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Category: City Council Review

How the Council Votes, and Where They Disagree

The Portland Townsman has reviewed the past six months of City Council meetings to extract each and every vote in which at least one member disagreed with the majority. All of these non-unanimous votes we’ve used to analyze the relative positions of City Councilors and provide context for their disagreements. Read on to see how your Councilors have voted – where it counts.


Encampment Tensions, Quorum Woes, and a Slew of Slurs – City Council Review 09/06/23

At this rare non-Monday meeting, the City Council faces a parade of vulgar racists on Zoom while being short three members. With so many absences, the Council debates the propriety of making important votes without them, and hears a tense update from the Encampment Crisis Response Team following the 9/6 clearing at Fore River. A permanent corporation counsel is also appointed, another charter reform implemented, and the new rent rate announced. All this and more in Erica Snyder-Drummond’s City Council Review.


Asylum Seeker Hospitality, LGBT Senior Housing, & a New Rent Control Referendum – City Council Review 08/14/23 Double Edition

In another double-header meeting, the City Council hears reports on encampments and the imminent closure of the Expo shelter – currently housing nearly 200 asylum seekers. The Equality Community Center receives support for its LGBT senior housing, and a surprising request from the Irish Heritage Center divides the council. Another referendum on rent control is approved for the ballot, conflicts of interest are alleged, and right-wing trolls disrupt the comment section, all in this month’s City Council Review, with Ashley Keenan filling in for Erica Snyder-Drummond.


Budget Passed, Police Raises Disputed, Referendum Reform Scrapped – City Council Review 07/17/23 Double Edition

In a packed City Council meeting – the only one in July – the municipal budget passes with the assistance of state funds, in the process instigating a heated debate over police wages. Appointment of a new Director of Public Works led into communications about homeless encampment response, the Neo-Nazi rally this past April, and property assessments. After vigorous public comment, a late-night debate over council-drafted reforms to Chapter 9 ended with the proposals being unceremoniously killed – likely for good. All this and more in this special, double edition of City Council Review.


New Police Chief, Island Parking Debate, and The Thirsty Pig – City Council Review 06/26/23

At the City Council meeting Monday, June 26th, the Council appointed a new Police Chief – Mark Dubois – and again delayed the municipal budget while hoping for additional state funds. Commercial St. vendors plead for help over homeless crisis, councilors debate what mainland parking island residents are entitled to, and the latest round in a heated dispute over live music at The Thirsty Pig, all in this edition of City Council Review.

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Asylum Seeker Shelter Plan Spurs Confusion and Anger at Emergency Meeting – City Council Review 06/12/2023

At a short-notice and little-publicized City Council meeting assembled to discuss just one item, a raft of criticism was directed at the Council’s decision to enter into a contract to build a 180-bed shelter explicitly for single, non-family asylum seekers in the Riverton neighborhood. The two-hour debate over this approval brought out heartfelt emotions and shocking statistics, but not unity of purpose.


Encampment Action, Fair Wages, and Budget Delays – City Council Review 06/05/23

Portland’s HHS Department, led by Kristen Dow, shared information about her team’s closure of the Expo emergency shelter to newcomers, the creation of a new crisis response team for homeless encampments, and plans for the future. Questions about fair wages for construction workers and affordable housing impediments were discussed, and the municipal budget was delayed until the next meeting. This and more in this edition of Erica Snyder-Drummond’s City Council Review.

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City Manager Appointment, Budget Hearings, and Monopoly – City Council Review 05/15/23

Interim City Manager Danielle West is no longer “Interim” as the Council appointed her to be Portland’s first woman as City Manager. Also at this May 15th meeting, the Council approved the School Budget to be sent to voters, and held the first public hearing on the Municipal Budget. Information on clearing the Bayside Trail encampment was shared, and a Portland Monopoly board game was approved.

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Clean Elections Passage, School Budget Comments, and a Contested Appointment – City Council Review 05/01/23

At Monday’s City Council meeting, the extensive debates on the Clean Elections fund finally end in passing an ordinance, while the School Budget package gets its first reading and public hearing. A controversial voice on social media, after a challenge from the public, was appointed to the Rent Board, and the city came together to thank the late Kevin Fahrman for his Valentine’s Day Banditry.