POL Government Elected Officials Commissioner Amanda Fritz Blog

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Proposed Charter Amendments

Protecting the Bull Run Watershed for future generations: Three proposed City Charter amendments


Protecting the Bull Run Watershed has been a top priority for me for many years.  In 1995, when I was a parent at Markham Elementary School, I wrote and won grants from Metro and the Bureau of Environmental Services for the Family Watershed Education Project. Students, parents, and teachers received trainings and workshops, and we transformed a lawn at the school into a native plant garden.  The capstone of the three-month project was a tour of the Bull Run Watershed, hosted by the Portland Water Bureau. The reservoirs and the forests captivated me. It was by far my favorite of the dozens of field trips I chaperoned over my 17 years as a parent in Portland Public Schools.


As only the second woman ever in charge of the Water Bureau, I want to do my part to protect this precious resource by incorporating key protections into the City Charter, which serves as the City’s constitution. I want to leave office next year with Bull Run protections safely enshrined in the Charter.


Why? Because Portland depends on the Bull Run Watershed for quality drinking water, yet there is nothing in the Charter that mandates the watershed protections currently in City Code. The Bull Run Watershed has been a high-quality unfiltered drinking water source for the Portland metro area for more than a century, and we have an opportunity to continue this legacy for generations to come.


A cornerstone of the City’s protections for the Bull Run Watershed has been the fact that its water resources—the Bull Run River and tributaries, Bull Run Lake, and two storage reservoirs—are within an area that is closed to public access and where land disturbing activities are broadly prohibited.  There is no logging, recreation, or development activity allowed in the mostly old-growth forest surrounding the water source. Last year’s fires in the Columbia River Gorge that came perilously close to the Bull Run Watershed were started by human activity.


Why now? Because it’s an historic opportunity for Portland, and the need is urgent.


This summer, the City will enter into an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service to swap land parcels within the watershed to consolidate City land ownership around the drinking water system.   As we take this important step, it’s appropriate to take another to add protections for the Bull Run in the City Charter.  Through Charter amendments, we have an opportunity to allow all Portland voters to confirm their commitment to environmental stewardship and protection of health and safety.


Some may say the Charter Commission due to be convened in 2021 should consider this issue.  Waiting for the Charter Commission would delay these improvements for several years. It would reduce the amount of public input and discussion by including these issues with multiple others in the 2021-22 process, rather than sending the amendments to the ballot now. Also, since Charter Commissions are not obligated to consider issues suggested by the City Council, there is no guarantee the future Charter Commission would be willing to consider these topics.


Having made the decision to propose a Charter amendment, I looked for other potential changes that would be useful, with the overarching goal of wise use of ratepayers’ money in the expense of putting an issue on the ballot. Through taking this inventory, we found two other “housekeeping” amendments that are also helpful to include in this process. These three proposals will improve environmental stewardship, expand options addressing health and safety, and allow public use of Water Bureau property outside of the Bull Run Watershed.


The proposed amendments are here.  The proposed ballot captions and summaries are here.  My summary:

  • The first proposed amendment would put environmental protections for the Bull Run Watershed in the City Charter. Astonishingly, there is currently nothing in the Charter about Portland’s precious and unique drinking water source! Protecting the Bull Run Watershed is crucial for the City’s work to address climate disruption and responsible forest management. This effort will only become more important once state-mandated watershed protections expire following the construction of the pending water filtration facility. State drinking water rules require that the City maintain its current protections of the watershed; however, this requirement will no longer apply once the City completes the water filtration facility for Bull Run water that it is required by state and federal law to construct by September 30, 2027.


This proposed Charter amendment will also strengthen the essential watershed protections for City-owned lands in the Bull Run by ensuring that any future proposed revisions or removal of these protections be approved by Portland voters. The amendment will install the public closure, the general prohibition on logging, and the prohibition on development activities currently in code to the City Charter. It will also require that City-initiated work on the drinking water and hydroelectric infrastructure in the watershed avoid—then minimize and mitigate—any impacts to surrounding ecosystems and cultural resources.

  • The second proposed amendment would allow the City to give and receive aid after large-scale emergencies. With climate disruption, we have seen an increase in natural disasters and therefore the need for speedy collaboration with other communities during emergencies. The City was criticized for providing aid to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, yet we will need assistance from other jurisdictions after a major earthquake. The Charter change will allow the City to enter into agreements with other municipalities, including tribes, to provide and receive prompt support during times of disaster. Coordination and support with other cities and jurisdictions are essential to the City’s ability to plan for and to respond to major natural disasters or other large-scale emergencies. This includes both assistance that Portland would provide to other jurisdictions, and assistance that the City would receive.


A 2014 ruling in Multnomah County Court illustrated that the City Charter does not clearly provide authority to the City Council to authorize mutual aid agreements between the City’s utilities and other utilities, cities, or tribes. The proposed Charter amendment would clarify the City Council’s ability to authorize such agreements.

  • The third proposed amendment clarifies the right of the public to use Water Bureau property outside the Bull Run Watershed for purposes unrelated to the provision of drinking water, when such uses are compatible with the Water Bureau’s use of the sites. As Portland becomes more densely populated, Water Bureau land can provide small neighborhood greenspaces while still protecting the water tanks and other infrastructure on the site. The City owns lands outside of the Bull Run Watershed for purposes of the public drinking water system.


Most of these lands contain drinking water tanks, piping, or other infrastructure. Some of these lands could be useful for public purposes outside of the drinking water system—for community gardens or greenspaces, for example. These activities do not conflict with the primary use of the lands for providing drinking water.


