When I was first elected to the Portland City Council, I was told that the budget season, basically from January through June, was the “busy” time. More than one person told me that summers were “very slow”.
They lied to me.
This is my second summer on the Portland City Council and it is, once again, anything but slow. I will touch on just some of what we are working on in my office. I will expand more on any of these or other topics if reader posts request I do so.
Not counting our working on the budget impact of the Portland Police Associations collective bargaining agreement arbitration award, my office has been busy putting together the first case for enforcement action against a liquor establishment that is causing havoc for its residential and business neighbors. My goal is to allow the night club to continue to operate but in a manner that respects its neighbors. If that fails –and so far it has- we will be proposing to cause the hours of operation to be dramatically reduced. Businesses must respect their neighbors.
My office developed a multi-agency strategy to deal with a rooming house in NW Portland that had become a nightmare for the Portland Police Bureau, the Portland Fire Bureau, social service agencies that place some of our most vulnerable citizens and, last but not least, the surrounding neighborhood. The owner was stone walling all attempts to improve the conditions at the location until we brought together all of the various agencies concerned with this property and developed a coordinated strategy for enforcing the multitude of violations. I am pleased with the progress we are making on behalf of the residents and neighbors. There is a good article in the current issue of Willamette Week on this issue.
We have also been crafting a resolution opposing the ballot measure that would prohibit same sex marriage in the Oregon Constitution. When the resolution is filed, I will be requesting that the Council hold hearings throughout Portland (at least three) so that those who want to express their positions on same sex marriage will be given the forum to do just that. It is my strong conviction that marriage is a right that all citizens should have irrespective of the gender of their partner. We should find inspiration and joy in two people in a loving relationship who want to marry one another.
We are developing an ordinance that would prohibit smoking in all workplaces and public establishments in Portland. Currently, workplaces, restaurants, bowling alleys and taverns and bars may have designated smoking areas. I believe it is time for Portland to recognize that second hand smoke kills and that it is long past time that Portland pass an ordinance that protects the non-smoker from breathing others cigarette smoke.
I am closely analyzing the public finance of city campaigns being proposed. It is fair to say that I am skeptical of the proposal. Not just because it will cost a lot of money. I also suspect, as do others, that there may be a small dose of mayoral politics driving the current proposal. If there are those who did not want to support a resolution calling for more accountability of the Portland Police Bureau because they thought it may be politically motivated, it is then fair to judge this proposal in that same context. I believe there has been enough happen up until now between some council members and the timing of the ordinance itself that will detract from the merits of the proposal. If we are going to debate publicly financed campaigns, let’s have the entire current council agree to do so after the new Mayor and Council person takes office next January. I believe the seriousness of the topic justifies delaying the debate to remove any questions of motive.
Those are just some random thoughts…I have more, but I will wait to see what subjects the readers are interested in.
Commissioner Randy Leonard