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Leadership saving water users money

Thank you, Regna Merritt, Floy Jones, Kent Craford and others who are the real heroes behind yesterday's breakthrough announcement that the Water Bureau is finally asking the Environmental Protection Agency for a stay in constructing costly, unnecessary infrastructure for our pristine Bull Run water. The Water Users group and I have been asking for this action for many months - see "Who is minding Portland's skyrocketting water bills?" Oregonian editorial, earlier this year.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer has succeeded in getting EPA to re-evaluate its position on New York's open reservoir. Portland is now moving forward with the request the Water Users and I urged Council to pass in the 2011-12 budget process, asking for an indefinite suspension to allow other options to be evaluated that may save ratepayers money.

I appreciate the Water Users' mention of my leadership and partnership with citizens on this series of important issues for Portland's drinking water.

Full comments on my City blog.

Multnomah Days Parade

I am out of town on my annual vacation with my theater-major daughter, watching plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. We bought our tickets back in November, with the timing framed around her summer plans and going back to Willamette University next week. We are having a wonderful set of experiences in the magical world of Ashland, however the trip kept me away from the Multnomah Days Parade for the first time in years. As the parade announcer said, I am Multnomah Village's representative on the Council, having lived within walking distance all 25 years of my life in Portland. I am the representative of every other neighborhood on the Council, too. Check the comments of folks living in every part of Portland, on the Supporters page of this site. But Multnomah Days is the closest parade to my home, and the shortest of all. I was sorry to miss it.

Ta-da! Trusty loyal parade volunteers, campaign manager, and firstborn son to the rescue! Robert Wilson (the one with the cool shades), who has been a faithful participant in every parade for the past three years and also sent this photo, Jim Robison, Ellen Miyo Ino, and Luke Fritz filled in for me. Luke wore his Wilson High School 2003 championship football jersey, which he said drew some cheers. But Robert reports, as usual the zebra car got the most attention. Thank you, everyone who applauded my team in my absence.

I'll be back at Council on Wednesday morning. I scheduled my vacation Wednesday afternoon to Tuesday evening, to be present in Council during the public hearings on Wednesdays. To see this week's Council agenda, and check on upcoming items, visit my City web site and click on the "Next Up at Cty Council" tab.

What is campaigning, what is work, what is fun?

Obviously, a ten foot long sundae at a neighborhood potluck on a beautiful sunny afternoon is fun! This one was at the East Columbia Neighborhood Association summer potluck, an event I've attended multiple times before. It's always fun. (Click "add comment" to read more)

Celebrity Endorsement - Storm Large!

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.

And here we go!

Hi, thank you for visiting the brand new Re-elect Commissioner Amanda Fritz 2012 web site. I'm looking forward to talking with you on this blog about the things I do to provide good value for your tax dollars that pay my salary as your City Commissioner.

For the past two and a half years I've worked about 80 hours a week listening to Portlanders and together solving problems and getting results -- and I haven't spent much time telling Portlanders about achievements. I'm not a career politician so I haven't felt the need to brag. My team is always working straight on to the next challenge, after each week's successes and frustrations. I generally spend two to three hours every night, from when I return from my evening meeting until midnight or later, answering constituent e-mails. I have personally read and responded to over 17,000 emails since I took office in 2009. As a retired Registered Nurse and former community organizer, I truly LOVE interacting one-to-one with Portlanders. I especially love being able to help solve constituents' problems, or better yet giving the information that empowers neighbors to achieve their goals themselves.

This work doesn't leave a lot of time for listing results ..... but the fact remains, together Portlanders and I have accomplished huge improvements. Over the next 8 months until the primary in May 2012, it will be fun to take a little time to celebrate shared achievements with you, on this blog and the rest of the Amanda 2012 web site. Thanks for joining the conversation - check back here often.

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