A 2014 ruling in Multnomah County Court illustrated that the City Charter does not clearly provide authority to the City Council to designate these lands for public use. The proposed Charter amendment would enable the City Council to designate Water Bureau properties for secondary public uses.


In the coming months, I look forward to speaking with many of you and hearing your feedback. I also encourage you to use this as an opportunity to learn more about the Bull Run Watershed and all that it provides here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/water/29784


City Council discussion with a vote to refer these amendments is tentatively scheduled for the June 26th Portland City Council meeting, along with the land swap agreement.  I invite you to attend and share your thoughts, or send me an email regarding the Council referral to Portland voters on the November 2019 ballot.

June 6, 2019

2019-20 Budget Speech

Yesterday, the Council voted on amendments and the overall City Budget for Financial Year 2019-20, which starts on July 1.  My comments are posted here.

May 24, 2019

Please take the Portland Community Insights Survey

Over the past several months, the City Budget Office has been working with representatives throughout the City of Portland on a new citywide initiative called the Portland Community Insights Survey. This survey is a redesign of the Community Survey conducted by the Auditor’s Office until 2016 and is meant to provide City Bureaus and City Council with actionable insights to help inform budgeting and policy decisions.


This survey will give us the opportunity to hear from people who rely on us each day to make sure Portland is a great place to live. It includes questions on policy and budget priorities, satisfaction with services, ideas for improvement, and service usage patterns. Insights fromthese responses will help us build a stronger, more equitable city.


Please share the survey link as widely as possible and encourage those in your respective networks to make their voices heard:




  • The survey will remain open through May 28th.
  • In addition to the online survey, we have a team of      student and community leaders conducting in-person canvassing of the      survey in underrepresented communities. If you see them in bright blue      Community Data Fellows t-shirts –      please stop for a chat!
  • The survey is available online in English, Spanish,      Vietnamese, Chinese, and Russian.
  • The survey will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.
  • The survey is opt-in and available to anyone      who lives, works, and/or plays in the City of Portland. 


If you have any additional questions, please contact Shannon Carney at Shannon.Carney@portlandoregon.gov. Thank you in advance for your support with this important initiative.

May 8, 2019

2020 Plans

I have decided not to run for re-election in 2020.


I have loved serving the people of Portland, and it is tempting to seek another term. My Chief of Staff Tim Crail and I have assembled a phenomenal team of amazing staff members, who excel in everything we ask them to do and also in everything which they self-initiate. Claire Adamsick, Cristina Nieves, MeeSeon Kwon, Yesenia Carrillo, and Cynthia Castro have made the past six months excitingly successful. We coordinated the preparations for the Open and Accountable Elections program, which will launch for candidates in July. We engaged the community, City staff, and Council in hiring the second Director of the Office of Equity and Human Rights, Dr. Markisha Smith, and in re-envisioning community leadership and advisory opportunities for people experiencing disabilities. We passed the Resolution opposing oil and gas drilling off the Oregon Coast, following on from previous City policies I led opposing coal trains and oil trains passing through Portland. We passed the Code change clarifying that people who do not subscribe to religious beliefs are protected from discrimination in Portland. We continue to work on the “Floor Area Ratio (FAR)” project I initiated that will allow City Bureaus to sell development rights from City-owned sites downtown that will never be re-developed, like Waterfront Park and City Hall, which could add millions in resources to address the continuing backlog of maintenance needs in City facilities Portlanders do want to preserve. And of course, we have embraced the responsibilities, opportunities and challenges of being newly in charge of the Office of Equity and Human Rights and the Portland Water Bureau. Every day is interesting and filled with urgent needs for my staff, Tim and me to help City government better serve the people of Portland.


So why I am I leaving at the end of 2020?


I have already accomplished many significant changes in ten years of service to the people of Portland. Of national significance, one that stands out is the transformational (yet so obviously needed) Paid Sick Time initiative, in partnership with UFCW 555, MotherPAC, Working Families and a host of other community leaders coordinated by then-Chief of Staff Tom Bizeau, which led to statewide legislation and will hopefully result in national provisions. We also led the state in requiring insurance coverage for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for people on the Autism spectrum. All Interstate highways throughout Oregon are safer because of installation of median crash barriers, thanks to the help of then-Director of Government Relations Martha Pellegrino and now-Director Elizabeth Edwards. In Portland, with Dora Perry, Amalia Alarcon de Morris, Afifa Ahmed-Shaffi, Desiree Williams-Rajee, and Danielle Brooks, I co-led with Mayor Adams the City’s work to establish the Office of Equity and Human Rights, which is institutionally transforming how City staff are hired, retained, promoted, and provide services and opportunities for historically under-served and under-represented communities and people with barriers. And with Cristina Nieves, I worked with community partners to re-establish Public Campaign Financing in Portland, by passing the Open and Accountable Elections ordinance at the end of 2016.


I have championed fiscal responsibility, and established structures and programs that make sure taxpayers’ money is spent wisely. Thanks to Tim Crail, the City Budget Office was established and has become an independent guardian of the Budget process and Bureau spending. I passed the rule that 50% of any one-time “budget surplus” must be spent on infrastructure maintenance, resulting in over $65 million being spent on basic needs in Parks, Transportation and Emergency Preparedness, where previously it would have been allocated to lesser priorities - a rule which is soon to be embedded in City Financial Policy thanks to Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Cooperman. With Senior Policy Advisor Patti Howard, I led the Council’s Tribal Sovereignty Recognition resolution, and championed the funding of the Tribal Relations liaison position.


