Permitting War Between Rubio and Mapps Drags On

Dueling letters display tensions between City Hall rivals.

POINT TAKEN: City Commissioner Mingus Mapps in a council hearing. (Blake Benard)

As WW has previously reported, City Commissioners Carmen Rubio and Mingus Mapps have been battling for weeks over how to best fix the city’s broken permitting system. Mapps called the two commissioners’ plans “fundamentally incompatible.”

Since then, allies have taken sides in the battle. Eleven business and industry groups backed Rubio’s plan in a letter sent earlier this month to the Portland City Council; four city bureau directors penned a letter supporting Mapps’ plan.

On Aug. 3, Mapps co-wrote a letter with Commissioner Dan Ryan to Mayor Ted Wheeler, urging him to support an ongoing permitting project and to hold off on consolidating permits under one office until the city’s form of government changes in 2025.

The day before, Rubio wrote to Mapps in an email that she was “completely caught off guard” by his alternative plan, and that she “would have greatly appreciated a courtesy reach out from you to convey your change of heart about working together, and that you had a plan in the works.”

Mapps did not respond to a request for comment.

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