Portland, OR

Thursday in Portland: Portland parks, wastewater, transportation workers go on strike after no agreement reached

Emily Scarvie

Photo by(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Thursday, Jan. 2 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Portland parks, wastewater, transportation workers go on strike after no agreement reached

After no agreement was reached during a Wednesday mediation session with the City of Portland, hundreds of members of Laborers International Union of North America Local 483 went on strike at midnight. The city said it will share potential impacts on Thursday and is moving forward with contingency plans. Mayor Ted Wheeler issued an emergency declaration last Thursday that allows the city to hire or re-allocate staff to ensure “continuity of services.”

According to the union, negotiations between union representatives and the city have gone on for around 10 months. They represent workers in Portland’s wastewater treatment, pollution testing, street maintenance and park ranger services. City workers delivered a notice of intent to strike on Jan. 24.

2. Oregon ranks last in U.S. for addiction recovery services, Oregon Recovers group rallies for change

Oregon currently has the second-highest untreated addiction rate in the U.S., but ranks last in providing addiction treatment access. On Wednesday, nearly 100 Oregonians rallied outside the state Capitol for better addiction and recovery treatment options statewide.

“When somebody is ready to get sober and clean, it’s the gift of desperation we talk about,” Jessica Mccurdy, a recovering addict, told KGW. “And that could be minutes or even hours, so we need to have access to a place for us to go when we are struggling and when we need it and when we want to get help that moment.”

Many seeking treatment in Oregon wait weeks for a bed to open up. State representatives say they’re hoping to change that soon.

Oregon Recover’s next event, “Walk 4 Recovery,” is scheduled for Sept. 24 at 10 a.m. in Portland.

3. PPS announces hiring freeze, leaner budget

Portland Public Schools announced this week that it will implement a hiring freeze in its central office and likely downsize some of its staffing. It’s the first budget tightening measure announced by the district this year, as it prepares to go into the 2023-24 school year with less state funding.

“To mitigate rising expenses and limited revenue, we will freeze central office hiring, sweep unused central office funds, and identify the minimal central infrastructure we need to support the work in our schools moving forward,” Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero said in a latter to families. “We’re planning to align classroom staffing with our student population, and continue investments in high-quality professional development and summer programming.”

Last year, PPS reported that it lost 3,000 students between 2020 and 2022. The district said it expects to lose about 500 more students next year and signaled a “leaner budget” going forward.

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