Sources: City needs more time to tackle thorny housing issue
Are Portland and Multnomah County losing the fight against homelessness and the affordable housing crisis — or just needing a lot more time to win it?
The City Council first declared a State of Housing and Emergency in October 2015. Since then, the city and county have committed hundreds of millions of additional dollars to more homeless services and additional affordable housing, including creating the Joint Office of Homeless Services.
But the council was scheduled to extend the housing state of emergency for the fourth and longest time this week. It was scheduled for one year in 2015 and again in 2016. Then it was extended by 18 months in October 2017. Now it's being extended for two years, until April 2021 — or five and one-half years after the emergency was first declared.
Parks director faces challenges
New Portland Parks & Recreation Director Adena Long started work Tuesday with two challenging priorities.
The first will be to help her boss, Commissioner Nick Fish, figure out how to close a looming $6.3 million shortfall of the bureau's general fund budget next year. The solution likely will involve a mix of layoffs and fee increases for bureau programs.
Long says she repeatedly dealt with budget issues while working her way up the ranks of the New York Department of Parks & Recreation, where she served as deputy commissioner before taking her new job. Long says she could tell by reading recent PP&R budgets that there were problems before she took it.
The other challenge will be helping Fish launch and manage the first update of PP&R's vision in 18 year at the same time. She is scheduled to talk about the project before the Portland Parks Foundation during an evening panel discussion on the parks owned and operated by the city and Metro on March 11 at Portland Center Stage at The Armory, 128 N.W. 11th Ave.