New council to begin work on Wednesday, Jan. 2

Portland’s new City Council will be seated and begin work this week. The first public meeting on mostly routine matters is scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday, Jan 2.

Before that, both Mayor-elect Charlie Hales and Commissioner-elect Steve Novick will be sworn into office. Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who was re-elected at the 2012 General Election, is scheduled be on vacation. She will be sworn in before next week’s council meeting.

Hales will be sworn in as Portland’s next mayor at 10 a.m. on Jan. 2 in the Council Chambers at City Hall. The public is invited to attend. The chamber doors will open at 9:30 a.m.

Hales replaces Mayor Sam Adams, who chose not to run for re-election. Hales, a former city commissioner, finished ahead of State Rep. Jefferson Smith and New Seasons co-founder Eileen Brady in the May 2012 Primary Election. Because no candidate received over 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers — Hales and Smith — faced off in a runoff election held at the November General Election. Hales easily defeated Smith in that contest.

Novick will be sworn in the day before Hales. A public cerrmony is set for 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 1, in the Multnomah Arts Center in Multnomah Village at 7688 S.W. Capitol Hwy. The oath of office will be administered by Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas E. Balmer. Kerry Tymchuk, executive director of the Oregon Historical Society, will act as emcee.

Novick was elected to fill the seat being vacated by Commissioner Randy Leonard. Leonard chose not to run for re-election and Novick, a political activist and state health care administrator, received over 50 percent of the vote at May 2012 Primary Election.

Fritz will re-affirm the oath of office for her second term on Saturday, Jan, 5, at CherryWood Village, 1417 SE 107th Ave. The ceremony will begin at 2:30 p.m. Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Adrienne Nelson will administer the affirmation.

Fritz chose the location because her parents-in-law live at the retirement community in East Portland. They are retired Salvation Army officers Colonels Edward and Emily Fritz.

Only a few items appear on the Jan. 2 afternoon council agenda. Most involve intergovernmental contract for such services as safety inspections, vehicles repairs and sewer work. Two resolution seek to reimburse two Portlanders approximately $14,000 for damages incurred in separate accidents with police and fire vehicles.

Despite the routine nature of the first agenda of the new council, much work is occurring behind the scenes at City Hall. During his successful campaign for mayor, Hales promised to take control of all city bureaus from the commissioners who have been running them while he prepares his first proposed budget. If that takes place, the change is expected to last for several months, after which Hales will reassign the bureaus.

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