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City Hall Watch: Hearings on Central City Plan roll over into next year
The City Council ran out of time to hear from all of the 140 witnesses signed up to testify on the Central City Plan update on Thursday, but announced a lengthy schedule of additional public hearings before the final vote, which is tentatively scheduled for next March.
Many of those who testified Thursday opposed increasing building heights in various parts of the downtown area to encourage more residential and employment towers.
No one opposed the significant increases proposed for the U.S. Post Office distribution center that the city bought last year and plans to redevelop as a dense new neighborhood, however.
Additional hearings are scheduled for Sept. 14 and 28, Oct. 18, Nov. 2,
Dec. 6 and Jan. 18. Written testimony also is still being accepted and added to the record.
Police commanders encouraged to live within city limits
The City Council voted 4-0 on Wednesday to pay police command staff an additional 5 percent if they live within Portland boundaries. Commissioner Dan Saltzman was absent.
The premium will apply to captains, commanders, assistant chiefs and newly selected chief Danielle Outlaw, if they live in the city. Mayor Ted Wheeler appointed Outlaw as the next chief. She is expected to take office Oct. 2.
Wheeler sponsored the ordinance and said it will improve trust between the community and the police. According to the Bureau of Human Resources, the premium will cost the city between $30,000 and $50,000 a year.
City forestry plans need to be aligned
According to an audit released last Wednesday, although the new Tree Code adopted in 2015 appears to be achieving some of its goals, Portland's Urban Forest Management Plan needs to be updated, and both should be aligned with other priorities, such as housing affordability and housing.
The City Auditor's Office says the percentage of trees preserved in development projects increased the year after the new code was adopted. But some trees are less protected under the code, fees may be increasing housing costs, and outdated software makes it difficult to accurately track all results.
Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who oversees the Urban Foresty Commssion, says the council will discuss potential fixes later this year. You can read the audit and responses at: bit.ly/2eCYVvN