Portland, OR

Tuesday in Portland: Old Town 'reset' shows progress, Portland Charter Commission voting on reforms

Emily Scarvie

(Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Tuesday, June 14 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Old Town 'reset' shows progress, but there's still more to be done

On Monday, the Old Town Community Association announced progress in their “90-day reset” of the neighborhood, which was launched in March of this year to clean up the streets, get the unhoused into shelters and improve overall safety in Old Town.

According to Jessie Burke, the chair of the association, there are now 64% fewer tents in the neighborhood and 92 new beds for the unhoused. In addition, 19,000 square feet of graffiti have been removed and the neighborhood now has a crew of three people who pick up garbage daily.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler also attended Monday’s press conference and highlighted the progress made, but acknowledged there’s still a lot of work to do. He said if the reset is successful, it could serve as a model for other neighborhoods experiencing similar issues across Portland.

2. Portland Charter Commission voting on 3 major reforms to city's government, elections

Over the past several months, the Portland Charter Commission has held meetings, gathered information, talked with community members and moved the process along in regards to a significant change in the city’s form of government and elections. On Tuesday night, the commission will take the final vote on a package of reforms with three major changes:

  • Allowing voters to rank candidates in order of their preference, using ranked choice voting
  • Four new geographic districts with three members elected to represent each district, expanding the city council to a total of 12 members
  • A city council that focuses on setting policy and a mayor elected citywide to run the city’s day-to-day operations, with the help of a professional city administrator

If the vote is a super-majority, the commission will “review timeline to November election, including ballot measure filing, public education and political activities restrictions.” If it’s not a super-majority vote, they’ll review other options. Portland is the only major U.S. city to still use a city commission form of government.

3. National Weather Service issues flood warning for Columbia River near Portland and Vancouver

Following an unusually wet stretch of weather caused by an atmospheric river over the weekend, the Columbia River has been pushed to flood stage along Vancouver and Portland. The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning, and people can expect minor flooding of parks and trails in those areas.

On Monday, river levels passed 16 feet in Vancouver, the highest recorded since May 2017. The highest recorded river level was 33.6 feet in June 1894.

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