PORTLAND, Ore. – Under pressure from businesses, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick are preparing to offer a delay to the proposed street fee affecting businesses, according to KATU’s News partners at Willamette Week.
They will use the delay to rework the business side of the street fee, possibly charging businesses, nonprofits and other government agencies – schools, for example – on a sliding scale, according to WW.
The Portland Business Alliance has been urging Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick to slow down. On Wednesday the Chamber of Commerce has added its voice.
WW reported that the street fee is still a go for households. That part of the proposal will be voted on June 4. It will cost each household $138 a year.
“They’ve balanced the entire tax on the backs of the residents when really businesses, think about all those trucks that are pulling, that are driving through the city, that are tearing up our roads in ways that our cars would never tear them up," explained Eric Fruits.
Fruits is past president of the Laurelhurst Neighborhood Association, and a current board member. While he doesn't believe it's fair for businesses to not have to pay now, he also thinks the street fee, in general, isn't fair to anyone.
“When Mayor Hales was a commissioner this was a problem and he did nothing at the time. I think we can spend another 6 months to have a thoughtful discussion, figure out how to do this fairly, and legally. There’s a lot of legal issues with this that I think have gone undiscussed," said Fruits.
A public hearing on the street fee is set for 2 p.m. Thursday at City Hall. The city council is expected to vote on the fee June 4.