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Adams: Portlanders will flourish with new jobs, city plan

Mayor lists accomplishments in his final State of the City address
by: Nick Fochtman Portland Mayor Sam Adams gave his final State of the City address on Friday at the City Club.

Mayor Sam Adams used his final State of the City address Friday to announce several major projects at the City Club of Portland.

Adams also said his previous promise of creating 10,000 new jobs by 2014 was being kept ahead of schedule.

'Today, ahead of schedule, I am grateful to report that employment is up by over 10,000 jobs in Multnomah County,' Adams said.

Adams is not running for re-election and will leave office before the City Club's next annual State of the City speech. Major projects announced by Adams before a large crowd at the Governor Hotel included:

• An agreement in principle with Multnomah County to create a new urban renewal area around Portland State University.

• Creation of a 'tech hub' in the Convention Center Plaza building at the long-stalled Burnside Bridgehead redevelopment site.

• Potential construction of a facility in Northeast Portland to generate electricity by burning garbage and biomass.

• A commitment by Langley Investment Properties to build a $250 million superblock project at the intersection of the MAX and Portland Streetcar lines in the Lloyd District that will create an estimated 3,000 construction jobs.

Adams also plugged the City Council's Portland Plan, which could be approved in April. The plan will guide policy and spending decisions during the next 25 years to increase the city's equity, employment and livability.

'My work over the last three years, all of my announcements today - and all of the work to come in the remaining year - fit into the Portland Plan. And all of this work can be built on by our future leaders,' Adams said.

Adams said the Portland Plan addresses longstanding problems facing city residents, including steep high school and college dropout rates, persistent high unemployment and deep racial disparity.

'Portland the place is flourishing. Portland the people are not. That needs to change,' Adams said.

Adams also said the Portland Police Bureau was working hard to reduce gang violence by arrested violent gang members, seizing illegal guns, and using the Illegal Drug Impact program to place users in housing and treatment.

'The Portland Police Bureau and I will not surrender one inch in any neighborhood of this city to guns, drugs and gangs,' Adams said.

Adams skipped past some other problems facing the city, however. For example, although he said the council was working on next year's budget, he did not say that current projections show it has an approximately $17 million general fund shortfall that could require a nearly $5 million cut in discretionary spending. He promised to work with the council to protect all 'sworn public safety positions' in the police and Portland Fire and Rescue bureaus.

Nor did Adams say the Portland Bureau of Transportation is facing a similar shortfall in dedicated funds that could mean street maintenance will be postponed for years. Instead, Adams promised to increase support for 'active transportation,' a term that means bicycling and walking. He specifically mentioned building six miles of sidewalks in East and Southwest Portland, and expanding the car-free Sunday Parkways events to include Southwest Portland.

Answering City Club members' questions, Adams said his office would roll out a series of funding options for people to improve streets in their neighborhoods.