Sam Adams has seven months before he moves up to the third floor of city hall and assumes mayoral duties. But the commissioner will get a taste of his newly won power this week: Current Mayor Tom Potter asked Adams to appoint two new Portland Development Commission (PDC) board members.
"Apparently Mayor [Vera] Katz did the same for him," Adams says, noting that Potter's offer was "very gracious."
Current PDC board member Sal Kadri isn't seeking reappointment, Adams says, but Mark Rosenbaum is, and he'll be considered.
Adams' office sent out a job description on Monday, June 9, seeking applicants for "a highly visible leadership position with responsibility to advance and oversee the execution of PDC's mission and vision." With the seats up on July 1, "we're going to have to move pretty fast," he says. The council has to approve Adams' nominations for the three-year terms.
The appointments are the first opportunity for Adams to implement his mayoral agenda for the city. "I talked on the campaign about underemployment and the working poor, and I'm really serious about revamping the region's approach to economic development; obviously the PDC plays a key role in that," he says. "I view these as really important nominations." To that end, he's already been asking "my fellow commissioners and others in the community" for input on what skills or experience would round out the PDC's board—perhaps someone who "represents the concerns of working people, and small business," Adams says.
"A lot of PDC's responsibility is around implementing council policy, one development deal at a time," Adams says, explaining that he'll be on the lookout for someone with "knowledge in critiquing proposed deals that come before the board."
Down the hall from Adams' office, the office formerly known as Erik Sten's got a makeover last week. Sten's name was scraped off the glass door, as old office supplies and books gathered dust in the hallway. By Wednesday, Nick Fish's name was painted on the door to office number 240, above the antiquated title "Commissioner of Public Works."
The newest city commissioner is sworn in this week, on Friday the 13th (Fish, apparently, is not superstitious).
Attorney general candidate and Lewis & Clark law professor John Kroger will swear in Fish at Rosa Parks Elementary School, on the New Columbia grounds in North Portland.
It's apropos for the incoming housing commissioner: When Fish was on the Housing Authority of Portland's board, he helped secure the funding for the rehabbed community, which was capped off with the new school.
"During the campaign, I spoke often about a place that symbolizes the best of Portland's present and a light to guide our future: Rosa Parks Elementary School," Fish wrote in an invitation to the reception. "I can think of no better place to begin my journey as your next city commissioner."