Wheeler to reassign city bureaus Thursday

Bureau of Emergency Communications a top concern

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, May 1, 2017 (KOIN)
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, May 1, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — Mayor Ted Wheeler expects to reassign bureaus to the members of the City Council on Thursday, according to his office.

Perhaps the biggest question is whether he will reassign the Bureau of Emergency Communication back to Commissioner Amanda Fritz. City Ombudsman Margie Sollinger released a report last Wednesday that said BOEC had been underreporting 911 wait times for up to 13 years, including when Fritz was overseeing it.

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Wheeler first assigned the bureaus to himself and the other members of the council after taking office at the beginning of his first term in early January. At the time, Wheeler said he would take those assigned to the other council members back when the council first began considering his proposed budget for the next fiscal year.

Wheeler made good on his pledge on April 27. He kept them throughout the budget process to help break down the silo mentality of council members looking to protect their bureaus.

After the final budget was formally approved on June 8, Wheeler’s office announced he expects to reassign the bureaus before noon on June 15.

Some assignments are not in question. Wheeler has said he will always oversee the Portland Police Bureau and he took the Portland Housing Bureau from Commissioner Dan Saltzman after promising to make the creation of more affordable housing a top priority when he ran for mayor last year.

In addition, some commissioners have continued speaking out on issues related to their previous bureaus even after Wheeler took them in April. For example, Saltzman has appeared at Portland Bureau of Transportation events and Commissioner Nick Fish has explained why the council now has to treat Bull Run water for the Cryptosporidium parasite detected in it earlier this year.