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Assess options to increase coordination and enhance unhoused access to paid non-standard work


WHEREAS, around 35% of Portland’s adult workers seek the kind of work that fits around other circumstances in their life - a medical issue that fluctuates day-to-day, unpredictable family caregiving or parenting commitments, unstable housing or existing partial employment they wish to retain; and 

WHEREAS, these members of our community have invaluable lived experience. But too many are out of sight in our labor market. They are too often siloed in “gig work” apps, working off-the-books or getting by without earnings; and 

WHEREAS, locally, several nonprofits already offer work readiness program for non-standard work options, like Central City Concern’s Employment Access Center, and Trash for Peace, that deserve more support; and 

WHEREAS, interest in more diverse non-standard work options is greater among communities of color, women, and the lowest income, including those living unhoused, but there is little publicly-provided infrastructure connecting work-seekers to a diverse offering of work options; and 

WHEREAS, public agencies increasingly recognize the need to address deficient services for non-standard workers; and  

WHEREAS, a group of local government leaders in the metro region are exploring the creation of a multi-jurisdictional public and private partnership to create a program to match non-standard jobs to job seekers; and 

WHEREAS, Worksystems, Inc, has found a promising new set of practices based on the work of a group of cities in California led by Long Beach. They are launching a sophisticated platform for all types of flexible labor. The nonprofit Workers Lab is funding its expansion to other areas, and they would like to work with the City to explore if such a model would work in the region; and 

WHEREAS, key questions for the City to explore include: 

  • What can be known about this part of our local workforce? 

  • What are the lessons learned from the California cities program? 

  • What is required for a successful local launch?  

  • How can a larger and more systematic approach to the flexible labor market help tackle fundamental problems for marginalized residents and the economy?  

  • Can enough quality non-standard jobs be found for people not fortunate enough to have regular availability for work? 

WHEREAS, the City of Portland and other regional jurisdictions are significant buyers/users of non-standard work: 

  • Demand, however, is dispersed through multiple jurisdictions, bureaus, departments, budgets, and suppliers; and 

  • Public-sector use of non-standard work should be better organized to maximize resources and opportunities and support those workers who need non-standard work to (re) engage and advance in the labor market. 

NOW THEREFOR BE IT RESOLVED, facilitated by Worksystems, Inc., the City of Portland joins the regional multi-jurisdictional government partnership with labor, minority chambers and regional community organizations that have established workforce programs serving the targeted populations listed above to explore how to expand non-standard work options, especially for Portlanders experiencing houselessness; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City Council directs City bureaus who use or purchase non-standard work to participate in a study on organizing better city-funded non-standard work opportunities to create a better marketplace built around access, protection, control, and progression for workers; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, Portland's labor unions representing city workers and others are invited to partner and co-create this initiative; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, if determined by the multi-jurisdictional and labor partnership, sufficient demand exists in the City to support the adoption of a new platform to organize non-standard work, bureaus will commit to using that system to post opportunities and engage workers; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, Worksystems Inc, working with partners to complete this initial feasibility phase, will return to the Portland City Council with a report and potential next steps; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City Council requests that staff return with implementation, operational and funding plans for its further consideration.  

Impact Statement

Purpose of Proposed Legislation and Background Information

The purpose of this legislation is to work with partners to assess and explore a system to better structure gig and itinerant work (non-standard work) so that the needs of workers are prioritized and more people can successfully participate in, benefit from, and advance in the labor market.

Financial and Budgetary Impacts

 Additional details will be added when available.

Community Impacts and Community Involvement

 Additional details will be added when available.

100% Renewable Goal

 Additional details will be added when available.

Budget Office Financial Impact Analysis

This resolution directs the City to join a multi-jurisdictional and labor inclusive partnership facilitated by Worksystems, Inc and directs bureaus to participate in a study “on organizing better city-funded non-standard work opportunities to create a better marketplace built around access, protection, control, and progression for workers.” The Budget Office is uncertain at this time whether the partnership and study are already funded or if there is an expectation or need for additional funding to support this work. Other direct costs could include the costs of staff time to participate in the partnership and study.    

The resolution is focused on enhancing options for paid non-standard work for unhoused individuals. Related current investments include:   

  • The City currently allocates $852,465 in General Fund discretionary resources through the Joint Office of Homeless Services for employment programming, which offer a combination of housing assistance and workforce support.   

  • The Impact Reduction Program in the Office of Management of Finance allocated $776,787 in one-time resources in FY 2022-23 budget to Trash for Peace, a low-barrier waste management job entry program.    

Pending the results of the directed report and recommendations from the partnership, there could be notable financial impacts to enhance options for paid non-standard work.   

Document History

Item 900 Time Certain in October 21-27, 2022 Council Agenda

City Council


Continued to November 3, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. Time Certain.
Submit written testimony to

Item 928 Time Certain in November 2-3, 2022 Council Agenda

City Council


Motion to include BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED section, “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, during the development of this policy there shall be a convening of a group of community experts on employment options for unhoused communities to shape the assistance needed for the City to create a new employment platform; and”: Moved by Hardesty and seconded by Rubio. (Y-Rubio, Hardesty; N-Mapps, Ryan, Wheeler). Motion failed to pass.
  • Commissioner Mingus Mapps Yea
  • Commissioner Carmen Rubio Yea
  • Commissioner Dan Ryan Yea
  • Former Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty Yea
  • Mayor Ted Wheeler Yea


Christina Ghan

Director of Planning and Housing

Requested Agenda Type

Time Certain

Date and Time Information

Requested Council Date
Requested Start Time
2:00 pm
Time Requested
3 hours (2 of 5)
Confirmed Time Certain