Portland Will Pay $65,800 a Year to Hire a Legal Weed Regulator

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What does $65,800 buy in the legal-weed market? Right now, a little more than 7 pounds of pot in Washington state. Legal-marijuana prices haven’t yet been set in Oregon, but the same money will pay the annual salary of Portland’s first government weed regulator. As first reported in Wednesday's Murmurs, Portland City Council on Nov. 12 approved a recreational-marijuana staff position, reporting ...   More
 
Thursday, November 20, 2014 AARON MESH

Hales and Novick Try to Thwart Public Vote on Street Fee

Portland officials want to make referral more difficult by breaking fee into two votes.

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Documents filed at Portland City Hall today show Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick are trying to prevent a public vote on their $46 million street fee proposal by forcing opponents to gather signatures twice.Hales and Novick have filed two ordinances with the council clerk's office: one for the business fee, and another for the residential income tax. That means City Council ...   More
 
Friday, November 14, 2014 by Aaron Mesh

Petroleum Lobbyist: Portland Street Fee's Income Tax Requires a Public Vote

UPDATE: Paul Romain says his clients are planning to send the street fee to voters.

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The head of the state's gasoline lobby says he believes Portland Mayor Charlie Hales' latest iteration of the "street fee" is required by the city charter to be sent to voters.Paul Romain, the lobbyist for the Oregon Fuels Association, tells WW that city rules require sending new taxes to a public vote—and the new proposal, a steeply graded income tax, falls under those requirements."If it's an income ...   More
 
Monday, November 10, 2014 AARON MESH

Hales and Novick Reveal Street Fee Structure Ahead of Dec. 3 Vote

UPDATE: Now called the "Portland Street Fund," it's deductible from federal income taxes.

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UPDATE, 11: 30 am: Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Steve Novick this morning debuted a $46 million annual "Portland street fund" proposal anchored by an income tax, heavily weighted toward making rich people pay for street paving.Perhaps the most interesting new revelation about the city's proposal: The fee is deductible from state and federal income taxes."No one likes taxes," Hales said at ...   More
 
Monday, November 10, 2014 AARON MESH

Mayor Charlie Hales Proposes Color-Coded Chart to Track Cost Increases on City Projects

Hales responds to damning city audit of sewer building.

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Responding to a damning city audit of a sewer office building that tripled in cost, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales is proposing a public report to track cost increases on any contract or construction project that goes before City Council.The chart would be color-coded, like the terrorism alert system once used by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. But the city's color palette would warn how much ...   More
 
Monday, October 27, 2014 AARON MESH

Neighborhood Coalition Says Airbnb Hosts Are Failing to Get New City Permits

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Nearly three months after Portland City Hall legalized short-term rentals like Airbnb, a coalition of neighborhood associations is complaining that the newly-legit room renters are ignoring the requirement that they obtain city permits.Southeast Uplift, a coalition representing 20 neighborhoods in inner Southeast Portland, sent a letter to the City Council on Oct. 14, warning that the city isn't being ...   More
 
Friday, October 24, 2014 AARON MESH

City Estimates Say Portland Could Net $5.8 Million a Year Taxing Legal Weed

UPDATE: Council ditches tax on medical weed, will try to raise $4 million a year.

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Portland officials estimate the city could raise $1.7 to $5.8 million a year by collecting a local sales tax on legal marijuana.Those figures emerge as Portland City Council is expected to vote today on a plan to levy a 10 percent sales tax on legal recreational weed. Mayor Charlie Hales' plan, first reported by WW in July, places Portland among dozens of Oregon cities hoping to pass a local tax before ...   More
 
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 AARON MESH

Portland City Council May Open the Door Slightly to Letting Voters Have Their Say on the Street Fee

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Portland City Council is nearing consensus on how to structure a street fee to raise $40 million for road repairs and safety projects. What they don't agree on: whether Portland voters will get a say.As Portland commissioners discuss the shape of the street fee this afternoon, WW has learned Mayor Charlie Hales is considering having two City Council votes in November: One would be on the fee itself, ...   More
 
Monday, October 13, 2014 AARON MESH

Portland Police Chief Mike Reese Will Retire in January

UPDATE: Mayor Charlie Hales names Larry O'Dea as next police chief, says he'll focus on diversity.

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Portland Police Chief Mike Reese is retiring in January, WW has learned, and Mayor Charlie Hales has selected Assistant Chief Larry O'Dea to as the next chief of the Portland Police Bureau. Hales' office confirmed Reese's retirement to WW this morning. The mayor will announce O'Dea's appointment as chief at a noon press conference in the Justice Center. "I thank Mike Reese for his leadership ...   More
 
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 AARON MESH

Effort to Recall Hales and Novick Comes Up Short on Signatures

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Portland's not that mad about the street fee.Organizers of an effort to recall Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick announced this morning they haven't gathered enough signatures to make the November ballot."Gathering 50,000 signatures just to get the question before the voters proved to be a higher bar than we expected," chief petitioner Ray Horton writes.Horton, a Tabor neighborhood ...   More
 
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 AARON MESH

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