THE CITY OF PORTLAND'S officially taken its first shaky steps toward a $15 minimum wage. On Wednesday, May 13, city council voted unanimously to pay all full-time city employees and both full-time and part-time contract workers at least that much.
It's progress toward what Commissioner Dan Saltzman has called "the wage floor for all US workers," but it also creates a profoundly unfair situation: Part-time contractors are now paid more than thousands of the city's own part-time employees.
That's a scenario that Commissioner Amanda Fritz—as the parks commissioner who oversees the vast majority of those employees—has sought to avoid ["Starting at the Bottom," News, Jan 7]. Now Fritz is hinting she'll try to improve pay for some of those employees in upcoming budget talks.
"It's not equitable that we pay part-time workers who are contract workers much more than we pay part-time workers in parks," Fritz said at the May 13 hearing. "We have a big challenge ahead of us. We need to start making this down payment to parks workers in this current budget."
City officials already face a tough scenario with some parks employees. They're scrambling to figure out how to handle an arbitrator's May 1 ruling that Portland Parks and Recreation needs to stop giving low-paid part-time workers tasks that are supposed to go to better-paid union members. DIRK VANDERHART
SPEAKING OF pay inequity, it's alive and well on Portland City Council, too.
The Oregonian noted in a May 14 story that Commissioner Dan Saltzman reported nearly $1.6 million in income above and beyond his $108,643 public paycheck in 2014.
The figure comes from annual statements of economic interest public officials are required to file with the state. They don't have to report all their income—just sources of cash that make up 10 percent or more of their total household income.
Saltzman, whose family owns a good deal of city center real estate, is the only commissioner to have reported money from business interests, the O reports. DVH
A PORTLAND POLICE officer on Sunday, May 17, shot 47-year-old Michael Shawn Harrison in Southeast Portland after Harrison allegedly charged officers while waving a knife.
At 2:15 pm, police received word that a man had cut himself and was wandering the streets in the Brooklyn neighborhood. Cops say he entered an occupied home briefly before the shooting occurred, prompting a woman and her children to hide in the basement and call police.
Police report that when Harrison exited the home they ordered him to surrender. Instead he allegedly ran at officers, not stopping when struck with a "less-lethal" beanbag round. Officer Raelynn McKay then fired her handgun, hitting Harrison several times.
Cops expect the man to survive. It's Portland's third officer-involved shooting of 2015. SHELBY R. KING