02-19-2017  1:19 pm      •     

When Portland Mayor Tom Potter sets up his "listening post" in Northeast Portland on Saturday, April 15, he might consider the name of the location: Reflections Coffeehouse & Talking Drum Bookstore.

Potter will do much reflecting and talking from 9 to 11:30 a.m. when he meets with 10 local residents for 10 minutes at a time in the coffeehouse, at 446 N.E. Killingsworth St.

And, because the coffeehouse is adjacent to the Portland Police Bureau's Northeast Precinct, he's bound to field a lot of questions about the recent troubles of Police Chief Derrick Foxworth, whom Potter put on paid administrative leave last Tuesday. Rosie Sizer, commander of the Southeast Precinct, is acting chief while accusations of sexual harassment against Foxworth are investigated.

The so-called "10-minute meetings" are Potter's way of becoming acquainted with residents of local neighborhoods and hearing about concerns — both personal and communitywide — said Carmen Rubio, the city's director of community affairs.

This will be his fourth neighborhood meeting: The others were held in St. Johns, Lents and Multnomah Village. He plans to be in an as yet undetermined location in outer Northeast Portland on May 6 and at the Pied Cow Coffeehouse, 3244 S.E. Belmont St., on June 24.

"Mayor Potter wants to give every Portlander the opportunity to have access to him," Rubio said. "It also gives an opportunity to folks who wouldn't be able to come to City Hall because they work or they aren't used to coming to City Hall. He wants to provide a variety of avenues for people to meet with him who wouldn't be able to otherwise."

So far, those visiting with the mayor have asked questions ranging from controversial to personal.

"Sometimes people just want to share their special viewpoint on city policies, or maybe they have a problem that can be addressed right away," Rubio said.

Accompanying Potter on his neighborhood forays are Jeremy Vankeuren — the city's "public advocate," who solves constituent problems — and a police officer who works in the neighborhood.

"At times, there are questions related to public safety, and it's wonderful to be able to say, 'Let me have you talk to the police officer in the community,' " Rubio said. "That's the wonderful thing about these meetings, and the mayor really likes them."

If the neighborhood has a hot issue brewing, representatives from some of the city's bureaus and the Office ofNeighborhood Involvement also might be there to answer questions immediately or take notes back to the office.

"Someone had a problem with a utility bill, and Jeremy was able to give him the names and phone numbers of people who could help him," Rubio said. "He takes his laptop with him to input issues that someone might bring up. Sometimes people come up with great ideas about community projects. It really runs the gamut."

If the conversation turns extremely serious or confidential, Potter may make arrangements to meet privately with the person later, Rubio said. But "we anticipate all kinds of issues coming to the table," she added. When asked what questions the mayor wouldn't answer, Rubio was stumped — she said she didn't know.

"He is a very grounded, fair and forthright person," she added. "If he is able to troubleshoot or check out some information for someone, he will do it."

Response to the mayor's neighborhood visits is good, Rubio said. People often arrive an hour early to get their time with the mayor. But Rubio doesn't put out the sign-up sheet until 8:30 a.m. It's first-come, first-served for those living in the neighborhood who want a face-to-face session with Potter, but everyone can complete comment forms, which Rubio promises that Potter reads. The forms also are available on the city of Portland's Web site, www.portlandonline.com/mayor.

Potter's interest in open conversation has extended into his own private blog, which also is available at the city of Portland Web site. Called "Mayor Potter's Perspective," the blog offers comments on local and national issues and responses from city employees and area residents.

Potter placed a statement about putting Foxworth on administrative leave on his blog, as well as a letter to James Hester, president of the District Council of Trade Unions, that discusses Hester's suggestion that the mayor's office investigate all grievances pending for AFSCME members assigned to the police bureau. Potter also scolded Hester for taking his opinions to the media before coming to him.

In another blog, Potter comments on the national immigration debate, asking the Oregon congressional delegation to oppose legislation supported by Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., that would make illegal immigrants felons and to support the Senate Judiciary Committee Bill that would enable immigrants eventually to become citizens.

Potter's efforts to create an open dialogue so far have drawn interest from many citizens, some who agree and others who offer different opinions. Some tell him, "You have made be proud to be a Portlander …" and others who say to him, "Wake up! How can you support … something that is illegal?"

But when Potter comes around to Northeast Portland on April 15, he may have other reasons to reflect. It is, after all, Tax Day (although taxes this year aren't due to the Internal Revenue Service until April 17).

No matter what people talk about, though, Gloria McMurtry, owner of the Reflections Coffeehouse & Talking Drum Bookstore, is happy he's coming.

"When the mayor asks to come to visit your business, you can't say no," she said. "He's welcome here; it's a community meeting place, and it's a good place to talk. Hopefully it will bring visibility to this place."

McMurtry has been thinking of a question of her own. Ever the business woman, her question probably won't have anything to do with Chief Foxworth or immigration.

"I think I might ask him something about economics and business," McMurtry said.

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
    Read More
  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
    Read More
  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all
Oregon Lottery
Carpentry Professionals
Calendar

PHOTO GALLERY

Reed College Jobs
His Eye is on the Sparrow