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The City of Portland, Oregon

Auditor Mary Hull Caballero

Promoting open and accountable government

Audit of Prosper Portland wins national award

We work hard to make all of the audits we produce excellent. But we’re pleased to announce that one, Prosper Portland: Disciplined property management needed to achieve future revenue goals, received special recognition: a 2017 Exemplary Knighton Award.

The Association of Local Government Auditors created the Knighton Award in 1995 to recognize the best performance audit reports produced by local government audit shops. Local governments from across the United States and Canada submit their best reports each year to be judged against five criteria:

  1. Potentially significant impacts
  2. Persuasive conclusions
  3. Recommendations that are feasible and will make government more effective and efficient
  4. Clear and concise communication
  5. Innovation.

According to these criteria, the judges found that the Prosper Portland audit was among the best of 2017. The judges noted that the report was timely, with Prosper Portland in the midst of a transition to becoming a more equitable organization. They wrote that the report “stands out among other audit reports for its engaging flow of information and effective use of graphics and multimedia.”

We produced highlights, a report, and a video to share the results of the audit. 

Other winners can be found here.


Gang enforcement audit reports call for change

Gang crime and the Police Bureau’s approach to preventing and investigating it is a matter of grave concern to the community. Gang crime and police tactics affect African Americans in Portland disproportionately, and African Americans report lower levels of trust in the Police Bureau.

We audited the Gang Enforcement Team’s effectiveness over the last year and captured our findings and recommendations in two reports.

One report focused on the Gang Enforcement Team’s use of minor traffic infractions to stop cars that officers suspected of carrying gang members. We found the team could not demonstrate that the stops were effective in deterring gang crime while the tactic chipped away at community trust when African American drivers not involved in gang crime got stopped.

The second report reviewed tactics used by the Gang Enforcement Team members who investigate suspected gang crimes. The Police Bureau used a variety of sources to develop lists of people they determined to be active gang members and those associated with them. The Gang Enforcement Team announced in September that it would stop using one type of list, but did not disclose its continued use of another list. We found the list still in use needs policy constraints and legal review to ensure civil liberties are protected and the risk for abuses and errors is addressed.

You will find the reports and associated videos by clicking on the links below. I hope they contribute to your understanding of gang enforcement tactics and the disproportionate burden they place on Portland’s African American residents. I am pleased that both Mayor Wheeler and Chief Outlaw accepted the recommendations and committed to implementing them. We will check back in a year to assess their progress. 

-- Mary Hull Caballero



Audit says evaluate street projects' effect on livability

The Bureau of Transportation designs and constructs projects to improve streets for pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles. A recent audit found that planning expectations of projects were met, but the evaluationReport coverof outcomes should be improved.

The City’s goals are outlined in the Transportation System Plan. In addition to goals related to prioritizing certain modes of transportation, such as public transit and bicycling, the plan also includes livability goals, such as access to jobs, schools, grocery stores, and health care, and supporting economic development.

After constructing projects, Transportation evaluates associated traffic data, such as the number of cars or bicyclists using the improved streets, the number of car related crashes, or changes in travel time for cars. However, for livability goals, such as improved local businesses or community development, it is not always clear whether they were accomplished or how the project changed the neighborhood, including any unintended consequences.

Determining how a project affected the neighborhood – for example, what changes residents had to make to their commute, or how they accessed local shops and schools – may require management to commit resources to broader evaluation.

The audit recommends the Bureau develop and fund a consistent evaluation process that includes livability and neighborhood impact assessments and use the results to inform the City’s transportation plans.

Find a copy of the full report here.

-- Alexandra Fercak

Deadline March 6 to file for City offices

The May Primary Election is almost upon us, at least in terms of filing deadlines . March 6, 2018 is the deadline to file as a candidate for the City’s May 15, 2018 Primary Election ballot.

So who’s up for election? Commissioner Numbers 2 and 3 and the Auditor positions will appear on the ballot. Since September, 10 candidates have successfully filed for office. 

City Elections work in two parts with the second part not always being necessary. In the May Primary, all candidates who have filed will appear on the ballot for each position.  Any candidate receiving the majority of votes is elected outright and will take office the following January for a four-year term.  If no individual receives a majority of Portlanders’ votes, the two candidates with the first and second highest number of votes in that race will face-off in November’s General Election.  

Portlanders will also be able to vote “yes” or “no” on a May ballot measure.  Brought by the City Council to voters, Measure 26-197 is a property tax renewal measure and you can read about it here.   

You can find this and more City elections information on the City Elections website.

If you have any questions, contact the City Elections Officer.

The More You Know Section:

Learn about the basic process and requirements to run for office in the City of Portland

Be sure to check and update your voter registration

Local county elections offices have official listings of other candidates and measures on the ballot from around the metro region:

Multnomah County Elections  |   Clackamas County Elections   |   Washington County Elections

Statewide:  View the state elections information and offices on the ballot and who has filed for office

-- City Elections Officer Deborah Scroggin

Seeking applicants for Chief Hearings Officer

Our Chief Hearings Officer has been appointed to the Multnomah County Circuit Court bench and the process to replace him got underway Jan. 8. Apply by Jan. 29 through the City's online application portal. More information about the position is here.