First, it was the Portland Business Alliance expressing concern about Park Commissioner Nick Fish's decision to change the way downtown parks are patrolled. Now, the Downtown Neighborhood Association is also demanding more information on how the change will affect downtown livability.
At the request of neighborhood association Chairwoman Felicia Williams, Portland Parks and Recreation officials have agreed to discuss the changes with association members and other downtown residents at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28, in the Loaves and Fishes Building on Southwest 11th Avenue between Main and Jefferson streets.
Downtown parks are patrolled by private security guards working for a firm under a Portland Business Alliance contract. Fish is moving forward with plans announced last year to use full-time and seasonal PP and R employees called rangers to patrol during the day. As a result, the city wants to only contract for night patrols.
Now, Williams is wondering why no one from the city notified the Downtown Neighborhood Association of the changes.
In a Feb. 10 email to the City Council, she cites a provision of the City Code that says, 'City agencies shall notify all neighborhood associations affected by planning efforts or other actions affecting the livability of the neighborhood(s).'
Show us your recycled beads
It may sound like a Portlandia skit, but 19-year-old Portland native Rehane Gharahgozly really has won a competition for ideas on recycling used Mardi Gras beads.
Gharahgozly, a Grant High School graduate studying business marketing at Loyola University in New Orleans, proposed a plan to allow people to exchange beads for tokens that grant access to restrooms during the annual Mardis Gras festival and also provide discounts to local businesses after the big party. Her idea - called Beadcycle - will be implemented at this year's Feb. 21 festival.
The competition was sponsored by Tulane, Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans and LifeCity - an organization that supports green business enterprises in the Big Easy.
Next mayor gets a (regular) seat at Ed table
The mayor's role in education has always been a tricky one, Mayor Sam Adams admits. The mayor has no direct control or oversight of the system, and there are often many 'tables' to sit at to tackle the work.
That's all changing, Adams says. As he prepares to leave office, he's been working to 'institutionalize' the mayor's role in education, having disbanded the long-running Portland State University Leaders Roundtable, the mayor's Education Council and other groups, which sometimes worked cross-purposes.
The next Portland mayor will have a seat at just one table for their education work: the nonprofit All Hands Raised, formerly the Portland Schools Foundation. That organization's Cradle to Career initiative involves dozens of local leaders working to tackle the achievement gap and boost the graduation rate in schools across Multnomah County.
'The candidates know there's a chair at the table for them; it's not at the head,' says Nate Waas Shull, community engagement coordinator for All Hands Raised.
Portland Public Schools Supt. Carole Smith is thrilled: 'The (next) mayor can't take it apart, but can play a bigger or smaller role.'
Chalk it up as one of Adams' legacy items, for sure: 'I'm as confident as I can be,' he says. 'There's no way anyone can undo any of this.'