A Portland minister is warning City Hall that passing a residential street fee
and delaying a vote on charging businesses threatens to offload the tax burden onto the poor.
The letter from the Rev. Chuck Currie
to the City Council hints at how today's 2 pm hearing on Mayor Charlie Hales
and City Commissioner Steve Novick
's street fee plan could turn into a donnybrook.
Opposition to the proposal—which would charge Portlanders $138 a year to fund transportation projects, and charge businesses and nonprofits much more—has grown deafening
in the week since Hales and Novick announced they would try to pass the fee without a public vote.
The backlash caused Hales and Novick to split the proposal in two
, delaying the business side of the fee for at least a few weeks but perhaps as long as November
Currie, a United Church of Christ minister, warns the City Council not to rush ahead with a fee that would charge low-income families up to $97 a year.
"Residents, particularly those who are low-income and on fixed incomes, need to know that they are not going to shoulder the burden alone
on this," Currie writes. "The council should only adopt a full package that is well thought out, debated, and that has community buy-in."The full text of Currie's letter is More