With summer coming to a close and children starting school this week, I wanted to provide a few brief updates on the priorities I have been focusing on this summer.
First, I voted with Metro Council to take an important step forward regarding the Oregon Convention Center Hotel. Voting to advance this project was not a decision I took lightly. In fact, I came to Council highly skeptical of this project. It is important to note that project funding does not come from schools or human services, which I hold as the highest of priorities, but from the visitor development fund—a fund dedicated to bringing tourism dollars to our region. With this project we have the potential to create hundreds of well paid construction jobs, jobs for minority and women owned businesses, long-term jobs targeted for residents of Northeast Portland, and all the economic benefits provided by a thriving convention business. My comments about this decision can be seen in this attached three-minute video:
As you know, a key reason I ran for Metro was to ensure that everyone has the opportunity, regardless of their income, race, age, or disability, to access our quality of life and economic success. A few weeks ago, I helped launch Metro’s Equity Strategy Advisory Committee. This impressive group of volunteers will help us identify how to better serve all residents in our region. I look forward to implementing strategies that ensure every resident has the opportunity to enjoy the great quality of life for which this region is known. Additionally, we are now looking for a new manager to build this program out over the next three years. Please consider applying or passing along the job description to folks who have the skills and passion to make this program successful.
Last June I wrote about an important project in the St. Johns Neighborhood: a trail through the former St. Johns Landfill, which is now in a beautiful prairie-like setting and is a key segment of the North Portland Greenway.
Here is an Oregonian article that includes my comments and provides more background about this project: St. Johns Landfill, now wildlife sanctuary, could be open to the public with state transportation money.
A number of other important projects are under consideration for funding through the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, including the St. Johns Truck Strategy. The committee that decides on this funding is making its recommendation very soon. Please consider attending its next meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 2pm and testifying in support of projects important to you.
As the chair of the North Portland Enhancement Committee, I was pleased that our request for proposals for capacity building grants generated much interest. This committee will soon award several $35,000-$50,000 grants to help nonprofits build long-term strategies to continue serving neighborhoods in North Portland. Funding was available as mitigation from the now closed St. John’s landfill and is intended to provide long-term benefits to communities in North Portland. See link to learn more about the grant program and the North Portland Enhancement Committee.
Finally, we are now kicking off the 2013 Metro Central Enhancement Grant cycle. Apply now if you or your organization makes positive impacts in Northwest Portland or the Cathedral Park community. The application process closes on Oct. 9.
These are just a few highlights of Metro’s accomplishments this season. Please consider joining Metro’s newsfeed to keep current on these issues and receive regular updates.
I hope your summer has been fantastic and look forward to hearing from you about these and any other issues.