Our Opinion: Our wishes for Oregon, Portland in 2017
As 2016 draws to a close, we look forward to a new year in which the inevitable bad news is balanced by some positive developments. Here's our wish list for 2017.
• For Oregon, a path that leads lawmakers to the additional $1.7 billion in revenue they need to keep the school year — and other vital services — intact.
• For Gov. Kate Brown: the political courage to tell her friends when they are wrong and the flexibility and wisdom to reach out to her critics.
• For new Secretary of State Dennis Richardson: to make good on his campaign promise to keep partisanship out of his new office.
• For our economy, continuing growth with a broader distribution of the benefits, to help households headed by minorities, single mothers and others now priced out of many urban neighborhoods.
• More homeless shelters throughout the state and a recognition that when people are sleeping on sidewalks something is very, very wrong.
• Cooperation among state, regional, county and local leaders to reform the land-use planning process to allow reasonable residential and employment projects tailored to meet community needs.
• For our city, a pause in the ongoing protests to allow the new Portland City Council to foster new community policing approaches with an improved community-led oversight committee, including police body camera policies and better records on who is stopped and for what reasons.
• For pedestrians, cyclists and motorists: a safer year than the one just past, when road-related fatalities sadly tested the record books.
• May Portland Public Schools stop fearing its own shadow and invite in the sunshine of public scrutiny. It'll be a lot easier to see a path forward for its central office management and multimillion-dollar bond in the daylight.
• A new home for the Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp that everyone can support.
• A new use for Multnomah County's never-opened Wapato Jail that ends the ongoing financial drain and benefits the taxpayers who paid for it.
• For the Portland City Council, creative thinking about using the rest of the affordable housing bond approved by voters, so per-unit cost is reduced well below the $194,000 average it cost to purchase and repair the Ellington apartment complex.
• Hope that the Portland City Council can work together with a new mayor, and that by year's end Ted Wheeler still has the same energy for the job that he demonstrates today.
• And for Wheeler, some early victories on the things he campaigned for: improved public safety, more jobs and less homelessness.
• A trouble-free voyage for outgoing Mayor Charlie Hales. Regardless of what anyone thinks of his tenure, he's earned the time off he's planning to spend on his sailboat.
• For the Trail Blazers, a defensive-minded, enforcer-type big man (Does the name Maurice Lucas ring a bell?)
• Continued success for Portland Winterhawks leader Mike Johnston in his second tour of duty — and a long playoff run for his scrappy and hungry team.
• Speaking of playoffs, how about another postseason run for the Timbers? Knocking off the MLS Cup champions (from an unnamed city to the north) would make that even sweeter.
• Speaking of cup championships, how about a National Women's Soccer League trophy for the Portland Thorns? Being the best team in the regular season is excellent, but finishing the job in the playoffs would be cause for another parade day.
• Play (more) ball! Here's hoping the Portland Pickles' second season in city-owned Walker Stadium is even better than the first, bringing more positive life and renewal to Lents.
• For our Pac-12 athletic departments, good luck to new Oregon Ducks football coach Willie Taggart and Oregon State University athletic director Scott Barnes.
• And may new Portland State Athletic Director Val Cleary expand support for PSU athletics and usher in a very useful Viking Pavilion for home games and more.
• May the Rose City Rollers keep on rolling and win their third consecutive Women's Flat Track Derby Association international championship.