Commissioner Hardesty In the News

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Picture of Commissioner Hardesty smiling at a podium while wearing a blue "PBOT" jacket.

2022

Bike Portland: Sunday Parkways open streets events return this year!

"The popular carfree open streets events celebrate their 15th anniversary this year and were last held in real life in 2019. Due to health concerns and the Covid-19 pandemic, PBOT held only self-guided, interactive sticker hunts for the past two years.

The 2022 events will take place on Sunday June 26th in the northeast Cully area and on Sunday August 21st in east Portland."

KATU: Portland neighborhoods hope for investments as city discusses violence prevention

"A recent gun violence prevention effort in the area around Mt. Scott Park could prove to be a model for other parts of Portland. The effort, spearheaded by Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty’s office, included traffic control devices, better lighting in the park, plus additional park rangers and Portland police officers patrolling the area.

Hardesty and police said the neighborhood saw fewer shootings in the three months during the pilot program than the three months prior.

“Every bureau has a role in reducing violence in our community, and we should not expect only first responder bureaus to be those that are thinking about how we could use our limited resources more collectively,” Hardesty said."

Fox12 KPTV: Hardesty and PBOT move to make outdoor eating programs permanent

“The programs “Healthy Businesses” and “Portland Public Street Plaza” were created to provide crucial outdoor space to businesses during the pandemic. Now, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty and Portland Bureau of Transportation want those programs to be permanent staples of the city.

Hardesty gathered alongside PBOT officials Monday at Pride Plaza off SW Harvey Milk to discuss making both programs permanent. Currently permits for the Healthy Business program are free. However, Hardesty says to make them permanent, city council needs to meet PBOT’s budget request…”

BikePortland: PBOT wants to make carfree ‘Healthy Business’ plaza program permanent

“Standing in the middle of carfree Pride Plaza on SW Harvey Milk Street in downtown Portland this morning as bike riders streamed through a live press conference, Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty took a look around at the colorful pavement, benches and tables and said, “If we all work together we can keep this going. And I have to say, this is one of the most beautiful plazas, carfree areas and meeting spaces in the city!”

“Every neighborhood should have a welcoming place where community members can get together and enjoy each other,” Hardesty continued. “I am directing PBOT to extend these two programs and work to make them permanent, so that we can use our streets for people, not just for automobiles.”

Portland Mercury: Portland Transportation Leaders Move to Make COVID-Era Street Seating Permanent

“PBOT is also improving the safety and accessibility of the ad hoc covered seating. While the city already has some design guidance for street seating, like maintaining at least six feet of sidewalk space and height restrictions, PBOT will release additional design guidance in April and visit all permit sites starting late Spring to ensure all of the outdoor structures are design and ADA compliant.”

Fox12 KPTV: Portland city leaders discuss early results of gun violence intervention pilot program

"Eighteen traffic barrels, increased patrol from Portland police, better lighting and more park rangers at Mt. Scott Park - all part of a pilot program that Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said takes a holistic approach at addressing gun violence.

“It’s the community feeling safe to walk in their neighborhood and be able to convene in their public space. It’s a combination of everything. Everyone has a role in reducing gun violence,” said Hardesty.

Hardesty said Mt. Scott-Arleta community members had a lot to do with seeing the pilot program come to fruition."

Oregonian: SE Portland neighborhood sees 64% drop in shootings amid traffic-calming program, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty says

"Deputy [PPB] Chief Mike Frome said in a statement provided by Hardesty’s office that the Police Bureau was “happy to partner” with Portland Parks & Recreation rangers to patrol the area.

“Efforts like this demonstrate how the City of Portland can address problems like gun violence in a holistic manner, rather than treating it as a purely police issue,” Frome’s statement said."

Bike Portland: Neighborhood leader says residents ‘impressed’ by city’s response to street violence in Mt. Scott-Arleta

"The leader of the Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association, Matchu Williams, says he and many other residents were “desperate” for help after a spate of shootings rattled their community last fall. They called many City of Portland bureaus, leaders, and city hall offices for help and only two of them responded: the Office of Violence Prevention and a staffer from Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty’s office."

"The people on the ground who are actually involved in talking about what we can do are just honestly grateful and impressed by her and her staff’s interactions with the neighborhood. I think the tangible results really exemplify what a public city government should and can be and we hope that this kind of action can be brought to other neighborhoods throughout the city, to create spaces for people to gather safely and feel confident in their neighborhood.”

