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Hales hands out surprising bureau assignments

Mayor Charlie Hales reassigned the bureaus to members of the Portland City Council on Monday. The assignments are effective 8 a.m. Tuesday, June 4.

“Holding the bureaus under the mayor’s auspices allowed us to tackle the worst city budget anyone remembers, with a $21.5 million shortfall,” Hales said. “That’s done. It’s time to move forward with our commission mode of government.”

There are many surprises in the assignments. Hales took the Office of Neighborhood Involvement from Commissioner Amanda Fritz, its longtime champion. He gave both the Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services Bureau to Fish, despite anger from fluoride opponents over his vote to fluoridate Portland's water and move the petition-forced election up one year. He took the Parks Bureau from Commissioner Nick Fish, who was working on its next bond measure, and gave it to Fritz. He also took the Housing Bureau from Fish, who had preserved senior housing and pushed for Bud Clark Commons, and gave it to Commissioner Dan Saltzman. He gave the Fire Bureau to Saltzman instead of Commissioner Steve Novick, who had advocated for changes to it. And he gave the Bureau of Transportation to Novick, despite having picked its current director.

Effective Tuesday, bureau assignments include:

Mayor Charlie Hales

• Portland Police Bureau

• Portland Development Commission

• Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

• Office of Neighborhood Involvement

• Office of Equity and Human Rights

• Office of Management and Finance

• Office of Government Relations

• City Attorney

• City Budget Office

• Fire & Police Disability and Retirement – Mayor Hales

• Oversight of the Willamette River Super Fund clean-up project.

Commissioner Dan Satzman

• Bureau of Housing

• Bureau of Fire & Rescue

• Gateway Domestic Violence Center

• Portland Children’s Investment Fund (Children’s Levy)

• Liaison to the League of Oregon Cities; Travel Portland; Visitors Development Fund; and Home Forward

Commissioner Nick Fish

• Bureau of Environmental Services

• Water Bureau

• Regional Arts and Culture Council

• Liaison to Elders in Action; Regional Water Consortium Board; Venture Portland; Water Quality Advisory Committee; and Portland Utility Review Board

Commissioner Amanda Fritz

• Bureau of Parks & Recreation

• Bureau of Development Services

• Liaison to Royal Rosarians; BDS Adjustment Committee; Building Board of Appeals; County Animal Control

Commissioner Steve Novick

• Bureau of Transportation

• Bureau of Emergency Management

• Bureau of Emergency Communications

• Liaison to: Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT); Portland Streetcar Inc.; Regional Emergency Management Group; BOEC Users Group; BOEC Finance Committee; Taxi Cab Board of Review; Towing Board of Review

When Mayor Hales took over the bureaus in February, he said he wanted to create a “board of directors” on the City Council. “I wanted commissioners asking tough questions about all of the bureaus, not just about ‘their’ bureau,” he said.

“I feel we accomplished that. Now we have to keep it up,” Hales said. “I’ve shaken up the bureau assignments and have given commissioners new bureaus, where possible. This will allow commissioners to interact, and to share their passion and knowledge for the various bureaus. We also will continue our new practice of combining two commissioners as a subcommittee, focusing on some particular problem or opportunity for Portland.”