Here's one of the reasons Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick today announced a five-month delay in passing a street fee: Commissioner Amanda Fritz, their crucial third vote, told them she wasn't ready to vote for it.
Fritz tells WW she informed Novick and Hales she didn't think their proposal was ready after a contentious May 29 public hearing.
"After the hearing, it was very clear to me there was more to be fixed than could be fixed in a week," Fritz says. "I talked to Commissioner Novick and then to the mayor. I pointed out the virtues and the value of having an expanded process."
How would she have voted? She won't say.
"I am very glad it didn't go to a vote tomorrow," Fritz says, and laughs when asked a second time if she had decided which way to vote. "I'm not going to answer that question. I'm very glad that push didn't come to shove."
It's been apparent since April that Fritz provided the City Council's swing vote on the fee, after colleagues Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish proclaimed their opposition to WW. The Oregonian reported this afternoon that Novick said Fritz's concerns caused the city to pause the plan.
Fritz says she had decided the weekend before the hearing that the fee's burden on Portland's poorest citizens was too great. But she waited until after public testimony to tell Hales and Novick.
In the hours after pausing his plan to charge households $144 a year, Novick has said he's open to reconsidering a sales tax or an income tax.
Fritz says she's eager to have that discussion in committees over the next five months.
"Dan Saltzman says he trusts Portlanders in elections," she says. "I trust Portlanders a lot more around a table, with everybody there, hashing out something that nobody likes but everybody can live with with. Set up a committee: That's the Portland way."