Oregonian: Portland City Council approves launch of Black Youth Leadership Fund

“I couldn’t be prouder to bring this investment in Portland’s Black youth forward,” Hardesty said during a February news conference. “These investments will provide hope and opportunities for our Black community that has always been left behind in Portland.”

Hardesty proposed creating the program for Black youth in response to 2020 protests calling for racial justice and police accountability."

"The leadership program aims to close racial wealth and inequality gaps in Portland that stem from racist practices like residential segregation and a lack of financial investment in historically Black neighborhoods and communities."

Portland Observer: Elevating Black Youth. City Approves Outreach for Healing  

"In a ground-breaking move that could become a model for cities across the country, the Portland City Council has earmarked $950,000 to improve the lives of Black youth while giving the young people of color themselves the ability to decide where the money goes.

Financial support for the program can be traced to months of Black Lives Matter protests in Portland following the 2020 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, when Portland City Council Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty vowed to find funding to uplift and empower Black youth in Portland and help them heal from the trauma of racism.

“It is rare sitting on this seat on the council that you have an opportunity to get to see a dream come to life,” Hardesty said, describing the effort and outreach led by long time social justice activist Dr. S. Renee Mitchell."

OPB: Portland bans the sale and use of personal fireworks

"In a presentation last week, Fire Chief Sara Boone said fireworks greatly increase the risk of a major disaster, particularly as climate change increases periods of extreme heat and drought becomes more common. In 2017, she said, a single firework scorched over 48,000 acres of forest and the Columbia River Gorge; the Eagle Creek Fire was the largest wildfire in Multnomah County’s history. On July 4, 2020, fireworks caused 18 fires in Portland, according to the ordinance.

That number dropped dramatically in 2021 after the mayor signed an emergency declaration temporarily banning the sale of fireworks due to a severe drought.

“Even on a temporary basis, the results were dramatic. We saw a reduction by 66% of fire calls related to fireworks,” Fire Marshal Kari Schimel told City Council members last week. “This is the lowest number of fire calls related to fireworks that we have seen in the last 20 years.”

Commissioners said Wednesday they believed the climate crisis meant the risk of a devastating fire would not be diminishing over the coming decades.

“There is no question that this ban will save lives,” said Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who oversees the fire bureau and introduced the ordinance. “We know that we are in a climate disaster, and we know that these severe weather temperatures, wildfires are not going to end anytime soon. As a community committed to climate mitigation, we must change behavior.”

KATU: PBOT, Hardesty praise passage of speed camera bill, say it will save lives

"We are grateful to the Legislature for giving us more flexibility to expand our speed safety cameras program and save lives on Portland streets. These cameras are an important tool for safety, and they are needed now more than ever. I will continue to advocate for investments in safe street design, slow speeds, and appropriate enforcement to reduce traffic violence in our community and work towards a future where there are zero traffic deaths in Portland," said City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty.

The bill, which still needs to be signed by the governor, will also swap duties from who reviews and issues the citations.

In the past, only sworn police officers could review the photos and issue citations. Under this new legislation, designated city officials will be allowed to review and issues tickets."

Portland Mercury: Bill Allows For More Speed Cameras on Portland Streets

“These well-trained officers are reviewing photos—they’re not on the streets, they’re simply sitting behind a computer and being paid overtime to just check for accuracy [of the photos],” said Representative Jeff Reardon, a co-sponsor of the bill, in a legislative hearing. “This is a cost effective program that saves lives. We should look to keep costs low, put our officers to work doing more good for the community, and let the city save on cost and training by having city staff carry out this work.”

Portland’s existing 18 red light and speed cameras have proven effective in reducing crashes and speeding in the surrounding areas. According to PBOT data, intersections with red light cameras saw a 50 percent decrease in vehicle crashes. Roads with speed cameras triggered a 71 percent decrease in speeding overall and a 94 percent decrease in drivers exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 miles per hour.

According to PBOT’s traffic safety manager Dana Dickman, the bill will allow the city to add an estimated 22 speed cameras on Portland’s most dangerous roads. The cameras will be placed throughout the city’s high-crash network—busy traffic corridors that make up about 8 percent of Portland’s roads but account for 57 percent of the city’s fatal crashes."