Guided by staff in Portland Parks & Recreation and assisted by Commissioner Fish, in 2014 I passed the Fix Our Parks replacement bond, providing $68 million for urgent repairs in our beloved parks. And as Parks Commissioner for over five years, I presided over the construction of five new parks, in some of the most under-served neighborhoods in Portland, as well as the greatest expansion of park rest room facilities in the Bureau’s history. Parks has made great progress in internal and external equity, thanks to Equity Manager Art Hendricks and my former staffer Pooja Bhatt. We established the Parks for New Portlanders program, led by Som Subedi.


With Office of Neighborhood Involvement Director Amalia Alarcon de Morris, I set up the City’s successful recreational cannabis program, and passed the local tax on recreational sales that is bringing in more than $3 million every year to fund vital programs like Vision Zero, traffic safety enforcement, and support for people previously disadvantaged by cannabis prohibition. My Senior Policy Advisor Claire Adamsick and I helped find a relocation site for the Right 2 Dream Too rest area, giving people living outside much-needed support while at the same time allowing for the redevelopment of the historic China Gate area. I partnered with first Mayor Adams then Mayor Hales to champion planning and sustainability - I have had monthly meetings with BPS since 2009, despite never being in charge of the bureau. With community advocates including the Audubon Society of Portland and Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, I persuaded the Council to leave West Hayden Island out of the Comprehensive Plan, to save golf courses as Open Space, and to refuse to consider permitting the Pembina fossil fuel terminal. With Cristina Nieves, I led the Council in opposing oil and coal trains passing through Portland.


So again, why am I leaving at the end of 2020?


I will be 62 in 2020. I will have been in nurses training or working in public service for over 40 years. I had been planning to end my time in City Hall in 2016, with my husband finishing his thirty years at the Oregon State Hospital in 2018 and our subsequent goal of riding off into the sunset together for the rest of our lives. Prior to the crash on I-5 as Steve was on his way to work in 2014, I intended to work 12-hour days six days a week until the end of 2016, as I had since January 2009 and before then in a sixteen-month election campaign. Since September 24 2014, I have still been known as one of the hardest working members of Council. I am resolved not to lose that hard-earned reputation. On Election Night in November 2012, after a brutal campaign that tested every one of my supporters and every ounce of my courage, I said I was never running for anything ever again. When Steve was killed, I found myself in the company of many older Americans, especially women: I needed a job to maintain health insurance. And I needed motivation to get up in the morning. Bereft of the love of my life, continuing to serve the people of Portland answered both needs. I greatly appreciate the support of Portlanders, in that nobody filed to run against me until a week before the deadline in 2016 and I was re-elected with 69% of the vote. I have worked hard to make sure your faith in me was rewarded.


Now, I feel I’ve accomplished many of the things that have been in my power to get done. I plan to continue working flat out for the next 21 months, and I know I can’t continue to do that for another four years beyond that. My father was a world-class masters marathon runner. He could keep running for 24 hours, barely changing his pace, when he was fit.  He ran an age-group world record 118 miles in 24 hours at the age of 70, and he set age-group distance records on Lincoln High School’s track during Megan’s Run in 1998. At the age of 59, he ran his fastest marathon at 2 hours 57 minutes, which is better than Lance Armstrong ran at age 35. In my father’s last London Marathon at the age of 74, he was injured after 6 miles, and walked the rest of the course to finish in over six hours. I want to keep running on pace until my time on the Council is done. I’m announcing now in the hope that many worthy candidates will use the public campaign finance resources in the Open and Accountable Elections program, and there will be as positive and trust-building campaign for the open seat in 2020 as there was when five of us ran with Voter Owned Elections funding in 2008. I want to open the door for someone else to be the voice of Portlanders in my place.


I still have many goals I hope to accomplish over the next 21 months. It is even more important to me than ever that the Open and Accountable Elections program is successful. I will do whatever I can to make it work, and to prepare community-supported candidates to use the system. It can truly change the balance of power in Portland, empowering people of color and people from underrepresented communities with far more opportunities and authority than a change in the Commission form of government could ever achieve. I will complete setting up the FAR development rights sale program, which will be a gift to current and future Portlanders in providing another mechanism to fund maintenance of public assets. I want to explore how to make TriMet fare-free, which would simultaneously make massive improvements for people experiencing financial challenges and for addressing climate disruption. I want to make bigger strides on reducing plastics use. I will lead the campaign to add more permanent protections for our precious Bull Run water into the Charter, in a referral to voters. I will partner with Dr. Smith, Office of Equity staff, and Bureau Equity Managers to reinvigorate the City’s Equity initiatives pursuing racial and disability rights. I hope to be able to stop some of the more catastrophic effects of the current proposals to demolish single family homes in Portland, in the so-called Residential Infill Project coming to Council this summer. And of course, I will continue to meet with Portlanders, read and respond to my own emails, and research every item on the Council’s hearings Agenda before I vote each week. In other words, I will continue to do my homework, and dedicate my life to serving the people of Portland for the next 21 months.


It is an honor to serve on the Portland City Council. I have learned from the people of Portland.  I have been inspired and encouraged in good times and bad. Over more than ten years, 27 people have worked with me on my office staff. Each one has embraced my commitment to public service, helped me on things I couldn’t do and supported me on personal and professional levels. Each one who has left has gone on to either greater heights in public service, or well-earned retirement. I am particularly grateful to my Chiefs of Staff, first Tom Bizeau and then Tim Crail. The Chief of Staff role is truly crucial to a Council member’s success, and I feel honored that these two public servants will have supported me for my entire time of engagement in Portland issues.


I am looking forward to finishing strong with Tim and my team over the next 21 months.  And then, I plan to spend a lot of time in my back yard with my cat, watching the wildlife.

