Mayor Ted Wheeler signs fourth emergency order and targets Portland trash and graffiti

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler signed another emergency order on Tuesday in an effort to clean up Portland. This is the fourth in a series of emergency declarations Wheeler has issued to address homelessness and habitability issues.

Wheeler announced the latest declaration of a state of emergency last week during his 2022 State of the City address, and it will go into effect Wednesday. The three emergency declarations previously issued by Wheeler will also be renewed this week. The mayor’s office says the new statement will improve city cleanup as it addresses trash, graffiti, illegal dumping and abandoned cars. It focuses on cleanup work outside of busy outdoor homeless camps.

The emergency ordinance consolidates city programs working on such cleanup efforts under Wheeler, allowing him to reprioritize work and assignments for city employees. As part of the statement, the mayor asked the city’s Office of Human Resources to help expedite the hiring of additional people to help meet the college’s goals. The mayor also directed the city’s budget office to prioritize allocating resources to support programs that help clean up the city. This includes supporting budget adjustments or identifying other sources of funding for cleanup work.

The statement also activates a new center, the Office of Public Environmental Management, to oversee cleanup operations. Christine Leon, who currently manages the Development Permitting and Transit Group for the Portland Bureau of Transportation, will lead the new office. Leon’s role will be to designate what the mayor’s office calls “focused service areas” in each section of the city to focus and prioritize coordinated efforts. It will also assign coordinators and staff to each targeted service area.

“It’s just common sense,” Wheeler said in a written statement. “It puts a centralized command structure over 20 city programs and 8 offices, which are currently run by five different city council members.”

This state of emergency remains in effect until 5 p.m. on May 25, unless extended.

Wheeler’s three previous emergency ordinances, enacted in February and March, were intended to address homelessness issues in the city.

The first banned camping along high-speed corridors and prioritized the work of city crews to post and remove campsites in those areas. The second declaration accelerated the process of creating temporary outdoor shelters called Safe Rest Villages throughout Portland. And the third activated a Street Services Coordination Center, which connects local agencies and service providers to a single point of contact to get more homeless Portlanders into safe shelter.

Comments are closed.