Portland City Council—presumably ready to wipe its hands after a formal, final, procedural 4-1 vote in favor of the city's 2013-14 budget—was called into a rare "emergency" session by Mayor Charlie Hales around 4 this afternoon to vote, once more, this time hopefully for real, on that very same budget.
What happened? Remember how Commissioner Amanda Fritz voted no on the budget during a penultimate vote this month that marked the dramatic finale of what had been a weekslong saga of cuts and pleas for mercy? She repeated that vote during the procedural stamp of approval council scheduled today—which was the problem.
Follow along: Budget votes are always considered "emergency" votes, meaning they take effect immediately and need unanimous approval from at least four commissioners. Non-emergency ordinances, on the other hand, take effect after 30 days. That wouldn't have been a problem in this case, except that the current fiscal year ends in 10 days, on June 30. And Portland kind of needs to have a budget in place right on July 1. And, well... WHOOPS!
Hales' spokesman, Dana Haynes, says no one figured that out until after everyone was walking outside council chambers.
"Literally we had to call them back in and redo the vote," he says.
Fritz was unavailable for immediate comment. But her office confirmed what Haynes told me. She agreed to vote yes, since it was a procedural matter, and reiterated her concerns with the budget as crafted: It eschewed full funding for sex trafficking programs while keeping a robust contingency fund. She also said she hoped to talk more, during the city's quarterly budget adjustment process, about addressing those concerns.
"The commissioner," says Haynes, "did not hold the city hostage."