Shasta cat

April 5, 2019

Withdrawing from the Joint Terrorism Task Force

With leadership by Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty and the support of Commissioner Eudaly and me, today the Council starts a process of withdrawing Portland Police Bureau officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Joint Terrorism Task Force.  My reasons for voting with this direction are posted here.

February 13, 2019

Dr. Markisha Smith joins the Office of Equity and Human Rights

In partnership with Mayor Wheeler, I am excited to announce that Dr. Markisha Smith will join the Office of Equity and Human Rights as its new Director, starting February 11, 2019.  The Press Release is here!


January 23, 2019

Record-breaking City Sock Drive 2018!

Happy New Year, and thank you to everyone who participated in the 2018 City-Wide Employee Sock Drive! With your helpful giving, we collected 1,518 pairs of socks plus many other essential items for our most vulnerable neighbors living outside. This year we gathered 1,013 socks (612 pairs of men’s, 298 pairs of women’s, and 103 pairs of children’s) from City employees and visitors.





Additional donations included 505 pairs of socks from Sock it to Me, 19 scarves, 24 pairs of knit mittens, 7 pairs of gloves, 11 hats, 5 blankets, 5 pairs of shoes, 3 jackets, non-perishable goods and 5 sets of toys. All goods were distributed between JOIN: connecting the street to a home, Transition Projects, Inc., Janus Youth Programs, and Because People Matter - BridgeTown Inc.






Thanks to everyone for your outstanding charitable contributions and participation, and especially to Yesenia Carrillo on my staff who coordinated the project.  Above are photos of the socks collected this year, and here's one of Yesenia with our colleague MeeSeon Kwon.  Well done!

January 3, 2019

Revised Proposed 2019 Legislative Agenda

The Office of Government Relations staff have updated the City's Draft Legislative Agenda, based on feedback at the Town Hall hosted by the Mayor and me in November.  It's posted here.


Color coding:


Yellow: Already in Draft Legislative Agenda


Green: Added to Draft Legislative Agenda


Blue: Already in Draft Legislative Agenda

December 18, 2018

Legislative Priorities 2019

About 75 Portlanders attended the Town Hall held on 11/27/18 at PCC's Southeast Campus on SE 82nd/Division, to give Mayor Wheeler and me their advice on priorities for action at the State Legislature and Congress next year.




A summary of community input is posted here.  The next step is the City Council hearing to adopt a Recommended Agenda, currently scheduled for Wednesday, December 19 at 9:45 a.m.   Comments will be welcome after the Council meeting Agenda is posted - see my Next Up At City Council tab for details.  Thank you for engaging with your City Council to help set priorities!

December 10, 2018

Why I didn't support Mayor Wheeler's Protest Safety ordinance proposal

Many Portlanders have asked why I didn't support Mayor Wheeler's Protest Time, Place and Manner ordinance, so I posted my speech at the vote here.

November 14, 2018

Wapato won't work

A version of this post was published on line by The Oregonian 11/2/18.



Many Portlanders believe Wapato Jail is a logical, simple answer to our community’s mental health crisis.  They say, “Let’s use it as a residential substance abuse treatment center/mental health facility for people who would otherwise be incarcerated or living outside.  Wapato is secure.  It’s isolated away from neighborhoods.  It was built with a clinical component.  There is a high prevalence of substance use disorder and mental illness among people incarcerated or those who are living outside.  Just do it!”


Legal, logistical, and philosophical barriers make this impossible.


Legally, zoning limits the use of this site to “heavy industrial”.  An exception was made to the zoning requirement for Wapato because the facility would be used as a jail, and people would not be free to come and go. But this exception would not apply to a substance use treatment or mental health facility.  The City of Portland could theoretically change the zoning, but when the Council tried to put Right 2 Dream Too on an industrial site of less than a quarter acre, our decision was overturned by the state.  Also, legal Covenants, Codes and Restrictions with the adjoining businesses, governed by the Port of Portland, prohibit use of the facility for anything other than heavy industry or as a jail.  


Logistically, there is no public transportation to/from Wapato.  It is remote.  It takes 3 hours by a combination of buses and walking to reach from downtown.  There are no services nearby, and people would have to travel far to doctors, grocers, restaurants, work, or school.  Many people who experience houselessness and/or mental illness have children.  Families want to stay in their own neighborhoods, near their own schools and friends, not in an isolated industrial area.


Perhaps most important, using a jail as a substance use treatment center or mental health facility is inappropriate on philosophical grounds.  Putting people experiencing mental illnesses and/or houselessness at Wapato would cause people sheltered there additional trauma.   Problems at the Unity Center show even a facility designed and built to help people experiencing mental crises through their illness can struggle to provide safe, effective care.   I worked in inpatient Psychiatry at OHSU for 22 years, on units converted from the old Multnomah County Hospital.  We constantly battled to overcome the barriers to building community spirit among psychiatric patients, even in a facility built as a hospital.  I can’t even begin to imagine how staff would create a collaborative and soothing environment in a facility designed to punish people and keep them apart.


Even if all these challenges were magically addressed and Wapato could be transformed into a model substance use treatment center or mental health facility, the County simply doesn’t have the funds needed to operate and maintain it, unless many other treatment facilities and shelters were closed.  


Operating Wapato as a treatment facility would require $5 million annually in additional revenue.  Data shows the most cost-effective approaches to solving homelessness are to prevent people from losing their housing, and to re-house them as soon as possible.  If the City/County had an additional $5 million, a mass shelter/treatment center would not be the best use of those dollars.  Shelters are needed as a stopgap measure.  They are not the best use of taxpayers’ dollars in addressing the crisis on our streets.  Discussions on Wapato rarely discuss how ongoing revenue for operations might be generated. 


