Portland City Council to begin charting goals for 2021

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Portland city councilors this week will look ahead to next year as they begin to shape their goals for the next calendar year.

The City Council’s Dec. 16 workshop will aim for “clear, agreed-upon approaches for working together” in 2021, according to the one-page agenda.

The council is wrapping up a bizarre year that included closing City Hall for most of the year because of the coronavirus pandemic; delaying the budget process by several months and then passing a scaled-back version of the operating budget; responding to public unrest and several long-term protests; seeing voters establish a Charter Commission despite the council’s opposition, and witnessing several citizen initiatives passed via referendum that were also opposed by most of the council. 

Mayor Kate Snyder also completed her first term, and the role of City Manager Jon Jennings came under more scrutiny than ever before with the City Charter review, and its ability to suggest overhauling the roles of both the manager and the mayor, on the horizon.

Council goals will be advanced through various committees, which often change year to year. For example, the council recently combined a housing committee with its economic development committee recently, which was not received well by members of the public at the most recent council meeting.

Councilor Belinda Ray justified the action by saying it is fairly routine to combine or change committees each year, and several committees do overlapping work.

Based on the agenda for the goal-setting session, most of the council’s planned three-hour workshop will consist of priorities for the coming year and cultivating a “shared focus.”

The packet also indicates a second workshop may be necessary.