Tag Archives: budget

Speak your mind on County Motor Vehicle Rental Tax

Tomorrow morning is the first hearing for a proposed Multnomah County rental car tax increase. The extra revenue raised by the tax could help patch the $42 million county budget shortfall and potentially save some of the human services that are now at the mercy of the state budget.

An editorial in the current issue of Street Roots supports the tax increase:

The tax will face stiff resistance from the tourism industry, but the reality is that without a sales tax, the rental car tax is one of the only sources of revenue we can create from individuals and families who visit our great city. The increase from 12 to 17 percent still doesn’t put Portland in the top 10 around the country for the amount charged to visitors accessing rental cars. It’s not a greedy grab by the county, but instead, a smart investment into a sustainable revenue stream for our community.

County Commissioners won’t vote on the rental car tax tomorrow, but they will hear public testimony on it and other budget issues. To testify, be there at 9 a.m., sign up with a yellow form at the door and give it to clerk Deb Bogstad.

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners Meeting is Thursday, May 7, 9 a.m. at the Multnomah Building, 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd, First Floor Commissioners Boardroom.

Sending out an S.O.S.

Police, shelter workers and advocates work to piece together a month long pattern of violence

three-womenBy Rebecca Robinson
Contributing Writer
On a recent Friday afternoon at Sisters of the Road Café on Northwest Davis Street, women shared their stories of sexual assault and domestic violence. One woman, who asked not to be identified by name, said that her 14-year-old daughter was recently gang-raped at a party by three teenage boys who attend her school.

“No one is immune,” the woman said, her forceful voice a stark contrast to the tears flowing down her cheeks. “It’s not a prostitute problem; it’s not a homeless problem; it’s not even just a woman problem.”

In downtown Portland, a recent set of incidents has brought the problem into stark relief for women on the streets.
Portland police, homeless shelter workers, and women’s crisis advocates are working to piece together a month-long pattern of violent sexual assaults by multiple male attackers on young homeless women. But the police are struggling to conduct an investigation because the victims, many of them sex workers, fear that going to the police may lead to their arrest for other unlawful activities.

A former sex worker known as Jasmine contacted Street Roots last month, saying, “I have a story that needs to be told.” It was a story that, for some on the streets, was all too familiar.
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Housing and homeless services saved for now…

Mayor Sam Adams and housing commissioner Nick Fish announced a total of $9.98 million increase in base services for people experiencing homelessness and poverty in the FY 2009-2010 proposed budget. The entire proposed city budget was slashed by $8.8 million – with 62 percent of that being administrative costs at the city level.

Street Roots along with Oregon On, 211 Info, Sisters Of The Road, and many faith based community members, including Chuck Currie, have been leading a campaign to save $6.7 million dollars in one-time funding.

Commissioner Fish says the move is a win for people experiencing homelessness and poverty and will bridge existing services and allow for expansion during the economic crisis.

Fish told Street Roots when the city started the budget discussions, it was looking at a 20 percent shortfall in funding, but that with an 11 percent increase in homelessness in the city, it was crucial that the city step up.

Here’s the breakdown:

– Ongoing funding to Resource Access Center operations: $1 million

– Additional one-time bridge funding for housing services: $5.8 million

– Expansion of rent assistance, housing and economic opportunities: $3.1 million