Jordan Schnitzer, the current Wapato owner, said, “Dream first, then get practical.” 


Government shouldn’t operate that way. 


Let’s learn from history.  Government doesn’t have the luxury of creating something without a solid plan for how to pay for it.  That’s why Wapato was never used as a jail in the first place.  Encouraged by the then-sheriff, voters supported building the facility…  but then voted to limit property taxes.  That prevented Multnomah County from generating the revenue to operate and maintain the jail.  Wapato has sat vacant ever since.   With Wapato in private ownership, it makes even less sense to find a new public use for the jail. 


It’s time to lay the Wapato Wish to rest, convert it into a warehouse or other industrial use, and move on.  Wapato is totally inappropriate for a mental health care treatment facility.


Multnomah County Commissioner Dr. Sharon Meieran is working on a systemic review and improvement plan for the County’s mental health care programs.  The Joint Office on Homeless Services is providing housing to thousands of Portlanders every year. There isn’t a magical instant solution for these needs.  Let’s stop pretending Wapato is it.

November 2, 2018

Office of Equity and Human Rights seeks Director

The Office of Equity and Human Rights is seeking a new Director!  For information and to apply, please see here.

October 30, 2018

Statement on Management of Protests

Portland is a community that values civic engagement and is renowned for vigorous expression of opinions in public.  The ongoing violence occurring between opposing groups on our streets is not acceptable.  In addition to the impacts on downtown residents, visitors, and businesses, violent protests pull Portland Police officers from vital work in neighborhoods throughout the city, endangering vulnerable populations.


I appreciate that Mayor Wheeler has invited the Council to set policy on how to address escalating conflict between demonstrators.  Any solution must be developed with community input – this is a community issue, and Portlanders are vital stakeholders whose rights and opinions must be considered.  The City is responsible for the safety of all Portlanders.  We must end these confrontations without damaging free speech and assembly rights guaranteed in the State and Federal Constitutions. 


I received the draft ordinance from Mayor Wheeler yesterday afternoon and met with the City Attorney’s Office immediately before the Mayor’s press conference.  I will work collaboratively with the Mayor and the rest of Council to ensure that we pursue a policy solution that is constitutional, enforceable, accountable, and addresses the needs of our community.  While I hope we can find a solution that all of Council can support as early as next Wednesday, I believe the process of reaching that outcome will be crucial to the policy’s success.

October 16, 2018

Apply to serve on the Public Campaign Finance Commission

Applications to join the Public Campaign Finance Commission (a.k.a. Open and Accountable Elections Commission) are now being accepted!



The City of Portland is seeking members for the Public Campaign Finance Commission, which will help implement and oversee the new Open and Accountable Elections program. The Open and Accountable Elections program seeks to reduce the influence of money in politics, enable Portlanders without affluent networks to run for and win elected office, and encourage election of people to the City Council and City Auditor who are reflective of and accountable to all Portlanders.  Information about the responsibilities and time commitment for the Public Campaign Finance Commission is here


To apply to serve on this Commission, please fill out the application form and submit it to Open and Accountable Elections Director Susan Mottet.


The first round of application review will begin on October 1.  Please forward this information to anyone who may be interested.

September 21, 2018

Parks accomplishments, Water and Equity opportunities

As of September 4 2018, I am no longer in charge of Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) … the honor of that assignment returns to Commissioner Nick Fish.  I will be in charge of the Portland Water Bureau (PWB) and the Office of Equity and Human Rights.  I am only the second woman ever to be in charge of the Water Bureau, after Portland’s first woman on the Council and first female Mayor, Dorothea McCullough Lee.  Like me, she was elected to the title of Commissioner of Public Utilities.  She served as the Water Bureau leader from 1943 – 1949.  I am grateful to follow her leadership.


This will be the first time I’ve been placed in charge of a utility bureau. One of my goals is to end my tenure with accolades similar to a City Commission report on Water Bureau operations in 1894:


“millions of dollars have been spent, a great public work carried to completion; no scandal exists; no charges of mal-administration are made; not even a hint of peculation is suggested….The work of the Committee is practically done.  It must be judged by its works.  The City of Portland will have a supply of water which for purity is probably unexcelled anywhere in the world.  How much this will count for the future health and happiness of its citizens cannot be measured.”


I am also now in charge of the Office of Equity and Human Rights, a bureau I created in 2011 with Mayor Sam Adams.  The Office was initiated to promote opportunities for all Portlanders in City jobs, contracts, and services.  While we have made progress in those areas, more improvements are needed.   I am excited to work with the staff in Equity, our community, and Mayor Wheeler to take this crucial work to the next level.  The Water Bureau offers a significant opportunity in this arena, with a $500,000 million investment in water protection upcoming and many good labor jobs within the bureau and in contracts every year.  PWB Director Mike Stuhr and Interim Equity Director Koffi Dessou will be my trusted partners.  Interim Parks Director Kia Selley is doing amazing work in PP&R, and has my full support as she works with Commissioner Fish.


