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Mayor Wheeler Statement on Special Council Meeting Resolution

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Mayor Wheeler Statement on Special Council Meeting Resolution

Portland, OR—In the last three months, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a series of reports, orders and declaratory rulings that seek to significantly limit the City of Portland’s ability to manage its rights of way. Approximately 20 percent of land in the City is dedicated public rights of way (streets, sidewalks and everything underneath) and Portland’s residents have invested billions of dollars to build and maintain this public asset. 

The City Council’s resolution authorizes the City Attorney’s Office to file a complaint, or join as a co-plaintiff in a complaint, against the federal government and its officials to maintain local control of, and reasonable compensation for access to, the City of Portland’s public rights of way.

Statement from Mayor Wheeler:

“Today the City of Portland held a Special Meeting to meet a deadline authorizing the City Attorney to challenge recent FCC orders that exceed the FCC’s statutory authority. Portland is ready and willing to lead the fight to protect local control of local assets. As FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel acknowledged in voicing her dissent in part on one of the FCC’s orders: ‘This is extraordinary federal overreach...Washington is seeking to assert national control over local infrastructure choices and stripping local elected officials and the citizens they represent of a voice in the process.’ Portland agrees with Commissioner Rosenworcel.

“Not only is the FCC invading local authority, but its overreach in favor of billion-dollar wireless corporations will not close the digital divide and could negatively affect the city’s ability to fund programs that seek to bring affordable internet access to the estimated 15% of Portland households without it. The City of Portland is dedicated to bridging the digital divide. The city is also dedicated to receiving fair value when corporations generate profit from placing infrastructure in our community’s public assets.”