Tag Archives: Steve Novick

Candidates on housing and homelessness: Novick, White, Williams

City Council: Position 4

With the primary election happening, Street Roots asked the leading mayoral and city council candidates one question: If elected what three things will you do to improve the state of homelessness and affordable housing in Portland?

Steve Novick

I will support efforts by homeless Portlanders to help themselves, like Dignity Village and Right 2 Dream Too. Communities of homeless people who are prepared to build their own shelters on private property and adopt and enforce their own rules against crime and drug abuse should be supported, not discouraged.

I will lobby the legislature to allow inclusionary zoning in Oregon municipalities. The 30 percent set-aside in urban renewal areas and tax abatements are useful tools, but with public resources diminishing, the city needs to be able to require, rather than just subsidize, affordable housing in new development. Continue reading

City Council candidates weigh in on housing, homeless issues

Candidates for City Commissioner (left to right) incumbent Amanda Fritz, State Rep. Mary Nolan, Teressa Raiford, Jeri Sundvall-Williams and Steve Novick. Photo by Israel Bayer.

By Joanne Zuhl
Staff writer

New and familiar faces among the candidates for City Council addressed an invested audience on issues of affordable housing and homelessness this afternoon.

The City Commissioner Candidates’ Forum on Housing brought together the leading contenders for the two council seats on the ballot next Spring. Candidates Amanda Fritz, Mary Nolan and Teressa Raiford are contending for the Commissioner 1 position, currently held by Fritz. And candidates Jeri Sundvall-Williams and Steve Novick were there for the Commissioner 4 position, which is being vacated by Randy Leonard.

The panel fielded questions prepared by the event sponsors on issues of gentrification, job creation, funding for affordable housing, civil rights for the poor and streamlining bureaucracy. Oregon Opportunity Network, JOIN, 211info and Street Roots sponsored the event, which was held at the First Unitarian Church in Downtown Portland.

One underlying theme through several of the queries had to deal with preserving what we have, and finding new resources for what we need.

Continue reading

Setting new sights on the city: Steve Novick returns to the campaign trail

By Stacy Brownhill, Staff Writer

Steve Novick, the currenlty uncontested candidate for Randy Leonard’s spot on Portland City Council, has plenty of novel ideas for a City Council facing more change than it’s seen in decades. With Mayor Sam Adams and Leonard leaving, and Commissioner Amanda Fritz facing a tough contest, as many as three of the five Council seats could change next year.

New Jersey-born and Oregon-raised, Novick graduated from University of Oregon at 18 and Harvard Law School at age 21 before launching prolific careers as an environmental lawyer, nonprofit director and community advocate. In 1998, Novick was chief of staff for the Oregon Senate Democrats, and has since eyed positions at city, county, state and federal levels, most notably running a close race for the Senate in 2008. The “fighter with the hard left hook,” a pun addressing his left hand hook prosthesis, currently works for the Oregon Health Authority.

Novick received the endorsement of Gov. John Kitzhaber last week, and has raised more than $100,000 in the mere 52 days since his campaign announcement (in contrast, state Rep. Mary Nolan, Commissioner Amanda Fritz’s opponent, has reported less than half of that amount). Street Roots grabbed coffee and kebabs with Novick this week, and picked his brain on everything from his ideas for health care and public safety to his distaste for gentrification.

Stacy Brownhill: The Portland Housing Bureau Director, Margaret Van Vliet, is moving to lead the state housing agency. In her interview with Street Roots, she talked about the need for housing to be “front and center,” so that when we’re talking about jobs or health or community issues, we’re talking about housing problems that underlie those other things. What are your ideas for creating affordable housing in Portland?

Steve Novick: Creating affordable housing is hard. Rent control and inclusionary zoning are ways to create affordable housing but are against state law, as I understand it. We have the low-income housing tax credit program, which ensures some affordable housing.

Urban renewal is a problematic tool for affordable housing because only 15 percent of the city can be an urban renewal district at any given time, and the districts tend to last awhile. So most people will never live in an urban renewal district.

One question the council has to consider going forward is: Have we done urban renewal in a way that’s made previously affordable housing unaffordable through gentrification? We have to be really careful that we’re not just creating more neighborhoods for rich white people to live in.

I was not aware until recently that we spend $106 million per year of property taxes on urban renewal — that’s like 24 cents of every tax dollar.

To some extent, the city of Portland over the past 20 years has been blinded by cuteness. We keep thinking if we build more cute neighborhoods then that’s an economic development strategy. But we’ve got cute neighborhoods coming out of our ears and we’re still lagging behind comparable cities, like Seattle and Denver, in terms of income and jobs. So I would be very hesitant about where we put more urban renewal money.

Also, offering better jobs is a way of making housing more affordable. If we had a stronger economy, more people would be able to afford housing because they would be making more money. Continue reading

City elections an opportunity for renewed push on housing

SR editorial from the August 5th edition.

Announcements and rumors about the up and coming Portland election in 2012 have the city buzzing.

With the announcement that Mayor Sam Adams, an established housing advocate, and Randy Leonard, a rabble rouser on tough issues, will not seek re-election, the city now has two open seats. Incumbent and housing advocate Amanda Fritz is seeking re-election, but there is discord from her base in the far left that expected much more from her to counterpunch the downtown business machine. She faces long-time Oregon State Rep. Mary Nolan, who so far seems to be outraising Fritz and gaining broad support.

Lots of personalities have entered the race, or are rumored for a run: Charlie Hales, Eileen Brady, Steve Novick, Jefferson Smith, Tom Chamberlain and others. Regardless who wins, housing and homelessness has to be at the top of the priority list for those who would helm our government. Continue reading

Money to burn: Measure 66 & 67

moneyburncrop2Almost from the moment the state Legislature voted to create $733 million in additional revenue by raising the corporate minimum tax and personal income taxes of wealthy people, drama ensued — predictable in a state known for its hatred of taxes.

A group calling itself Oregonians Against Job-Killing Taxes quickly created a campaign and raised $1.2 million to collect enough signatures to refer the taxes — now known as Measures 66 and 67 — to a special election scheduled for January in the hopes that Oregonians would vote the taxes down.

But, according to a variety of sources, there is even more money at stake —  up to an additional $1 billion — if the taxes are voted down, because of their connection to money Oregon has received from the federal stimulus package and other matching dollars.

The explanatory statement for Measure 66 published by the Secretary of State’s office in October acknowledges that Oregon stands to lose federal funds. Continue reading