I thank everyone who has supported, visited, and enjoyed our parks system during my time as Parks Commissioner. I have deeply appreciated the opportunity to work with thousands of hard-working, dedicated staff and community members. I am more than happy with all the great accomplishments we have achieved together! The hard work and advocacy of many people in our community has led to significant investments throughout our City including:

  • Allocating more than $65 million towards closing park service gaps in East Portland
  • Creating six new parks – Luuwit View, Gateway Discovery, Gateway Green, Spring Garden, Khunamokwst, and Cully
  • Dedicating over $28 million to build Errol Heights and Parklane Parks over the next few years
  • Expanding inclusive play areas all over the city, and designating three new parks as fully-integrated adaptive play areas - Gateway Discovery, Couch, and Gabriel.  When Couch and Gabriel are completed, there will be inclusive parks in N, NW, SW, and East Portland
  • Passing and implementing the $68 million Parks Fix Our Parks Bond,
  • The largest five-year expansion of restroom capacity in PP&R’s history, including significant investments in all-user facilities, the spectacular Pioneer Courthouse Square restroom renovation, and ten new loos
  • Creating/updating Master Plans at Mill, Midland, SE 150th/Division and Washington Parks
  • Creating an Equity Manager and team to ensure that issues of equity are considered as a top priority for the bureau, and empowering employees to create and advance the Racial Equity Plan and Accessibility Transition Plan
  • Creating the Parks for New Portlanders Program
  • Expanding the Park Ranger team, especially in underserved areas of the City
  • Improving labor relations and supporting creation of new bargaining units for Recreation and Rangers, with over 100 new union positions
  • Creating City policy that has mandated allocation of over $60 million so far towards major maintenance needs in infrastructure bureaus including PP&R

Special thanks to the staff in my office who have been particularly engaged in Parks issues: Tom Bizeau, Patti Howard, Tim Crail, Pooja Bhatt, and Cristina Nieves.  I am grateful to all the wonderful staff in Parks, and to our labor partners particularly Laborers 483 who organized the Rangers and Recreation staff in addition to their staunch advocacy for maintenance workers.  Thanks to the Parks Board and Parks Foundation staff and volunteers, too.  The bureau depends on your leadership, support and advocacy.


My passion for Parks started long before I was elected as a City Commissioner, and was strengthened by my five+ years as Parks Commissioner. Portland's park system must be accessible to all.  Being in charge of the Office of Equity and Human Rights will allow me to continue to pursue actions that will increase access for all Portlanders, in Parks and all other City bureaus. With Commissioner Nick Fish the next Parks Commissioner, I know that Parks will be left in good hands.  He has been a strong Parks supporter throughout my time as Parks Commissioner, and I am confident that the work we have started will continue under his leadership. I will of course continue to advocate for Parks, and I know community members and staff will continue to do so too.  Portland’s parks depend on you!