Willamette Week: Legislators Scrapped Requirement That Police Review Speeding Tickets From Fixed Cameras

"PBOT Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, joined by her council colleagues, made changing the law to allow a trained civilian, rather than a police officer, to review speed camera tickets a priority in the short session that began in February and ended last week."

OPB: Portland Commissioner Dan Ryan proposes four new “safe rest village” sites

"A Portland Bureau of Transportation-owned property that will be used as a “safe park village” for people experiencing homelesseness who live in their cars"

Portland Business Journal: Rose City's Finest: Celebrating 100 Black Leaders In Portland

"Jo Ann Hardesty - City of Portland

Title: City Commissioner

Favorite Black-owned restaurant: Amalfi’s Restaurant & Mercado. "This restaurant has been in the same family for three generations and is currently owned by a born and raised Portlander."

Favorite Black author: "The one and only Maya Angelou."

Black-owned business you should know: "If you want to know where some of my fashion inspiration comes from, I recommend checking out the African clothing store N’Kossi Boutique at Pioneer Place downtown. This is where I purchased my election night outfits!"

The Skanner: Police Union, City Settle on Tentative Contract

"After a year of negotiation and eight months after deadline, the city of Portland and the union representing the city’s police officers have tentatively agreed on a contract.

Amid ongoing community outcry for police transparency and accountability, the updated contract with the Portland Police Association (PPA) includes employee recruitment and retention bonuses, incentives for continued education, expansion of the Portland Street Response program, and the creation of a voter-approved independent oversight board-– one that may have more clout due to the inclusion of the Portland Police Bureau’s discipline guide within the contract itself.

“Over the last three years, we took in significant community input, provided as much transparency as labor law allowed, hired outside legal counsel with expertise in police union contracts, and now we have real change," Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said in a statement. "This includes the ability to continue our expansion of Portland Street Response citywide and creating a clear, fair discipline guide to provide accountability for police misconduct. While no single contract negotiation will bring about all the changes I personally would like to see, I’m proud that my office’s deep engagement led to a better process and outcomes.”

Portland.gov: Raimore Construction helps City Build a More Equitable, Safe Portland

"Construction is underway on the Outer Division Safety Project, a $7.5 million slate of infrastructure improvements along what has long been one of the most dangerous transportation corridors in the city. The project builds upon a 20-year relationship between the City of Portland and Raimore Construction – a locally owned firm that has committed to granting 100 percent of required project subcontracts to Business Inclusion and Diversity-certified firms."

""Increasing diversity within who receives contracts from the City of Portland is a goal I’ve championed for decades, which is why I am so honored to be the Transportation Commissioner overseeing PBOT’s role in the Outer Division Safety Project that contracted with the Black owned Raimore Construction,” said Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. “I know Raimore will utilize their expertise to ensure this investment creates a safer East Portland for all modes of transportation while creating living wage jobs for our community.”

Willamette Week: Top 25 Reason to Love Portland:  No. 2 Because Portland Has a Citywide Alternative to Policing

"Next week marks the one-year anniversary of Portland Street Response’s pilot program. And next month will see what is perhaps an even bigger milestone: The program is slated to expand citywide.

That means Portland Street Response’s team of paramedics and licensed mental health clinicians are no longer restricted to the greater Lents area they were bound to for the duration of the trial run.

“Portland Street Response is an exciting change to our community safety system, and I am proud to have championed its development. After a yearlong pilot, we are gearing up for expansion,” Hardesty tells WW. “This March, PSR will be going citywide and we’re currently interviewing people to fill those positions. My office just submitted our budget request for next year, and if my colleagues vote to approve it, by this summer Portland Street Response will be coming to every corner of the city 24/7."

2021

KATU: Hardesty joins striking Fred Meyer workers on picket line

Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty joined picketers at the Hawthorne Fred Meyer on Friday night.

“And you deserve a fair wage, a living wage,” she said to cheers."

Bike Portland: Podcast: Interview With City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty

"We spent over an hour in her City Hall office on Thursday (12/2) discussing a wide range of issues. We talked about everything from automated enforcement cameras (she supports them but said PBOT might have to fire the current vendor for delays), to the decline of biking in Portland (which she attributes to driving being way too cheap), her position on ODOT’s freeway expansion projects in Portland, the role of police in transportation safety (she is “appalled” at their press conference last week), her feelings about a new “civilian traffic force”, what she considers an ideal street design, and much more."