Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick is furious over comments his fellow Commissioner Dan Saltzman made to WW this week questioning whether the Portland Bureau of Transportation needs a new street maintenance fee.
How angry is he? Sources in City Hall tell WW that Novick has threatened to revoke his endorsement of Saltzman's reelection bid.
WW reported Wednesday in Murmurs that Saltzman and Commissioner Nick Fish are opposed to bypassing voters to create a $12-a-month street fee on households and even higher taxes on businesses.
Saltzman went further, questioning whether PBOT needed the money at all.
“I’m not absolutely convinced we need the street maintenance fee,” Saltzman said. “The Transportation Bureau seems to be falling all over themselves to subsidize a bike-share program. If we have dollars to subsidize bike share, why don’t we have dollars to put in sidewalks and fix up our roads?”
Those comments have, according to City Hall sources, aggravated Novick—who's in the midst of a public campaign with Mayor Charlie Hales to rally public support for the fee. Sources say Novick told Saltzman on Wednesday he would withdraw his campaign endorsement.
Asked by WW to explain why he's pulling his support for Saltzman's fifth term, Novick declined comment.
Saltzman also declined comment, but says he wants to clarify his remarks.
"I hope I didn't imply," Saltzman says, "that the $1.8 million for bikeshare could solve all our transportation problems."