Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 6th, 2008 at 5:12 pm
after today’s meeting.
(Photo © Jonathan Maus)
City Commissioner Sam Adams has just emailed (and posted to his blog) a statement about the major turn his Safe, Sound, and Green Streets funding initiative took today:
Today, at my request, city council referred the “Safe, Sound & Green Streets” program back to my office with an expectation that we will refer the program to voters in November 2008.
You have heard from me many times that Safe, Sound & Green Streets will be an important step forward for Portland when implemented. For the first time in nearly two decades, Portlanders will have stable funding to meet basic safety and maintenance needs on major streets.
A program of this consequence should be enacted by a unanimous city council. Until last week, my council colleagues were united in supporting safer streets as a matter of leadership. At council proceedings, transportation staff, community leaders, and all who have participated to date appreciated council’s acknowledgment of the painstaking analytical and public outreach effort.
That effort has earned support from an 89-person stakeholder committee covering a range of transportation interests, the editorial boards of The Oregonian, The Portland Tribune and The Portland Business Journal, and untold numbers of Portlanders who responded to our citywide notices and attended one of the 21 town hall meetings we hosted in every corner of the city.
In addition, we worked in good faith to reach a compromise to address the concerns of convenience stores and the petroleum representatives.
Regrettably, the influence of oil industry representatives has taken its toll. I no longer have unanimous council support to enact the program.
I now propose that city council refer the Safe, Sound & Green initiative to the November general election ballot.
Portlanders can trust that oil industry representatives will embark upon a monumental misinformation campaign. Watch the money: they will spend much more on television ads and other venues to kill Safe, Sound & Green than they would have spent to simply pay their fair share to return Portland’s major streets to working order.
As the champion of Safe, Sound & Green, it’s true that I worry about holding onto the factual high ground during this tsunami of misinformation.
This is Portland, however. Portlanders have a proud history of supporting well-articulated, reasonable investments in their community. It’s part of what makes us the best city in the country. Safe, Sound & Green will save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and–most importantly–save lives.
The general election in November 2008 is virtually guaranteed to ensure the highest voter turnout in the city’s history. As a result, the best possible conversation that engages the maximum number of Portlanders about Safe, Sound & Green will occur over the next nine months. In spite of all the oil industry dollars to be spent, I am confident Portland will prevail.
I want to thank my colleagues for their continued support in addressing the transportation concerns facing our city. And I want to thank all of you.
It’s becoming clear that the major question (and possible battle) will center around when this issue should be on the ballot. More analysis coming tomorrow…