This Week in the Mercury


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Black Friday is Now a City Holiday! HOWEVER...

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 12:37 PM

... you will still have to feed parking meters on what's only ONE OF THE BIGGEST SHOPPING DAYS OF THE YEAR.

The change came during this morning's Portland City Council meeting, after commissioners were asked to sign off on a labor deal with the city's largest bargaining unit, the District Council of Trades Unions. Among the terms the unions extracted—in exchange for overtime restrictions and giving up cost-of-living increases worth millions—was getting the city to recognize the day after Thanksgiving as a paid holiday.

The city had bargained that with other unions, but the DCTU deal would have left such a critical mass of union workers at home, their bellies full of turkey and taters, that officials decided it made sense to let all the non-union workers take the day off, too.

Citywide, adding a holiday in place of salary bumps and other considerations will save $10 million in personnel costs, says Yvonne Deckard, the city's human resources director. In questioning that seemed rather brusque at times, Commissioner Dan Saltzman forced Deckard to keep repeating that statistic.

"That's been one of the lightning rods that the public reacts viscerally to," he said during the meeting.

Commissioner Randy Leonard somewhat playfully suggested that the new holiday earn drivers a break on meter-feeding, an idea shot down by Mayor Sam Adams, who noted the GIANT AMOUNT OF PARKING BOOTY that shoppers feeding meters bring the city the day after Thanksgiving. Commissioner Nick Fish teased Leonard by saying he'd care less about parking fees if he bicycle more and quit driving his Hummer.

Leonard's retort: "I drive a Hummer as often as you ride a bike."

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