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Letter to Portlanders on the end of 2017

Press release

In this article


Dear Fellow Portlanders,

The end of the year is a time to reflect upon where we’ve been, the challenges we’ve faced, what we’ve accomplished, and where we resolve to go in the year ahead.

This year, the Portland City Council took real action to improve our city and the lives of our people. You can read more about what we’ve accomplished together here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/wheeler/article/666844

Over the course of my first year in office, I have sought to establish a collaborative approach to governing, one that takes advantage of the experience, expertise, and resources of my fellow commissioners and the city bureaus. For the first time in years, City Council is defined by consensus rather than conflict, with 5-0 votes becoming the rule rather than the exception. We passed a budget that focuses on investments in key areas, including homeless services, housing, infrastructure, public safety, and disaster resilience. We’ve asked our bureaus to focus on mission-critical programs and to break down the silos that have traditionally held back progress.  

The strong partnerships we’ve established among the Council and between bureaus, combined with our sustained focus on the core functions of our city government, have led to progress in 2017 and laid the groundwork for a successful 2018.

Progress has not come easy. In January, I took office with a storm at my back, quite literally, and during the early months of my term, my administration confronted a series of events – acts of nature and acts of man – that couldn’t have been predicted. We experienced an unprecedented series of winter weather events that stressed our transportation system and cost lives. The inauguration of President Trump was followed closely by attempts to institute a travel ban and crack down on sanctuary cities, leading to unrest on the streets of Portland. Protests continued as the national debate about policing in America took on added local significance. Tragedy visited Portland on Memorial Day Weekend, when two men lost their lives and another was injured for doing the right thing, standing up for people they didn't know against hatred.

My administration did not plan to spend our first months governing from one crisis to the next, but we took on each crisis as it came, all the while making progress on the issues Portlanders care about most: housing, homelessness, public safety, economic growth, environmental protection, equity, and government transparency and accountability.

You can find more information on the concrete steps we took in 2017 here:  https://www.portlandoregon.gov/wheeler/article/666844

Portland has established a reputation as a growing, vibrant city, recognized nationally and internationally for our innovative approach to transit, planning, and sustainability. Our economy is thriving, with near-record low unemployment and record high revenues from business licenses. People are moving here from around the world to participate in what our community has to offer, including diverse employment opportunities, thriving and unique neighborhoods, world-class restaurants and access to nature.

As we look forward to 2018, we must acknowledge that tremendous challenges lie ahead. Solving them will not be easy. But we are a can-do city and mine is a can-do administration. Working together, we can continue the progress we began this year.

I am honored to serve as your Mayor.


Mayor Ted Wheeler