In a not too surprising move, Mayor Potter has issued a memo (read it below) to his fellow Commissioners saying that he favors putting the “Safe, Sound, and Green Streets” funding plan back into a single ordinance (it’s currently split into three) and placing it on the ballot this May.
Potter’s carefully crafted statement seems intent on placing himself well above the fray that has played out between Commissioner Adams and lobbyist Paul Romain in recent weeks.
Here’s a snip from the memo:
“…it is equally clear to me that the ordinances have now become a debate about personalities and process and, as a result, we risk losing this opportunity to make our city better if we don’t re-engage the community in the real issues.
…I believe we must place a single measure on the May ballot.”
Potter goes on to say that his idea would remove “any argument that the Council has not allowed citizens to be heard directly on this issue.” He also thinks his idea would help avoid any referral or repeal effort and a resulting campaign that would “drown out rational discussion of the issue.”
“Our understanding and concern is that the mayor is not committed to this funding proposal.”
–BTA’s Karl Rohde
The statement is not too surprising to City Hall insiders that expect Potter to eventually align himself with Commissioner Adams’ primary challenger for mayor, Sho Dozono.
Dozono, who lists Potter’s wife Karen as a campaign supporter, is already on record saying Adams’ plan is the result of “backroom dealings.” Potter has not been so blunt, but he did allude to a similar idea when he told the Portland Tribune a few weeks ago that Adams’ actions on the plan, “might give an impression to the public that we are trying to make the referral process more difficult and manipulate the outcome.”
Kyle Chisek, a policy assistant on Potter’s staff, says “The Mayor’s letter speaks for itself. This is the route he’s willing to support.”
At the City Council meeting this Wednesday, the Commissioners are expected to pass the three-part ordinance. Given that he doesn’t have the requisite votes from his Council colleagues, Potter’s idea is not likely to become a reality.
But that hasn’t stopped the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) from taking his statement seriously.
BTA Public Affairs Director Karl Rohde told me they plan to issue an immediate action alert to their 3,000+ Portland-area members. Rohde says they’ll launch the email and phone call blitz in advance of Council’s Wednesday meeting because, “Our understanding and concern is that the mayor is not committed to this funding proposal and we want our members to let him know they would appreciate his strong support for it.”
I am awaiting comment from Adams office.
Here is Potter’s memo (click for larger version):