- Doing what’s needed now: delivering more support and funding for small businesses, students, artists and Portlanders facing homelessness and unemployment;
- Building for what’s needed tomorrow: committing to aggressive climate action goals, industry and job creation targets, and a comprehensive plan to create the Portland we all want for the next 25 years;
- Bringing everyone to the table: working side-by-side with entrepreneurs, community leaders, activists and local, state and federal government to get what we need and share what we have;
A closer look:
For too many Portlanders, 2009 was a hard year. Our city, like every city in the nation, was battered by the winds of a deep and prolonged global economic storm. Our neighbors, like neighbors in cities across the nation, lost their jobs, struggled to keep their businesses open, fought to keep their homes.
But unlike many other cities, Portland has a unique place in the emerging global economy. We’re a city that is striving to look out for future generations of Portlanders and take care of our neighbors right now. Portlanders volunteer more in their communities than all but one other city in the nation. Portlanders ride their buses, bikes and light rail more than any other city in the nation. And Portlanders are finding ways to make their work, their home, and their life more environmentally conscious in numbers that continue to be an example to cities around the nation.
When I took office in January, I made a commitment – that Portland would become not just the most sustainable city in the nation, but among the most sustainable economies in the world. We would invest in our neighborhoods, our streets, and our entrepreneurs. We would invest in our schools, our youth, and our artists. We would show how bringing together the public and private sectors could unlock opportunities neither could deliver alone. We would take immediate actions to alleviate the hurt felt by the hardest hit amongst our neighbors. And while we were taking these steps now, we would continue to lay the groundwork to catapult Portland into future prosperity when the global storm subsided.
My colleagues on City Council and I have worked diligently this past year to meet these commitments. Working with my colleagues, I brought forward and passed a budget that focused cuts on administration, protected core services and put money toward housing support, small business assistance, and youth and career education. We fast-tracked $287 million of local, public projects into 12 months. And we made sure that we fought hard for federal stimulus funding, and used that funding wisely and innovatively. For example, we created Clean Energy Works Portland, a first-in-the-nation pilot program to use on-bill financing to make residential energy efficiency retrofits affordable for all Portlanders.
The work we’re doing now goes hand-in-hand with the strategic roadmaps we’re preparing and moving on for the future. And we’re bringing laser focus to these game plans. A first-in-decades economic development strategy, focused on Portland’s most competitive industries, that will create 10,000 new jobs in the next five years. A climate action plan that will keep Portland ahead of the nation on combating climate change. An arts strategy that will lay out the pathway to dedicated funding for arts and arts education, investing in our creative economy in the process. And a comprehensive Portland Plan, crafted in collaboration with more than 20 jurisdictional partners across the region, to align priorities and spending to create Portland’s next 25 years.
We have a lot of work to do in the coming years to ensure that students are graduating on time, business owners have the tools they need to grow, and every Portlander has an equitable opportunity to be successful. In 2009, we took real steps forward to get it done.
It remains an honor to serve you as mayor. I wish you and yours a happy, safe, and prosperous new year.
Click here for the 2009 Year In Review
With warm regards,
Mayor, City of Portland