Hales’ State of the City plan: $15 minimum wage

Charlie Hales halfway through his term

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales delivered his State of the City address, Jan. 30, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales delivered his State of the City address, Jan. 30, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — “I love music.”

From the start, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales’ State of the City speech was interesting. He sang a little, but only to make the point he is thankful for the job, proud of what he’s accomplished so far but acknowledging there is work to be done.

Mayor Charlie Hales addressed a packed house for the Portland State of the City, Jan. 30, 2015 (KOIN 6 News/Jim Larson)
Mayor Charlie Hales addressed a packed house for the Portland State of the City, Jan. 30, 2015 (KOIN 6 News/Jim Larson)

Hales said his three priorities for the next year are neighborhoods, economic opportunity and public safety.

The headline-grabbing plans include:

— creating a $15 minimum wage for all city employees in the hope private employers will follow
— a new plan to offer tax credits to employers who hire ex-convicts working their way back into the community
— tightening rules on demolition to preserve neighborhoods
— a committment to house all homeless veterans by Veterans Day

The mayor also wants more police walking beats and continue to improve the relationship between the community and the police. He said he knows that needs woork but said big strides have been made.

But plans and promises are nothing new to these speeches. A year ago, Hales talked about changing the urban renewal zone. That hasn’t happened yet.

The mayor also talked about creating a new funding mechanism for road repairs. The street fee plans are on hold and Hales said that was his biggest disappointment in the last year.

“We’re not running at this issue because it’s popular,” he said. “We’re running at this issue because we have to be good managers of what we own.”

Asked if he can accomplish what he set out on Friday, Hales — who is now halfway through his first term as mayor — said, “The things I laid out are all things we have very specific plans for, that we have partnerships in place.”

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