[Full disclosure: As this article was going to publication, the author was applying for employment with the incoming mayor's administration. -- eds.]
On Tuesday afternoon, December 16, Mayor-elect Sam Adams finally made the announcement everyone's been waiting for: Who gets what city bureau? Bureau assignments are one of the only special powers a Portland mayor has, and Adams has made the most of it.
For starters, he merged the Bureau of Planning and the Office of Sustainable Development (OSD) into the superbureau—in my opinion, at least—of Sustainable Planning and Development. It's a smart move that marries OSD's work in green building programs, food security, and renewable energy with the Bureau of Planning's efforts to... well, plan for Portland's future—a future where we can handle peak oil and combat global warming by planning communities where driving is optional and homes are energy efficient.
Unfortunately, and as long rumored, that means Planning Director Gil Kelley is out, because OSD's Susan Anderson will head up the new bureau. Kelley's effective evangelism on things like 20-minute walkable neighborhoods will be missed, but the reality is that Adams—who will oversee the new bureau—is just as big a champion of the ideas that keep Portland on the forefront of urban planning.
That's not the end of the shuffling. Commissioner Dan Saltzman (who had overseen OSD) will also lose the Parks Bureau, which gives him more time to focus on police (a bureau Adams handed him earlier). But Saltzman, an environmental engineer, will snag the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) from Adams. Saltzman had hoped to have something enviro-related to balance out his workload, and it looks like he got his wish (sort of... BES is best known for the sewers).
The musical chairs means Commissioner Nick Fish gets the Parks Bureau, and keeps a pared-down Bureau of Housing—the "and Community Development" part of that bureau is heading over to the Portland Development Commission (another item in Adams' portfolio).
Fish will hand the Fire Bureau to former firefighter Randy Leonard (who will continue to oversee the Bureau of Development Services, which will now handle all city permit issues).
Newbie Amanda Fritz gets her coveted Office of Neighborhood Involvement, plus Potter's baby, the Office of Human Relations (which means she'll oversee the work on racial profiling). She also gets another Saltzman hand-me-down, the Office of Cable Communications and Franchise Management, a technology-laden bureau most recently seen trying to reform the city's cell tower regulations. Finally, she'll get the new "Office of Healthy Working Rivers," which will do just what that name says, clean up the Willamette and other polluted waterways.
Hall Monitor will return on January 8 with a peek inside Adams' swearing in.