September 3, 2018

Previous Articles | RSS Feed
Blog Entries
Proposed Charter Amendments
2019-20 Budget Speech
Please take the Portland Community Insights Survey
2020 Plans
Withdrawing from the Joint Terrorism Task Force
Dr. Markisha Smith joins the Office of Equity and Human Rights
Record-breaking City Sock Drive 2018!
Revised Proposed 2019 Legislative Agenda
Legislative Priorities 2019
Why I didn't support Mayor Wheeler's Protest Safety ordinance proposal
Wapato won't work
Office of Equity and Human Rights seeks Director
Statement on Management of Protests
Apply to serve on the Public Campaign Finance Commission
Parks accomplishments, Water and Equity opportunities
Severance Agreements
The Comprehensive Plan, Zoning, and Portland's Housing Supply
Building Heights in relation to Housing Units
Women's History Month 2018
Statement on the houseless encampment at the Big Four Corners Natural Area in NE Portland
How to Apply for City of Portland Jobs
Love, not hate
Apply for a City Grant today!
Governor Brown's summary of 2017 Legislature's work
Bureau Assignments June 2017
Apology, Clarification and Invitation - Letter sent to my City staff regarding all-user restrooms
Successful City Sock Drive 2016
Portland Parks & Recreation offers Winter Break swimming
Portland Commission on Disability seeks new members
Public Hearing for Proposed Short Term Rental Enforcement - 12/16/16, 12 noon to 2 p.m.
Council Work Session on the Marijuana Policy Program
Legislative Agenda Issue Identification & Training - December 1, 2016
Portland Police Association contract
Information on Proposed Union Contract with the Portland Police Association
Hoyt Arboretum Friends Foundation is Hiring an Executive Director
2016 Spirit of Portland Nominations now open
Risks of Exposure from Wireless Devices
How to report concerns regarding people living outside
Council Agenda Posting Changes
Information on lead issues in Parks facilities
Applications being accepted to join the Portland Parks Board
The Plan for ending Houselessness
Successful City Sock Drive 2015!
City Sock Drive 2015
Dog Whistle Politics
Portland Parks Foundation seeks new Executive Director
Hearing on SB 921, the Fritz-Fairchild Act, Monday April 6 at 1 p.m.
Speech on rejoining Joint Terrorism Task Force, 2/25/15
Apply to be on the Community Oversight Advisory Board
City Sock Drive
Give your input on a crucial contract NOW!
Volunteers needed for Tree Code Oversight Advisory Committee
Old Town Chinatown plans
Technology Oversight Committee Vacancy
Volunteers needed for Development Review Advisory Committee
How to schedule accommodations for meetings needing American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters
Portland's oversight of Landslide Hazards
Outstanding public school students win golf-related scholarships
Applications invited to join the Parks Board
Job opening for Compliance Officer/Community Liaison for the Police-Department of Justice Settlement Agreement
Mountain Biking in Forest Park and other Portland Parks
Forest Park Project Objective Screening Tool
Two new parks for East Portland
Volunteers needed for Golf Advisory Committee
Volunteers needed for Adjustment Committee and Historic Review Commission
Response to mistletoe selling without a permit
Winter Shelter options
Really really interesting statistics
Landlord Education Classes
Agreement reached on moving the historic Rayworth House
At-Large Members needed for Washington Park Transportation Management Association Board
Thoughts on Development Services and Parks, four weeks later
The Power of One
Speech at the vote on the City's 2013 - 14 budget
Response to Petition on Saving the Mounted Patrol
Reminder: Front desk job opening in my office, applications due Sunday 5 p.m.
Job opening in my Office
Portland Passes Protected Sick Leave ordinance
Volunteers needed for the Portland Utility Review Board
Draft Police Use of Force Policy revisions posted
Email of the Week, on gun violence
Comment period open for Regional Transportation investments
Foreclosure assistance that works
Earned Sick Leave forum and process
Earned Sick Leave Proposal
Lower cost Landline Phone Service, Cell and Internet Options
NW Parking Plan - Proposed Amendments
Thankful for Street Roots, and local businesses
Feast for Southeast on Thanksgiving Day
Comments regarding Department of Justice Settlement Agreement
City Budget Office, Next Steps
OHSU Magnet Celebration
City Budget Office proposal
City moves further into the 21st Century
Sunday Parkways in East Portland
Transit Tickets for Oct 3 Stand Down Day for Veterans
Statement on Appeal of Frashour ruling
Cascade Aids Project walk
Feeling suicidal? Don't call 9-1-1. Call 503-97-23456
Central City Concern Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Hooper Program
Recycling Facility Tour
The Big Float 2012
Golden Leaf Education Foundation Fundraiser
Honkin' Huge Burritos Day
City Commits to Formalize Relationships with Tribal Partners
Police Bureau Recruiting Community Police Officers
Submit Nominations for Awards! Plan a Party!
A family's experience with Autism
Help Prevent Homelessness for Larry
U.S. Conference of Mayors adopts Four Portland Initiatives
Expanded Coverage for Autism Treatment
City of Portland family's Kate Sinnott is Rose Festival Queen
Sunnyside Environmental School students visit City Hall
Community Empowerment Funding
Franklin HS graduation, and Kali Ladd on the City's Support for Education
Starlight Parade 2012
Comments on the new Urban Renewal Area for PSU
Visitors from Turkey
Promise Walk for Pre-eclampsia
Graffiti Cleanup with the 2012 Rose Festival Court
Lisa Jackson, EPA head, visits Portland
Why upcoming GirlStrength/WomenStrength classes matter
Congratulations, Portland Public Schools
NAMI Walk 2012
Walk to Work Day
2011 High School Graduation Rates
Buckman Pool - Budget meeting tonight
Chinese New Year Celebrations
Willamette Pedestrian Coalition Annual Meeting
Willamette River Recreation Strategy
PCC Future Connect Scholarship Program
Pirates of Madison High
President F.W. de Klerk's visit
Job openings in the 9-1-1 center
ANB Camp 49 Event
Publicizing Fundraisers
Introducing Dante J. James, Director of the Office of Equity and Human Rights
2011 By the Numbers - Report Card
East Portland Action Plan Annual Report
State Legislative Update 2/3/12
Piccolo Park Water Fountain Fundraiser
Love World Run
Earthquake Preparedness
Proposed Changes to the Portland Charter
Dr. Herman Frankel on the City Council's Corporate Personhood resolution
26th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Skanner Foundation breakfast
TriMet budget survey
City Socks Drive Successful Again
56 days that changed my life
Iraqi Society of Oregon Cultural Integration Series Graduation
Great jobs in the Plumbers and Steamfitters trades
Hillsdale Mural Celebration
Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen
Willamette River Recreation Strategy - comments requested
Volunteers of America Home Free Event
Service Coordination Team Graduation
A young life lost - How you can help
Sisters of the Road Auction on now through Dec 1
Constitutional Rights of assembly and governance
Native American Heritage Month Marketplace
Patience and sleep-deprivation
City of Portland's bank use
Office of Equity and Human Rights Seeks Director - Job posting sent nationwide - please forward to qualified people who may be interested
Occupy Portland camps endanger vulnerable people
Central City Concern Homeless Action fundraiser
Emergency TEST this Wednesday Nov 9 - do NOT call 9-1-1
