Mayor Adams asked the Council in January to present plans for our first 100 business days in office. One of my goals was to find out how things work in City government, in my first days as a City Commissioner. One hundred business days passed in May, and the Council was so busy taking care of responsibilities, we didn't even have a press conference. So here is a summary:
In the first five months, my main focus areas have been:
* Economic development
* Bureau efficiency and spending taxpayers' money wisely
* Citizen engagement in affecting decisions and implementing actions
Highlights of outcomes:
* Established the Office of Healthy Working Rivers, becoming operational with funding in the new fiscal year in July. The Oregonian published my Op-Ed statement on the Rivers.
* Improved regulations governing wireless facilities in the right-of-way, to the satisfaction of both neighbors and industry customers, adding $90,000/year in revenue to the General Fund in increased fees for existing poles
* Passed first-in-the-nation Resolution to ask the Federal Communications Commission to re-assess potential health impacts from wireless facilities
* Increased number of evening City Council sessions, improving access for working citizens. Four evening Council meetings will have taken place by the end of June, compared with two for the whole of 2008. The Ordinance we passed on my motion allows the Council to schedule regular sessions any Wednesday or Thursday, with two weeks' notice of the time change.
* Coordinated formulation and passage of improvements to Public Campaign Financing regulations, and gathered support for referring it to voters in November 2010
* Spoke and voted for citizens on the Columbia River Bridge, Soccer/baseball deal, condemnation of Made In Oregon sign, waiver of sign regulations in Waterfront Park, and Permit Center consolidation.
* Extended sunset of Sidewalk Obstructions ordinance until October, to work with Commissioner Fish on analysing the impacts of the ordinance and identifying more solutions citywide for businesses and people experiencing homelessness
* Resolved longstanding grievance without going to arbitration, by mediating between union and City Attorney's office.
* Began implementing recommended actions in Audit of Cable Communications and Franchise Management.
* Helped to turn back legislation in Salem that would have restricted local jurisdictions' right to regulate and raise revenue from internet phone services
* Working for passage of health care for low-income children in Salem - success!
* All bureau budget requests funded, prioritizing basic services for citizens and providing ongoing funding at adequate levels for Neighborhood Involvement and Human Relations
I was charged in January with starting a new bureau to speed implementation of job creation on sites adjacent to the Willamette River. My team quickly determined that the scope of the new Office of Healthy Working Rivers must be broader, to encompass economic vitality and environmental restoration of both the Willamette and Columbia rivers. Also, that organizing it within an existing bureau is more cost-effective and efficient. The Office of Healthy Working Rivers will begin operations in July, housed in the Bureau of Environmental Services and implementing partnerships with the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Port of Portland, Portland Development Commission, and multiple other city bureaus and state agencies. Staff and citizens alike have welcomed this new approach.
I have worked to improve efficiency within the four bureaus in my portfolio - Neighborhood Involvement, Human Relations, Emergency Communications, and Cable Communications & Franchise Management. I noted in January that my 100 day plan was to ask 100 questions. The answers to those inquiries have already set in motion new ways of doing business and providing even better customer service. The Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) completely reorganized its budget, achieving 10% cuts from last year's funding level and changing allocations for diverse community participation to ongoing support. Mayor Adams recognized this achievement by funding ONI at the level I requested. Human Relations defined work plans in each of its four target action areas and has initiated successful new programs. Emergency Communications is working on strategies to reduce overtime costs and improve service even more. Cable Communications & Franchise management is piloting a new partnership with the Revenue Bureau, and completed work on several contracts bringing in over $1 million to the General Fund.
My staff and I have responded individually to more than 2500 citizen comments and requests in our first 100 business days in office. I met with 198 indivduals and groups in my office, and attended 96 community events. I post weekly updates on my web site, reporting on the content of meetings held the previous week as well as previewing the projected appointments for the upcoming days. I held three monthly open Meet-and-Greet events where citizens stopped by to share concerns and get their questions answered.
My main conclusion after 100 business days in office:
It is an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Portland as a City Commissioner.