Next Up at City Council, 9/3/08

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

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

Close to the top of the Regular Agenda:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two Time Certain hearings to start the new season:

1209 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM - Appoint 30 members to Public Involvement Advisory Council for two and three year terms (Report introduced by Mayor Potter)

The list of staff and volunteers selected to serve on this advisory group is impressive. I know most, which is good because longtime participants have much to offer; I don't know some, which is also good in that there are always more worthy Portlanders willing to engage and donate time and expertise than any one person can possibly meet.

Appointments to be considered at Portland City Council:

Stephanie Blackman, Portland State University, Instructor, Civic Engagement
Glenn Bridger, Southwest Neighborhoods Inc., Past Chair
Jimmy Brown, Water Bureau, City of Portland, Community Involvement & Outreach Manager
Laurel Butman, Office of Management and Finance, City of Portland, Principal Management Analyst
Megan Callahan, Bureau of Environmental Services, City of Portland, Public Information Manager
Ronault "Polo" Catalani, Immigrant and Refugee Community of Oregon, Civic Engagement Program, Engage '08, Lawyer, Journalist
Jen Clodius, Portland Fire and Rescue, Senior Community Outreach and Public Information Representative
Cassie Cohen, Vision into Action, City of Portland, Assistant Project Specialist
Alisa Cour, Bureau of Development Services, City of Portland, Customer Service Manager
Tony De Falco, Center for Diversity & the Environment, Board Member; Young Environmental Professionals of Color, Coordinator
Brad Dennis, Native American Youth and Families, Youth and Elders Council Coordinator
Christine Egan, Jeanne Lawson & Associates, Senior Project Manager
Brian Hoop, Office of Neighborhood Involvement, City of Portland, Neighborhood Resource Center Manager
Joleen Jensen-Classen, Portland Development Commission, Public Participation Manager
Colleen Keyes, Parks and Recreation, City of Portland, Public Involvement Coordinator
Jill Kolek, Office of Sustainable Development, City of Portland, Training, Education and Outreach Manager
Paul Leistner, Southeast Uplift, Past Chair; Doctoral Student
Linda Nettekoven, Southeast Uplift, Past Chair
Art Pearce, Portland Department of Transportation, Capital Projects Manager, Engineering & Development
Felicia Phillips, Start Making a Reader Today, Chief Financial Officer
Sarah "Midge" Purcell, The Urban League of Portland, Organization & Public Affairs
Mandy Putney, EnviroIssues, Communications & Public Involvement Project Manager
Helen Russon, Portland Citizens Disability Advisory Committee Associate Member; Bureau of Labor & Industries, Disability Lawyer
Arianne Sperry, Planning Bureau, City of Portland, District Liaison Planner, North Portland
Bryan Steelman, Historic Mississippi Business Association, President, Business owner
Simsundareth Tan, Cambodian Community of Oregon, Volunteer
Damon Isiah Turner, Metropolitan Family Service, Instructor, SUN Program
Arnold Warren, Portland Police Bureau, Police Lieutenant
Christine White, Port of Portland, Community Affairs Manager

Thank you, all.

1210 TIME CERTAIN: 10:00 AM - Accept Staff Report and Recommendation and Order of Council for Thomas Hermach Measure 49 Claim (Report introduced by Mayor Potter; PR 05-123366)

This is a case similar to another already approved in the Arnold Creek neighborhood of Southwest Portland, concerning zoning/Comprehensive Plan changes adopted in the Southwest Community Plan. The Staff Report by the ever-diligent Chris Dearth concludes:

"Staff recommends the Council compensate Mr. Hermach for his estimated Measure 49 loss by not applying the current R20 Comprehensive Plan Designation and restoring the Comprehensive Plan Designation of R10 that was in place when he purchased the subject property."

I agree with the analysis, conclusions, and recommendation. Measure 49 seems to be providing fairness to both public and private interests, in Portland at least.


Those bus passes for OSD are a heck of a deal for the city. By buying them on contract for every "benefits eligible" employee of OSD they are getting them from Tri-Met for less than half the retail price. If the alternative is picking up half the regular retail price of bus passes for all 41 employees, the city is actually saving money just on that basis. Of course it's likely that not all employees would take advantage of a 50% of retail bus pass but I'd guess that this pencils out pretty well for OSD because most of them probably would. If OSD employees use those passes to replace any significant amount of at-work driving, the city is coming out way ahead. The cost to the city of one day of car driving is almost certainly more than they are paying for a bus pass for a month.