City Hall Update: Council criticizes Sessions on pot
The City Council last Monday asked Oregon U.S. Attorney Billy Williams not to crack down on the marijuana trade legalized by state voters.
The Jan. 8 letter was in response to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session's decision to repeal the co-called Cole Memo approved under President Barack Obama that directed federal law enforcement agencies to respect state decisions to legalize marijuana, even though possession and sale is still against U.S. law.
"Oregon is among 29 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized and regulated recreational or medical cannabis. Here in Portland, there are hundreds of cannabis retailers, producers, processors and wholesalers woven into the fabric of our business community, contributing thousands of well-paying jobs and millions of dollars of economic activity," the letter says.
Wheeler hails Ellington purchase
Mayor Ted Wheeler last Wednesday praised the previous City Council's decision to buy the Ellington Apartments in Northeast Portland for $47 million when it went up for sale last year. All but $10 million came from the voter-approved affordable housing bond.
In an email from the Portland Housing Bureau, Wheeler said the purchase made more than 200 apartments permanently affordable, prevented the displacement of more than 100 households, and created housing for 28 formerly homeless families. The council is expected to begin approving an additional affordable housing bond project in May.
The week before, Wheeler defended his decision to invest $6 million in housing funds in affordable units in the $29 million Framework building currently under construction in the Pearl District. In a Jan. 3 statement, he also said the housing bureau has projects underway to preserve or create 2,200 affordable units.
Safe Ride program a success
The Portland Bureau of Transportation declared its first Safe Ride Home on New Year's Eve program a success last Tuesday.
In news release, PBOT said that more than 2,500 people took advantage of discounted taxi and transportation network company rides over the holiday. Thousands more chose to ride TriMet, while 75 intrepid revelers used Biketown bicycle share to get to and from their parties.
Program partners included the Portland Police Bureau, TriMet, Old Town Hospitality Group, Radio Cab, Broadway Cab, New Rose City Cab and United Independent Cab, Lyft and Uber.