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Plus, Portland could move more efficiently against 'zombie homes' and other problem properties with foreclosure reforms to be considered by the City Council on Wednesday.

What happened: Commissioner Chloe Eudaly announced a new on-demand ride service for people with disabilities — and last week called on Portlanders to help defeat a bill in the 2019 Oregon Legislature that would eliminate its funding.

How it works: People with disabilities and seniors can call PDX WAV at 503-865-4WAV (503-865-4928) anytime to schedule a wheelchair accessible Lyft, Uber or taxi ride.

PDX WAV is a partnership between the Portland Bureau of Transportation, which Eudaly oversees, the Lyft and Uber ride-sharing businesses, local taxi companies, and Ride Connect, a nonprofit that specializes in transportation for seniors and people with disabilities.

The catch: PDX WAV is funded by a 50-cent surcharge on Uber and Lyft rides and permit fees paid by taxi companies. House Bill 3023 would pre-empt the ability of cities to regulate ride-sharing services and would impose the surcharge. If it passes, PDX WAV would have to compete against other existing city programs for funding.

Why it matters: Providing wheelchair accessible rides has always been challenging because of the limited number of specialized vehicles in the ride-sharing and taxi fleets. PDX WAV allows those in need to call one number to order such a vehicle instead of mandating that each business find the next available one. The City Council promised ride-sharing companies would provide the service when it authorized them to operate in Portland.

What you can do: If you agree with Eudaly, you can find contact information for your legislator and others in Salem at oregonlegislature.gov. Click on "Find Your District and Legislators" on the right-hand side of the page. You also can track the progress of HB 3023 and all other legislation there.

To learn more: Visit pdxwav.com.

Council to consider foreclosure reforms

Portland could move more efficiently against problem properties — including "zombie homes" — under a long overdue reform to be considered by the City Council on Wednesday, March 6.

Portland City Auditor Mary Hull Caballero has proposed streamlining the city's foreclosure process. The reform was first recommended in a 2012 performance audit of the city's liens, collections and foreclosure processes.

The ordinance introduced by Hull Caballero would remove her office from the process, allowing properties recommended for foreclosure by the Bureau of Development Services to move directly to the Revenue Division of the Bureau of Revenue and Financial Services for collection — and then to the council for final foreclosure approval, if all else fails.

A multipart investigation undertaken by the Portland Tribune in 2016 documented the problems caused by neglected and abandoned properties in Portland neighborhoods. The series prompted former Mayor Charlie Hales to convince the council to adopt some reforms in June 2016. But he did not propose removing the auditor's office from the process, despite the 2012 performance audit.

You can read a previous Portland Tribune story on the issue at www.tinyurl.com/y5sha6t2.


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