Today's edition of WW features an interview with Ray Horton, the Mount Tabor retiree who is fighting a proposed Portland "street fee" by trying to recall Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick.
Horton says he filed his recall petitions on July 11 because Hales and Novick "have a dismissive attitude toward people who express concerns about budgeting."
WW asked both officials to respond to Horton—who has so far collected 15 of the 34,921 signatures he'll need to get on the ballot.
Hales issued the following statement:
I appreciate the fact that everybody is free to exercise their civic rights.
I took an oath to act in the best interest of all Portlanders, and have spent the last 18 months putting the city's house in order. That has meant facing the 2013 budget crisis, making major changes in how our police operate, paying down debt, investing in our kids through SUN schools and other strategies, and overhauling urban renewal areas to benefit all. I'm proud of the actions I and our City Council have taken to put a great city onto a sound foundation.
Continuing that active approach to Portland's needs now means acting to fund street and park maintenance. Leadership means taking action even when there are those who disagree.
Novick sent WW a statement he first released to The Portland Tribune on July 12:
When the Mayor and I came into office we inherited a transportation system that has been neglected for years, and we are morally obligated to do something about it. We’ve attended a lot of town halls, and there don’t seem to be many people who want us to cut police, fire and parks to raise money for transportation, so I remain convinced that the only responsible thing we can do is raise more revenue. I understand that some people are unhappy. In late May I received an email from a constituent saying ‘there are ways to get you out faster than 2016.’ But since then that same constituent and I have had a lengthy, cordial conversation about how to address our transportation needs. We will keep on explaining as best we can how dire our transportation maintenance and safety needs are, and as time goes on I think more and more people, even those that are most unhappy, will start working with us to find solutions.
In his email to WW, Novick adds: "If I WEREN'T trying to do something about the maintenance and safety issues in our transpiration network, I would deserve to be recalled."