the part waiving Code:

Headline and photo - ?

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

In yesterday's Portland Tribune, I read the headline, Voters give OK for women to lead way, and the subtitle, "Fritz, Brown among those who won mostly male city, county tickets". So I clicked on the link, in part to see whose photograph was chosen to illustrate the article.

John Kroger (successful candidate for Attorney General) and Mark Wiener (campaign consultant).