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Marijuana couriers, affordable housing, campaign financing, more this week at the City Council
In the last-minute rush to complete its ambitious agenda before Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick leave office at the end of the year, the City Council has schedule three days of hearings with a number of significant measure this coming week, not just the usual two.
In the last-minute rush to complete its ambitious agenda before Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick leave office at the end of the year, the City Council has scheduled three days of hearings with a number of significant measures this coming week, not just the usual two.
Items include measures to allow marijuana delivery couriers, create an Inclusionary Housing policy, approve a public campaign finance program, and buy a 263-unit apartment complex with Affordable Housing bond proceeds for $47 million.
The extra day was added to hear the Inclusionary Housing proposal originally scheduled for last Thursday, before the hearing was cancelled because of the snow and ice storm. It will be heard on Tuesday, a day usually reserved for work session that are council briefings without public testimony.
The proposal submitted by Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman includes two measures that would require multi-family developers to set aside a number of less-expensive units in their developments. He says the proposal includes incentives to offset the lost revenue of the less-expensive units.
Some developers oppose the measure, however, saying the requirement would make it too hard to finance their projects, resulting in fewer multi-family being built in Portland in the futue. The hearing begins at 9 a.m. and is scheduled for three hours but could last longer.
The next set of hearings is set for Wednesday, which is normally the first day of the council two-day weekly schedule. Major items include a requirement proposal by Hales that people selling their single-family homes have an energy audit conduct to be shared with potential buyers.
Also on the agenda is Commissioner Amanda Fritz's proposed public campaign finance program, officially called the Open and Accountable Elections Process. It is expected to pass, with Fritz, Hales and Novick indicated support when it was first heard last week.
In addition, the council will discuss buying an existing apartment complex in Northwest Portland with some of the money from the $258 million affordable housing bond approved by Portland voters at the November general election. The 263-unit Ellington apartments is on the marker and Saltzman is asking the council to buy it for $47 million. Up to $3 million would be spent on repairs and deferred maintenance.
Currently, 44 of the units are reserved as affordable housing. If the sale goes through, all of them would be, with 80 reserved for households earning 30 percent or less of the median family income, and 139 reserved for families earning 60 percent or less of it.
Also on Wednesday, the council will consider a measure submitted by Fritz to allow retail couriers to deliver marijuana to customers. City policies currently prohibit such delivery services. The measure makes other changes in the city's recreational and medcal marijuana regulations, too. Fritz oversees the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, which regulates such businesses.
The council will also consider the ordinances and legal findings to adopted the updated Comprehensive Plan intended to guide growth in Portland for the next 20 years. Among other things, it directs how the 123,000 additional households expected by 2035 will be distributed throughout the city. Detailed plans for various components will be considered by the council next year.
And on Wednesday, th council vote on a measure submitted by Hales to ban new and expanded fossil fuel storage facilities in the city. It was postponed from last Thursday.
Then on Thursday, the council will consider a measure submitted by Novick to ease the requirement that new multi-family developments provide on-site parking and expand parking permit programs on city streets to accommodate existing residents. Novick oversees the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
The council will also consider a resolution from Novick to extend the Corporate Securities No-Buy List to Dec. 31, 2017. The city is not allowed to invest in the securities on the list. It includes Wal-Mart and fossil fuel companies. The resolution proposes to add Credit Suisse and Nestle Holdings to the list.
You can read the agendas for all three days at www.portlandoregon.gov/auditor/26997.