Mayor Ted Wheeler Hands a Troubled Portland Office to Rookie Commissioner Chloe Eudaly

Ted Wheeler assigns the bureaus to city commissioners in his first key act as mayor.

This morning, Mayor Ted Wheeler announced bureau assignments in Portland City Hall—and made a notable leadership change.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz will no longer oversee the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, as she has for the last eighteen months (and in a previous stint in charge from 2009 to 2013). Instead, the beleaguered office will go to first-time Commissioner Chloe Eudaly.

That's significant because Wheeler called the Office of Neighborhood Involvement the bureau the most in need of reform (tied with the police bureau) in an interview with WW last month.

He and three of his four fellow commissioners favor rolling back the city's marijuana program, which ONI oversees. The bureau has also come under fire for allegedly targeting black-owned nightclubs with code crackdowns.

And even after an audit released in November showed significant management problems at ONI, Fritz told WW that she wanted the assignment again. She came to council after years of working as an activist in the city's neighborhood associations.

Eudaly, the newest member of City Council and a political novice, was handed substantial assignments: the Bureau of Development Services in addition to ONI.

The bureau assignments are the key power the mayor holds over the four city commissioners in Portland's weak-mayor form of government.

Wheeler, as expected, took the Police Bureau and the Housing Bureau. He campaigned on police reforms and increasing affordable housing.

Fritz will take on the Bureau of Emergency Communication in addition to keeping Parks.

Commissioner Nick Fish, the lone member of City Council to endorse Wheeler, kept his leadership of the utility bureaus—Water and Environmental Services—after asking to continue running them.

Commissioner Dan Saltzman, the senior member of City Council, did not publicly make the case for any particular assignment. He kept Portland Fire & Rescue, losing Development Services and the Housing Bureau. He gains the Bureau of Transportation, which didn't have a natural home after the city's transit champion, Commissioner Steve Novick, lost his reelection bid to Eudaly.

Here's the full announcement:

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