This Week in the Mercury


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Meet Your New City Government

Posted by Amy J. Ruiz on Tue, Dec 16, 2008 at 8:19 AM

The Oregonian has the scoop on Mayor-elect Sam Adam's shakeup of city bureaus.

As long rumored, the Bureau of Planning's Gil Kelley is out, because his bureau's merging with the Office of Sustainable Development (OSD) to make a super-bureau, the Bureau of Sustainable Planning & Development. It's a smart move—I've often asked city staffers why Sustainable Development was treated as a separate office, working on things like green building standards and sustainability institutes, while the Bureau of Planning was working on plans and policies with the same environmental goals in mind. No one had a good answer, until now. OSD's Susan Anderson will head up the new bureau, and Adams will oversee it. It will be interesting to see what effect, if any, this shake up has on the Portland Plan—it's a project Kelley has long been involved with, and he's an effective evangelist on the topic of visionary long-range planning. But the work that's currently happening on the Portland Plan is at the staff level, and those folks aren't going anywhere (unless budget cuts get really ugly). Plus, Adams is just as much a champion of the plan.

Other highlights: Commissioner Dan Saltzman (who had overseen OSD) also loses Parks, giving him more time to focus on police. But Saltzman, an environmental engineer, will snag the Bureau of Environmental Services from Adams. Commissioner Nick Fish gets Parks, and keeps a pared down Bureau of Housing—the "and Community Development" part of that bureau is heading over to the Portland Development Commission (another item in Adams' portfolio). In other musical chairs, Fish loses the Fire Bureau, and former firefighter Randy Leonard gets it. Newbie Amanda Fritz gets her coveted Office of Neighborhood Involvement, plus Potter's baby, the Office of Human Relations (which means she'll oversee the work on racial profiling). She also gets another Saltzman hand-me-down, the Office of Cable Communications and Franchise Management, a technology-laden bureau most recently seen trying to reform the city's cell tower regulations. She'll also get the new "Office of Healthy Working Rivers," which will do just what that name says, clean up the Willamette and other polluted waterways.

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