IT'S LOOKING LIKE Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman's somewhat audacious request for $1.7 million in one-time funding for homelessness programs is well on track. With a few weeks before Portland City Council takes up the request during its next budget update, the commissioner has already invited advocates and experts to help devise the best plan for spending all that cash. A task force of 10 or so people will meet at least twice to refine a proposal Saltzman first crafted in August—facing a hail of criticism over his relative quiet in the face of camp and sidewalk sweeps led by Mayor Charlie Hales. Is Saltzman jumping the gun? Not quite. The council on Wednesday, September 18, approved diverting $300,000 in unspent housing grant money toward some of the same programs, with the understanding that Saltzman would be coming back for more. "I will stand shoulder to shoulder with you," former Housing Commissioner Nick Fish told Saltzman, "when you bring back this supplemental request." DENIS C. THERIAULT


PUBLIC SUBSIDIES for a proposed Hyatt hotel adjacent to the Oregon Convention Center found resounding approval among city and county officials in the last week—clearing the somewhat controversial effort for final negotiations. On Wednesday, September 18, the Portland City Council voted 4-1 to approve a memorandum of understanding between various governments with a stake in the roughly $200 million deal. The council is expected to formally approve the proposal on September 25. Commissioner Steve Novick opposes the project because it involves almost $80 million in subsidies—money supporters say will be easily paid back. On Thursday, September 19, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners effusively approved the project, hailing it as a job creator and boon for Portland's future. Metro, the body pushing the project, voted to approve it in August. DIRK VANDERHART