City Council stops investing in corporations

Decision could reduce the return of city investments by $3.5 million a year

Mayor Ted Wheeler at a Portland City Council meeting, March 8, 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — The City Council voted Wednesday to stop investing city funds in corporate securities, including stocks and bonds issued by private companies. The decision could reduce the return of city investments by $3.5 million a year.

The decision was made while the council was considering a new socially responsible investment policy that would have given weight to third-party ratings commitment of corporations to such issues as the environment, social justice and governance. Various activists and advocacy organization have pressed the council for years to not invest city funds in certain corporations.

The council suspended all new corporate investments last year to develop the new policy, which was introduced by Mayor Ted Wheeler two weeks ago. During the discussion, Commissioner Dan Saltzman moved the city stop investing in corporate securities in a permanent basis. The amendment passed on a 3 to 2 vote, with commissioners Chloe Eudaly and Nick Fish also supporting it.

When he cast his vote, Fish said he did not want to have to continue choosing between corporations.

Wheeler and Commissioner Amanda Fritz voted against the amendment, with Fritz saying she felt it was important Portland publicly shame corporations that do not meet socially responsible investment standards.

The revised policy then passed unanimously, with Wheeler and Fritz also voting yes on the final version.

The Portland Tribune is a KOIN media partner.