City Council candidate Amanda Fritz’s answers below are in response to questions sent to candidates running for City Council elections. To see the original request click here. All responses from Amanda Fritz are shown in there entirety:
1. Please explain your familiarity with the Willamette River Greenway Trail between the Eastbank Esplanade and the Columbia River?
I was familiar with the trail before being elected, as a community organizer working on neighborhood and environmental issues. I served on the Citizen Advisory Committee/Task Force that planned standards for exemptions for recreational trails in the City’s Environmental Zone regulations, allowing some trails to be built by right without Environmental Review. While serving on the Portland Planning Commission for seven years, 1996 – 2003, I acted in support of refinements to the Greenway regulations, such as adoption of the “q” regulations in 2002. This zone is intended to protect the functional values of water quality resources by limiting or mitigating the impact of development in the setback. As a citizen activist and neighborhood land use chair, I was also aware of the community’s advocacy protecting Baltimore Woods.
When I started my job on the Council in 2009, one of my first actions was to create the Office of Healthy Working Rivers. This small, nimble bureau is designed to address the Willamette and the Columbia in a comprehensive manner, looking after both human and wildlife needs in the water and in the adjacent neighborhoods. I was given a tour of the npGreenway by Francie Royce and others. The tour convinced my staff and me to put trail development high on our priority list, to be considered whenever a project in the area is planned. I worked with the Council and made sure there was some (still not enough) public process for the University of Portland project. I supported funding for purchase of parcels in Baltimore Woods, and attended the Open House celebrating the major purchase. And I spoke with Congressman Wu, urging him to add extra funding for trail development whenever appropriations for dredging and other industrial projects are considered by Congress.
I will continue to be a firm supporter and active partner with npGreenway if re-elected.
2. What experience do you possess in working with a railroad company to procure use of or purchase of some property to place a multi-purpose trail on?
I don’t have any experience negotiating with railroads. My expertise is in working with neighborhood activists to get your voices heard, and in finding the right City or Portland Development Commission staff with the experience to get a particular job done. Occasionally, I have met with leaders of companies, outlining why it is in the company’s best interest to work with neighbors rather than annoying their customer base. I have had significant success in using virtuous appeals on principles, in getting to mutually satisfactory outcomes. I will bring these skills and experiences to the table, if I am in the position of being the City’s chief elected negotiator with the railroads in the future.
3. ‘Taking’ is a concern for both the government entity and the private property owner when requiring the owner to construct a portion of a trail when development is proposed. Would you be willing to work to develop standards that would enable the trail to be constructed in exchange for requiring fewer parking spaces?
I am willing to explore and consider a range of options to make trail construction truly a win for all parties, including this suggestion.
4. What funding proposals would you propose to construct the trail?
I will consider all potential funding proposals. We need citywide and Metro-wide discussions to evaluate potential funding mechanisms for a range of needed transportation improvements, including recreational/transportation trails. I have served on the Metro Policy Advisory Committee for the entire time I have been on the City Council. I asked consultants hired by Metro to look into a Metro-area funding proposal, which is currently being developed. I suggested it should be on the lines of the Greenspaces bond measures in terms of identified projects/services voters would be buying, but not necessarily based on property taxes. This measure would be for regionally significant and inter-jurisdictional projects. Clearly, npGreenway would qualify due to connections with the Springwater Corridor and inclusion in the 40-mile loop and other regional trails.
The City Council also must lead conversations with our communities about funding for transportation infrastructure citywide and multi-modal, including but not limited to trails. The recession was not the right time to propose additional fees, and we are not through the dark days yet. Yet we have huge holes in all transportation funding areas, from major bridge and road projects through trails and basic street paving and sidewalks. Once the economy starts expanding instead of shrinking, and after the Portland Plan is completed, I want to be on the Council to push for and participate in those discussions. I am committed to good public process leading to outcomes that are accepted and work, and I will continue to make decisions ensuring community voices are included, heard, respected and acted upon. Elected leaders should propose a range of options, and be open to other suggestions from the community. Then it is up to all of us to decide what we want to pay for, and how to pay for it.
5. If a bond measure were to be submitted to the public for trails would you support the Willamette River Greenway Trail being one of the trails to be constructed? If so, would you support construction of the entire trail at one time or a portion or portions of the trail?
Yes. Inclusion of the Greenway Trail would be a major selling point for any bond measure for trails. It is the showcase example of trails, given our investments in a cleaner Willamette and our dependence on the river for both industry and human welfare over many centuries.
I will support construction of the trail however we can get it, whether in one big project or in many smaller ones. I support consideration of trail potential in every development application on sites where the Willamette Greenway is identified.
6. How can npGreenway assist you in getting the trail constructed?
Help me win re-election, please! I have demonstrated my commitment to issues npGreenway and I both care about, over the past three years. What you have seen from me in my first term is just a downpayment on the results you can expect in the next four years. I will no longer be the rookie, and I will build on the good working relationships I’ve developed with both Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish, the two Commissioners continuing in 2013, and with the communities of Portland, to get even more done. I face an opponent who has accepted large donations from industrial owners along the Willamette. I ask npGreenway volunteers to help me win the election on May 15, by contacting your friends and neighbors and urging them to send in their ballots with my bubble marked. A local car salesman used to say, “If you don’t come see me today, I can’t save you any money.” My paraphrase is, “If you don’t get me re-elected on May 15, I can’t help you any more.” If you help me win the election, I will continue to be your voice in City Hall, advocating for the npGreenway whenever and wherever I can.
Contact information for Amanda Fritz: