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Plus, anti-displacement plan still in the works as City Council considers redevelopment policies and the Portland campaign funding program faces a deadline

CITY OF PORTLAND - The code change presentation at the South Tabor Neighborhood Association.The City Council is now scheduled to hold a public hearing on the controversial proposed civic engagement reforms from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at a yet-to-be-determined location. The proposal has been drafted by the Office of Community and Civic Life at the direction of the council.

The proposal is controversial because it would remove all references to neighborhood associations, neighborhood coalitions, and neighborhood business associations from the civic engagement provisions of the City Code.

Office Director Suk Rhee is scheduled to discuss the proposal with one of its most vocal critics, the Multnomah Neighborhood Association, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, at the Multnomah Arts Center.

As currently written, the director would be expected to adopt a list of organizations recognized in the engagement process in an administrative rule. The proposed rule includes all of the organizations that would be removed from the code, and adds the following six new partners: Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization; Latino Network; Momentum Alliance; Native American Youth and Family Center; Unite Oregon; and Urban League of Portland.

Anti-displacement plan still in works

The City Council likely will approve two new redevelopment policies that will displace dozens of lower-income households before it finishes work on an antidisplacement policy.

The council is schedule to hold its first hearing on the Better Housing by Design project on Oct. 2. The first hearing on the Residential Infill Project is scheduled for Dec. 11. Both projects are expected to result in the replacement of dozens of older houses and apartment units currently occupied by lower-income Portlanders, although they also are expected to discourage some demolitions and encourage the construction of additional homes that cost less that most current new ones.

But, when staff from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability briefed the council on the projects on Tuesday, Sept. 3, they also said the Anti-Displacement Action Plan is still a work in progress that requires the appointment of a new task force to ensure community involvement. No deadline was given for its completion.

Campaign funding program faces deadline

With just one week to go until candidates can opt in to Portland's new public campaign financing program, the city is still testing the software that will run it. As first reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting, that prompted Mayor Ted Wheeler last week to warn the rest of the council it might not be ready on time.

"I want to continue to express my serious ongoing concerns about the viability of this program overall. We already have candidates lining up declaring that they're going to use this program, in this cycle," said Wheeler, who already has one opponent planning to use the city-funded Open and Accountable Elections program.

City candidates who raise the necessary matching funds can qualify for the program as early as Thursday, Sept. 12, the first day they can officially file for office.


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