City Council Approves COVID-19 Response Values Framework

Press release

Joint press release will all Council offices

Published
Blue banner that reads Mayor Ted Wheeler, City of Portland, press release.

Today, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, Portland City Council unanimously adopted a Resolution reasserting the values that will guide and coordinate the City’s COVID-19 response, ensuring that the City is centering equity and climate action in its long-term priorities and goals. The Resolution reaffirms that our hardest-hit community members will continue to be prioritized through both immediate relief work and longer-term recovery actions – with the goal of emerging from this crisis more resilient.

Racial and economic disparities that existed before the COVID-19 crisis have worsened as businesses have closed and employees have been laid off. The City of Portland and its partners responded to the call for immediate relief with housing stabilization funds, small business grants and additional economic relief. This Resolution restates the Council’s values on centering equity and climate goals in every decision, and on effectively utilizing public dollars to achieve long-term goals and leverage other funding and financing sources.

“As we better understand the economic impact and the needs of our community in the years ahead, it’s imperative that we don’t lose sight of our values and action plans that we, as a community, set out to achieve prior to the COVID-19 crisis,” Mayor Wheeler said. “This Resolution affirms that existing, community-driven goals and values will remain top priorities through our COVID-19 response work and will serve as a benchmark to frame every decision we make going forward.”

“As with many disasters before COVID-19, Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, low-income workers, and houseless community members are impacted first and worst, while last to receive recovery support. This resolution is an important accountability measure to center our city’s most impacted to ensure we effectively utilize the resources we do have to create a more just and resilient Portland,” said Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty.

“This resolution ensures that Portland’s Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color—the Portlanders most impacted by this crisis—are centered in our City’s COVID-19 response,” said Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. “I am particularly grateful to Irene Marion, the Portland Bureau of Transportation Equity Manager, for taking initiative and creating the equity toolkit as part of her leadership role at the Emergency Command Center—thank you, Irene.”

Resolution Highlights:

  • Outlines City Council's role in the COVID-19 response, linking the ECC and other Bureau efforts with City Council in a public hearing setting;
  • Aligns City Council's COVID-19 response with City Council's adopted values and goals in existing plans and policies;
  • Clarifies outcomes that Council wants to see in the COVID-19 response (equity and climate change, in particular);
  • Adopts a citywide COVID-19: Equity Toolkit;
  • Creates an expectation of a regular, public update to Council about the City's COVID-19 response; and
  • Fosters hope and social cohesion to co-create a more just, secure and resilient Portland with community- and mission-based organizations and Portland residents.

“Crises systemically and disproportionally impact marginalized communities, and the COVID-19 pandemic highlights that fact.  We urgently need aligned, collaborative strategies that promote transformative policies and equitable outcomes. This resolution reaffirms our City-wide racial equity values, and grants the Office of Equity and Human Rights authority to guide bureaus in a coordinated, equity-centered response to the crisis that prioritizes Black, Indigenous, people of color, people with disabilities, and other historically oppressed communities,” said Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who co-founded and oversees the Office of Equity and Human Rights. “As we act to uplift marginalized community-members we affirm that we are all part of the same social and civic fabric, and that we are stronger as a City when all our communities are whole.”

Text of the resolution is available HERE.

The resolution is the culmination of feedback from many of our community partners since COVID-19 hit Portland. These values reaffirm our collective beliefs and the resolution will be the framework in which we make every major decision on resilience, response, and investments in our community.