IT LOOKS LIKE $15 an hour is about to become a reality for some of the city's worst-paid employees—despite the city's best efforts.
Portland officials are in the midst of hashing out an agreement with the union Laborers' Local 483 that will bestow increased wages and benefits on some of the temporary and seasonal workers Portland Parks and Recreation relies on to operate. Details of the agreement are still being worked out, but it's expected more than 80 formerly unrepresented workers will be brought under the union's contract with the city, with potentially more to come.
The city and Local 483 have been hashing out terms since May, when the union secured a binding opinion that the parks bureau needed to stop giving seasonal workers tasks that were supposed to be handled by union members. The union says the ruling should apply to as many as 300 workers, and that it will work to bring more people under its contract with the city.
The initial move is expected to cost the city more than $2 million a year—money that wasn't specifically included in this year's budget. DIRK VANDERHART
DID THE Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) score millions from this year's legislative session after all? State number crunchers seem to think so.
Oregon lawmakers couldn't agree on a gas tax increase that might have kicked new funding to Portland's troubled streets. But lawmakers did okay House Bill 2621, which gives Portland permission to set up speed cameras on its "high-crash corridors"—10 roads that account for more than half of the city's pedestrian deaths.
According to estimates produced by the state's Legislative Revenue Office, those 20 cameras could result in hundreds of thousands of new speeding tickets once the system's up and running, resulting in more than $23 million in new revenue a year. Almost $7 million of that money would come back to the city, and would have to be used to run the camera system and improve traffic safety. Officials expect Portland's system will cost less than $1 million a year to run.
In other words, PBOT could be in for a windfall—not that its staffers buy the state's forecast. Gabe Graff, the bureau's operations and safety manager, thinks drivers will simply stop speeding once the cameras go up (which is the goal, of course).
"My sense is that most Portlanders will adjust their behavior," Graff says. DVH
UBER AND LYFT wasted no time establishing dominance within Portland city limits.
The transportation network companies (TNCs) were granted formal permission to operate in the city in late April. By the end of May, they'd snatched up nearly half of a market formerly dominated by taxis, according to a report released by the Portland Bureau of Transportation on July 10.
The city's data shows that cab companies gave 130,000 rides in May (though that doesn't count people flagging down cabs on the street or at the airport). TNCs gave 100,000 rides, and offered shorter waits on average.
It gets worse for cabbies, though. The report suggests Uber and Lyft might well have overtaken the market at this point.
"TNC companies saw many more trips toward the end of the month, suggesting that they may have greater overall ridership in coming months,' the report says. DVH