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Portland Mayor Delivers First State Of The City Address

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Portland City Hall in 2010.

In her first state of the city address last night, Portland City Mayor Kate Snyder promised action on issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement and a City Hall occupation by people experiencing homelessness and their advocates.

“We are working together. You’re city government is working collaboratively. And I recognize that we have work to do regarding public engagement that feels meaningful and inclusive for all Portland citizens,” she said, speaking from her home via Zoom.

She also spent much of her speech listing city council and government’s work over the last year, from contending with housing and business needs caused by the pandemic to keeping the tax rate static and fostering the expansion of investments by higher education institutions in the city.

Near the end, she paused to criticize critics on social media, quoting one unnamed poster in a plea for more civil discourse.

“To say, let’s have better conversations, let’s be more educated on civic processes and basic decorum rather than my side versus your side. This election season is hard enough at the national level. Do we need more tension? I’d love to see more intelligent and less belligerent dialogue from both sides, with a receptive deliberative body as a partner,” she said.

Snyder promised that an upcoming review of the city’s charter should provide an opportunity for improvement and easier public participation in city decision-making. Public faith in that prospect will be tested on Election Day, when voters will consider a raft of local referendum issues that most city councilors oppose.