Commissioner Amanda Fritz on Friday briefed reporters on the new initiative she'll spearhead in the coming months: Mayor Sam Adams' recently proposed Office of Equity.

Fritz, a longtime neighborhood activist before she joined the City Council in January 2009, will oversee the new office, which is expected to merge with the three-year-old Office of Human Relations. Adams announced the new office just last month at his Feb. 18 State of the City address.

Among the other bits of news from Fritz on Friday:

  • The new office will include the four-person Office of Human Relations but will move beyond it, expanding the office's focus.
  • Fritz expects to have the new office up and running around July.
  • Once it's fully staffed, the Office of Equity will employ about 10 people but those jobs won't necessarily be new ones. Some existing staff in other city bureaus may move to the new bureau.
  • The core staff could grow beyond 10 people when the economy improves.
  • The office will have a physical location downtown. (The Office of Human Relations is currently in North Portland.)
  • Fritz plans a nationwide search for a new director, although she won't rule out the possibility of a local hire. Last week, news emerged that the current director of the Office of Human Relations may step down.