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Welcome to Commissioner Amanda Fritz's site!
Thank you for visiting my website. The Council finished work on the Fiscal Year 2017-18 City Budget last week. As always, there are more services Portlanders want and need than money to pay for them. We dedicated almost $35 million to the Joint (with Multnomah County) Office for Homeless Services, and took the first steps towards a City Office of Landlord/Tenant Affairs. The $3 million raised from the 3% tax on Recreational Marijuana Sales, passed by voters in a ballot measure campaign I led, was apportioned between Police services (Traffic Division and the Service Coordination Team, which provides treatment for people challenged by drug/alcohol addictions), Vision Zero (infrastructure and education programs needed to eliminate transportation-related deaths, and a Participatory Budgeting process to allow Portlanders to recommend how to spend $500,000 to assist neighborhood cannabis businesses and individuals, especially those negatively and disproportionately impacted by past cannabis prohibition. It is the first time in the USA that cannabis taxes have been allocated to the latter. I am proud to have led the campaign, and grateful to my colleagues on the Council who supported my recommendation for how the cannabis tax money should be spent this year.
Are you wondering what is being done to help people experiencing houselessness on a long term basis, as well as for temporary shelter? Wonder no more! An easy-to-read summary of the City/County plan, known as A Home For Everyone, is posted here.
Note, I use the term "houseless" not "homeless". A survey has shown that 80% of the people unsheltered in Portland today have been Multnomah County residents for more than two years. Portland is their home. They don't have houses or apartments, but they are still our neighbors. Only 15% of those seeking services in Portland came to our city from elsewhere. Often, those folks come from other parts of the Metro region or the state of Oregon.
In the past 10 years, the City, County, and Home Forward (formerly the Housing Authority of Portland) have helped over 12,000 people get off the streets and into homes. In the past ten years, average rent has increased 30% while average wage has decreased 5%. People are losing their housing every day due to this imbalance.
To fix this, the plan identifies $30 million in additional funding is needed - $20 million ongoing for services, such as rent assistance, subsidies, social services, etc.,; and $10 million for construction of new affordable housing. The plan calls for $5 million in additional funding for shelters, and $12.5 million for permanent supportive housing, in order to cut the number of people living outside by 50% in two years (i.e., by the end of 2017).
The City Council allocated more than $28 million to this work in the 2016-17 Adopted City Budget. This is in addition to the Council tripling the budget for the Portland Housing Bureau, previously over the seven years I have been in office and voting on budgets. The plan states; "What it takes to end homelessness: Do enough, for long enough". The question is now, are Portlanders willing to pay what it takes to do enough, for long enough? We know what needs to be done. We know what works and how to get to the goal. Are Portlanders willing to sacrifice other services, to pay for what it takes?
My assigned bureaus are Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R or Parks), and the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC). Parks offers multiple services; BOEC staffs both 911 and non-emergency calls (non-emergency number is 503-823-3333 - be aware that the same staff answer both lines, so be please be patient and use the phone-tree options if you can).
Before asking the staff in my office for assistance, please contact the bureau staff first.
For Parks, call 503-823-PLAY as your first point of triage. If your question isn't answered, email Director Mike Abbate. On my staff, you may contact Pooja Bhatt (503-823-3229), if you need assistance after trying those first two steps.
For problems when you are in a park:
For for questions and concerns involving all City, County, and Portland Development Commission issues, please call 503-823-4000 or email email@example.com to request assistance. This route works both if you need urgent attention, and when you don't know which bureau handles the issue you're concerned about. This is by far the most efficient way to find out which bureau/staff can best solve your problem. My staff and I often call 823-4000 to seek advice and information on navigating Portland's Commission form of government.
If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal or having another kind of mental health crisis, call 503-972-3456 instead of 9-1-1, to talk with mental health professionals and trained volunteers at Lines for Life, a community non-profit. Last year, they took 19,000 crisis calls, and resolved 99% of them by the phone conversation. If you need mental health help, call 503-972-3456.
** Here's a useful link to the website where you can see your personal recycling/garbage/yard waste collection schedule, and sign up for a reminder email each week:
Let us embrace the call to action of our President, Barack Obama. In his second Inauguration Speech on the holiday celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., President Obama said,
"You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time - not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals. Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom."
Thank you for engaging in making decisions with your Council.
Our Office Mission:
As public servants and advocates, we provide effective leadership by using resources wisely, promoting cityzen* engagement, listening to and analyzing input, and sharing information and access.
* "cityzen" denotes a person who lives, works, pays, plays, or prays in Portland, regardless of whether they are a Citizen of the United States of America eligible to vote in Portland.
As an elected official, the Commissioner makes decisions based on facts and broad public input, seeking the long term public good for the whole city, with shared benefits and responsibilities for all Portlanders present and future.
Helpful phone numbers:
City/County Information - 503-823-4000
Call this number to find the answer on any local issue
Multnomah County Crisis Line, for people experiencing mental illnesses - 503-988-4888
Statewide Information - 1-800-SAFENET (723-3638)
Call this number for State of Oregon services
Photo by Robert Wilson
The 2009 Pride Parade was especially fun for me, as my three children
Luke, Ali, and Maxwell
carried the banner for our group.
Many thanks to everyone who cheered and clapped for us.
See here for summaries of last week/next week's calendars
My team's goal for this web site is that it will be one of your favorite places for finding out information quickly, and for giving feedback on projects and issues you care about. For instance, check Coming Down The Pike for frequent updates informing you of upcoming meetings and events we believe you may find interesting.
I believe the people of Portland, when given accurate, inclusive information that isn't full of acronyms and insider-speak, make good choices about what's worth spending time and money on, and what isn't. As a community organizer, I experienced problems with finding that accurate, clear data. It shouldn't be so hard for citizens to find out what is going on in City government. I promised during my campaign for City Commissioner to work to make it easier, and this site is part of the process of honoring that commitment.
Click here for tips on how to use my site to stay connected with what's happening at City Hall, in my bureaus, and in Portland's neighborhoods.