Storm Large, entertainer and amazing person, was the Grand Marshall of the Division-Clinton parade on Saturday along with Mayor Adams. Storm endorsed me in my first campaign, and graciously agreed to do so again. I was grateful when she was kind to me in my traumatic Candidates Gone Wild appearances, and became an even more heartfelt fan after seeing her profound Crazy Enough performance at The Armory.
Kudos to the Division-Clinton parade and street fair organizers for a splendid community event! Portland's Neighborhood Business Associations rock! I have worked to promote greater collaboration between Neighborhood Associations (supported by the Office of Neighborhood Involvement in my portfolio) and the Alliance of Portland Neighborhood Business Associations (APNBA) which is funded by Council-allocated General Funds passed through the Portland Development Commission. Requests for neighborhood project grants will require collaboration with a Business Association or individual business, and neighbors all over the city are joining the effort to encourage Portlanders to choose to patronize local businesses.
I spent 7.5 hours this sunny Sunday afternoon and evening catching up on responding to 93 emails from constituents, mostly about the ban on plastic bags passed by the Council this past week, and regarding a land use case on whether to allow a recycling transfer station in Lents. The latter is a quasi-judicial land use appeal, so I can't comment on it outside of the official record and public hearing process.
I am proud of the Council's action in banning single-use plastic bags at the checkout. Mayor Adams likely had the three votes needed to pass a Portland ban last year, but at my urging and that of State Legislators he graciously agreed to allow the Legislature time to attempt to pass a statewide ban. Since the Legislature failed to do so, I was happy to honor my commitment in the Resolution passed last year in supporting the ordinance banning single-use plastic bags at the checkout stands. One of the most compelling points in testimony is that recycling sorting machines currently have half the predicted durability because they get jammed and broken by plastic bags tossed into the mixed recycling containers. The cost of machine replacement is passed on to customers, so reducing the number of plastic bags in circulation will likely benefit consumers by reducing these extra expenditures.
Note that plastic bags are still allowed for produce, meat, and other potentially messy purchases, and therefore "free" bags will be available for wet garbage and pet waste at home. Also, there will be a one year report on the program to assess its effectiveness. I will be seeking advice from the Portland Commission on Disability and the Elders in Action Commission to inform the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability on re-usable bag designs private companies should offer that are easier for people with disabilities and seniors to use.
When the Council makes a decision, that is almost always the beginning of a process, as well as the end of the one leading up to the vote. I work hard to promote community engagement and real citizen influence before, during, and after every hearing, and I will continue to do so on this project.