Spirit of Portland Awards
Clara Peoples, Mother of Junteenth in Portland
Margaret Carter PCC Technical Education Building Dedication
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Gretchen Kafoury
Occupy Portland
Letter Carriers Union Rally
Shine a Light on Addiction and Recovery
Changing Police policies and procedures
Please complete the Street Roots survey
City Internship, City Job
Improvements to the Time, Place and Manner ordinance governing liquor licensed establishments
Parkrose Centennial Celebration
Walk to End Alzheimers, Walk to Defeat ALS
Remembering 9/11/01, in Portland 2011
Gateway First Reponder Tribute and Citizen of the Year
Office of Equity Creation Hearing
Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber fundraiser dinner
Sunday in the sun
Saturdays are for Service
Portland should seek relief on EPA Drinking Water mandates
My vote against the bike rental project
Equity Office Creation Ordinance, Public Review Draft
Somali American Council of Oregon
MAX Red Line successful, Ten Years on
National Night Out
Delightful Sunday Events in SW, NE, SE and North Portland
Weeding the grounds, or building community pride?
East Portland Expo Extravaganza
World Cup Winners
Apply to Serve on the Public Involvement Advisory Council
BOEC User Board citizen members
Volunteers invited for Technology Oversight Committee, and for 2011 Charter Commission
Job Opening in my Office, and other City hiring opportunities
State Legislative Update 6/24/11
Knights of Rosaria
State Legislative Update 6/19/11
State Legislative Update 6/10/11
State Legislative Update, end of May
Information on the Clean and Safe Program, for May 2011
City opens 2011 Spirit of Portland Award nominations
SB 346: Common Sense protections for callers to 9-1-1
The 9-1-1 computer: On time, under budget, and it works
Op-Ed in Street Roots on Street Performers
Vote daily to help Capitol Hill School
Parade Season kicks off on 82nd Avenue of Roses
State Legislative Update 4/29/11
Comments on JTTF Vote 4/28/11
Mid-term statistics
Hollyrood Kindergartners Cuter, Better Singers than Sam and Amanda
Portland's Homes for Heroes program
Rosemary Anderson High School's Roberta Phillip Scholars
Mud, trees, and David Douglas High students
Frosty Trio
News from the Oregon Legislature, 3/21/11
Marshall's Last Princess
Update on Wireless Facilities in neighborhoods
Another example of the benefits of the Commission form of government : the JTTF debate
2011 Charter Commission convenes today, 1/24/11
Street Roots' Analysis on Ending Homelessness
Portland Police 2011 Awards Ceremony
Thank you for using my web site
Successful Second Sock Drive
Oregon Civil Rights Stories Project
Charter Commission, Part 1
FREE Street Stories Film Festival this weekend
Apply to be on the Oversight Committee for the Historical Society Levy
Children, Parents and Partners of Prisoners
Thankful for people with the Spirit of Portland
Portland Community Media Workshop on Digital Storytelling
Updated Information on Leaf Removal Options
Monday Nov 8 Veterans' event at Reynolds High School
Citizen Involvement Statistics from the Auditor's Annual Survey
Questions/concerns about the Leaf Collection program/fee?
Help Beaumont School win a $100k grant
New Record
Congratulations, Commissioner!
Sidewalk Management Citations data
Update on Alcohol Impact Area proposal
Beautiful Mural to combat Graffiti
Proposed Alcohol Impact Area
Opting out of receiving Phone Books
Cigarette butts are a problem
National Women's Health Week
Graffiti Grants announced in Southeast Uplift
My office philosophy
West Hayden Island Resolution 7/29/10
What to do with West Hayden Island?
Funding for basic emergency services
Community Service Volunteers
Uncut version of Wireless OpEd
Council Resolution on Arizona S.B. 1070
Weekend Update
Positive events in East Portland
Great Blue Heron Week
Saving money, sending money
G.R.E.A.T. Graffiti Cleanup
Nominate citizens for the Sy Award
Council Wellness Challenge Activities
Nominate Portlanders for the Governor's Volunteer Awards
Ruffled feathers
Proposed Amendments on Schools and Parks Code Project
Please sign up for the NAMI Walk, 5/23/10
Memorial Coliseum planning
Please cut our budget
Urban beauty
Vote every day, to win Google
Actions for improving community mental health care services
New members needed for the Portland Utility Review Board
Springtime in Portland
Portland's application to Google
Regional Graffiti work
Elder Friendly
$20 million "for bike projects from sewer rates"?
Additional Public Hearing on Independent Police Review changes
Working Waterfront
What you should know about the Census
Prescription Drug Turn-in event this Saturday
Ship Photography
Southeast Uplift wins Community Solar Leadership award
Community and Police Relations work
Working River
Statement on funding for MLS soccer
Filing Non-emergency Police Reports on line
Proud of Portland's 9-1-1 service
Register and Vote
Take a fire safety quiz and help Portland Fire & Rescue
City Superheroes Support Sock Solicitation
Hawthorne Bridge
Spirit of Portland Awards feedback requested
Your Voice requested, on community information technology
Frozen stiff
Safety and Fines on the Portland Mall
Crime Statistics from Multnomah County
Hollywood Veterans' Day Parade
Crime Prevention, Business Promotion, and Community Building in Overlook
Burnside Bridge
Guidance on when to seek medical care for flu symptoms
Coming Down The Pike
Cute Blazer Fan and Terry Porter
Lower Cost Comcast Cable Options
Council Supports H.R. 676, National Health Care Act
Useful Police Services links
Useful Transportation and Street Services links
Oaks Bottom
Preparing for flu season
Sharing Public Spaces Report
Still Soaring
Comments on Transit Oriented Tax Abatement
Labor of Love and Landscaping in Lents
Prescription drug turn-in event
Our Urban Willamette
TriMet Passes for City Employees
Multnomah Days Parade, and more
Sign Up for Kids' Health Care today!
National Night Out parties
YWCA Fundraiser
Comments on the Sharing Public Spaces meetings
Interesting Article on Portland Soccer funding
Conversing about Race
City Lights
Interested in the Rose Quarter?
Restorative Listening
Marquam Bridge
Women/Children's Health Survey
Division-Clinton Parade
Comments on Bull Run water treatment
Bull Run Watershed tour
Comments on PGE Park deals
Recreational River
Yay for Portlanders!
Remember December?
Good discussion!
City of Roses
Comments on Soccer/Baseball
More Progress on Health Care
Thoughts on helping people living outside
Citizen Representative Needed
Comments on 39th/Chavez Street Renaming
Good in the Hood Parade
Good article on Neighborhood Associations
Help with Health Insurance Coverage
2009 Pride Parade
Help Affording Prescription Drugs
Renting and worried about foreclosure?
Starlight Parade
Resolution on Potential Health Impacts of Wireless Facilities
Progress on providing health care coverage for children
Parade season!
Short-term extension on Sidewalk Obstructions Ordinance
Roseway Mural Dedication
From Amanda's Mailbox, on Helping with Homelessness
Made in Oregon sign - update
World Water Day, Sunday 3/22
The Great Soccer Debate
City Council hearings
Columbia River Bridge Discussion
Westside Express Service
Radon Awareness Month - Radon in your home can kill you, and you don't need to move to fix the problem
Citizen Representatives needed - Bureau of Communications User Board
Go Blazers! - Amanda at the January 2nd Portland Trailblazers game
Visual breaks
Join my team
Barge Launch with Tom Sass