Portland City Council Agenda March 11-12, 2015

Direct expenditures:  $5,523,998

agenda mar 11-12  252-256


agenda mar 11-12  257-258

Item #258 – “PP&R’s Park Rangers serve as goodwill ambassadors and provide a positive presence in Portland parks and park facilities.”  The report accepted by the council is an overview of The Rangers Program.  The primary issue is an even level of service provided by the Program between Portland Parks on either side of the Willamette.  Calls for service in parks East of the Willamette is 64% while Ranger allocation is 14%.  Calls for service West of the Willamette is 36% while Ranger allocation is is 86%.  PPR will present suggestion for the council to address this issue.

agenda mar 11-12  259

Item #259 – A competitive solicitation and contract for a contractor to replace waterproof membranes in several concrete planter boxes on Rose Quarter Grounds.  The Rose Quarter is jointly owned by the City and Vulcan, Inc. a holding company owned by Paul Allen.  According to the Rose Quarter Arena Ground Lease, the City is responsible for maintenance.  The estimate for the cost of this project is $466,200.  Until repairs begin, the extent of the damage cannot be known.  The project may incur additional costs.  If the estimate to repair the Planter Boxes exceeds $500,000, the Council is required to vote on authorizing the funds necessary to repair the planter boxes.

agenda mar 11-12  260


agenda mar 11-12  261

Item #261 – There’s a long history behind the Leach Botanical Gardens.  John and Lilla Leach bought 4.5 acres in 1931 and named it Sleepy Hollow.  Lilla was a botanist.  The mission of Leach Botanical Gardens is to educate, research, conserve and preserve the legacy of John and Lilla Beach.  The City is funding approximately 20% of the second stage of the Botanical Gardens project, at a cost of $433,314.  The Leach Upper Garden project will cost $2.1 million.  The remaining funds will come from the Portland Development Council.  The City funds are budgeted in Portland Park and Recreation capital project budget.

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Item #266 – Since last year Mayor Hales has promoted an idea to “Ban the Box,” referring to the checkbox at the bottom of almost all employment applications asking whether the applicant has been convicted of a felony. Businesses use this to screen applicants for the safety of their employees and customers. Last July proponents of the potential new law say that moving the question to the interview process would help former felons overcome one barrier to gainful employment.

The mayor wants to take it one step further, however. Not only would the City require public and private entities to remove the box from the application, it would also restrict them from asking any questions about previous criminal convictions until a conditional job offer is made. Only then is an employer allowed to run a background check. If a conviction is revealed, the job offer can be rescinded, but the applicant will then be able to appeal and even sue for damages.

There are numerous problems with this well-intended proposal and so much red tape. It leaves businesses susceptible to endangering employees, customers and their businesses, potentially saddling them with numerous lawsuits in the process.  Will daycare centers have to choose between offering jobs to convicted sex offenders and inviting a lawsuit? Will banks incur a fine for trying to screen out an embezzler? Will businesses risk a potential lawsuit with every job offer? Could one of the unintended consequences of this be that employers interview fewer applicants? If the goal is to make it easier for convicted felons to find employment, does this law facilitate or impede helping felons transition back into society?

Federal, state and local governments are exempt from this law.  The onus of responsibility falls squarely on the private sector when hiring.

The Tribune has the story here

Supported by from  A Fair Chance for All

agenda mar 11-12  267

Item # 267 is about Uber. While the task force is still looking at how to change the regulations to accommodate the company that is disrupting the cab-company status quo, the rogue ride-sharing business is planning on an April 9th return to the Portland market – regulation changes or not.

Per the Tuesday Memo from the City of Portland, Commissioner Novick will be absent.