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Audit questions training

The city auditor's office has criticized Portland's internal management and supervisor training program as too long and an ineffective use of time.

According to an auditor's report released March 14, the city spent about $1.5 million between 2006 and 2007 on management and supervisory training for more than 800 employees.

Of the 198 people who took part in an audit, 60 percent found that the training was not a good use of time, while 84 percent believed that the required 28-hour training program could have been shortened.

Based on those results, the auditor's office determined that the training was not cost-effective and should be conducted in less time. The report also suggested that some managers be allowed to opt out of the training. And it suggested enlisting the services of professional trainers to conduct the program.

In response, Anna Kanwit, deputy director and operations manager for the Bureau of Human Resources, defended the program but said changes were in the works.

'The training is four hours at a time - it wasn't like they were sitting in a meeting all week,' Kanwit said. 'There's no question it's not perfect. We're working on making it better, not shorter.'

Old Town sees changes

Now that the City Council and Portland Development Commission have tentatively agreed to increase urban renewal spending in the Old Town-Chinatown area by about $25 million, neighborhood residents and business owners might wonder where the money will be spent.

According to a news release for an upcoming open house, projects could include the reuse of older buildings, the development of surface parking lots and the construction of larger mixed-use buildings on the outskirts of the historic district.

The open house to discuss changing design and other development guidelines in the area around Ankeny Plaza will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. April 17 at the Globe Hotel, 88 N.W. Davis St.

Projects under way include the University of Oregon's move into several buildings in the White Stag Block, the relocation of Mercy Corps into the Skidmore Fountain Building and shifting Portland Saturday Market from under the Burnside Bridge into portions of Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Future projects are expected to involve the block that includes the former Import Plaza building, adjacent to the Globe Hotel, which is owned by the Naito family. The city also is working with developer Brad Malsin on a master plan to redevelop several historic buildings he owns between that block and Northwest Broadway.

- Tribune staff