Proposed Contract Renewal for Downtown Portland Clean & Safe Would Fund Mental Health Outreach Team, Enhance Cleaning and Trash Removal, Continue Popular Events and Promotions

Press Release
City of Portland leaders and Downtown Portland Clean & Safe announce proposed changes to the 5-year contract.

City of Portland leaders and Downtown Portland Clean & Safe have developed a proposal for a new Downtown Portland Clean & Safe contract. Should this proposal be approved by City Council at a Sept. 23 hearing, it will mark a major milestone in downtown Portland’s recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession. Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Mingus Mapps are co-sponsors of the proposal.

Downtown Clean & Safe is one of three enhanced service districts in Portland, where property owners have decided to financially support focused community resources. Guided by public input, the updated scope of work for the contract will direct the use of more than $6 million per year in district license fees to improve a 213-block area in the city center over the next five to 10 years. 

The proposal is supported by a majority of the City Council, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt, and the Downtown Portland Clean & Safe Board of Directors, which represents and manages the services funded by rate payers. This proposal comes after a year and a half of challenges to the downtown area. 

In the midst of the pandemic and social unrest, the Downtown Clean & Safe District never stopped working. In this last year, the district’s cleaning program removed over 73,385 bags of garbage, 65,437+ needles, 46,734 biohazards and 41,637+ graffiti tags.

Downtown Portland Clean & Safe also coordinated responses to more than 15,000 non-emergency safety calls, provided proactive outreach to over 200,000 businesses and individuals in the district, managed the promotion and marketing for downtown Portland, and provided economic data and trends for stakeholders, media, policy makers and all who visit and use the downtown area. 

The proposal for a new scope of work was an extensive community engagement collaboration among Downtown Portland Clean & Safe, community stakeholders and the City of Portland. After input was collected from district residents, businesses, rate payers and community-wide town halls, Downtown Clean & Safe and the City developed the updated scope of work for the new proposed contract. Many of the changes within the contract are firsts and will effectively aid in the recovery of Portland’s downtown area. 

The updated Downtown Portland Clean & Safe scope of work includes: 

  • Security Services: Prioritizing throughout a community safety model with increased oversight provided by the new Enhanced Service District Coordinator; requirement to follow Oregon de-escalation and training laws and standards for security staff; new maximum of fifteen security staff per shift; new limit of 25 percent of security on staff armed at any time for cases such as supporting Clean Start workers in performance of their cleaning duties; commitment to revisiting funding for four-member Portland Police Bureau Bike Patrol by June 2026; commitment to revisiting funding for administrative support position at the District Attorney’s office by 2026; language clarifying administrative position is not a prosecutorial position; new requirements to maintain a complaint process easily accessible by the public; and new monthly reporting requirements to the Enhanced Service District Coordinator regarding complaints and calls for service.     
  • Mental Health & Community Outreach: Downtown Portland Clean & Safe has agreed to partner with Central City Concern to fund a three-person community mental health outreach team, including a licensed clinician. Workers would focus on helping unsheltered people transition from the streets to county services. Sidewalk ambassadors will also shift their focus to community outreach and support. 
  • Janitorial Services: Cleaners will continue to be employed through the popular Clean Start Program run by Central City Concern. In addition to the current services, Clean & Safe has agreed to pull or cut weeds and pick-up trash at Streetcar stations.
  • Downtown Marketing/Retail Programs/Holiday Lighting: These popular programs will continue.
  • City & Community Affairs: Refocus on community engagement, serving as a connector and leading work with the City Enhanced Service District Coordinator. 
  • Transparency & Accountability: Non-voting, ex officio board status for the Enhanced Service District Coordinator; required quarterly financial reporting and annual third-party audit; requirement to follow City of Portland’s sustainable procurement policy; required annual report to City Council; and required monthly reporting of statistics and incident data.
  • Support for City Administration: Provide support to Enhanced Service District Coordinator and two percent of district license fees to Revenue bureau for collection services. 
  • Audit Response: Commitment by Clean & Safe to fully participate in the City process to evaluate Enhanced Service District governance and services and to renegotiate contract portions affected by resulting changes in City Code.

“The City’s partnership with Downtown Clean & Safe plays an important role in improving the vitality and livability of downtown, and in these difficult times, maintaining this relationship is more important than ever. We’ve addressed many concerns brought forth by the Enhanced Service District Audit in this new contract and incorporated the public’s request for more transparency and reporting,” said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. “This new contract provides flexibility to implement further reforms that may surface from ongoing conversations regarding the role and structure of enhanced service districts in Portland.  Finding the balance between pushing forward improvements and maintaining needed services is the great challenge of responsible governance. This contract achieves that balance.”

“Downtown Clean and Safe is an absolute necessity to support economic recovery from both COVID and rampant vandalism. We are establishing new guidelines and reporting for the partnership that will increase transparency and make for more effective services,” Commissioner Mingus Mapps said. “Additionally, we are creating a new mental health outreach team that is similar to Portland Street Response. Security will have new training in trauma informed care and de-escalation.”

“On behalf of the rate payers who comprise the 213 block district enhanced service district (ESD), we are excited about the opportunity to modernize and further enhance the operations that contribute to the vibrancy of our region’s center city. The proposed changes to the scope of work represent an inclusive process that is responsive to the needs of all downtown stakeholders and the entire community,” said Downtown Portland Clean & Safe Chair Cindy Laurila. “Our board and those who fund the district’s services are particularly encouraged to see our city’s leaders commit to basic services, and that mutual accountability will be the standard for both our city and ESDs into the future. As we look to the next decade, it is clear that the commitment of our funders to support a dedicated and clinically trained community health outreach team in the district to support the houseless communities connection to county and other mental health treatment is something I am particularly proud of.”

“A thriving and welcoming downtown Portland is necessary for the recovery of our region and state’s economy. As greater Portland’s chamber of commerce and on behalf of our over 2000 members across the region, we are thrilled to see the advancement of this critical piece of our recovery move forward,addedPortland Business Alliance President & CEO Andrew Hoan.“Downtown is our state’s economic heartbeat and it needs this investment of public and private resources to retain and grow good-paying jobs. Downtown Portland Clean & Safe is an example of what happens when the public, private and non-for-profit sectors work together for the greater good. I am especially pleased with our deepening commitment to accountability and transparency.”

The City of Portland has also included a clarification in scope of work to formally document the City’s basic services:

  • Parks: Downtown park trash collection twice daily, graffiti removal, and public decorative fountain maintenance.
  • Portland Bureau of Transportation: Twice a month street sweeping with additional street sweeping in the summer and fall, maintenance of physical assets, including graffiti removal.
  • Portland Police Bureau: Commitment to develop specific metrics for appropriately sized central city police force based on response times.
  • Bureau of Planning and Sustainability: Daily trash removal.
  • Water Bureau: Consistent maintenance for bubblers.
  • Portland Streetcar: Increased power washing and graffiti removal to twice a month.

To find out more about Downtown Portland Clean & Safe, please visit


Heather Hafer

Public Information Officer, Office of Management and Finance