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Council continues jam-packed agendas

Heavy workload continuing into holiday season


The City Council continues its busy holiday schedule this week with a full agenda that includes some of Mayor Sam Adams’ final project requests and important proposals by other members.

Many elected bodies reduce their workloads and even take time off at the end of the year, in part because the public is distracted by the holidays and not able to follow their deliberations. But like the U.S. Congress, the council is doing just the opposite.

Major items will be heard by the council on both Wednesday and Thursday.

Adams is leaving office at the end of the year and pushing to complete his wish list. Scheduled actions include final votes on several big ticket items. Among them are: the $31.5 million renovation plan for the Veterans Memorial Coliseum; the creation of a parking district in Northwest Portland; and the sale of 5.4 million in revenue bonds to complete the Portland Streetcar Loop over the coming Willamette River transit bridge.

New proposals from Adams include a $1.8 million contract with Alta Bike Share, Inc. It is part of a plan to create a citywide short-term public bicycle rental program. Similar programs are currently operating in Boston, Denver, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Miami Beach, Oklahoma City and Washington, D.C. The company is based in Portland.

Adams is also asking the council to reduce the city’s commitment to the Sellwood Bridge replacement project from $100 million to $86 million. The reduction was proposed by Multnomah County, which owns the bridge. It is intended to partly offsets property taxes the city will be unable to collect in the future because of the creation of a new county library district at the November General Election. The reduction is caused by “compression,” a side effect of the state’s complicated property tax limitation system.

Requests from other members include a proposal by Commissioner Amanda Fritz to create an Independent City Budget Office that would help develop the city budget and provide the mayor and council with budget and policy advice. Budget advice currently comes from the Office of Management and Finance, which traditionally reports to the mayor.

And Commission Randy Leonard is requesting to increase the cost of the contract to build the new water storage tank at Powell Butte from around $80 million to approximately $82 million. The project is controversial because it is part of the Water Bureau’s plan to replace the popular open reservoirs at Mt. Tabor and Washington parks.

The complete agenda can be seen at portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=26997&