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Commissioner Ryan's Closing Comments on the FY 22-23 Budget

Blog Post
A graphic of the housing continuum: street services, shelter with wraparound services, supportive housing, independent housing, and finally home ownership.

On June 8th, 2022, Portland City Council unanimously passed the FY 22-23 budget. Read Commissioner Ryan's closing statement on why these investments are vital for Portland's future, and how we are improving community safety, addressing houselessness, and stimulating economic recovery. 

Colleagues, I’ve always believed that a budget is a road map that tells you what direction you’re headed.   

When I look at the budget we are voting on today, it is clear to me that our priorities are aligned in our collective work in service of our city. We are headed in the right direction.  

We remain focused on improving our community safety system, spurring economic recovery, and addressing homelessness, with an overarching lens of equity, racial justice, and government efficiency.   

I’m proud of our work as a Council; we listened to the community, and we have responded with a budget that will make real gains toward our shared goals.  

During our community listening sessions, we continued to hear from Portlanders concerned about community safety—we listened, and we are taking action.   

I’m proud that this budget has significant support for community safety investments, including:  

  • Expanding 311 to 24/7 operations and increasing 911 staffing  

  • Historic investments in gun violence prevention  

  • 24/7 support for citywide Portland Street Response, and  

  • Additional Public Safety Support Specialists, and investments in victim advocacy and behavioral health  

We have a long road ahead, and I know that these investments will make our community safer along the way.   

When it comes to economic recovery, I advocated for local business support to ensure that we recover from the challenges our City has endured over the last two years. Specifically, I fought for small business grants for eviction prevention and operational support; as well as fixing broken windows and other damage caused by vandalism and attempted theft.  

This budget also includes investments for many other programs that will advance our City’s economic recovery, including support for minority chambers of commerce, investments in an East Portland Investment Strategy led by Prosper Portland, and rental support for Arts and Culture organizations, just to name a few.  

A pivotal piece of economic recovery is finally fixing our broken permitting system. We need to get Portland in the “building mode” as we revive our economy and permitting has held us back for far too long.  

It's time to stop kicking the can down the road and finally provide a permitting system that works for all Portlanders.   

That’s why I’m thrilled that this budget will fund a two-year Permit Improvement Implementation Team. This team is tasked with starting the work of executing the recommendations of the Permit Improvement Task Force and managing the work of changing our permitting system. 

I want to thank Commissioner Mapps for his shared leadership on this body of work and the entire Council for their leadership to address our City’s permitting issue.  

It will also increase the Bureau of Development Services’ staff capacity for permitting support for Portland’s BIPOC households.  

Economic development work may not be glamorous, but it is absolutely crucial to our city’s long-term success. 

When it comes to the issues of housing and homelessness, it is clear that every one of us are impacted—this is a crisis our community faces every day—and we must do more to meet people where they are. I am personally invested in addressing houselessness, and I’m grateful that our budget includes investments in an expansion of Streets to Stability funding for six Safe Rest Villages and two additional outdoor shelters for Portlanders experiencing houselessness for an additional two years.   

I recently learned that in six months, there were 42 people who were housed after living in one of the City-funded villages. I can’t wait to see what the Safe Rest Villages can do when running at full capacity.  

The budget contains continued increased support from some key Fall BMP investments on houselessness: one of those is the Joint Office of Homeless Services, which is partly funded by the City of Portland and managed by Multnomah County. It also supports the operations of the Streets Services Coordination Center, a new houselessness initiative created in last year’s Fall BMP process which is having some major early success in streamlining our response to this crisis.  

The housing continuum includes everything from the services and supports for those who are houseless to affordable homeownership. I believe that the two ends of the spectrum receive the least amount of attention.  

As Housing Commissioner, I am proud this budget will take some big steps.  

It will secure funding for the Housing Bureau to do land acquisitions and land banking, with a new focus on affordable homeownership strategies.  

This budget dedicates funding for the Housing Bureau to begin anti-displacement strategies along 82nd Ave.  

And it funds crucial work that both preserves existing affordable housing units while paving the pathway for new affordable housing in the Broadway Corridor. 

Addressing our housing crisis requires dedication across the continuum from streets to stability—we need Safe Rest Villages, and we need to provide more opportunities for homeownership.  

These two ends of the spectrum are often the most overlooked, and I am delighted that this specific City Council currently is providing the due attention it deserves. From taking people who are chronic houselessness to an on-ramp to stable housing, despite many challenges, we are being strategic about providing opportunities for homeownership. 

These investments in houselessness, anti-displacement, homeownership, land banking, and innovative strategies like the Street Services Coordination Center will help Portlanders across the continuum achieve stable housing.   

If that sounds like a lot, it is, but I just scratched the surface! We are funding mission critical work that aligns with our shared priorities as a Council, but more importantly, these budget decisions align with what Portlanders have asked us for. While there is much work ahead of us, I want to pause and offer a moment of gratitude to all those involved in the budget process.   

First, to each community member who showed up to testify—some of you while also looking after children or on break at work on zoom—we heard you and I hope that you can find something in this budget that shows that we listened. 

I also want to thank the many staff from each bureau, Council offices and the Mayor’s office, the City Budget Office, and the Council Clerk: thank you for the many hours spent on proposals, analysis, meetings, and communicating the many details throughout this process.   

I must call out Director Kinard’s exceptional leadership and the Mayor’s office’s coordination which made this imperfect budget process an enjoyable and successful collaborative effort. I’m grateful for the work we were able to accomplish together in creating the Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget.   

And a special, heartfelt thank you to my team—Policy Director Mark Bond, Constituent Relations and Policy Advisor Darion Jones (you are my Council rock, Darion!), Executive Operations and Budget Manager Brooke Gardner (our Traffic Controller), Senior Policy Advisor Karen Guillén-Chapman, Houselessness Strategies Manager Chariti Montez, Permit Improvement Strategies Manager Terri Theisen, and our fearless leader Chief of Staff Kellie Torres. I am truly blessed to have such an incredible team—thank you all.   

I vote aye.   

Watch Commissioner Ryan's Closing Remarks: